News

Ben Marc x Breathe Suite B

Already at the leading edge of the UK jazz scene, producer and multi-instrumentalist Ben Marc steps into the spotlight with his upcoming ‘Breathe Suite’ EP, set for release via LA imprint Innovative Leisure on 1st October.  As premiered on Wonderland, poet-performer Rarelyalways and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings add their freeform flourishes to first offering ‘Breathe Suite B’. A swirling climax is reached as the vocalists chorus “breathe” over and over, then fading out as a police siren whirrs – a powerful “pause for reflection,” says Marc, on the tumult of the past year. Marc was finishing the EP during lockdown when the death of George Floyd shook the world and, as a result, he and vocalist Midnight Roba steered the release in a more contemplative direction:

“We wanted to make something meditative to help people through this traumatic time. The video shows a day in a life of a young black girl. At the start of the film it shows her struggles, a panic, then a sense of hiding and running away from daily problems. As the film develops it progresses into this girl finding peace, using contemplation and individual thought processes. The later part of the film, especially in the club, it brings together a sense of collective thoughts, struggles, happiness and up-rising.” 

Marc, the alias of Neil Charles, has quite the musical pedigree. He grew up splitting his time between Birmingham and Carriacou in the Caribbean: at school in the English city, he started taking classical music lessons aged 10, while back on the island, he got into guitar thanks to the street performers who’d play soca music at family events and with whom he ended up playing as a young boy, going from house to house. At home, his musical upbringing was just as varied. “My dad would be playing Bob Marley and my mum would be playing Blondie. That and classical music was normal.”

After touring the world in school orchestras, Marc moved to London to take classical double bass at the prestigious Trinity College of Music, where Fela Kuti once studied, under the tutelage of double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku. “I knew I had to come to London to study with her,” he says. “There weren’t many people who looked like me in classical music. I got stopped by the police all the time in central London, on my way to Trinity.” But despite his conservatoire training, he was never able to professionally puncture the stuffy world of orchestras. “I stopped playing double bass for four years because no one was employing people like me,” he says. “I knew I was good but I wasn’t even getting auditions. Eventually, I stopped practising.”

It wasn’t until a chance meeting in Brixton with Gary Crosby, linchpin of Tomorrow’s Warriors – the crucial London jazz educators that connect the UK new wave luminaries, from Nubya Garcia to Moses Boyd – that the possibility of jazz shone like a beacon. “He was Black and holding a double bass, so I went up to him on the street and tapped him on the shoulder to find out what he was doing,” says Marc. It was the start of a game-changing journey that would see him play first with smart jazz group Empirical and then led him to forming the free-jazz trio Zed-U, alongside Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming) and drummer Tom Skinner. With Zed-U, Marc’s passion for electronic music began to bubble up. He and Hutchings would frequent London nightclubs together, soaking in the sounds of garage, broken beat and drum’n’bass at iconic former spots such as The End and Plastic People. He even took Hutchings to his first house and techno night, where DJs like Sven Vath and Ricardo Villolobos would man the decks – influences that led Marc to produce a house EP for the London-based label Atjazz. His work with other key figures has been building up, too: last year, he joined keysman Ashley Henry on the latter’s track ‘The Mighty’, which Marc wrote and produced.

In his new music, Ben Marc has unified these influences into a sublime whole. Now signed to LA’s Innovative Leisure, he’s found a home alongside similarly future-thinking artists like Badbadnotgood, Nosaj Thing, Rarelyalways and Jimmy Edgar. ‘Breathe Suite’ a lustrous EP of sweeping strings, rippling piano and meditative vocals: two suites that show off Marc’s gift for composing and arranging, bookended by two stirring improvisations.

Maston x Souvenir (Album)

In 2018, composer/producer Frank Maston was living in Paris, working on new music when he was introduced to Geneva based band L’Eclair. Blown away by what he heard, there seemed to be a mutual understanding and appreciation for that loungey, groovy world of library and soundtrack music from the seventies. An immediate thought occurred to him - what if he could record with this simpatico group backing him up? The result is the colorful and kinetic album Souvenir, out today September 10 on Innovative Leisure / Calico Discos (the label of Cali band Allah Las).
To accompany the album release, Maston is sharing a new animated video for album single "Do You Feel It Working?" According to Maston "This song was written in the summer of 2018 and recorded in February 2019. It was the first vocal song I wrote since my debut album. L’Eclair joins me on the recording, which was engineered and mixed by Jasper Geluk at Tone Boutique in Haarlem. I’m playing the Rhodes Piano and singing.   The video was animated by Mark Neeley.”
For more on Maston, please visit these two sites:
Alex Maas x Levitation Full Session
Alex Maas's full Levitation Sessions show is now streaming in full! Watch on YouTube 
 
A fresh pressing of the gold version of the live album is in our shop (https://innovativeleisure.net/collections/all/products/levitation-sessions) and on Bandcamp: https://alexmaas.bandcamp.com/
Thanks to the band for the amazing show + everyone who supported this project & all those who made it happen!
Filmed and Edited by: Jonathan Horstmann
Recorded and Mixed by: Jonas Wilson
Mastered by: Erik Wofford
Filmed in historic downtown Bastrop, Texas Part 1 filmed at Astro Records, Part 2 filmed at The Opera House
Produced by Levitation Sessions
ENJOY!
BADBADNOTGOOD x Beside April

As Pitchfork first reported: BADBADNOTGOOD has shared a new single & video from the upcoming album Talk Memory.  The album releases on October 8th.

The video is directed by Camille Summers-Valli and is inspired by the 1878 film Horse in Motion.

In addition to releasing the video + audio, BBNG has shared the sheet music to "Beside April" on it's website - - > https://tv.badbadnotgood.com/

And a run of tour dates:

12-08 Calgary, Alberta - The Palace Theatre
12-09 Edmonton, Alberta - Midway
12-10 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Park Theatre
12-12 Victoria, British Columbia - Capitol Ballroom
12-13 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
12-17 Montreal, Quebec - MTELUS
12-18 Ottawa, Ontario - Bronson Centre
12-19 Quebec City, Quebec - Imperial Bell
12-22 Toronto, Ontario - History
03-07 Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
03-08 Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre
03-10 Chicago, IL - Metro
03-11 Detroit, MI - Majestic Theatre
03-12 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
03-14 Boston, MA - Royale
03-16 Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel
03-18 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
03-19 Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
03-22 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
03-24 Austin, TX - Emo’s
03-25 Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
03-26 Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall
11-18 Dublin, Ireland - Olympia
11-19 Stockholm, Sweden - Nalen
11-21 Oslo, Norway - Vulkan
11-22 Copenhagen, Denmark - VEGA
11-24 Hamburg, Germany - Markthalle
11-25 Berlin, Germany - Huxleys
11-28 Vienna, Austria - Ottakringer Brauerei
11-29 Munich, Germany - Muffathalle
11-30 Zurich, Switzerland - X-Tra
12-02 Utrecht, Netherlands - Ronda
12-03 Brussels, Belgium - Ancienne Belgique
12-04 Cologne, Germany - Carlswerk Victoria
12-06 London, England - Brixton Academy
12-07 Paris, France - Le Trianon
12-09 Birmingham, England - O2 Institute
12-10 Manchester, England - Albert Hall
12-11 Bristol, England - Academy 1
12-13 Glasgow, Scotland - QMU

Arjuna Oakes & Serebii x First Nights

"soulful and sophisticated" - Under The Radar 

"Such a beautiful track" - Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC 6 MUSIC)

“Watch out for a great singer from New Zealand called Arjuna Oakes” - Gilles Peterson (BBC 6 MUSIC)

Arjuna Oakes & Serebii "First Nights" EP is out now: 

https://smarturl.it/firstnights