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Ben Marc x Glass Effect


“Often classified as a jazz artist, though obviously when you listen there’s a whole lot more going on in his music than that. On Glass Effect he keeps pushing the boundaries, he just keeps pushing out and stretching.” - NPR

"swirling arrangements—which synthesize jazz, hip-hop, neoclassical, and electronic" - PITCHFORK

“The music swirls and floats past like a multi-coloured cloud” - STEREOGUM  

"It’s one part Four Tet to Freddie Hubbard, the intersection where Bonobo meets Blue Note, reflective of the contemporary UK jazz scene’s penchant for modern club sounds as well as traditional jazz performance.” - TREBLE    

Producer and multi-instrumentalist Ben Marc, a key figure of London’s cutting edge jazz scene, has just released his debut full length, Glass Effect, via Innovative Leisure. A follow up to last September’s acclaimed Breathe Suite EP, the album is an assured and accomplished 13-track realization of a singular vision that unifies a multitudinous profusion of influences (from free-jazz, to broken beat, to hip hop and beyond) into a sublime whole, underscoring his quest for a distinctive sound: lambent and low-key, yet dizzyingly intricate. The album is rounded out by stunning LP artwork and packaging by accomplished designer Vlad Sepetov (Kendrick Lamar, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Brittany Howard). As a counterpoint to the album’s meticulously layered production, the last couple of weeks Marc has shared a pair of raucous and soulful live studio videos by his crack six-piece band performing album highlights “Mustard” and “First Batch,” underscoring just how potent his songwriting is.

It’s a rare talent that can link Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Ethio-jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke, Afrofuturists Sun Ra Arkestra, and grime legend Dizzee Rascal, but Marc has long blurred musical worlds and criss-crossed boundaries. On double and electric bass, he flits between jazz, classical, and electronic music, whether playing on Greenwood’s award-winning score for the film The Master or touring with Astatke for over 10 years, as well as working with the likes of Matthew Herbert, Charles Mingus, China Moses, and Soweto Kinch – and even joining Tina Turner onstage.

Marc, the alias of Neil Charles, has quite the musical pedigree. While studying classical double bass at the prestigious Trinity College of Music in London, Marc had a chance meeting 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) after which the possibility of jazz shone like a beacon. This began a game-changing journey that led him to play with the jazz group Empirical and then to form the free-jazz trio Zed-U, alongside Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming) and drummer Tom Skinner (The Smile), whose collaborations ignited a new passion in Marc for electronic music. 

One of the reasons that he started writing Glass Effect, says Marc, was going to nightclubs in Ibiza and experiencing the heady sun-dappled euphoria of a summery dancefloor, as well as the beat-driven production of artists like Four Tet, Bonobo, Machinedrum, DJ Shadow, and Madlib. But the album also wears its London influence prominently - on “Jawbone,” there are echoes of broken beat, the genre that came out of house and 2step in the early-2000s, while the Mike Skinner of the new UK scene, Joshua Idehen, intones over the brass-led “Dark Clouds” about the resilience of being a Black man in the city. Ultimately, Glass Effect is an uplifting record. “Keep Moving,” a track Marc wrote in Japan in a hotel room at 4am after a show with Jose James, and which again features Attica Blues singer Midnight Roba on stunning vocals, feels like it’s beckoning a bright future over daintily dancing flute. “It’s hopeful,” says Marc of the album. “We all need as much of that as we can get.”
Mapache x I Love My Dog

Roscoe is a road dog. The 14-year-old Boston Terrier has been there for the whole ride of Mapache, Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci’s band, which has grown from being the casual project of two longtime buds to one of the most formidable cosmic-folk acts around. “Roscoe’s been through a lot of shit,” says Blasucci, the dog’s formal owner. “He’s been all around the country, come on tour a little bit.” With some bemused pride, Finch points out that, for a few years, he and Blasucci bunked together in a room in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles that was just big enough to fit two twin beds. “It was the two of us and the dog,” he laughs.

Naturally, Roscoe has found himself the subject of a good handful of Mapache songs in the past—and on Roscoe’s Dream, the band’s upcoming third LP of originals, he takes center stage. (That’s him in quilt form on the album cover.) “I Love My Dog” opens up the album with a blissed-out stack of acoustic guitars and a lyrical explanation of one of Roscoe’s many talents: “I love my dog / Keepin’ the policeman out.”
 
“A groove so strong you can basically hear the sunshine.” — NPR Music
 

“If the Everly Brothers cruised back from a high desert road trip and landed at County Line beach and cracked a beer to watch the sunset – you’d have these guys...Mapache’s chemistry is undeniable and their creative circle seems to be flourishing.” KCRW

“Quintessentially laid-back. This is Sunday morning music, best experienced within walking distance of Big Sur or Joshua Tree.” UNCUT

“Medicine for the soul.” — Shindig

"Cosmic California Country." — THE CURRENT

Ben Marc x Way We Are

Already at the leading edge of the UK jazz scene, producer and multi-instrumentalist Ben Marc recently stepped into the spotlight with his lustrous and contemplative ‘Breathe Suite’ EP. Released in September and praised by the likes of NPR, The Wire and The Guardian, its sweeping strings, rippling piano and meditative vocals showed off Marc’s undeniable gift for composing and arranging. The EP and was nearly finished during lockdown when the death of George Floyd shook the world. As a result, Marc and vocalist Midnight Roba steered the release in a more contemplative direction, with the BLM ‘Breathe Suite B’ depicting struggle, panic and ultimately peace. New single ‘Way We Are’ offers a tantalising taster of what’s to come, and with an upcoming full-length album muted for release in spring, Marc has this to say on it:

"‘Way we are’ reflects on the way we live, the way we think and the way we grow. It’s the first track from my upcoming record and it came about while I was questioning what type of person or musician I am." Ben Marc

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. 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. 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. ‘Way We Are’ is a sign of things to come from an artist clearly at the top of his game.

Read more at Clash: https://www.clashmusic.com/news/ben-marcs-way-we-are-is-absorbing-return

Lionel Boy x Who Is Dovey?

The new EP by Lionel Boy titled "Who Is Dovey?" is officially out today, June 26th, 2020.  It’s a mix of sunshine psych & soul infusing spacey synthesizers, impromptu breakbeats & bedroom pop with influences from his native home of Hawaii and has gathered early praise from Fader, Flood, Uproxx & NPR.  Expect more from Lionel Boy throughout the year and into 2021.  Mahalo!