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Record of the Week
“Les Jardins Mystiques Vol.1” – the long-awaited debut album by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – is out now on Brainfeeder
14 years in the making, “Les Jardins Mystiques Vol.1” comprises 52 tracks / 3.5 hours of music composed, arranged and produced by Miguel with contributions from 50+ friends including Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, DOMi & JD Beck, Jeff Parker, Carlos Niño, Austin Peralta, Bennie Maupin, Jamael Dean, Jamire Williams, Gabe Noel, Burniss Travis II, Josh Johnson, Deantoni Parks, Marcus Gilmore and many more.
Based in his hometown of Los Angeles, Miguel is one of the preeminent musicians, orchestrators, arrangers and composers of our time. “Les Jardins Mystiques Vol.1” is his long-awaited inaugural album. It presents us with a passionate statement of intent, a labor of love, and a realm of beautiful possibilities.
There’s a wealth of ways to approach Miguel’s music – and there are no limits to where it might take you. As a composer, arranger, multi-instrumental performer, and producer, he has worked on more than 600 albums and soundtracks for multi-genre artists (among them, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Anderson.Paak, Mary J Blige and Seu Jorge). His sounds have transversed jazz, classical, hip hop, electronica, avant-garde, pop and more. His celebrated live and recorded projects have included the innovative orchestral re-imagining of J Dilla’s repertoire, “Suite For Ma Dukes” (2009); his prolific works with long-time friend and collaborator Carlos Niño, including the improvised Chicago Waves (2020) on International Anthem; and his groups including Quartetto Fantastico and The Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble.
Deeply embedded in the LA music scene, he has been a pillar of the Brainfeeder family since the label’s inception in 2008. A close friend and cohort of label boss Flying Lotus, Miguel has collaborated on all four of FlyLo’s albums since 2010 and most recently the scores for animated short film “Blade Runner Black Out 2022” and the “Yasuke” anime series for Netflix. He has also contributed to countless recordings for artists on Brainfeeder including Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, The Gaslamp Killer, Salami Rose Joe Louis, PBDY, Austin Peralta, Brandon Coleman and Teebs. He’s played such a pivotal role in the evolution of Brainfeeder during the past 15 years, it is fitting that he should himself sign to the label to release his magnum opus. FlyLo first asked Miguel to create an album for his LA-based label more than a decade ago. “I’m a global citizen,” says Miguel. “But I really love Los Angeles; I’m proud to be from here, and I want to represent it a certain way.”
“Les Jardins Mystiques” is a project that throws open and shares Miguel’s musical universe. It took shape over a dozen years, largely self-funded by Miguel, and showcasing his distinctly elegant musicianship (on violin, viola, cello and keyboards among other instruments) alongside his free-spirited dialogues with more than 50 instrumentalists. Volume 1 is the first in a planned triptych, which will collectively comprise ten-and-a-half-hours of original, refreshingly expansive music. Miguel connected with his guest musicians in versatile ways: through convivial studio dialogues; over remote communication during the pandemic era; and via the energy of live performances at LA venues including Del Monte Speakeasy (the gorgeously invigorating, piano-led “Dream Dance”) and Bluewhale (including “Ano Yo” with vivacious alto from Devin Daniels, and the cosmic harmonies of “Cho Oyu”). Bennie Maupin, the legendary US multi-reedist whose repertoire includes Miles Davis’s fusion opus Bitches Brew, plays bass clarinet on the entrancing opening number, “Kiseki”.
“Les Jardins Mystiques” reflects Miguel’s ethos that music is a natural, vitally unaffected life force. The titles across Volume 1’s tracks draw from international languages and traditions, including Spanish, Swahili, Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, Japanese and Hebrew, as well as the Buddhist practice that has been key to Miguel’s life since his twenties (“It’s very joyous and very hard, because it says that there’s no retirement age in human revolution,” he says). The tracks contrast in length, from “Zarra”’s vivid burst of analogue synths to the alluringly chilled melody of “Kairos (Amor Fati)”, yet there’s a gloriously unconstrained flow throughout, and each piece seems to unfurl and blossom into its own wondrous world.
The blissfully radiant “Airavata” derives its title from the white elephant who carries the Hindu deity Indra: a divine being associated with elemental forces. It features Miguel on electric guitar (recorded then reversed to mesmerizing effect) and acoustic violin/viola, alongside bassist Gabe Noel and cellist Peter Jacobson. The stirring “Tzedakah” alludes to a Hebrew and Arabic concept of philanthropy and righteousness, and incorporates soulful bouzouki and oud within its multi-instrumental whirl. The vividly emotive piano melody “Mångata” is inspired by a Swedish word that describes the moon’s undulating reflection on water.
“To me, playing music in any kind of setting is like swimming in an ocean of sounds and emotions and vibrations,” he says. “It’s the combination of all these different rivers, right? Western European classical music is an intense love and passion of mine; all the different genres within jazz music are a joy to practice and have given my life so much meaning; electronic music, world music, and all these different things I’ve been exploring all these years.”
“I just want to be an enabler for magic and empowerment, everyone and everything. I believe in people… and I think that this is a very benevolent multiverse we’re living in. I feel like everything has infinite worth. That’s why I tried to have the diversity of tracks on there; every one is a mystical garden, in my opinion.”
Throughout his illustrious career, Miguel has collaborated with the likes of Rihanna, Ray Charles, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Anderson .Paak, Dr. Dre, Kamasi Washington, Mary J Blige, will.i.am, Big Boi, Arthur Verocai, Bonobo, Lianne La Havas, Kaytranada, Moses Sumney, Seu Jorge, Common, The Roots, The Cinematic Orchestra, Jamael Dean, Shafiq Husayn, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Carlos Niño, Bilal and more.
In constant demand for his frankly incredible multifaceted skill set, vision and artistry, he recently joined an all-star lineup including Floating Points, Shabaka Hutchings, Four Tet and Dan Snaith (Caribou) at the Hollywood Bowl on 20th Sept 2023 to conduct the Los Angeles Studio Orchestra in a performance of “Promises”, the acclaimed 2021 album-length composition recorded by Floating Points with the late tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders.
As Miguel points out: “I really don’t think there’s an end to what we can experience with our life. It might be overwhelming at times – but there’s always this incredible, transcendent beauty, if we can find a way to be open to it.”
Joris Feiertag is a Dutch producer and live-act from Utrecht in the Netherlands who makes music that is a finely balanced combination of organic and synthesized elements, often using ingenious syncopated rhythms combined with instruments such as the harp and kalimba.
This autumn he will release Roots, his third album on revered German imprint Sonar Kollektiv. Having concentrated his attention on catchy hooks and a number of guest voices on his first, and deeper breakbeat workouts on his second, Joris felt it was time to deliver something that sat comfortably in a space somewhere between the two. The LP features a plethora of vocalists from across the globe including Rotterdam’s Robin Kester; Guinea born Falle Nioke; Tru Thoughts recording artist Rhi; young spoken word artist from London, Nego True; Afro-futuristic U.S. hip hop outfit OSHUN and Berlin based vocalist Noah Slee, who features on the new single, Keep Your Head Up.
As a song about biding your time and waiting for your moment, it reflects perfectly the process Joris had to go through to be able to collaborate with Noah on the track. Having danced around the idea of working together for some time, the dream eventually came true when the pair met in the German capital. The result is a timeless piece of music that finely balances out Feiertag’s electronic sensibilities (here reminiscent of Maribou State) with Slee’s soulful aesthetic, whilst still retaining a pop feel. Minor key dark, brooding and emotional instrumentation combine with jazz tinged, sultry choir like vocals to great effect. It’s a space that Feiertag inhabits when he’s at his best. Lovers of Gabriels and Daft Punk alike will definitely be fans of this one!
Once again, Joris creates new challenges for himself by working with artists outside of his immediate musical sphere. His seemingly endless search to shine a light on new and exciting talent, as well as his tireless work to discover the old and reinvent the new will surely see him break new ground and gain new followers for years to come.
From The Crow’s Nest is the forthcoming album from the innovative composer and multi-instrumentalist Radhika de Saram. Born in Sri Lanka to a family of classical musicians, Radhika de Saram moved to London aged 5, where she studied violin and piano with Igor Petrushevski at both the primary and junior departments of the Royal Academy of Music, subsequently becoming the leader of the String Sinfonia and then the highly selective Chamber Orchestra.
Later having been granted the Helmore Music Scholarship at Mill Hill School, at age sixteen Radhika won a Specialist Music Award to study at Wells Cathedral School in Somerset. It was during her time there that she developed an interest in jazz, listening ardently to a handful of her favourite records by Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny.
This was the inspiration that gradually led to Radhika’s unique development as an artist, with her creative endeavours gradually leading to recording and performing regularly with the London Contemporary Orchestra and Chineke! Orchestra at prestigious venues such as the Barbican, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. Radhika has also recorded violin on the soundtracks for films such as ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ which won an Oscar for Best Music, ‘The Matrix Resurrections’, ‘Tar’, ‘Overlord’ and ‘One Life’ and for albums by bands such as The National and The Smile amongst others, as well as performing as part of a string section with rock and pop icons such as Grace Jones, Alicia Keys, Eric Clapton and Little Simz. This wealth of experience is a fascinating journey to professional level and a clear demonstration of Radhika’s prowess as a highly skilled and diverse musician and composer.
Around six years ago Radhika bought a bass guitar, after watching a trio of Tim Lefebvre, Zhenya Strigalev and Eric Harland perform. As she explains: “It was eye opening to see how three musicians who barely ever have the chance to play together or even to get to know each other, click immediately and communicate in the most conversational way through music.” Radhika began to realise what a versatile instrument the bass guitar was - its ability to be virtuosic, melodic, or really part of the rhythmic groove and much more, and was excited to observe the variety in which different bass players use and connect with the instrument.
Since the Covid pandemic, Radhika has focused her attention on developing her style on bass guitar and writing her own compositions. From The Crow’s Nest is Radhika’s debut album. The majority of these tunes were written during the lockdown and was her first time composing. Musical influences include folk music from her native country, Sri Lanka, as well as jazz and other styles she’s encountered while travelling and while working in London. Some of the music has also been shaped by memories of her childhood. Through the pieces on this album, Radhika hopes to convey her feelings of exploring new territory as well as some nostalgic contemplations.
* Radhika De Saram’s music is an impactful introduction to Rainy Days Records: a forward-thinking imprint that is changing the perception of jazz in the global music landscape. Rainy Days facilitates the creation and presentation of innovative new works and fosters unique collaborations of the finest musicians from different parts of the world. Previous releases include Jamie Murray and Zhenya Strigalev’s ‘JZ replacement’ and Rachel Eckroth’s ‘The Garden’ – nominated for a GRAMMY award for best contemporary instrumental album.
Azzecca remixes massive summer anthem Rex The Dog’s ‘Change this Pain for Ecstasy’, out this Friday on Kompakt.
- A rampaging, thundering beat, harsh dystopian discords and sirens - the remix still showcases the raunchy female vocal but riffs on the title lines, ending an extended breakdown with an epic drop just to take ravers over any edge that’s left.
- Azzecca's latest release ‘U Fool/Tell That Boy’ (Higher Ground) bagged her Jack Saunders Next Wave, Danny Howard Mini Mix, spins from Clara Amfo, Sarah Story, Arielle Free’s Big Whopper and significant worldwide press and radio support.
The composer behind one of the most sensational breakthroughs in Danish music invites you on a crackling, ever-changing and deeply personal journey.
His third album Atmospherics drops after a decade in which Mike Sheridan has searched deeply to find and capture his inner sound. Films, theatres and art museums have benefited from Mike Sheridan‘s sense of sound and melody for the past 10 years. An album has been a long time coming because, in the wake of his breakthrough at the age of 16, he needed to listen extra closely to his inner sounds.
With Atmospherics, he unfolds the music in a meeting between who he once was and who he is today.
Three years ago, he began to create what is now the album Atmospherics. The term refers to electrical disturbances in the atmosphere, such as during a thunderstorm, which can interact with and distort wireless signals. Here, the title refers to both the sound of the album itself, where computer collages, classical instruments crystal clear melodies and heavy rhythms collide, and to the electronic processing and reworking. But really, he thought it would be a quiet release, almost devoid of melodies. "I had an idea of this controlled piece, and then melodies and colours came out, and I thought, ‚Hey, that wasn‘t the plan.‘ It became a great gift, where I allowed myself to be much more dramatic. There was an energy where I thought, ‚Can the music carry this? And I held on to that energy,“ says Mike.
Being a self-taught songwriter and producer, he worked intuitively. And this time, he got further than he first realised. So far, in fact, that he encountered his 14-year-old self. "I thought, ‚what happens if I embrace my childish fascination with sound? If I try to make all that buzz tangible?‘ In a way, Atmospherics is the album I‘ve been waiting to make. I took on the role of the adult who could capture the ideas of the child I was forever ago. Atmospherics is a meeting of the two, and together they cultivate and amplify all my darlings,“ he says.
The idea of cultivating rather than killing darlings cuts across both the musical and thematic aspects of the record. It‘s a collage of subjects that Mike Sheridan is passionate about - an experimental space pieced together from impressions from film, art and all the good stuff from his bookshelf. Megaparsec is about so-called orphan stars - stars that have been ripped from a constellation and are hanging alone in space. In reality, there are far more of these lonely stars and their combined light shines the brightest in the universe, so the track is a tribute to the outsider. A track like Minds I is inspired by the myth of Orpheus retrieving his beloved Eurydice from the underworld, but the compromise is that he must never look at her again - in Sheridan‘s case, it becomes a song about digital mirror images.
This is how themes and music slide in and out of each other on the album. There are moments of dub, techno, pop and modern compositional music. There are sounds and beats that crackle, dissolve, replace each other, or connect with each other in new ways. In this way, Atmospherics can be listened to as a long exhalation from an artist who has dared to hold his breath longer than most.
Atmospherics features both Danish and international guests such as Agnes Aldén (a singer, songwriter and producer from Falun, Sweden), Indra Rios-Moore (a singer, songwriter and arranger, from the Lower East Side of Manhattan), BYLJA and Janus Rasmussen - as well as a host of Sheridan‘s regular musicians.
Irish producers Zero T and Beta 2 (Searchlight) select three of their favourite electronic producer teams to rework tracks from their debut, self-titled, neo-soul album.
Lee Gomez under his Wipe The Needle moniker takes We Could Be More featuring Manchester’s new school, soul king [ K S R ], right through to deepest West London. The remix drives with broken beats, uplifting strings, choirs and soulful keys leading to a change that feels like a true celebration of the current resurgence of Bruk in the capital’s clubs.
UK House music legend Martin Iveson aka Atjazz declares war on the time signatures on Can We Go Back Ft. Tolü Makay. The mix begins downtempo, playing neatly with polyrhythm synths and Tolü’s vocals before cleverly and beautifully, switching to an up-tempo Atjazz groove.
Bugz In the Attic core members Mark Force and Afronaut team up under their Afroforce guise to take on Breathe, once again featuring Irish rising star vocalist, Tolü Makay. Originally co-written by Goldie himself for Searchlight’s debut album, the remix sees Mark and Orin replay the keys and flip the song into a modern, bruk-wise dancefloor bomb... Bugz style.
"On first listening to Scrimshire’s Flames, I was hooked by the drum line and the use of clarinets. I wanted to focus on these 2 things, stripping back a few layers, adding a new organ bass line, big swells on the Udo Super 6 and sweeping string pads with a dancing mellotron and piano jamming around extra clarinet solos that appear from different places in the stereo image. I wanted to keep the playfulness of the original with a Hamilton-Ayres twist."
Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres is an award-winning film composer, multi-instrumentalist and performing artist. Her critically-acclaimed work blends sound worlds with her love for the piano, orchestrated into a rich palette of electronica and classical music described by BBC Radio 6 Mary Anne Hobbs as “hauntingly beautiful”.
In 2022 she won Best Original Feature Film Score in the Music and Sound Awards for BAFTA Scotland-winning duo Melt The Fly celebrated by Mark Kermode as an “evocative score” in Empire Magazine working with MRI machine sounds and Her Ensemble on strings. Her most recent feature score for BAFTA Breakthrough Paul Sng’s TISH, the opening gala film of Sheffield DocFest 23, was celebrated in Screen Daily as “particularly well used throughout, chiming with memories of experiences”.
2023 has certainly kept them on their toes at BBE Music, with no shortage of exciting happenings. Releasing more than 100 projects this year, we're thrilled to highlight our team's favorite musical selections.
With each beat and rhythm, we've sequenced beloved tunes from yesteryears to bring back to life timeless classics. Historic reissues on BBE - available both digitally and physically - highlight these masterpieces that have now been remastered. All thanks to the Grammy- nominated The Carvery Studio, tracks such as cannons from Perception / Today Records, gems from Strata Records, highlife from Asona Records, J Jazz series expansions, and so much more all unveiled a new, captivating sonic experience.
Many of these reissued originals were previously only available at exorbitant prices online. Thanks to The Carvery Studio for their meticulous remastering process, we've made them more affordable and accessible. This includes tracks such as Soul Liberation, Remi Kabaka's Son of Africa, J&F Quintet's masterpieces, Forest, Sphere’s Inside Ourselves and more.
This compilation snapshot captures the essence of all the music BBE brings to life: real music for real people. A wonderful initiation for any budding audiophile or simply a music lover starting their journey with BBE.
This year, we also marked hip hop's golden jubilee with the release of Illa J's album. The exclusive track, 'Relapse (Instrumental)', featured on this album, is a critics' choice that rightfully continues the powerful Yancey music legacy.
But our voyage into musical celebrations didn’t stop there. We paid tribute to the long, illustrious careers of Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, the reigning king and queen of Brazilian jazz.
So here's to all who cherish jazz, folk, afro beat, hip hop, funk, soul or Americana. This compilation celebrates the diversity of music, a testament to authenticity and our dedication to making real music for real people.
Emily Saunders - All as One
Acclaimed vocalist, songwriter, and producer, Emily Saunders is making waves in the music world once again with the release of her latest single “All As One”. This vibrant, bubbling, upbeat track embodies happiness - celebrating people joining together in life, love, and connection; heralding the next enticing taste of her eagerly awaited forthcoming album and UK tour.
“‘All as One’ is about happiness, connection, and those precious times of being all as one. It is about sparkling, heady, effervescent vibes dancing from day til dawn - ‘Sparkles in the night, bodies spin and sway this way, all the hours we dance the night away, spinning til the morning light’. “Writing and producing tracks of multi-layers and textures which bring my imagination to life, and then my voice flying over riffs and grooves is my greatest love. All As One was inspired by heartwarming evenings of being with people dancing together - it’s about the power of music lifting us up, feeding our soul, and washing away the stresses of the day. ‘Music blurs the time away, melting out the night and day, feeling flight within the haze, All As One’”, says Emily.
A prolific and skilled songwriter, producer, Emily Saunders has garnered praise from industry insiders and musicians alike (“Absolutely Brilliant,” Jamie Cullum on BBC Radio 2). Emily seamlessly blends virtuosity and adventurous musicianship of the highest order, creating a unique fusion - future-jazz inspired, her melodic hooky basslines underpin riffs and Brazilian-infused grooves, with an irresistibly catchy pop sensibility. At the core of All As One features Emily’s enticing, soaring vocal solo - her enchanting voice, effortlessly dances over her infectious tunes that worm their way into your brain and stay there.
“All As One” follows the success of her previous singles, Mashup and Rugged Waves. Together, these singles are the first taste of what promises to be a groundbreaking album from Emily Saunders. Notably, Emily stands as the exclusive composer, arranger, producer, and vocalist for every track on this remarkable body of work.
Born in London, raised in Brixton, Emily’s music has achieved Top 10 in international iTunes and Amazon charts in the UK, USA, Germany, France and Indonesia, receiving multiple 4 star reviews including: Evening Standard, Guardian, Independent, and Daily Telegraph. Her music has received plays on BBC Radio1, 2, 3, 4, 6, Jazz FM as well as national stations around the world, in the US, Japan, Australia, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Abu Dhabi, México, Uruguay, South Korea and South Africa.