WHAT YOUR EARS SAY & WHAT THE COVER LOOKS LIKE
WHAT WE SAY
The jazz recommendation triptych is complete with this fittingly triangular South Africa, Senegal & London meeting of like minds, made all the more remarkable by the pandemic improvised remote recording process. Progressive, border & boundary bashing jazz of the highest order, out today on Mushroom Hour Half Hour & Total Refreshment Centre.
WHAT THE RELEASE NOTES SAY
Pre-pandemic, there was a plan. The plan was for musicians from South Africa and Senegal to travel to London’s influential Total Refreshment Centre to make an album with musical kindred spirits in the UK. Like so many plans, it had to be adapted.
During the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, groups of heavy-hitting musicians met for a day of intense recording in their home cities then sent the music to their compadres across the oceans. They returned to the studio a month later to respond to the music they’d been sent. The result is ‘On Our Own Clock’, a sonic testament to trenchant and collaborative creativity which digs into layers of South African jazz, traditional Senegalese instrumental music and London’s rich diaspora-informed musicality. Individually these are powerful strands of music. Collectively, they are super-sized.
‘On Our Own Clock’ contains interludes titled ‘How To Make Art In A Pandemic’. The phrase became a byword and a prayer to keep the process going across the multiple hurdles that presented themselves: people getting Covid; the fear and fury that proliferates in the twin pandemics of Covid and racism; the practicalities of making music across two continents. It builds on another phrase, in the spirit of evolution and improvisation: two words used in the foreword to Toni Morrison’s novel Jazz in which she describes the ‘unreasonable optimism’ of musicians. Making this album was unreasonably optimistic even before the pandemic. To have created a deeply-rooted and warm-hearted gem like this is extraordinary.
Album highlights among the phenomenal 11 tracks include singles ‘Dune Dance’, which steps and hustles around a gorgeous groove that was written in Joburg and reflected back by the London players. ‘Ngikhethile’ (an isiZulu word which translates as ‘I Have Chosen’) fuses playing from across continents in an incrementally intense salutation to powerful optimism. ‘Be The Light’ draws deep from the endless well of feeling that the Senegalese kora provides, and builds up and outwards from a sweet-yet-solid bedrock and Grandmaster Cap’s vocals. Like he says:
"If you are the light, you are the path. To all the bright motherfuckers out there, keep shining."
The release is a collaboration between South African label Mushroom Hour Half Hour and Total Refreshment Centre recordings. It comprises the single album with artwork by Senegalese designer Djib Anton; a fanzine which documents the process and will be included with the vinyl; and an experimental film made by South African filmmakers Nhlanhla Masondo and Tseliso Monaheng. It imagines a far-future post-pandemic world and also includes artist interviews, session footage and the inevitable Zoom recordings.
One day, the musicians will play together in person. But for now, On Our Own Clock is inspiration, dispersed positivity and eleven incredible pieces of musical togetherness. creditsreleases September 3, 2021
Alabaster de Plume – Saxophone (UK)
Asher Gamedze – Drums (South Africa)
Damola Owolade – Emcee (Nigeria)
Danalogue – Synthesizer, Piano & Saxophone (UK)
Grandmaster CAP – Emcee (South Africa)
Lex Blondin – Drum Machine (UK)
Mpumelelo Mcata – Electric Guitar (South Africa)
Nosisi Ngakane – Vocals (South Africa)
Siya Makuzeni – Trombone & Vocals (South Africa)
Tarang Cissoko – Kora (Senegal)
Tebogo Austebza Sedumedi – Electric Bass (South Africa)
Theon Cross – Tuba (UK)
Yahael Camara Onono – Percussion (UK / Senegal / Nigeria)
Zoe Molelekwa – Keyboards & Wurlitzer (South Africa)
Recorded at AMPD Studios, Newtown on 27 July & 17 August 2020
Recorded by Thabang Madia
Recorded at M3H HQ on 23 December 2020, 13 February, 23 February, 4 March & 13 March 2021
Recorded by Andrew Curnow
Recorded at Total Refreshment Centre on 27 July and 15 August 2020
Recorded by Kristian Craig Robinson
Recorded at Deedo Dakar Studio on 07 August 2020
Recorded by PassaBeatz
Edited and Mixed by Dion Monti
Mastered by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx Mastering
Produced by Andrew Curnow, Danalogue, Dion Monti, Lex Blondin, Ngoma Makhosi & Nhlanhla Masondo
Cover Art by Djib Anton
Big Love to the rest of the project team - Emma Warren, Lungelo Mntambo, Lukhanyo Mfenqa, Tabara Korka Ndiaye, Theodorah Ndlovu & Tseliso Monaheng
This project was made possible through the support of British Council SSA Arts, through their New Art New Audience project; and the National Arts Council of South Africa. Thank you for standing by us during the year that was 2020.
Danalogue appears courtesy of Impulse! Records
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