Manchester based, DJ, bandleader and trumpeter Matthew Halsall is one of the UK’s brightest talents. A gifted trumpeter with a beautiful, expressive tone, his music draws on his love of the transcendental, spiritual and modal jazz of Alice and John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as the glories of ’60s British jazz. His albums ‘Sending My Love‘, ‘Colour Yes‘, ‘On The Go‘ and ‘Fletcher Moss Park’ have won him a legion of fans across the world and acclaim from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Jamie Cullum, Mr Scruff, Bonobo, Radio 3′s Late Junction, MOJO, BBC Music Magazine and BBC 6 Music.
|Matthew Halsall||Sending My Love (CD, Album)||GONDCD001||2008|
|Matthew Halsall||Colour Yes (CD, Album)||GONDCD003||2009|
|Matthew Halsall||On The Go (CD, Album)||GONDCD005||2010|
|Matthew Halsall||Fletcher Moss Park (CD, Album)||GONDCD007||2012|
|Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra||When The World Was One (CD, Album)||GONDCD010||2014|
|Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra||When The World Was One (LP, Album)||GONDLP010||2014|
On Gondwana Records
“It’s obvious why the Manchester clubs are jumping to this band.” The Guardian
Championed by DJs from Mike Chadwick to Gilles Peterson and Jamie Cullum, it is GoGo Penguin’s skittering break-beats, telepathic interplay and a penchant for anthemic melody that contribute to a sound that’s wholly their own. Pianist Chris Illingworth’s yearning classical influenced melodies are filtered through the dance music energy of bassist Nick Blacka and drummer Rob Turner. But there is no leader, no global set of rules. Each member receives inspiration, ideas and information from each other. Their instrumentation might be the archetypal piano trio but while the melodic, harmonic and structural ideas are influenced by both classical and jazz the rhythms are drawn from left field electronica and it’s this meeting of opposites that makes their unique acoustic-electronica sound so exciting and creates such an interesting and emotionally rich palate for the listener.
v2.0 is the opening salvo from the new GoGo Penguin. Nick Blacka (who played in an earlier trio with pianist Chris Illingworth) joined the band in late 2012 after founder member Grant Russell left to pursue other projects. He brought a new cohesiveness to the band’s sound and if their earlier breakthrough debut hit Fanfares offered a band prototype, then v2.0 is the wildly successful reboot. It’s the sound of a band increasingly comfortable in the sonic world they have created and a gloriously vibrant technicolor snap-shot of a band finding their own voice – as drawing on a heady brew of influences from Brian Eno, John Cage and Squarepusher to Manchester’s grey rain-streaked urban streets they create a brave new sound all their own.
|GoGo Penguin||Fanfares (CD, Album)||GONDCD008||2012|
|GoGo Penguin||v2.0 (CD, Album)||GONDCD009||2014|
|GoGo Penguin||v2.0 (LP, Album)||GONDLP009||2014|
Mammal Hands are a trio of like-minded musicians: Nick Smart piano, Jesse Barrett drums and percussion, and Jordan Smart saxophones. Drawing on influences from Steve Reich to Bonobo and Pharoah Sanders to Cinematic Orchestra, alongside elements of North Indian and African music, they produce their own beautiful, inimitable music – at times wistful and melancholic and others raucous and catchy. They evoke a range of moods, from delicate and subtle to explosive and frantic, blending thoughtful compositions with spontaneity and interplay. On the road they have been wooing audiences from the Norwich Arts Centre to Mostly Jazz Birmingham, King’s Place London, Band On The Wall Manchester and most recently Love Supreme Glynde. Indeed it was at Mostly Jazz that the band were heard by Gondwana Records recording artists GoGo Penguin’s bassist Nick Blacka, who liking the band’s unique sound brought them to the attention of label boss Matthew Halsall, who immediately signed them to the label and has now produced their sublime debut album, Animalia, which is released on 15th September.
Mammal Hands met in April 2012, while busking in Norwich. They gelled quickly, drawn to each other’s open approach to music making. The brothers Nick and Jordan were already playing together as an electronica duo but with drummer Jesse joining the band they developed a distinctive sound drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world and jazz music. Drummer Jesse’s knowledge and understanding of Indian Classical music brings a unique/distinctive approach to the rhythmic framework of the band’s tunes. His disciplined study with tabla maestro Sirishkumar has allowed him to develop the ability to explore intricate and complex rhythmic patterns and the freedom to explore time signatures and rhythmic patterns less commonly heard in the western world. Jordan brings a love of DJ culture as well as the influence of Pharoah Sanders to his playing whilst pianist Nick brings a knowledge of classical Jazz harmonies but also a deep interest in the minimalist composers (Terry Riley, Steve Reich) which has influenced his compositional approach, striving to create hypnotic, rhythmic patterns that can provide a foundation for Jordan and Jesse to build on. It is this unique combination of influences and their unusual baseless line-up that makes Mammal Hands’ sound so distinctive.
|Mammal Hands||Animalia (CD, Album)||GONDCD011||2014|
On Gondwana Records
Nat Birchall has been playing the saxophone for over 30 years. During that time he has been quietly working on his craft, slowly but surely progressing towards a style and concept that best communicates his view of the universe.
Initially inspired by the great horn men of Jamaica, people like Roland Alphonso, Don Drummond, Tommy McCook and Cedric Brooks, Nat found his way into the music of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and the whole world of Jazz, before finding his own voice on his instrument.
Along the way he has played in many different musical situations, playing Turkish Folk/Jazz with percussionistAkay Temiz, forming the ground-breaking ‘Corner Crew‘ which experimented with elements of Jazz and Hip Hop, and the heavy Roots Reggae of Dubdadda. Nat’s quintet, The Sixth Sense made his debut CD of the same name in 1999. The album was well received and was one of Jazzwise magazine’s editor’s CDs of the year, earning a 4 star review.
Unusually amongst UK musicians, Nat’s sound and concept has been favourably compared to John Coltrane,Pharoah Sanders and Charles Lloyd. He’s released three beautiful albums on Gondwana Records, ‘Akhenaten‘, ‘Guiding Spirit‘ and ‘Sacred Dimension‘. He also played in Matthew Halsall’s adventurous groups, appearing on his ‘Sending My Love‘, ’Colour Yes‘, ‘On The Go‘ and ‘Fletcher Moss Park‘ albums, as well as performing with Arun Ghosh’s Indo-Jazz ensemble, Jon Thorne’s Oedipus Mingus and guitaristGary Boyle’s quartet.
|Nat Birchall||Akhenaten (CD, Album)||GONDCD002||2009|
|Nat Birchall||Guiding Spirit (CD, Album)||GONDCD004||2010|
|Nat Birchall||Sacred Dimension (CD, Album)||GONDCD006||2011|