James Mason’s “The Dance Of Life” is out now! Over three decades after “Rhythm Of Life”, James Mason rediscovered tapes with more recordings from the same late seventies period. “The Dance Of Life” (ft. Bernard Purdie on drums and Fonda Rae on backing vocals) and “Up Jump” are the first two tracks taken from the “Recollection Echo” album that Rush Hour are very proud to release on vinyl.

James Mason only made one album, that got acclaim years after it’s release. “Rhythm Of Life” became a soul-jazz cult classic, recorded in around 1978/79 with musicians such as Narada Michael Walden and Gene Torres, and featuring Clarice Taylor’s beautiful, characteristic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist recorded far more tracks around the release of “Rhythm Of Life”, but his music became out of fashion because musical trends shifted. Another album never arrived, and the recordings ended up in a box. Today the release of James Mason’s second album is finally set, and will be an collection of these forgotten tracks.

Because little remains known about his career after the release of his debut album, we had a few questions that we were lucky enough to ask. During two Skype sessions Mason happily shed some light on his early life as a musician, shared his feelings about the music he produced during his creative peak in the late seventies and early eighties and painted a frustration picture about the music industry he faced during that time.

The extensive interview will be published in our third printed House Of Music magazine, please find the introduction below…

In 1977 you had become a successful guitar player as a part of Roy Ayers’ band. How did you manage to get all those great musicians for “Rhythm Of Life” ? You’ve got a star line up there!

I had met Narada Michael Walden (drums) through Carlos Santana, because we opened for him one night with Roy Ayers’ band. Clarice Taylor (lead vocals) was recommended to me by a good friend, Gene Torres (bass) I met at a random gig and I had been playing together with Justo Almario (saxophone) for almost a year. When I asked all of these people to come into the studio to record for me, they were gracious enough to do so.

300x300

James Mason around the time
he recorded “Rhythm Of Life”

Despite the growth of appreciation for your first album over time, it can be considered a commercial failure when it was released. How come?

Basically I fell in between two categories: the jazz radio stations wouldn’t play my music because it was too funky and the R&B stations wouldn’t play it because it was too jazzy… I guess the business didn’t want me. I didn’t have the credentials nor the resume for a second record deal… One thing I have to thank the people of Chiarioscuro for, is that they weren’t like the rest of the music business. They gave me the smallest possible budget for “Rhythm Of Life”, but they didn’t tell me anything and stayed out of my way – that’s pretty much the only time that ever happened.

The track “Night Gruv” has attracted a lot of house and techno DJs to your music. How did that track come about? 

“Night Gruv” was a kind of exercise. I had a student who was particularly skilled and had one of the first really elaborate home studios. Yamaha used to make a pretty sophisticated console that was modular: it had moving faders and everything else was virtual, it was like a mini Solid State logic board. He had four of those and wanted to learn how to use them a little better, so I brought my gear down to his studio and we produced the track there…

Interview: Roel de Boer

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JAMES MASON – THE DANCE OF LIFE
(RH RSS 17)

James Mason - The Dance Of Life

1 The Dance Of Life 
2 Up Jump
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After over two decades of Prescription, Ron Trent looks back on his musical journey, shifting through the releases to capture the essence of Prescription’s legacy.  The Chicagoan started Prescription together with Chez Damier from Detroit, and the label’s innovative discography became a landmark in house music.

Rush Hour spoke to Ron Trent extensively. As time went on the label changed, the sound changed. Sometimes the material that we picked up from other people changed as well. So we are aiming to secure the essence of Prescription, what it used to be and what it still is”, says Trent.  This trailer introduces the project, an extensive video interview with Ron Trent will be the follow up.

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Ron Trent presents Prescription : Word, Sound & Power
RH RSS 020
Release: autumn / winter 2015

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Video

Director: Bernie van Vlijmen
Story: Mijke Hurkx
Camera: Noel Schoolderman and Bernie van Vlijmen
Edit: Bernie van Vlijmen
Sound mix: Paul Gabriels
Color grading: Bernie van Vlijmen
Production: Mijke Hurkx

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Ron-TrentRon Hardy (Dedication To You)” was previously only available on CD. This is the first official vinyl release of Ron Trent’s tribute track to the legend that Ron Hardy is…. This next addition to RH’s RSS series is pressed one sided in a limited quantity.

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Order:

Ron Trent – Tribute To Ron Hardy (RH RSS 19)
1. Ron Hardy (Dedication To You) 

Ron Trent - Ron Hardy Dedication_v8ol

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JAPAN_FB_Header

Rush Hour’s Young Marco, San Proper and Antal are packing up for a trip in Japan. It’s is going to be a very exiting week with the Rainbow Disco Club festival ahead of us, and a show with Soichi Terada in Kobe plus digging stops… Anticipated as we are, we will drop as much Japanese updates as possible via our RH platforms. Updates about Japanese gems, the tour and the shows, starting out with a ‘Favorites From Japan’ playlist… Stay tuned!

Favorites From Japan
This trip is a good reason to recollect our Japanese favorites in an ever expanding Youtube playlist… Let’s highlight a short selection from that list here.

1. HARUOMI HOSONO – PHILARMONY
This masterpiece gets a repress soon!! “Philarmony” is an avant-garde solo project from Japanese electronic music maestro Haruomi Hosono, founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Originally released in 1982 on his own Yen label, the LP features experimental, boundary-pushing and schizophrenic compositions, veering from wildly abstract beauties to tight and funky dance floor fillers. It is a mesmerizing wander through the sonic genius of Japan’s legendary musical innovator.

2. KIMIKO KASAI WITH HERBIE HANCOCK – BUTTERFLY
‘Butterfly’ is a wonderful and very rare 1979 LP by Japanese songstress Kimiko Kasai and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Inspired performances from Kimiko herself as well as the supremely talented band of musicians Hancock united for the project, including master drummer Alphonse Mouzon and renowned organist Webster Lewis.

3. RYO KAWASAKI – HAWAIIAN CARAVAN
This beautiful track is taken from “Ryo”, released in 1982. The Japanese jazz guitarist was a musician for the band Tarika Blue, to name another favorite of ours. Kawasaki is best known as one of the first musicians to develop and popularise the fusion genre and for helping to develop the guitar synthesizer in collaboration with Roland Corporation and Korg.

4. RYUICHI SAKAMOTO – RIOT IN LAGOS
This otherworldly electronic track is also from a Yellow Magic Orchestra member. “Riot In Lagos” by Sakamoto was firstly released in 1980 on Island Records. The Japanese musician from Tokyo was also an actor. He played a role in, and composed music for the award winning Bernardo Bertolucci movie The Last Emperor.

Rainbow Disco ClubThe green fields where the Rainbow Disco club festival is taking place…

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A few days before Ge-ology joins us for Somewhere In Amsterdam with Sadar Bahar and Robert Bergman, the skilled DJ drops by to explore our store. From the record pile he has built, he selects a few tracks to make this very fine mix.

Ge-ology has been a record collector and a genre defying DJ and producer for over two decades. He’s produced for the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott and De La Soul amongst others. At this point he is preparing a release for Theo Parrish’ Sound Signature label, that we are most definitely looking out for…

This is the first mix in a series of Rush Hour mixes that include store picks only. Click on the track names and find the releases that feature the tracks.

Tracklist:

01. MB/OD – Manual Greever
02. Joan Bibiloni – The Boogie
03. Twice – All night (Volcov edit)

04. Twice – Saela
05. Rahaan – You Got The Right To Dance (Rahaan Edit)
06. Rick Wilhite – In The Rain
07. James Mason – Nightgruv
08. Vincent Floyd – Dawn Notes
09. Phuture – Mental Breakdown (in store only)

10. Jamie Principle – Bad Boy
11. Liaisons Dangereux – Los Niños Del Parque
12. Jackmaster Hater – Unreleased Acid Trax
13. ERB – The Weekend (Instrumental)
14. Ron Trent – Movement 7
15. Jamie 3:26 & Cratebug – Hit It N Quit It
16. Cuttlefish & Asparagus – Drum Song
17. K Alexi – All For Lisa (Original mix)
18. Leon Carson – China Trax
19. Eddie Palmieri – Mi Congo Te Llama (Sacred Rhythm Dub Mix)
20. Twice – You & Me (TwICE and Volcov edit)
21. Usje Sukatma – Waiting For Your Love
22. 2000black – Make It Hard

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Over three decades after “Rhythm Of Life”, James Mason rediscovered tapes with more recordings from the same late seventies period. “The Dance Of Life” (ft. Bernard Purdie on drums and Fonda Rae on backing vocals) and “Up Jump” are the first two tracks taken from the “Recollection Echo” album that Rush Hour are very proud to release on vinyl.

James Mason only made one album, that got acclaim years after it’s release. “Rhythm Of Life” became a soul-jazz cult classic, recorded in around 1978/79 with musicians such as Narada Michael Walden and Gene Torres, and featuring Clarice Taylor’s beautiful, characteristic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist recorded far more tracks around the release of “Rhythm Of Life”, but his music became out of fashion because musical trends shifted. Another album never arrived, and the recordings ended up in a box. Today the release of James Mason’s second album is finally set, and will be a collection of these forgotten tracks.

“Following a sense of disbelief that I could have ever forgotten about this music, for me the first echo was recollection, a flood of memories. I had poured all of the passion I could muster into this music. I labored tirelessly and thoroughly loved what I was doing. I thought I was creating my future and that this was my big chance. My idealism is evident in the lyrics. The first echo carried with it a recollection of the process of making this music. The nights in the studio. The learning curve. The equipment I borrowed. The effort and the passion. The exhilaration of a young man’s immersion in an act of self actualization is difficult to put into words. I was making the music that I loved and was engaged in an act of ‘proving myself to the world’. As it turned out, the affirmation I was seeking would only arrive as an echo — as recognition and acceptance of “Rhythm of Life” built gradually over the decades”, James Mason states in the “Recollection Echo” album release.

“[…] I am proud of much of this collection, but this is not “Rhythm of Life”. Narada Michael Walden does not play on any of these tracks and I definitely would have liked to have had a lot more of Justo Almario. Most of it was created with zero budget and was intended to be redone with an appropriate budget and higher production values supported by a record deal. I wish you could hear these songs with the production treatment they deserve. For those of you that have enjoyed “Rhythm of Life” I sincerely believe that there are moments and motifs in this collection that can take you to those same inner spaces. Otherwise I would not have approved this release.”

“[…] When I listen to this music I experience a recollection of the passionate execution of the production process, a young man engaged in an act of self-actualization and the dissolution of my relationships with these musicians who were once my friends. But, I also experience a profound reaffirmation of my belief in myself as an artist. With the benefit of the hindsight of my current sensibilities, even in the midst of its various defects, I hear in this music what I always believed I had in me as an artist. Some of this shit’s really good! I hope you think so too…”

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James Mason – The Dance Of Life / Up Jump (RH RSS 17)

1 The Dance Of Life
2 Up Jump

 

 

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William Burnett’s Black Deer project continues with “Pray For Us”, an indulging four tracker that is released now from Rush Hour Distribution.

The record takes us back to the beginning of the Black Deer project, where after the release of “Trail Of Tears” two years ago, we had the opportunity to speak with Burnett for RH’s House Of Music magazine. For the occasion we are sharing his story here:

//

William Thomas Burnett a.k.a. Willie Burns, DJ Speculator, Grackle, PG&S, Black Deer, Galaxy Toobin and Daywalker, is a versatile man. He puts out great records on L.I.E.S., The Trilogy Tapes and on the Dutch labels Crème Organisation, Bunker and No Label to name a few. On his own label W.T. Records he releases whatever he likes, with ‘no real plan’. Alongside his musical pursuits, he also teaches swimming.

W.T. explained how he ended up combining his guitar playing with house and other electronic music, and how he became affiliated with the Dutch from De Hague years and years ago. A few times he said ‘be back in about 40 minutes’, and he took off to give swimming class.

…Swimming class?
Yeah, I teach all ages and levels, and some water polo as well. Today I substitute, and teach babies and little kids. Back in Texas I was a competitive swimmer from when I was about 8 until 18 years old. Then I played some water polo in college. It was nothing serious though.

Were you already into music as well?
Always.

You moved to New York, was it for the music?
I was living in San Francisco first. I skateboarded, bought records and played guitar in a band. I had a good job, nice friends, cheap rent, and everything I wanted. And I got kind of bored. I was too young to be that comfortable and had to get out of there. So I went to Brooklyn, in 1999. I had never been there before. I just showed up, got a place, started working and never stopped.

Back then you already knew quite a bit about music. Wasn’t music a reason to choose New York at all?
Uh, yeah. But I was into weird stuff, not into dance music. I was into indie rock and electronic music like Oval. And bands like Stereolab, Magnetic Fields and Palace Brothers. In New York there was stuff like the electronic punk band Suicide and you had all the no wave stuff. I was more into that, I didn’t know a thing about house. Or about disco or whatever. I got into that, only because those records were all here, and in the cheap bin. I just started listening to them, and discovered they had synths and drum machines, and were good songs. I didn’t differentiate, it was just music. It was really mixed when I got in New York. At a party one room would be with a rock band, another room could be techno, or gothic or hip-hop. I am talking about the mainstream parties. That was really one thing about New York, it used to be really mixed. This is how electroclash kind of got the idea, mixing punk with disco and electro.

Not long after you moved, you got in touch with L.I.E.S. main man Ron Morelli. He was your roommate, and at that time you already hooked up with the Dutch Bunker crew from De Hague. How did you get in touch with these guys?
They were just around. There was a mailing list called ‘electro punks’, a lot of guys were on that list. Like Dan Selzer, Ron, and Bryan Kasenic from Bunker. You would meet people at Sonic Groove record store, owned by Frankie Bones, Adam X and Heather Heart. It just happened at record stores and parties.

After a few years you started doing parties with Bunker crew in New York, and did tours with them in the U.S.
Yeah, I was doing parties with a defunct record distributor called Safety in Numbers. We also did parties with Vice, because co-founder Suroosh Alvi lived across the hall of my apartment. I met the Bunker guys at another platform. DJ TLR had a message board for Bunker records, called Global Darkness. Because of those message boards, we found out about music and underground parties before Myspace and Facebook and all that. We all used to hang out there, and the Bunker guys decided to come over and we did a Vice party with them.

What were the Bunker parties like in New York? Like in hometown De Hague? Raw acid, techno, and stroboscopes with LSD?
Haha, no. The Bunker parties here were at a fancy designer hotel called the Tribeca Grand Hotel. We were friends with the creative director and they did parties. It was a weird mix of people there. Downtown fashion freaks mixed with weirdos from Brooklyn. 2ManyDJs and Erol Alkan would always play in the basement and we would do the lobby and the back room of the lobby. Legowelt and Bryan Kasenic played there. It was more stuff like that… it was not that raw. We would also DJ there on Thursday nights and get paid way too much. Everyone played there because you would get free rooms. We also did tours with Bunker, the other parties in the U.S. were just at normal rock venues. Really shitty dive ones mostly.

So you did tours with Bunker as well and after that you became friends?
Yeah something like that.

How did these guys influence your music?
Well, I guess it was nice to be able to ask about gear and see how they did their live sets and just record shopping and listening to music. I think we were already kindred spirits so we had a lot in common, I don’t really know how they influenced me. It was nice to see they had a real do-it-yourself spirit. I met a lot of people around the world during that time and I think we helped each other. It was a good balance. Later I would go to Europe and they would hook me up as I did for them.

What has been a big influence for you?
I think finding the record store that I work at. It’s called The Thing. I was walking down the street and some soul DJ I know, called DJ Whiteshoes told me about it. I went there and I never left. It’s just a basement with hundreds of thousands of records. I would go in all my free time. And after a while I started working there.

Can you tell me a why it’s so special? What I know about it is that you get boxes and boxes of fairly cheap records in…
Uh… most of the records are from DJ collections. There are a lot of 12″ singles from every genre. I don’t know… it’s just so many records in one place… and you can bring your own turntable and just listen to records all day. You can listen to every record you don’t know. Some of the records are from like Larry Levan’s collection, or we just got Red Alerts records in… and we also get test presses. It is the best record store in the world. It is not that you are going to find what you are looking for. You have to be patient and discover new stuff. It is not for the weak or lazy.

Now you are well known as Willie Burns, your moniker for house music. But you have a lot of aliases. Every alias has its own character.
Yes, Speculator is for DJing and it used to be for some remixes. Then some band started using the name Speculator and I got bummed. So I only use it for DJing now. Then there is Galaxy Toobin with Eliot Lipp, Grackle is my psych disco thingy and Willie Burns is house. Black Deer is krautrock, PG&S is me and Professor Genius. Daywalker and CF is me and Entro Senestre, Smackulator is me and Legowelt. And I got a new one, that is called Odd Numbers.

Can you tell me more about Odd Numbers and Circuit, Burns & Hawk? Under both monikers you’ve recently put out records on No Label.
Odd Numbers is me, Secret Circuit and Susanne Kraft, the Circuit, Burns & Hawk project is with Secret Circuit and Torn Hawk. I was in Los Angeles and met Susanne Kraft the week before. Something happened with the place I was going to stay, so I called him and we met up. He asked me if I wanted to go to a studio the next day and I was like, sure. We ended up in Secret Circuits studio and we made some tracks. It was just one of those things, we got along and apparently we have lots of mutual friends. This actually happened already more than a year ago. I recently went to LA again to finish it up. On the same trip I also did the Circuit, Burns & Hawk tracks and that ended up being the release called ‘Live From The Legal Pad’. We jammed for 2 or 3 hours, Hawk played some guitar, and it was recorded. It went all really quick.

The Black Deer release on No Label, ‘Trail of Tears’ is about Native Americans, I still don’t know how you came up with this idea really.
Haha, I don’t know, it just happened. I thought that native American music was very much like techno, repetitive. My great grandmother is half Chakta Indian, so I don’t know… It was just an idea and something very patriotic and American without being all guns and hamburgers. And somehow everything I do ends up being kind of krautrock. I don’t know how that happens, I can’t explain it. It is probably just the guitar and what I was listening to when I learned to play.

You have started your label W.T. records because you really thought a track by Stinkworx had to be put out. So you decided to just do it yourself. You have treated us to quite some releases so far, what is your direction for W.T.?
I don’t have a direction, I just put out what I like. No real plan. I mean I listen to music all the time from friends and all over the internet. It usually just happens… I hear something and decide it would be a good idea. I actually don’t even know what my next releases will be.

No plans, no ideas at all?
I have 2 ideas… I want to release more stuff from people that already did records for the label. Entro Senestre needs more records out for sure. He makes good music and he records stuff all the time. And I Iike to do a DVD release. I’m thinking about it and making some plans, but who knows it might happen or not. The idea really came from talking to friends around me about the recent interest in our music. I thought it might be cool to give another perspective.

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Order Black Deer – “Pray For Us” (RHD-023DEER2)

Black Deer - Pray For Us

1 Pray For Us
2 Leaving The Station
3 Frost To Mist
4 Second Time Around

 

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vincent-in-1996

The next title in Rush Hour’s series of Vincent Floyd releases is an absolute favorite. Always being on the hunt for soulful house tracks, the label ran into “I Dream You” years ago.

Originally released on Dance Mania, “I Dream You” is an absolute Chicago House classic. It is one of the deepest and smoothest releases the label put out in their early days, and it totally captures Vincent Floyd’s signature sound.

Rush Hour will re-release “I Dream You” and the 12 inch will be available for purchase very soon.

Vincent Floyd - I Dream You

Pre-order Vincent Floyd – I Dream You (RH RSS 15)

1. I Dream You
2. Get up
3. Cactus Juice
4. Get Up (edit)

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Hunee releases his debut album “Hunch Music” this Spring. “Hunch Music” is the striking assembly of the artist’s versatile inspirations and productional talent. It is a rich musical journey that latches onto you and doesn’t let go easily.

Hun Choi, better known as Hunee, is a Korean Berliner who moved to Amsterdam over a year ago. In Berlin he used to work in a record store where he could extend his unquenchable enthusiasm for music. DJ and writer Finn Johannsen used to be one of Hun’s customers and they became friends. While listening to “Hunch Music” for the first time, Johannsen put Hunee’s music into words.

“When I met Hunee was many years ago, in a Berlin record store where he worked at that time. Of course. He noticed the Disco stuff I chose from the crates and soon we were talking. And also soon we were playing gigs together. I was actually looking back on many years of playing out then, and I was not that determined to keep on keeping on. But you cannot act reserved around Hunee, particularly as far as music is concerned.

Hunee’s enthusiasm for music is astounding. For every special record he learns about, he will find several other special records in return. It would be a waste of time for him to feed on the beauty of sounds and not share. And then Hunee the producer emerged, to add to all the other music around him. At first, his very own music showed the restlessness he so often displayed in everyday life, plus nocturnal endeavours. There were wonderful ideas, almost too many of them. It seemed that Hunee took in so much music that his own artistic persona had to fight its way out.

But it did. Yet after a few acclaimed releases, Hunee the producer disappeared again. I do not know why exactly, he never told me, and I never really asked. Apparently a debut album was ready to go, but it never saw the light. I felt that was quite a respectable and brave move, and I was very confident that he would not give up so easily. He never does.

But for an avid vinyl collector like himself, it is quite difficult to achieve that all the inspirations do not divert from your own signature, yet still shine through, and the album is still a format much superior to others. And so while he continued to drop platters that matter week in way out, he went supposedly Kubrick on his own. I am most probably not exaggerating. Why? Because I’m listening to this album while I am writing these lines.

And this album is rather special. Even the opening title is special. It does not show off some unjustified pretension, it sets a perfect mood, a misty Eastern mood, full of drips, whirls and sweet ambience. Ending in one of the catchiest melodies I heard since I first fell in love with Japanese Synth pop. Not the easiest task to transcend this blissful mystery to something you can dance to, but Crossroads does exactly that, adding a cinematic aura that feels like elements unknown are tearing the roof off the to display a panoramic view of something you have never seen before.

Silent Sensations, let me touch it. It feels acidic, and it has the glory. You will consider devouring it. Rare Happiness takes up the trip, and throws it around. A mean little groover, if I may say so. Burning Flower in all its fury may be Fitzcarraldo’s ship sliding all the way back down, with the fat lady still singing.

And if they pull that ship back up, this track will send it down again, instantly. Error Of The Average follows suit adequately, like a Sci­Fi orchestra whipping a round dance of lost souls into oblivion, all swirling drama and voodoo frenzy. I’m still trying to unlock myself from it. Failed Movement takes its time, with string melancholia unfolding into a precious downbeat stroll. Bruises is just baffling.

Do not even try to tell me you have ever heard one of the most famous vocal samples of the Paradise Garage legacy accompanied by a heart­ wrenching string quartet. No, you did not. And you will probably not hear anything like this again. And is the exotic setting in Hiding The Moon really crashing into that several minute psychedelia breakdown that then finally explodes into those revolving bass lines and HEAVY beats? They may plant flowers and gardens through the deep and chaotic furrows this has left behind, but the idyll will never be the same again.

And it keeps going more places. The jazz­fuelled interlude that is Amo (Admiration) reprises the Eastern atmosphere from earlier on, but in a puzzling way. We are talking suspense. And then… the End of The World, which I indeed did not know yet. If this is the afterworld, I am not afraid. It feels a bit feverish to me, even a bit uncertain. But I can hear a light at the end of the tunnel. Exaggerating? Me? No. I was just listening to this album while I was writing these lines.”

Words by Finn Johannsen.
Johannsen is a DJ and writer. He also co-runs the label Macro Recordings and works at Hard Wax, Berlin.

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Hunee – Hunch Music (RHM 016)

hunchmusicweb

1. Woods
2. Crossroads
3. Burning Flower
4. Error Of The Average
5. Silent Sensations
6. Hiding The Moon
7. Rare Happiness
8. The World
9. Bruises
10. Amo (Admiration)

Order “Hunch Music” here

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2000black is back with three new, diverse tracks! Timeless tracks that blend the group’s love for soulful futuristic beats and organic instrumentation beautifully.

To most headz, the producers behind 2000black need no introduction. Inspired by breakbeat, house and techno, 4hero’s Dego has been constantly moving since the early nineties, enriching the drum & bass, soul and London boogie genres in his own unique way.

2000black established in 1998 by Dego, was named after a 1975 Roy Ayers’ recording. Both multi-instrumentalist Kaidi Tatham and musical director Akwasi have been key members since the very beginning.

The collective is highly acclaimed for their unique groove and their mix of jazz, soul and electronics. “Make It Hard” is a result of 2000black’s creative craft and their experiences through the years. It is another winner release that Rush Hour proudly presents!

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 2000black – “Make It Hard” (RHM 015)

Tracklist

1. Make It Hard
2. Counter Attack
3. Steady Jam

Pre-order vinyl release

 

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Licked a drop from the silver
tether,
The vein that held the grit together,
Ridges scored when grunt met
bone,
When shtones were shplit when
shplittin’ stone.

He rose from the roots in fine
spirits did Lankin,
And magicked up money from
none.
With no cause to work I’m
bone-idle and bored!
And I miss the days, days shplittin’
the shtones.

by Lee Eel.

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Rush Hour’s distribution channel is releasing this marvelous six tracker…
Buy OD/MB – “Shplittin’ The Stones” here

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House Of Music - Sadar BaharAfter RH’s second House Of Music magazine, it is now time to start working on a third one. We are so pleased that disco king Sadar Bahar is coming back to Somewhere In Amsterdam to play more fantastic hidden gems from his huge record collection. Reason enough for us to share Bahar’s story that we featured in the second HOM edition.

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Theo Parrish calls him one of the best American DJs around. His record collection is as large as it is famed. And because of the ‘Soul in the Hole’ compilation he did over a year ago, Sadar Bahar made quite a few new friends. Despite of all this, the endearing American has been struggling for years. “Chicago is a gangster city. Throwing parties is a huge challenge, but I have to do it.”

If you ever witnessed a DJ-set by Sadar Bahar, you know the crowd indulges in his great vibes. That happened at a Somewhere in Amsterdam party (regularly thrown by Rush Hour), at s sold out Lowlands festival or in the dampy caves of a former train station in Rotterdam. His sets of obscure disco, boogie and shreds of gospel usually win everybody over. Many fans even compare it to a spiritual experience. A few hours of dancing to Bahar’s history lesson leaves you with a huge smile on your face, a sweaty back and many new friends. Sadar Bahar is one of those DJs who bring pure joy to people.

For Bahar joy comes in a record sleeve: vinyl. He doesn’t play anything else. CD’s don’t interest him. Memory sticks and mp3’s even less so. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, he smiles. “When you’re behind your computer downloading music files you simply do not feel the same excitement as when you dig out a record.”

Treasure Hunting

Vinyl. Even Sadar Bahar’s dreams are captured in grooves. The record collection of the American DJ is so extensive; his own house is not enough to stack it all. Even his mother’s basement is filled with records. He confesses he sometimes owns as many as nine copies of a single release. “I know, even for me that’s pushing it, haha.” Wherever Bahar travels, he always pays a visit to the local record stores. Dusty old shops with boxes scattered all around are the best, he knows. “That’s where you can still find the gems “, he claims. Places where not even the owner remembers what he has in store anymore. Kneel down and wear out your jeans for hours on end, going through all those bins. It’s paradise, according to Bahar. No wonder he is looking forward to visiting the Netherlands again. “I always end up missing the record fair in Utrecht, but not this year”, he says, beaming.

Bahar has been specializing in singles lately. 7inches. He noticed the sources running dry. It’s now or never. “A while ago I drove for hours to visit a shop where I used to be a regular back in the days. When I finally arrived, a sign said ‘no disco’. Turns out the whole collection had been bought up by Japanese collectors.”

Later, when Bahar went to Japan for a show, he understood why. “Japan has some very fanatical collectors, their record stores look like ours did in the seventies.” Friends of Bahar tell him he probably owns more records than he could ever possibly play. He knows they are right, but giving up collecting is simply impossible. “It’s an addiction. Whenever I hear a super funky record I just have to have it myself.”

Frankie Knuckles

Sadar Bahar (1968) starts DJing on his thirteenth. He learns the technical tricks from DJ Charles Breckenridge, while Frankie Knuckles shows him the magic of the dancefloor. Later Bahar will play back to back with the Chicago house legend in Club Fisque. At the Music Box he meets Lee Collins, DJ and future soul mate.

Together with Collins, Bahar starts organizing dance parties in Chicago. First under the Goldmine Productions banner, later as Soul in the Hole. It turns out the name is derived from a record store in Detroit where both friends spend a considerable amount of money on a weekly basis. “We asked the owner whether we could use his name for our DJ and dance collective. He was cool with it and said: ‘I am not mixing and I am not dancing. I sell records. So go ahead’.”

Towards the end of the eighties house emerges in Chicago. Many colleagues of Bahar switch to this new and exciting genre. Sadar himself however stays true to his own style of disco, soul and boogie. “I did try it” he sighs, “but I just wasn’t feeling it. I need a drummer and a real singer who knows how to hit notes. This combined energy of a band is something that really resonates within me. My soul runs deep.”

City of Gangsters

While house music explodes everywhere around him and mutates into various different sub styles, Bahar keeps on doing his own thing. Steadily he builds up an enormous collection of disco records; buying up entire collections, and at the same time organizing his own parties. Chicago is known as the birthplace of house, but Bahar and his fellow promoters have experienced nothing but hindrance by the law. “Throwing parties is an enormous challenge. The police want everybody home at two. Twelve-to-twelve parties have become impossible. Chicago is a gangster city, you know. Everybody wants their cut, even the authorities.”

According to Bahar that’s the most important reason why clubs in the “Windy City” could never last. “The Music Box, the Warehouse and my own Kings & Queens have all been closed down within two or three years. At the same time, politicians are asking why the murder rate in Chicago is so high. People here are tense, ready to explode. So why not give them a place to release?”

Nowadays Bahar turns down most of his American booking requests. “To us it’s about the music. But often local promoters are more interested in making money”, he sighs. No wonder he prefers playing in Japan and Europe, where he has built up a dedicated network of music fans that love having him over. “There’s a lot of disco heads out there”, Bahar smiles.

He even lived in the Netherlands for a while and was determined to settle permanently. “I needed a break. Some peace of mind. In Chicago I became too distracted by side issues to be able to focus on music.”

But finding a permanent place to stay proves more difficult than he anticipated. As a foreign DJ with no steady income, getting a mortgage is too much of a challenge. These days Bahar is back in the Chicago, the city he continues to have a love-hate relationship with.

Lollipop

As a DJ, Sadar Bahar is all the way old-school. Not only because he solely plays vinyl (coming from cute briefcases filled with 7-inches), but also because he swears by the American technical set-up, that consists of a ‘lollipop’ headphone and a rotary mixer. Equipment used in legendary clubs like Paradise Garage and the Music Box that have become part of vinyl culture, according to Bahar. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, Bahar repeats. And again bursts out in laughter.

Will Bahar be doing the same thing in 10 years from now we asked him? “Definitely.” Even though things like reading the small print on labels and travelling have become a bit more demanding for him these days. “Already as a kid I knew I wanted to be a DJ my entire life.” Bahar sees DJing as his calling. Someone should spread the gospel. Let it be him. “There’s so much music around that doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. Often made by musicians that aren’t even around anymore. On top of this, on a good night I get so much back from the audience. Even though they don’t know my music, they understand what I’m trying to do.” When Bahar played in the famous Panorama bar in Berlin last year, some people left crying of joy; one person even fainted. “That gig gave me more confidence. If I can even emotionally move people in a techno club, I must be doing something right.”

Text: Rene Passet
Translation: Andrei Vilcov
Editing: Max Cole
Cover photo: Joss Kottmann

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