LOVEMONK (SPAIN)

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LOVEMONK (SPAIN)

THE LABEL

Lovemonk is a small but very sunny and eclectic label from the Malasaña burrough of Madrid.

Our artists cover a wide range of styles, from the most club-oriented electronica to the prettiest folk, with everything in between, although the most common sounds in our catalogue have their roots in soul, jazz and funk. Everything fits under the motto, “Discos Buenos” (“Good Records”).

http://lovemonk.net

https://www.facebook.com/discosbuenos/

http://shop.lovemonk.net/

THE ARTISTS / RECORDS

ALEX ROCKS

AL-X Rocks got involved with hip-hop culture in 1988, first as a graffiti writer and then as a turntablist and producer. Over the years, our man from Aluche, Madrid has built quite a reputation for himself, working with the likes of Soylent Green, Sace2, HD Substance, sharing the stage with EPMD, Breakestra, C2C, Redman, Killa Kella, Keith Murray, Talib Kweli and many more, and making tracks for American online platform turntableradio.com.

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More infos : https://www.facebook.com/DJALEXROCKS

CHIP WICKAM

In recent times Manchester has produced an impressive slew of jazz musicians, with the likes of Matthew Halsall and Nat Birchill both receiving widespread acclaim. A lesser known figure but no less important in the development of the Manchester scene is Chip Wickham, a flautist and saxophonist who soon releases a spiritually leaning and vintage sounding ’70s jazz record called La Sombra via Lovemonk Records.

Translated from Spanish as ‘The Shade’, Chip’s debut album drops after a 25-year career touring, recording and experimenting across three decades of jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, Latin and electronica. La Sombra is a monumental record for Chip as it symbolises the moment he stepped out into the light as a director of his creations with freedom to explore his roots, express and tell his version of jazz and pay testament to his heroes Roland Kirk, Yuseef Lateef & Harold McNair.

Now living in Dubai after an intense and productive six years in Madrid, it was Manchester where Chip studied in the late ’80s and became enmeshed in the chaotic and thrilling music scenes emanating from one of the world’s most culturally prominent cities of the time. Recording and generally ‘keeping things real’ with Manchester’s hip-hop collective Grand Central Records, Rae & Christian, The Pharcyde, Fingathing, Nightmares on Wax, Graham Massey (808 State), Chip was in a city that was undergoing a music revolution with the Haçienda as its temple. Yet it was the headlights of the M62 motorway and not the strobe lights that were lighting Chip’s path during his student years (’88-’92). The lure of the jazz and funk clubs of Leeds, where The New Mastersounds were breaking out and building the blocks that would lead them to UK funk royalty status, proved too strong.

In the 1990s Chip continued to refine his craft in the rainy city and the gigs booked were growing in stature. It wasn’t long before he was on the road with Roy Ayers and Badly Drawn Boy. Around that time Chip met up with trumpeter Matthew Halsall that was the beginning of a friendship that lasts to this day. Chip was a recording artist on Matthew Halsall’s breakout album Sending My Love and continues to work with him, with live dates confirmed in spring 2017. This close connection with Halsall gave rise to other collaborations, such as with Nat Birchall and Go Go Penguin’s Rob Turner.

Three decades after his late night excursions to Leeds, Chip found himself recording with Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds in Madrid, as part of their new band, The Fire Eaters, which he’d formed soon after he moved to sunny Spain in 2007 – the same year he released the Fried Samba album under his moniker Malena, his electronic Latin band that became a hit at the turn of the century for Freestyle Records. During his time in Spain he connected with the local scene and brought together many of his musicians colleagues from the UK to Spain and it was for a local and well established label, Lovemonk, that he released two 45s blending raw funk and Latin. These new roads and musical leanings led to an invitation to play for the prestigious Craig Charles Fantasy Funk Band. Based on a poll from Craig Charles’ top rated BBC6 radio show, Chip was chosen to play alongside the cream of the UK funk & soul scene: James Taylor (JTQ), Snowboy, The Haggis Horns (Mark Ronson), John Turrell (Smooth & Turrell), and Mick Talbot (The Style Council).

La Sombra takes an altogether more rooted direction than Chip’s recent collaborative work, with the jazz of the late ’60s and early ’70s a dominating influence to the recordings. Comprising of seven tracks recorded in Madrid with musicians assembled by Chip from Madrid’s jazz scene, it combines contemplative explorations akin to Yusef Lateef’s early work on tracks like ‘La Sombra’ and ‘Pushed Too Far’. There’s a fiery cover of Camarón de la Isla’s classic ‘La Leyenda Del Tiempo’ and tracks like ‘Sling Shot’ and ‘Red Planet’ are locked in a groove harking back to Freddie Hubbard’s Blue Note era and Nathan Davis.

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FORASTERO

« El submarinista en el tejado » (« Diver on the Roof »), is Sonic Youth intense in its climactic peaks and drips in filmic Morricone quirk when taking breath. Bolstered with baritones and a fistful of brass, it is the band’s debut and fittingly comes out on the long-respected Madrid label, Lovemonk.

Made up by a group of players from Madrid’s jazz, Afrobeat and black music scene, Forastero are little known out of Spain, yet they have been experimenting with fuzzed up and leftfield beats and pieces in many of the capital’s renowned live music ‘salas’ over the years. A six-piece, the group plays baritone sax, keys, synths, double bass, guitar, theremin and drums, and have no interest in playing fiddle to Madrid’s conservative jazz audiences. In fact, it’s the environment of a somewhat static new jazz scene in Madrid that has given the impetus for Forastero’s creation and ‘outsider’ attitude. Literally their name, ‘Forastero’, means ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’.

Recorded between September 2015 and July 2016 in Madrid, there is obvious anxiety and angst in this production but delivered with a poetry akin to a Tortoise or Brandt Brauer Frick production. ‘The Box’ is a cover of the Orbital classic, a syncopated and supple track jumping between loose expressions of ska and dub. ‘Baile Watusi’ charms with its collision of frantic jazz and chopped up sinuous funk, and ‘Morfina’, the lead single, evokes sixties soul and is a posthumous nod to renowned bass player, Mark Sandman.

Throughout « El submarinista en el tejado the band don’t hide their fondness for the big screen, with the spaghetti western-like quality of ‘Por la Calle de la amargura’ an obvious example without being overwhelmingly pastiche. With the additional influences name checked by the group, such as Cinematic Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, Red Snapper, Esbjörn Svenson Trio and Acoustic Ladyland, you get an idea of why their self-proclaimed tag as ‘outsiders’ has stuck.

The loose attitude to formula or structure in Forastero’s work stands out a mile. Certainly their jazz and improvisational backgrounds has heavily influenced the writing process. There’s a tight and intuitive rhythm section, which is frequently held together by a narrative quality in Dani Niño’s saxophone lead.

« We play jazz as rockers, twisting things and always experimenting », says Javier Gallego, the drummer. And onwards the band marches, irritating and entertaining all who hears them.

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PERLITA
PERLITA is the diminutive of a surname invariably associated with the music world: Perles. Pedro Perles, frontman of Ledatres, wingman of Paco Loco, the acoustic guitar behind Bigott, multidisciplinary artist and full-time human being, is embarking on a new project alongside two other key figures on the Spanish scene, Calde Ramírez and Esteban Perles.

The project, named (you guessed it!) Perlita, is a gem, a flower, a minimalist challenge, and a colossal act of audacity all at the same time. It’s pop thoroughly electrified and electrifying, with catchy melodies, melancholic dubstep and a real sense of humour, made to make you dance. It’s a sudden burst of sounds from another era, created for the ears of the future. It’s bodily sounds made for the life and soul of the party.

That’s the reason why many different influences live together on Cangrejo Yeti, much in the way different opinions need to stand next to each other (and get along well) in a literary essay. It’s like Talking Heads meeting Spandau Ballet backstage at Jean Michael Jarre’s show. It’s new wave, but coming from Cádiz on the shrimp boat. It’s Jon Brion hanging his wet sheets on a rooftop in a harsh east wind. It’s music for Spectrum with some extras for Amstrad. It’s harmonies kept inside until the three of them get on stage and share them with the world, their hands full and their lungs out. And most of all, it’s our chance to understand that electronic music is now part of everything. It hears everything, it sees everything, and it says everything.

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GECKO TURNER

Gecko Turner’s fourth album, That Place By The Thing With The Cool Name is a marvelous journey. A globetrotter lifestyle and the opportunity to share experiences with musicians from remote places are the reason for the exuberant worldliness of this album. First signed to Quango, Gecko Turner released Guapapasea! in 2006 and has been going strong ever since.

There is an incredible band playing on the album. Guitarist Rafa Prieto and bass player Dr. Robelto, whose Fender Bass is the backbone of the full sound of the Afrobeatnik Orchestra, have played on most of the tracks, with the participation of musicians from Texas, Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, Guinea, England and Extremedura, transforming what Gecko once defined as his « soniquete ». But despite all these flavours, the album still sounds distinctly like Gecko Turner and comes packed with his unique and unorthodox interpretation of Soul.

The songs cross the frontier of an imaginary space, that « imaginary South » that can be found on the Guadiana/Mississippi River, which has its capital in the American deep south and which shares borders with Nigeria, Brazil, Jamaica, Cuba and Latin Harlem. In this imaginary space the spirits of Coltrane and Lou Reed roam freely and proudly make appearances on some of the songs, especially the last two on the album.

“That Place By The Thing With The Cool Name” is not just a brilliant name, it is an overwhelmingly good album, created with the humility that only the very best have.

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BART DAVENPORT

Like Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’, Bart Davenport has seen many an era. He’s been a mod, a bluesman and a softrock troubadour. His latest full-length album, ‘Physical World’ (Lovemonk/Burger) is a culmination of all those incarnations and more. With shirts from the 60s, guitars from the 80s and the timeless voice of a real crooner, it’s a one-of-a-kind hybrid of paisley pop and sweet soul. One foot in reality, the other firmly planted in the fantasy world within the three minute pop song, Bart tells of life and love in the modern world with sincerity and a subtle sense of humor.

Davenport recently migrated to Los Angeles to form a new band lineup with the help of bassist and pal, Jessica Espeleta. She brought in Dream Boy, Wayne Faler, whose signature jangly guitars weave their way impeccably into Bart’s songs. Nathan Shafer plays piano and synthesizers while drummers Andres Renteria and Paul Burkhart take turns on the kit. Producer, Luke Top (Fool’s Gold) captures the group’s undeniable chemistry on ‘Physical World’. This is the sound of an artist at his peak backed by an accomplished team of like-minded musicos.

A native of Oakland California, Bart Davenport’s roots are in the 90s garage and blues scenes. His first professional band, The Loved Ones released two albums on the Hightone label. The group performed a rawkus, high energy style of r&b, opening for the likes of Junior Wells and John Lee Hooker. In the 00s Davenport went solo and turned the volume down but not the intensity. Whitest Boy Alive and Kings of Convenience singer, Erlend Øye, has called him the “best one-guy-and-guitar performer there is”. Bart’s decision to perform solo acoustic was born out of pragmatism. Traveling light made touring possible and performing alone helped the artist to hone in on conveying subtle and meaningful material. The recording studio was another matter entirely.

Released in 2002, Bart’s self-titled solo debut was an indie pop layer cake filled with drums, organs and vocal harmonies. He quickly followed that in 2003 with ‘Game Preserve’ on Antenna Farm Records. Next came ‘Maroon Cocoon’ in 2005, a carefully honed lo/hi fi record made on an 8-track tape machine. In 2007, a side project called Honeycut released ‘The Day I Turned To Glass’ on Quannum Projects. Their tune, ‘Exodus Honey’, was featured on an iMac ad campaign as well as the installation disc for Mac OS Leopard and Snow Leopard. Bart Davenport returned in 2008 with his fourth solo album, ‘Palaces’. Featuring production help from psychedelic main man, Kelley Stoltz, the album would be referred to by Sylvie Simmons of MOJO as “a fine example of San Fran’s vinyl and thrift shop culture, turning stuff people throw out into something new”.

Between Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 Davenport released three European records and spent much of his time touring the continent. There was a covers album, ‘Searching For Bart Davenport’ (Tapete Records, Germany) and two from side projects; ‘With All Due Respect’ by Incarnations (Lovemonk, Spain) and ‘Comedians’ by Honeycut (Discograph, France). In 2012. Bart Davenport’s ‘Someone2Dance’ b/w ‘Cheap Words’ saw the return of longtime compatriot, Sam Flax, as Producer. The Flax production opened a new chapter in the Davenport saga, with drum machine, synth and guitar lines reminiscent of early 80s new wave and power pop. Following that, Davenport relocated to Los Angeles where he gathered together the band that would eventually record ‘Physical World’, scheduled for release on Lovemonk and Burger Records in March 2014.

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WILD HONEY
Like many of our favourite stories, everything starts with a young Guillermo Farré, our main character, listening to an insane variety af music in his High School days, later playing with a few bands and finally taking advantage of all that and his talent to write and sing wonderful songs. To have Stereolab’s Tim Gane sitting in the producer chair for his new album has been the icing on the cake. The story ends (so far) with Wild Honey’s sophomore album, “Big Flash”. Pure, catchy and beautifully arranged pop songs with a slightly lysergic twist.

“Before anything else, I love to listen to music. Listening to music inspires me to do things with Wild Honey, in fact, most of the decisions I take are from a fan’s point of view, rather than based on technical aspects,” says Guillermo Farré. “For this new album, I made a list of people I would like to work with, and the first one on it was Tim Gane. I love the production of his records with Stereolab, and it’s quite different from what I could do at home with Wild Honey, and it’s very personal.”

So Guillermo got in touch with Tim and told him straight up he would like him to produce “Big Flash”. Tim had never produced anyone other than Stereolab and the music he wrote with High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan, but he invited Guillermo to come to Berlin to get to know each other better and see if such a collaboration would make sense.

“The trip was amazing, and working with him turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life,” Guillermo says. “We talked about music for hours on end, tried out all kinds of weird effects and sounds Tim has been collecting over the twenty years of his career, he told me some crazy stories, and eventually he gave the Wild Honey sound a most interesting twist: it’s not a break from the old sound, but an expansion of the colour and rhythm palette, which I feel has made the record much more varied.”

“I wanted to make a record with more emphasis on the rhythm section, which Diego Blanco and Javier Lorente took care of. The first album [« Epic Handshakes And A Bear Hug »] was something I recorded in my bedroom, and playing those songs live wasn’t as fun as I expected. On this album, there are several songs (“An Army Of Fat Synths”, “Rogério Duprat Looks Out The Window”) that started from different rhythms, with one eye on the kind of pop feel many tropicalia bands used to have, and on the hypnotic rhythms of groups like Broadcast or, indeed, Stereolab.”

The result is an album full of proper pop songs, with catchy melodies and beautiful arrangements. You may hear echoes of Os Mutantes, The Beach Boys (Wild Honey takes its name from one of their songs), Todd Rundgren, Broadcast, Ennio Morricone, The Millenium, Bill Fay, or The Zombies, or you may not hear them at all, because most of all, Wild Honey has carefully crafted a sound of its own.

 

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