Beside their own productions, DJ gigs and work for their Sonar Kollektiv label, the Berlin collective JAZZANOVA are more and more building a reputation as successful compilers. Recently they have brought out several compilations which have been warmly received in the media and by the listening public. From their more club orientated …mixing (SK033) to the Brazilian compilation Paz e Futebol (SK089CDLP) and Focus Jazz (SK108CD/LP) which concentrates on east European jazz, the eclectic range of music covered by JAZZANOVA compilations has earned them worldwide respect.
And of late the subject matter of their compilations has become increasingly surprising. The compilation series Secret Love which deals with folk and electronica is by now on its third release (SK042CD/LP, SK066CD/LP and SK123CD/LP) which is proof in itself for the success of the series and shows that JAZZANOVA have struck a nerve with the concept. Homecooking (SK127CD) is also a somewhat unusual concept – a compilation that caters for the turntables as well as the dining table.
The new compilation Computer Incarnations For World Peace which JAZZANOVA member ALEX BARCK has put together with GERD JANSON (Running Back Rec.) is well in keeping with this tradition. The focus here is on the early 80s, the years 1981 and 1982 in particular. This was an extremely exciting phase for production technology as sampler and computers – which are a central part of any sound studio today – where starting to be used for the first time – and could bring a unique flavour to pop music composition and production.
Many of the tracks on Computer Incarnations For World Peace originate from a new wave context but there are also pieces by the 1920s born American jazz percussionist RAY BARRETTO as well as the French jazz-fusion violinist JEAN-LUC PONTY which on first glance are closer to the JAZZANOVA musical spirit than the somewhat cool sounding new wave aesthetic. But these tracks are not the only possible departure point for the compilation. The unifying theme that runs through all the tracks on this compilations is according to ALEX BARCK, also the reawakened or revived interest in italo-disco and the european cosmic sound, as well as the character of the selection itself.
This is due in part to the way many of these tracks came about. Back then sampler technology was still very experimental and tracks made using samplers might sound very different from the rest of the albums they appeared on. Such early sample based experiments have spontaneity and freshness which seen from todays perspectives shows these tracks have long since outgrown and outlasted the original context they came from. These are tracks that were recorded when the word disco was still spelled analogue.
So the compilation fits the JAZZANOVA pattern. The obvious big names have been left out and instead some rare almost forgotten tunes have been brought back into daylight. The source of these tracks is very diverse – some have been a regular feature in JAZZANOVA’s record box for almost 12 years, other have been rediscovered more recently. Closer by CODEK, which is 25 years old but still makes TIMBALAND productions sound dusty, is a recommendation from GILLES PETERSON. ALEX BARCK found the TALKING-DRUMS number Courage by chance in a record store in Belgium – the original was a limited edition by the english label Sticky Music of which only a handful went to export. 18. Novembar by Yugoslavian band PROPAGANDA was discovered by ALEX BARCK when he was digging for unusual jazz records one time in Belgrade.
The compilations title, Computer Incarnations For World Peace, is a twist on the JEAN-LUC PONTY song title, based on a misunderstanding but that nevertheless perfectly sums up what the record is about: synth-pop gems which sound as organic as they do electronic and which despite a certain coolness are soulful enough to appeal to jazz fans as well.
“The whole thing’s so remarkably weird and wonderful you can’t help but love it. Properly cosmic.”
“Sonar Kollektiv and Jazzanova continue to push the envelope in ‘07 and this compilation is further proof of their unrivalled abilities in A&R.”
Phonica Records –
“I think this is one of those indispensable collections for electronic music fans – like the Soul Jazz compilations it has been handled with respect and care, and there’s hardly a duff track in sight.”