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Lightning Head – Studio Don

“The phrase ‘Lightning Head’ was something I read in an interview with Lee Perry and for me it captures the idea of being inspired – like not just a little light bulb appearing over your head but a whole bolt of lightning from the heavens, illuminating everything.”
(Glyn “Bigga” Bush)

Dear reader,

this is the story behind the debut album of Lightning Head. In the following passages you’ll find information about an artist we are proud to be working with and his first major solo piece.

The music

The music you’ll hear on “Studio Don” are Mr. Bush’s favourite styles – batucada rhythms, dub techniques, Latin piano lines, funk riffs, reggae offbeats. And as a matter of fact, as Lightning Head, he found new ways of putting them together. No wonder, he’s well experienced. Having studied batucada, while playing in samba bands and teaching himself the specific patterns and grooves he found out about the peculiarities of Brasilian music. Likewise he feels a really strong affinity to Jamaican music – not just the obvious influences of dub you hear in his output with Rockers Hi Fi but ska, rocksteady and even ragga. He has always loved the way Jamaican musicians interpret other styles and sounds and make them their own – right back to the 60s and the way they covered soul hits, TV theme tunes, pop classics – they all had that twist. And he loves the passion and intensity of latin music, the different percussive elements, the offbeat feel (there is very often no Beat One in latin music).

Besides the musical variety, the El Head says about his music “I want my music to be sensual, to have masculine and feminine elements that appeal to the male and female in everybody. Like in Brasilian carnaval you have everybody glammed up, men, women, travistas – all showing out in fantastic costumes, having a party and dancing all night. It was the original Ibiza long before the days of Judge Jules and Manumission!”

The album

The album is called “Studio Don”. Yes, there’s a linguistic play with the legendary Studio One from Kingston, Jamaica which was a great source of inspiration for this production. In the 70s Studio One used to work like a factory – the musicians would work an 8 hour day laying down rhythm tracks. So all the recordings from that time had a similar sound and feel – they would have the same instruments, played by the same musicians, set up in the same way. And that’s why you’ll find the Lightning Head instrumentation on the album down to a basic thing of clavinet, Hammond, bass, monosynth, guitar and drums – recorded with a very “live” feel. And with a shedload of percussion. Plus of course echo machine and spring reverb. On the vocal side we have four guest vocalists – Farda P (of Rockers Hi-Fi), Singing Bird (from Vienna), Monterria from Atlanta, Georgia (although she wouldn’t call herself a soul singer, she has a very strong spiritual feel in her vocal style – her father was a preacher in the US) – and of course Patrice (from Hamburg, Germany), who also has an incredible intensity in his singing style, that reminds a lot of Bob Marley.

With “Studio Don” Glyn “Bigga” Bush has created a great piece of work with which one can travel from Kingston, Jamaica to Cuba, Havanna, the Bronx in New York to Brixton, London and the Stax Sound from Memphis to Dorset, England. The groove always in the heart, and with that peculiar irie feel. El-Head, keep the fire burning!

Further illuminations excitedly awaiting,

Daniel Haaksman

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