Sonar Kollektiv News

Sonar Kollektiv Kurier

issue 359-368  §  Page 1  §  Sonar Kollektiv estb. 1998  §  circulation 60,000  §  free

@ Thu 26 Nov 2015 04:57:15 PM CET

20 Tuesday, October 20th 2015
Pete Josef Debut Album "Colour" + Record Release Party in Berlin
A heartfelt, genre-bending combination of jazz, soul, pop, and electro, UK singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Pete Josef releases his debut album “Colour”

The title Pete Josef picked for his debut full-length just couldn’t be more appropriate: Like a found collection of analogue photographs, sepia-tinged and covering some beautiful, intense trip, the essence of “Colour” indeed lies in its manifold shades and hues, the colourfully rich and warm soundscapes the singer, songwriter and producer presents throughout the album. At home in various genres – from jazz to soul, from downbeat to outright pop – Pete Josef just knows how to capture the warm glow of different spheres, how to present this special kind of light in various unique frames: “Colour” is comprised of 11 sonic snapshots, and one can tell right away how deeply personal they are, how much room he’s given these ideas to mature over time.

[1] Webshop
[2] Video
[3] Record Release Party

top of page 18 Friday, September 18th 2015
Radio Citizen - new studio album out now.
Maybe Sonar Kollektiv got a lucky punch, or maybe it's just a logical consequence that Munich based Niko Schabel and his Radio Citizen project now release their new album on the label that represents exactly the same sound Schabel has been preaching for years. The fist two LPs (“Berlin Serengeti” and “Hope And Despair”) came out on the San Francisco imprint Ubiquity Recordings after Quantic heard Radio Citizen's music and pinned a promo CD on Ubiquity's A&R department.

Five years after the excursion to San Francisco Schabel now returns with his combo to the haven of his hometown. “The Night & The City” is an album tailor-made for Sonar Kollektiv: A melange of genres which deploys live instruments on an equal footing with samples and herewith becomes a highly explosive mixture of latin percussion, funk, poppy dub, moody, folky soul, Afrobeat, ethno-jazz, Bossa Nova, Hiphop und blaxploitation soundtracks.
Schabel is a so-called musician's musician who can play anything from woodwinds to keyboards and percussions, as well as of course the MPC sampler by Akai like hardly anyone else. On top of that he apprehends expertly how to work with all kind of different musicians and how to form out of many influences, individual pieces and styles of genres a coherent entity bigger than its separate parts.

To start off this thirteen stations encompassing tour of “The Night & The City” we get the slightly sombre “Shores” with jazz singer extraordinaire (Afro-Danish) Natalie Greffel and dummer Matthias Gmelin. Niko Schabel himself controls the MPC, plays piano and supplies the percussion. It gets even more sinister thereupon with the instrumental “Clouds” with the backing by Antonis Anissegos at the piano. The whole album drifts somewhere between melancholia and wistfulness. On “Radio Days” Natalie Greffel bemoans devoutly: “search around for higher ground, before I drown in the waves that been pulling me down”. This sounds as if Portishead and Tricky spent a day together at the stormy Atlantic coast. Since “Rise” is somehow about the sea as well, but also about finally stopping to mope and “freedom will come your way”. The album actually embraces the typical Bristolian sound without evoking triphop or bigbeat at any point. Niko Schabel and his co-musicians are much too much devoted to Jazz to go along that path and with tracks like “Trip”, “Sleep” or “Schatten” they provide the perfect soundtrack to an imaginary big city thriller. The significant difference from other musically flawless and stylistically confident combos that do their own thing called Jazz is Radio Citizen's unparalleled use of samples. On “Phone” it is a vinyl crackle and numerous strange sounds Schabel constructs a round-the-twist wall of sound of, on top of which Greffel's lyrics slide cherubically. The singer with her beautifully heartwarming voice is virtually ubiquitous on “The Night & The City”. Only on “Near And Far” she briefly leaves the microphone to Abiodun Oyewole (founding member of the first Hip Hop band ever: The Lost Poets) while supporting the mesmerizing beat with a triangle.

This is definitely not your common feelgood album which you can let warble off-handedly in the background. Only if you want to create voluntary an atmosphere that is claustrophobic as well as menacing and compelling in the same way. Music for after midnight. Music for city neurotics with lots of groove.

[1] iTunes
[2] Webshop

top of page 28 Friday, August 28th 2015
Pete Josef first solo release!
Over the last three years Pete Josef became something like Sonar Kollektiv's in-house singer by choice. Guest appearances and collaborations on albums by Alex Barck, ComixXx and Paskal & Urban Absolutes established the golden tonsils from Bristol as one of the stellar voices of the Berlin based label. Now his first official solo EP, “Colour”, sees the light of day.

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Four tracks that display impressively his vocal virtuosity on one hand and his profound songwriting skills on the other hand. The title track “Colour” shifts away from the club orientated productions Josef is normally involved in and shows that his music is domiciled in the emotional, organic pop and blue-eyed soul genre. Just as calm, mature and graceful, “The Travelling Song” swings along and warbles gently out of your speakers. A touch of jazz in-between the Brazilian influenced percussion provides the song with the feeling of an endless summer. That's exactly the sound Sonar Kollektiv is famous for in ages.

The first time Pete Josef caught attention was together with Darren Emerson as The White Lamp. Their club hit “Make It Good” was released in 2012 on Sonar Kollektiv. Now Josef surprises us with his very own, distinctive, acoustic cover version. Far away from the original the song suddenly sounds if it was penned by Mark Ronson or blessed by the Daptones. Even Mayer Hawthorne would be more than happy with a backbeat as merciless funky as this. Finally we are served with a remix of “Colour” by newcomer Glow In The Dark. To pigeonhole it in a music journalistic way is physical impossible. Maybe that's the reason why the A&R department at Sonar Kollektiv will release a full album with Glow In The Dark productions in early 2016. But first we will enjoy this lovely EP in an eternal loop.

[1] Soundcloud

top of page 28 Friday, August 28th 2015
Jad & The Ladyboy - Sweet Nothing EP
After the big success of „Never Come Back Down“ (Top 3 in the German Club charts) Jad & The Ladyboy adds fuel to the flames as early as four months later.

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Already with the first track of this 12inch a seat of fire is set: “Sweet Nothing” is again a collaboration with singer Mark Borgazzi, who, with his soulful voice, already turned “Never Come Back Down” into a club stunner. On “Reach Me” the Australian Jad Lee aka Jad & The Ladyboy adopts a softer tone. By calling in Sarah Reeve the competition suddenly is on for Jessie Ware and Disclosure. This man seems to aim high. The third and last track of this record is another proof for this assumption: “Good Again” with Snax on vocals is fierce, funky and almost provokingly sexy. The bassline pierces marrow and bone and causes erratic thrusts of euphoria, at the very latest when the lagging break sets in. In all modesty, but these are probably exactly the three songs you simply can't escape in the next few months. Be it in the club or on the radio, Jad reach for the stars.

[1] Soundcloud
[2] iTunes

top of page 28 Friday, August 28th 2015
Daniel Grau - Reworks
Almost a year has already gone by since the elusive collection “The Magic Sound Of Daniel Grau” (SK281CD / LP) came out on Sonar Kollektiv. The 27-tracks-strong compilation of the best productions and compositions by the resurrected Venezuelan studio engineer and producer, who had his main output between 1974 and 1983, evoked a strong response within collectors' circles as well as with free-spirit DJs. That's why – accompanying the release of the double CD – Sonar Kollektiv asked several DJs and keyplayers of the Cosmic Disco influenced club scene for remixes. Over the last twelve months, spread across four EPs, such illustrious names like Daniel Wang (“Robot Magico” and “Disco Fantasy”), Jacques Renault (“Atlantis”), Mark E (“Combination”), Ray Mang (“Los Amigos Invisibles”) and Soul Clap (“To Night”) have given these tunes a contemporary lift-up. But also newcomers and less well-known artists like Max Graef (“Tren Del Espacio”, “Delirio En Fa Menor”), Delfonic, Debonair and Marcel Vogel (“Corre Caminos”) have turned in remixes that perfectly represent in its unity the heterogeneity of current dance music. On the now available “Reworks” compilation you can find all of these 14 remixes assembled tidily; plus five further, thus far unreleased interpretations.

As if the production duo Tuff City Kids (Philip Lauer and Gerd Janson) isn't busy enough these days (their debut album is due soon) it beats us the head with four (!) remixes of Daniel Grau tracks. And this, of course, in a manner we're familiar with when it comes to Tuff City Kids remixes: Confident in style and sound aesthetics as well as a fireproof guarantee to fill every dancefloor far and wide. A highlight is their remix of “To Night”. This song was recorded by Daniel Grau only last year, after a 30-years-lasting hiatus. That's why it's all the more pleasant for him, as well as for us obviously, that the song now, in the version of the Tuff City Kids, will be played in every club and on every radio station around the world wanting to
spread love, happiness and a good mood in the most hip and sophisticated way.

With this remix compilation Sonar Kollektiv displays once again how important and almost style defining the sound of Daniel Grau was for the current club music. Without him ever having a presentiment towards it and vice versa neither. Pure Magic!

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[1] iTunes
[2] Soundcloud

top of page 05 Friday, June 5th 2015
ComixXx released debut album "The Great Escape"
The album here now at hand has been in work for more than a year. Just enough time for Sebastian Damerius aka ComixXx to bring in fourteen tracks which complete in its build up his long-awaited solo album. For this cause he invited several guests to his Berlin based studio. Maybe first and foremost Alex Barck, who has been backing him up throughout all of the production process with his enormous experience and his beyond any doubt reliable sense of style. It has been Barck, too, how discovered the 15-year old singer Mirna in the school choir of his daughter and brought her to ComixXx' studio to record her self-penned “Can U Feel?”. That's also already the album's first hit; having been released already last year as a teaser with a wide response.

More than just a brief feature on the album enjoys Knixx. The long lasting friendship between the Berlin based singer and ComixXx resulted already in several mutual productions over the last few years. This time half of all the songs on “The Great Escape” are contributed by Dominik “Knixx” Wirth. For instance the ballad “Love Is Overrated”, the sinister, badass beats-driven “Up In The Shell”, the Berlin homage “BLN” and of course the title track “The Great Escape”. All of them perfect shaped pop gems which should, no, have to get airplay on every decent radio station in this world. Also “Miss You” with its Spoken Words by Babet Mader the album's guiding theme comes into effect: “The Great Escape” tells the story of the melancholic farewell of a great love, the emergence into a new stage of life and the confidence in the things to come.

“Spread Your Love” is a comforter in this field: Peter Folk's marvellous voice smoothens across the bone-dry polyrhythmic drum programming until the track uprises to stunning heights with its acid-like synth chords. A further sure-shot off this album. The very same Peter Folk can also be heard on the closing track of the album, “Rock Bottom Riser”, a brilliant cover version off Bill Callahan's 2005 album “A River Ain't Too Much To Love”. The two instrumentals “Dark Spring Break” and “Short Memories” act as short intermezzos between all these guest appearances without being less thrilling or even being shy of getting accused of acting as mere fillers. Quite the contrary so. ComixXx' gift for restrained, beatific, atrabilious productions are displayed on these two tracks to the fullest. The best example for his craft though is “Broken Connection” with British singer and Sonar Kollektiv associate Pete Josef. His fragile voice baths in a sea full of tears, fights pitifully against memories and let-downs to eventually put a new complexion on all future aspects yet again. This is plainly and simply just masterfully designed and narrated. This is pop music of 2015. This is one of the albums of the year.

[1] iTunes
[2] Webshop

top of page 07 Thursday, May 7th 2015
Already charted on #3 of the German Club Charts!
The Australian DJ, producer and musician Jad Lee likes to have several irons in the fire all at the same time. For instance he's a member of Mitzi (along Charles Murdoch and Dominiqe Bird), one half of the pan-pacific Indiepop duo Twiggy Lashes and a solo artist known as Jad & The Ladyboy. Under this moniker he releases music which can be described as soulful house with plenty of disco influences. For “Never Come Back Down” Jad had singer Mark Borgazzi in his studio to cut a precious, groovy two-stepper into a genuine pop diamond. In order not to get only radio airplay, but also to be played out in gloomy underground clubs with extra fat subwoofers Yannick provides his homicidal Sexfactmix. With its untamed bassline and a milling-machine like synthesizer this feels like an unchecked punch to the gut. There will be blood on the dancefloor!

It dovetails nicely that the second track of this 12inch is called “Sometimes Feelings Hurt” and that for a second time round Mark Borgazzi carries us off to the wonderland of the good groove. Again a song that sounds as good in the club as at home. A quality feature Sonar Kollektiv strikes a blow for for fairly long time.

[1] 12inch
[2] iTunes

top of page 14 Tuesday, April 14th 2015
New reissue label.
Yes, the rumors are correct. We started a new reissue label, called "Notes On A Journey".

For more than 25 years now, next to various activities (as a band, as DJs and as curators) the Jazzanova crew distinguished itself as a bunch of passionate record collectors. And that’s why it really had to come to that: the cumulative load of knowledge, the almost manic urge to consistently dig deeper and deeper in music’s history vault and thereby the increased quality standards regarding these findings is made accessible to public now since spring 2015. With Notes On A Journey (NOAJ) the two Jazzanova members Stefan Leisering and Jürgen von Knoblauch together with Sonar Kollektiv labelmanager Oliver Glage brought a label into being which will exclusively take care of re-issues of lost, forgotten, overlooked and never before released music.

The first release is already on presale: Spinning Motion - Confidence In The Future (limited edition of 500 copies).

[1] Notes On A Journey
[2] presale
[3] Spinning Motion - Confidence In The Future

top of page 20 Friday, March 20th 2015
Kasar releases improvisation album
Kasar about his improvisation album:
„Two years ago, when I pressed the record button and played these short piano improvisations, I really didn't expect that the music I played would bring me such a close and intimate connection to myself and to my home. I had once again begun to play on the piano I used to have as a child. There was something about this piano that had always bothered me in my childhood, or rather, stopped my ideas from developing how I wanted them to. It lacked a bass frequency here, a resonance there, or had something else I couldn't figure out. Now as an experienced musician and sound engineer I know what was going on: the sound chamber of the piano was too small and the room it was sitting in - the living room of my parents house with wooden walls, heavy carpet and bookshelves full of books - swallowed up the overtones and created a dull, expressionless sound. Maybe this is getting too specific, but it really bothered me in my youth! But, when I started that "Devil's Kitchen" recording session two years ago I found myself hugely inspired by the very same set of circumstances. The piano has a "practice" pedal, which when pressed, puts a felt cloth between the strings and hammers, and as a result makes it sound particularly poignant and quiet - like being under a warm blanket, close and intimate. So I recorded it exactly like this and consequently I found myself playing more carefully and with more delicately. After a couple of days I had the framework for a whole album. Eighteen months later it was released as "WALK ON" after elaborating on these piano recordings with additional electronics and vocals from my studio in Berlin.

When you've found a room, a sanctuary, which inspires creativity and inspiration in such a strong way, you shouldn't change it. Never change a working system! From now on it will be: head south for piano recording. The work emerges unique with the rediscovery of old places, the old home - as I've now been living in Berlin for twenty years - and memorable times with family and old friends. I see these old places now in a new light and they have a much deeper meaning to me now: Ödland, Jungholz, Krai Waag Gumpe, Engelschwandt - and Devil's Kitchen. Places I've known since I was a child and now experience differently. I even called my studio 'Devil's Kitchen' after the beautiful secret waterfall hidden away in a Black Forest valley.

Improvisation is always the base. From there songs grow and everything else blossoms.

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Sometimes the improvisation is the finished piece. I've been improvising for as long as I could play piano, in my own systems and patterns, but always 'in harmony'. When I moved to Berlin and started producing electronic music, the piano fell out of the central creative role and almost completely fell out of view. But the piano was always there in the background and has now pushed itself back as the focus of my work. These improvisations are very important part of my work. Sometimes they seem like the left over remains of a chemical reaction, but they're far too precious to simply throw away and have become very dear to me. So I have compiled a few of them for my album "INSIDE DEVILS KITCHEN". I don't think I've ever sounded as authentic and direct as on these recordings because they're all improvised out of nothing, created in the place where I grew up. From here the road could lead in many directions. New songs, maybe new sounds on another piano, but this is the foundation. Purity and tranquility. I went back to the beginning so that I could keep going forwards.“

[1] iTunes

top of page 27 Friday, February 27th 2015
The third 12inch round of the Daniel Grau remix orgy.
This time Ray Mang, Soul Clap, Debonair and Trujillo together with Miguel Molina are in on it.
The Venezuelan six-piece combo Los Amigos Invisibles did re-record „ El León Bailarín” off
Grau's album by the same title from 1980 and the UK disco king Ray Mang hand-crafted a bass driven, dubfunky slammer out of it. That's the music the most beautiful girls in town want to wiggle their hips to.

Sitting still will also be no option hearing the extra funked-up remix of “To Night” by US duo Soul Clap together with Bosq. This is, by the way, a brand new track by Daniel Grau (after a 30 years enduring creative sabbatical) and is up to now only available on „The Magic Sound Of Daniel Grau – compiled by Jazzanova & Trujillo” (SK281CD / LP).

The Australian Debonair comes in with his remix for „Atlantis“ (off Grau's 1979 released album „Disco Fantasy“) not less lascivious at all and pyramids the synth chords with added delays in a fashion you start to feel like somebody is pulling the rug out from under your feet. That was probably his initial intention and he succeeds brilliantly.

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On the digital release you get another remix of „Delirio En Fa Menor” as a bonus track. On Reworks Vol. 2 (SK289) there was already an adaption by Berlin based Max Graef and Delfonic. But while their remix could be assigned to the new school of beatmaking, the remix by Trujillo and Miguel Molina belongs explicitly in the crate labelled „Nu Disco“, right before the „Cosmic“ shelf.

This is the sexy sound of Venezuela today!

[1] Webshop
[2] iTunes

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