The world of music is constantly moving forward and taking new directions. There are always artists and musicians that strive to innovate and to give a new breath of life to any form. Berlin’s Sonar Kollektiv understand this well and, with the creation of their new Jazz Club collection, the label founded by JAZZANOVA pushes things forward again to present artists with this spirit in mind. Thanks to CHRISTIAN PROMMER’S DRUMLESSON (SK162CD/jazz club), and his beautiful Jazz covers of Techno classics such as DERRICK MAY’s Strings of Life (SK137), Sonar Kollektiv bridged the gap between two worlds that seem so far away from each other. With the release of their recent Neujazz compilation (SK174CD/jazz club), Sonar Kollektiv went one step further showcasing new artists who manage to bring jazz music onto the club scene, rocking capacity audiences and winning fans all over the world in the process. On this occasion Sonar Kollektiv introduced the newest member of their family; TWO BANKS OF FOUR. Their song Queen of Crows is fuelled with Soul and has a very special electronic touch to it. It was clear that TWO BANKS OF FOUR would be the perfect addition to the collective.
TWO BANKS OF FOUR are producers ROBERT GALLAGHER a.k.a. EARL ZINGER & DILIP HARRIS a.k.a. DEMUS. The 2 friends have a long-standing passion of music, denim & Soviet constructivist design. ZINGER was a former member of nu-jazz collective GALLIANO, who rode the wave of GILLES PETERSONs wonderful label Talkin’ Loud in the nineties, and more recently the force behind the many moods of EARL ZINGER, whose reggae rockers cover of BLURS Song Two was an underground hit on his own Red Egyptian label. DEMUS is a very respected London producer whose work includes the YOUNG DISCIPLES debut LP, IG CULTURE, ZERO 7 and founding the CO-OP club.
For TWO BANKS OF FOUR it all started in 1997 in an unheated flat in West London. The first few sessions were interrupted by power cuts and the heavy noise of trains on their final journey leaving the city. DEMUS and ZINGER designed this project to enjoy the pleasure of improvisation and experimentation and also, in contradiction to the trains, as a way to go deeper into the underbelly of their native city, London. They enrolled VALERIE ETIENNE (another former GALLIANO stalwart and recording artist in her own right) to become the leader of the vocal troupe and she promptly recruited PAUL JASON FREDERICKS & BEMBE SEGUE to create a power trio of voices who would command the front of any stage. Their first long player City Watching released on Sirkus in 2000 got the props of Djs in the old Europe including GILLES PETERSON and JAZZANOVA and was remixed by A-class music producers such as HERBERT and DERRICK L. CARTER. The critically acclaimed second album Three Street Worlds came out 3 years later on Red Egyptian Jazz, a label set up especially for this occasion by DEMUS and ZINGER, who wanted to create a structure that allowed them to retain complete creative control of their music. During these years TWO BANKS OF FOUR kept touring, playing to bemused, seated crowds at jazz festivals and confusing dancers at clubs since their music hinted at both styles but was not obviously either. Hamburgs MOJO club saw the drum kit collapse mid song & Portugals SUD-OUEST festival looked on as VALERIE ETIENNE & BEMBE SEGUE embraced free form vocal acrobatics.
Also during this time VALERIE ETIENNE and ZINGER got to know the JAZZANOVA crew – they sang on Mwela Mwela (Here I Am) on JAZZANOVAs illustrious album In Between and became good friends. JAZZANOVA have always supported the music of TWO BANKS OF FOUR, dreaming of releasing an album on Sonar Kollektiv one day. This glorious day will eventually come in March 2008, to the great joy of JÜRGEN V. KNOBLAUCH, with the release of TWO BANKS OF FOURs long-awaited third album Junkyard Gods (SK182CD/jazz club).
Junkyard Gods is an epic tour de force that cruises effortlessly through the twisted labyrinth of modern music genres from Soul to Funk over to House and Broken Beat. DEMUS and ZINGER put the emphasis on interaction and improvisation between all the musicians involved in the project and pepper it with their own electronic experimentations. This mix of influences, individual ideas and collective thinking is centred by VALERIE ETIENNE, whose presence shines through the record from beginning to end. The whole album is a wonderful journey made of quirky electronic beats and sounds, solos of flute, saxophone, trumpet and piano, strangely chaotic harmonies and intricate drumming sequences. Easy to listen to yet extremely rich and complex in its structure, Junkyards Gods sounds like a UFO landing on planet Sonar. With uplifting and energetic tracks like Paper Planes and Flags and Words, that could easily make it into the box of many club DJs, poppy numbers like Dead Afternoons and Queen of Crows, already featured on Sonar Kollektiv’s Neujazz compilation (SK174CD/jazz club), and more experimental tracks such as Wake Me 5.30 and Go, where electronic beats and layers of warped and dirty synths challenge musical logic, Junkyards Gods (SK182CD/jazz club) will teleport you kicking & screaming to another dimension of music. With DEMUS and ZINGER in the role of the space-pilots and VALERIE ETIENNE as your personal hostess you can be sure that you’ll be taken on a trip that you’ve never heard before.
“An intelligent, sophisticated experiment… a highly polished melting pot”
Out Of Hand –