Early October saw JOHN GRANT turn in a truly fabulous performance as part of the BBC Philharmonic Presents Series which was broadcast across 6Music and other BBC networks.
This one-off live recording saw John performing much of his celebrated catalogue with the 60-piece BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, with arrangements by his long-time collaborator Fiona Brice. So good was the performance, and also in response to public demand, Bella Union are delighted to announce that the recording will be released in a few weeks time on 1st December. The recording should also serve as a memento (of sorts) for John’s upcoming sold-out orchestral tour with the Royal Northern Sinfonia which will see him performing in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues.
Saturday 22 November – LIVERPOOL – Philharmonic Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Sunday 23 November – MANCHESTER – Bridgewater Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Monday 24 November – BIRMINGHAM – Town Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Tuesday 25 November – BRISTOL – Colston Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Friday 28 November – GATESHEAD – The Sage Gateshead **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Saturday 29 November – EDINBURGH – Usher Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**
Sunday 30 November – LONDON – Royal Festival Hall **(SOLD-OUT!)**
John Grant With The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra: Live In Concert will be released 1st December on Bella Union.
Bella Union are thrilled to announce the return of ZUN ZUN EGUI who are back with a second album entitled Shackles’ Gift on 26th January 2015.
Check out “I Want You To Know“, the blistering first track to be unveiled from the album:
Zun Zun Egui formed in Bristol in late 2008 – Mauritian guitarist and singer Kushal Gaya met and started making music with Japanese keyboard player Yoshino Shigihara after they had both moved to the UK and a core group of musicians soon formed around them. A love for experimentation, free jazz, fusion, DIY culture, throwing parties and playing wild shows was the glue that bonded the outfit together. After an early clutch of raw and experimental EPs, they focused their song-writing talents and mastery of many styles to create a recognisable Zun Zun Egui sound which included tropicalia, punk funk, Afrobeat, Ethio jazz and no wave. All of these varied disciplines were marshalled to produce their first album “Katang” which was widely hailed as one of the most exciting debuts of 2011. Even for a band as exploratory and talented as ZZE though, the step up in terms of songwriting and inspiration since “Katang” is astounding and it is clear that Shackles’ Gift looks like being one of the most unique and thrilling records that will be released in 2015.
Produced by Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons, “Shackles’ Gift” is the album that Zun Zun Egui have always threatened to deliver and we always believed they would. Opening with ‘Rigid Man’, it hits the listener with bone-shaking tropical funk. Future single ‘African Tree’ strolls past on a marching band rhythm, complete with an arena-sized chorus and Kyuss-heavy stoner rock guitars. ‘Ruby’ is like imperial period Depeche Mode discovering the delights of industrial dancehall reggae, while ‘I Want You To Know’ is an absolute funk/noise rock monster, sounding like Steve Albini recording Queens Of The Stone Age jamming on ‘Kashmir’. ‘Soul Scratch’ is a very British take on a very Mauritian form of music called seggae, which combines the African island folk music known as sega with reggae, but imbuing it with an adrenalised urban uptightness. The album concludes with ‘City Thunder’ an elemental, dubbed out and dread take on post rock and disco.
Frontman Kushal says that first and foremost “Shackles’ Gift” is a British rock record made by a British group but admits that the first sparks of its creation started flying when ZZE visited Mauritius in March 2013. The African island nation, which lies 700 miles east of Madagascar, deep in the Indian Ocean, invited the band to give a concert as part of their Independence Day celebrations. The island’s dynamic history has led to a multi-lingual, multi-cultural modern nation which has influenced Zun Zun Egui in more ways than one. Not only has Mauritian music been one of the (many) primary ingredients of their sound and inspired Kushal’s multi-lingual approach to singing (the island has 12 main languages) but the diversity of the country acts as a metaphor for the diversity of the group itself.
Zun Zun Egui will be performing in London in November, showcasing tracks from the new record.
Tuesday 18 November – LONDON – The Shacklewell Arms tickets
Shackles’ Gift will be released 26th January on Bella Union.
Bella Union are excited to announce the release of How To Die In The North, the new album from maverick songwriter BC Camplight, on 19th January.
Listen to ‘Just Because I Love You’, the first track to be revealed from the album below:
Lost treasure needn’t be found in the distant past; the 21st century hides many artists who disappeared into the great wide yonder. BC Camplight is one such example. The alter-ego of American songwriter Brian Christinzio released albums in 2005 and 2007, both gems of a certain psych-pop vintage, combining eloquent songwriting with a self-destructive bent. Christinzio certainly knew it – he’s described himself as, “the guy who blew it.”
But this sublime talent with the keening vocal and fearless approach to lyrical introspection has another chance. His new album ‘How To Die In The North’, recorded in his newly adopted home of Manchester, England, is a fantastically rich, stylistically diverse trip. From dramatic, layered pop to a haunted take on Sixties sunshine-pop, from blue-eyed soul to speedy surf-pop, from sparser piano balladry to psychedelic showstoppers and a grand finale that’s part Nilsson and part Broadway showtune.
Originally from New Jersey, Christinzio started playing piano aged just four, inspired by his mum’s Jerry Lee Lewis and Nilsson records and his Dad’s classical collection. Depression and crippling hypochondria clashed with captaining the football team and a penchant for boxing. Post-school, he fell in with people, “willing to go through shit to be a musician,” which saw him relocate to Philadelphia where he occasionally played live with Philly faves The War On Drugs and guested on Sharon Van Etten’s album ‘Epic’.
He’s already done two sessions for long-term fan Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music, which featured Christinzio’s band of Mancunians who he met at The Castle Hotel pub, a watering hole in the city centre particularly popular with musicians. Christinzio also heard John Grant’s album on the jukebox there, which encouraged him to approach Bella Union. Grant’s cocktail of depression and self-sabotage thwarted an outrageous talent, but he took his second chance. The same deserves to happen to Christinzio, a similarly outsize, sharp and funny personality with a non-conformist streak. Far from dying, BC Camplight has been reborn in the North!
How To Die In The North will be released 19th January on Bella Union.