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Auf Auf

Embryo

Rock - Released November 19, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

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The eclectic, well-traveled German band Embryo first encountered fervent fan Madlib when the visionary hip-hop producer visited the group and jammed with several of its long-standing members in a Bavarian wine cellar. Founder Christian Burchard suffered a stroke in 2016 and passed away in 2018, and his daughter Marja has been leading the band since the release of 2016's It Do, Christian's final album with Embryo. Marja started work on the group's next album following Christian's death, with collaborators including Embryo alumni such as guitarist and oud player Roman Bunka (also of the related group Dissidenten) and producer/guitarist Jan Weissenfeldt (co-founder of funk acts Whitefield Brothers and the Poets of Rhythm), as well as bassist Maasl Maier (Karaba) and flautist/saxophonist Wolfgang Schlick (the Poets of Rhythm, the Express Brass Band). The album was finished in 2020, and Marja asked Madlib and Egon to release it on their Madlib Invazion label, which was an easy sell. Marja Burchard wrote or co-wrote three of the album's six tracks, and co-arranged the two traditional pieces. Inviting opener "Besh" combines winding rhythms, pianos, and horns with Bunka's earthy oud playing. "Yu Mala" is sung and co-arranged by Dr. Mohcine Ramdan, a ghembri player and leader of Bavaria-based Moroccan music collective Jisr, which shares several members with Embryo. The song is smooth, mellow, and gorgeous, with lush vibraphone and guitars meshing with trippy synth fluctuations, and an unexpected shot of adrenaline arrives as the rhythm changes up near the end. The Maier-composed "Auf Auf" merges Krautrock with Ethio-jazz, simmering with complex rhythmic patterns and unexpectedly erupting in a celebratory freak-out before resuming the initial groove, yet spiking it with more energy. After the sweet, bubbly raga-synth-rock tune "Baran," the band launch into "Januar," a 17-minute epic that flows through several solos and textures, retaining an exploratory spirit and uncovering new expressions at each turn. The 2021 incarnation of Embryo is every bit as adventurous as any of the other formations of the group during the previous half-century, and the sublime Auf Auf honors the band's legacy while voyaging ever onward. © Paul Simpson /TiVo

Baran

Embryo

Germany - Released October 26, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

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God’s Interest (So Fresh)

Chino Xl

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 19, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

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Sound Ancestors

Madlib

Electronic - Released January 29, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

For Otis Jackson, Jr.—most famously known as Madlib, one of hip-hop’s most prolific producers—beats are more than the backdrop of a record; they’re a distinct way of honoring musical history. With each sample Madlib flips, he squeezes every last drop of musicality down to its elemental form and then delivers fresh sonic bliss, each vocal line chopped to form a hypnotic trance and each groove bumping off-the-beat. On his latest release, Sound Ancestors, part of this rich sonic vault is opened, and, oh my(!), there is a lot to see. The 41-minute project guides us through hand-picked selections, edited from thousands of unfinished beats that are stretched into a masterful, beautiful whole. Four Tet, alias of Kieran Hebdan, and the arranger of the collaborative album, saw the glimmering potential. Knowing Madlib's deft creative instinct for delivering textured and versatile tunes, he sought to bring these unearthed turns to light. The record is marked by an immense love for crate-digging—cycling eras and feel with plenty of slapping boom-bap grooves to spare. From warped-out jazz ("Sound Ancestors”) and a beatific, tripped-out lullaby ("Road of the Lonely Ones”), to sultry flamenco ("Latino Negro”) and a respectful homage to fellow beat-making pioneer J Dilla ("Two for 2 - For Dilla”), Sound Ancestors is a euphoric and disjunctive statement of an artist known for delivering on the cutting-edge. From exploring the samples to guessing the pulse and time signature, this is truly a record to get lost in—the antithesis of the recent "Beats To Study/Relax to" fad of keeping music in the background. Sound Ancestors beckons your attention, and reveals new sonic delights with each and every listen. © William Card/Qobuz

Dirtknock

Madlib

Electronic - Released January 22, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

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Rest In Blue

Little Barrie & Malcom Catto

Alternative & Indie - Released January 6, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

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Hopprock

Madlib

Electronic - Released January 4, 2021 | Madlib Invazion

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Road Of The Lonely Ones

Madlib

Electronic - Released December 14, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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Pardon My French

Jahari Massamba Unit

Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released November 27, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

Riesling Pour Robert

Jahari Massamba Unit

Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released November 18, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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La Closerie (Pour Prévost)

Jahari Massamba Unit

Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released November 11, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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Les Jardins Esméraldins (Pour Caillard)

Jahari Massamba Unit

Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released November 2, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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Quatermass Seven

Little Barrie

Alternative & Indie - Released October 16, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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After the release of their 2017 album Death Express, Little Barrie suffered the tragic loss of drummer Virgil Howe, and the remaining two members of the group, guitarist Barrie Cadogan and bassist Lewis Wharton, took some time deciding whether they wanted to keep the band going. When they did choose to make more music together, they called in drummer Malcom Catto of the London jazz group Heliocentrics. The trio began jamming in the drummer's basement studio, liked what they came up with, and turned their ideas into a set of songs. Recorded simply on vintage equipment, the seven-song Quatermass Seven album crackles with energy and shines like a gritty diamond as the three players delve deeply into grooves so deep they feel bottomless. Tracks like "Repeater #1" and the supercool "After After" strut like the Meters fed through a buzzsaw, with Cadogan coaxing huge chunks of inspired noise from his guitar, Wharton rolling like a ship at sea, and Catto simultaneously holding down the beat and sending it spinning off into space. Songs like these, and the bass-heavy jazz rocker "T.R.A.B.S.," make it clear why Madlib released the session on his label. Others, like the moody "Rest in Blue" or the murkily psychedelic "Repeater #2," are heavier than granite and darker than a starless night. While one would hardly expect the band to be in a giddy mood, tracks like these tap into something truly menacing. It's a heady mix of vintage sounds, just like the band usually put on tape, but a little freer and tougher thanks to Catto's jazz background, the urgency of Cadogan's singing and playing, and the sense that the emotional stakes are a little higher. Check "Steel Drum" for proof of that. The record is a fitting comeback for the band, one that honors the sound that Howe helped create while giving it an impressive update. © Tim Sendra /TiVo

Steel Drum

Little Barrie

Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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Steel Drum

Little Barrie

Alternative & Indie - Released October 14, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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After After

Little Barrie

Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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After After

Little Barrie

Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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Telemetric Sounds

The Heliocentrics

Rock - Released September 11, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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Long-running cosmic soul-jazz collective the Heliocentrics signed on with new label Madlib Invasion for their adventurous and dreamlike album Infinity of Now, released in February of 2020. Just about six months later, his fully realized follow-up Telemetric Sounds offers an ominous and decidedly more intense counterpart to the casual psychedelic drifting of its predecessor. The London-based group is known for their hallucinatory sounds and tendency to transform traditional jazz, funk, and soul elements into new alien forms. These deconstructions generally translate into friendly, curious explorations, but Telemetric Sounds is anxious, menacing, and a little bit depraved in comparison to the majority of the band's catalog. The album begins with the slow-burning title track, a tune that wanders in aimless frustration for over 13 minutes through passages of cranky synthesizer noise and tense rhythms. The players sound like they're working out uncomfortable feelings as they push through the lengthy performance, landing in a space somewhere between Sun Ra's most out there mid-'70s recordings and the fever-pitched peaks of more jam-oriented Krautrock bands like Cosmic Jokers, Guru Guru, or Agitation Free. The sharp edges and uneasy feelings of the title track spill over to much of Telemetric Sounds, with tunes like "Shattered Mind," "Devistation," and the pressure-cooker closing track "Left to Our Own Devices" trading in queasy, repetitive riffing and dissonant, disruptive tones. Only a few moments offer respite from the shadow of anxiety that hangs over the album. "Space Cake," with its buried vocals and relatively upbeat groove, is more in line with the nebulous atmospheres the Heliocentrics were deep into on Infinity of Now. Even though Telemetric Sounds finds the group taking a sharp turn into scowling bleakness, the album ultimately reveals itself as more of a reflection on unsettling times than an expression of negativity. The Heliocentrics' ability to effortlessly shift gears and commit so completely to an all-encompassing document of dread just months after releasing an entirely different album is a further testament to their eternal quest for evolution. It's not always the most joy-inducing listen, but Telemetric Sounds acts as an incredibly on-point instrumental embodiment of how it feels to be living through less-than-joyful days. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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The Professionals

The Professionals

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 21, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

In a way, it's surprising that Madlib and Oh No didn't make an album together until 2020. Before then, the prolific and synergistic siblings connected here and there on isolated tracks dating back to the Oh No features on Lootpack's 1999 cult classic Soundpieces. Almost a decade later, they made their first appearance as the Professionals on King of the Wigflip and returned briefly a few years after that with Nittyville. Given the artists' vast, constantly diverging output, the Professionals name remained obscure until the arrival of this self-titled album on Madlib Invazion. With Madlib fresh off the Freddie Gibbs summit Bandana, and Oh No having just teamed with Blu for A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night, the brothers simultaneously add to their stacks of full-length duo LPs and put together a set that always sounds familiar but rarely less than fresh. Madlib produces and Oh No raps, joined on occasion by vets Chino XL and Elzhi and relative newcomer Adub. So much film dialogue, parodic content, stand-up comedy bits, tracks with vocals, soundboards, and wayward trash talk are threaded throughout that the extra voices sometimes overpower Oh No and company, or at least make the first few listens rather chaotic, if constantly amusing. The beats don't have quite as much variety as they do on Bandana, veering nonetheless with grace from placid to bolting and from elegant to savage, harvesting deep soul, funk, prog, and fusion pearls. There's the occasional welcome flashback to past Madlib projects, such as the Jamaica (N.Y.) funk that shimmers in "Away Too Long," repurposed and tweaked from Dil Cosby Suite to support some of the album's hardest rhymes. There and almost everywhere else, Oh No is armed with some of his keenest street preening, manifestly comfortable with his brother's work. Toward the album's conclusion, he takes it in a more serious direction with powerful reflections countering white supremacy and military recruitment. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

The Next Day

The Professionals

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 21, 2020 | Madlib Invazion

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