Richard Russell’s XL Recordings Empire

Richard Russell, the head of XL Recordings, walked into a small recording studio in West London and found a woman named Caroline Simionescu-Marin sitting, cross-legged, atop a rack of audio equipment. Russell is known for signing distinctive and driven young artists, from M.I.A. to Vampire Weekend to Adele, and on this drizzly August morning he…

Gil Scott-Heron Tribute Mix

Bill Brewster’s tribute to Gil Scott-Heron The first time I ever heard Gil Scott-Heron’s music was the spring of 1982, almost exactly 35 years ago. In the early 1980s, the NME started to do beautifully curated compilation cassettes that were, for me at least, a treasure trove of new discoveries. On the second in the series,…

Playing Favourites: Chee Shimizu

One of Tokyo’s most revered diggers plays Aaron Coultate a selection of ambient, pop, boogie and rock from Japan.   Most of Chee Shimizu’s records are for sale. There are roughly 5,000 of them in his house in Shimoigusa, a sleepy district on the outskirts of Tokyo, where Shimizu lives with his wife, Kanako. The…

Clyde Stubblefield Tribute Mix

Clyde Stubblefield, who famously played drums for James Brown and created the iconic rhythms that were extensively sampled in hip-hop, sadly passed away from kidney failure in February. It took only 20 seconds for Clyde Stubblefield to drum his way to immortality. They came near the end of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” recorded in a Cincinnati…

9 Artists Carrying the Torch for Cosmic Jazz

What would Sun Ra think? How might he react, that is, if he were told that the cosmic jazz machine he built—the Sun Ra Arkestra—was still announcing new tour dates in the distant year of 2017? Raised eyebrows, perhaps, or more likely an inscrutable half-smirk. Here in the future, however, it is not so surprising…

David Rodigan: My Life in Reggae

In an excerpt from his new memoir, UK reggae icon David Rodigan shares the story of his first trip to Jamaica March 2, 2017 By David Rodigan I have a clear memory of the first time I saw the name King Tubby. It was 1974. I had been down to Lee’s Sound City record shop…