Artwork done by Victoria Topping.
CF: How and where was this mix recorded?
This one is a mix between vinyl and digital and was recorded in my art studio in my current town of Bath.
CF: What came first for you, art or music? How did you first get involved with both mediums?
As a kid it was always art that I loved. I pursued it all the way to uni and pretty much shunned other academic subjects. It was only as I grew in to my teenage years that I got into music, firstly through hip hop which served as a entry point into soul and then disco, boogie and now jazz. I used to put on nights as part of Ghettospheric almost 10 years ago which were strictly funk, soul and disco affairs. It was then that I started collecting records and DJing. Obsessively collecting imagery and music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in the form of sleeves and videos and then using them to create posters for our nights. I got a reputation for doing poster designs so ended up doing quite a few for various promoters which led to me getting into doing sleeve artwork, which I still do today.
As my work has developed it has become completely entwined with the music I listen to. My work is based on a almost synesthetic expression of music. Inspired by visual artists like Kandinsky, I like to take the music I love and represent it in a visual snapshot. Using things like melody and harmony and representing that with colour and space. I also have a deep interest in the origins of music from all around the world and the spiritual connection between ancient gods and musical modes. My aim is to blend together spirituality, different cultures, connection, the cosmos and mother earth with the love of music. To take all of this and channel it into a piece in whichever form it takes.
CF: You work is highly inspired in spiritual jazz, with some of its main exponents, such as Pharoah Sanders or Alice Coltrane, often featuring in your visual pieces. What were your first encounters with their music and why has it caused such an impression on you?
After a significant period of being young, free and loving to party, and were my main interest lied in Disco, I began to feel like I had mined the wealth of records out there and started to get into some questionable Italo / high-energy territory. It was at this time that I took a step back and craved a more organic sound and this is when I got in to Jazz and Sun Ra who took my love for all things cosmic in a new direction. It was at this time that I had my daughter Jasmine who is now 3 (we call her Jazz : ) ) so my life had calmed down considerably. Having a child is a incredibly overwhelming and enriching experience for the soul and has had a effect on the way I listen to music. I found that spiritual jazz really tapped in to that and listening to artists like Alice Coltrane and Pharoah just filled me with positivity, joy and the need for creative expression. With everything going on in the world today they provide an amazing message of rising above adversity and being proud of who you are and what you do.
CF: Tell us about your work for On The Corner Records and how that relationship came about? What is your visual mission for the label?
Pete approached me over a year ago expressing an interest in working together. In a 3 hour conversation he told me about his trip to Africa, his field recordings and his plans for the record label and I was in. I had been working mainly doing sleeve artwork for the Techno scene and it really wasn’t reflecting my own musical tastes so to have the chance to work with groups from Africa, Colombia and other producers who are into the same kind of music has been amazing. My own mission for the label is to be bright, colourful, textured and organic just like the music and also to mix in traditional motifs from the county the music is from. This has been really interesting to research and get into. My aim is to encapsulate the sound and its story in the image.
CF: What do you normally listen to at home? What are 3 of your favourite albums past or present?
Ooooh such a hard one as it changes all the time!
Pharaoh Sanders – Karma
Cymande – Second Time Around
Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda
CF: What can you tell us about your upcoming exhibition and any other projects you have in the pipeline?
I’m currently working up to a exhibition early next year called ‘meditate on music’ and this mix is the first part of the show which I have represented in imagery. The aim is to work with Pete and On the Corner records and coincide it with the release of Collocutors new LP ‘The Search’. I worked with Tamar to create the artwork for this release and it was a really good experience, which actually initiated this new series of work, as the music and her story is so inspiring. I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the world very soon. I’m also working with DJ Khalab on a little music and visual project that I’m pretty excited about. Also plans for lots more sleeve designs for next year’s releases.
01 Midori Takada – Mr Henry Rousseau’s Dream
02 Kamau Daaood – Ancestral Echoes
03 Pharoah Sanders – Prince of peace
04 Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach – All Africa
05 Sun Ra – Kingdom of Thunder
06 The Pyramids – Lalibela
06 Cymande – Anthracite
07 Mezare Israel Yeksbtzenu – Sha Shtil Harabbi ba
08 Andey Bey – Tune up
09 Loyd Miller – Gol e gandom
10 Mandrill – Moroccan Nights
11 Eddie Kendricks – Hold on
12 Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Spirits Up Above
13 Michael Garrick – Temple Dancer
14 Willie Hutch – Brothers Gonna Work it Out