PRE-ORDER ITEM : Expected July 3rd 2020. This item will only be shipped to you on or after the official release date. Please note any orders containing pre-order items won't be shipped until all items are available, so please order this separately to avoid delays. Please remember that release dates are at the mercy of labels, distributors, and pressing plants and will change constantly.
In November 2019, eight artists from Kenya, Uganda and the UK spent a week in Nairobi together making an album exploring new tangents in soul music. The group, collectively known as Extra Soul Perception, is made up of an eclectic blend of musicians, each innovators in their own fields, each bringing unique knowledge and musical culture to the project. These artists include Faizal Mostrixx (Ug), Hibotep (Ug), K15 (UK), Karun (Ke), Labdi (Ke), Lex Amor (UK), Lynda Dawn (UK) and Maxwell Owin (UK).
During each day of the writing camp, the participants worked with a new combination of artists, putting their powers of improvisation and collaboration to the test. The result is a body of work that reflects the range of backgrounds, interests and disciplines in the group, capturing a spirit, unique to a place and time that won't be replicated again; an energy and atmosphere forged by open minds and prodigious talent.
'New Tangents...Vol.1' opens up with 'Ancestry', a deep and sacred ode to their predecessors, co-produced by Lex Amor and Faizal Mostrixx, with shamanic lyrics from Hibotep and additional verse from Lex. Second is 'Probably Never', a collaboration between Maxwell Owin and Nairobi singer Xenia Menasseh combining the near-whispered cadence of Akua Naru, with the 90s RnB vulnerability of classic Aaliyah. Although not part of the original eight, Xenia came by the studio one evening on the suggestion of local promoters Nairobi RnB, and on the final day of recording, jumped on a beat Max had cooked up late one evening. When he was arranging the track in London, Max invited housemate Joe Armon-Jones to sprinkle some keys to finish. Third is 'Roses', Lynda Dawn's first work since her celebrated 2019 debut EP. She expands the collaborative reach of the project further still by linking up with producer Bes Kept on a low-slung boogie ballad. Fourth is 'In My Soul', with Karun rapping in Swahili for the first time on record alongside Faizal's sharp, chugging production that sounds like Obongjayar processed through a Hyperdub filter. Seeing out the EP is 'Utokapo' produced remotely by K15 after he was unable to make the journey to Kenya. Combining keys and his own take on the amen break with Labdi's Luo verse and orutu tones, it recontextualised a Kenyan instrument that is traditionally taboo for women to play. Powered by artistic firsts, unexpected cameos, remote working, face-to-face learning and deep connections formed by relative strangers, 'New Tangents...Vol. 1' celebrates the multi-faceted power of collaboration that is at the heart of ESP.
With South African polymath and respected selector Esa taking on the role of Musical Director, ESP. then embarked on a three-date UK tour in February 2020, which included a sold out show at The Jazz Cafe and subsequent dates in Manchester and Liverpool. The EP has gained support from many of the UK's musical tastemakers, with support coming from Tom Ravenscroft, Huey Morgan, Bradley Zero, Resident Advisor, Worldwide FM, Nataal, Bandcamp, Trippin, Lefto and many more.
With the EP now complete, and set for release in mid-June, plans for an LP and accompanying documentary from Angela Steps (whose previous work includes short films for Boiler Room and Charlie XCX) are in motion for a autumn release date.
ESP. was awarded funding by new Arts new Audiences (nAnA), the British Council's cross-continental, multi-disciplinary collaboration initiative. nAnA is an annual open-call for 18 to 35-year-old artists, arts organisations and art collectives from across the UK and Sub Saharan Africa to come together and create, presenting the results to diverse new audiences. ESP was subsequently supported by Arts Council England and Analogue Foundation to deepen the impact of the project in the UK and East Africa.