Announcing: Partnership with Max Whitefield’s Philophon, Polyversal Souls LP

Now-Again | May. 11, 2015 | News |

Now-Again partners with Max Whitefield (Poets of Rhythm/Whitefield Brothers drummer) and his Philophon imprint – 1st Polyversal Souls LP coming July 3rd. Read more/stream a track below.

Max Whitefield (née Weissenfeldt) may have taken his drums across the world, but he’s never lost sight of his first love, the starting point of a carrier that lead to phenomenal collaborations (take Dr. John and Lana Del Rey’s recent albums, produced by Max’s uber-fan, the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach). That passion has propelled albums as varied as Poets of Rhythm’s Discern/Define and Whitefield Brothers Earthology. It comes as a pulse: the raw, funky beat Max first heard on old 45s his compatriots, including older Whitefield Brother Jan, played to him in the early 90s, well before most anyone cared for that obscure wax. Mind you – this was in his parents’ basement in Munich, Germany.

Late ’60s funk and soul was the inspiration for the Poets of Rhythm, the first band in which Max played drums. Barely teenagers, the Poets kickstarted a movement: without them, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Aloe Blacc and Mayer Hawthorne – to name their most recent converts – would not be the internationally recognized names they are.

In the early ’00s, the Poets of Rhythm issued Discern/Define, which indicated a marked growth, and a sophisticated approach to funk music, meshed with Krautrock’s untempered experimentalism and the Whitefield Brothers issued In The Raw, an Afro-psychedelic trip grounded by funk’s principles. Though the Poets of Rhythm would never record again, The Whitefield Brothers issued Earthology, the pinnacle of their worldly, musical explorations and then spun apart – Jan to long-standing Now-Again artists Karl Hector and the Malcouns, and Max to his Philophon imprint, those Auerbach-collaborations and the Polyversal Souls.

During the mid to late ’00s, Max was in deep study: after spending five years with Krautrock legends and “world music” pioneers Embryo on a 500 concert European and African bus tour, he visited South East Asia, where he studied classical Burmese Saing Waing music. This trip was followed by a time in London, living and playing with fellow Now-Again artists the Heliocentrics. He studied with former Sun Ra Arkestra members in the USA before, in 2010, taking his first trip to Ghana, the deciding point to create the Philophon label. And to record all the music for his Ghanaian counterparts, Max formed a new Berlin-based band, The Polyversal Souls. The city’s vital music scene gave him the chance to bring together excellent musicians with a common passion and interest for sounds from all around the world. And now, Polyversal Souls’ debut album Invisible Joy – a manifest of what Max calls “21st century soul power.”

The album’s first track “Yelle Be Bobre” features Ghanaian griot Guy One on vocals the Kologo can be streamed below. The album – and more releases and information about Max’s musical journey – is to come.

Out Now – The Definitive Reissue Of Amanaz’s “Africa”

Now-Again | Apr. 13, 2015 | News | ,

Amanaz’s Zamrock masterpiece Africa: out NOW, download a free track below!

But via our webstore at rappcats.com.

Above – a short film about Amanaz’s Africa, shot and edited by Bennett Piscitelli. More info on the project in our earlier post here – but really, take a minute – if you don’t already know – to see what all the fuss is about.

Download: Amanaz “History of Man”

Announcing: Richard Marks “Never Satisfied”

Now-Again | Mar. 31, 2015 | News |

Legendary soul and funk singles from Atlanta guitarist/singer/songwriter Richard Marks. Includes previously unreleased tracks. Book w/ CD, 2 LP w/ booklet. Out now!

Seven years in the making, Never Satisfied is our collection of legendary soul and funk singles by Atlanta Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Richard Marks. This 21 track anthology follows Marks’ stylistic development, from his earliest work for the legendary Tuska label, from 1968 until approximately 1972, through his more mature releases on the Shout label and smaller regional labels like Note, Free Spirit and RSC. It also includes two tracks never released in any form, found on reels Marks had maintained in his Atlanta home.

Marks’ story is that on an unsung soul and funk hero; a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter whose number was in Al Green’s, Barry White’s and Eddie Kendricks’ rolodexes, but whose talents have only been heard in sporadic bursts since his 45s were released and disappeared into Atlanta’s urban expanse. This is the story of a father and husband who managed to keep his family together as he gigged the third shift six nights a week. The story of a man who wished for more and whose talent is overdue for reassessment.

Marks and his music are unknown to the majority, but to an obsessive minority, he is a lightning rod, that singular point at which numerous Southern soul and funk musicians converged and exploded, spreading wondrous music in all directions. Marks’ impeccable run of 7” singles, released largely on tiny, local labels, are the stuff of legend, and are hen’s-teeth-rare.

Marks died of cancer in May of 2006, never having issued an album, either in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when many of his peers were able to find a way to issue an LP, or in anthology form in his later years. He never granted an interview. Given the caliber of his recordings and the near complete lack of information available about him before the issue of this anthology, Marks stands out as the most mysterious talent to originate from Atlanta, a city that birthed no shortage of genius, from acclaimed worldwide (the Mighty Hannibal), obscure yet celebrated (Lee Moses) and local, but well documented (Tommy Stewart). Never Satisfied aims to illuminate the life and career of this all-too-talented musician.

56 page perfect bound 9″ x 6″ book with CD and 2LP with 20 page booklet. Book/Booklet contains extensive essays on Marks’ career and is full of never-before-seen photos and ephemera from this crucial Southern soul and funk epoch. Download card included with LP version.

Out Now – Fabiano do Nascimento “Dança dos Tempos”

Now-Again | Mar. 17, 2015 | News | ,

Fabiano do Nascimento’s debut album Dança dos Tempos: out now, download a free track below!

Buy the album at our webstore at rappcats.com – ships immediately!

Above – a short film about Dança dos Tempos, shot and edited by Bennett Piscitelli. More info on the project in our earlier post here – but really, what more do you need to hear than 1) young Brasilian guitarist 2) featuring legendary percussionist Airto Moreira 3) a mixture of the heady ‘60s and ‘70s experimentalism of Hermeto Pascoal and Baden Powell and the childlike elegance of music played and passed down by native Brasilians for generations?

Download: Fabiano do Nascimento “Forro Brasil”

Announcing: Amanaz “Africa” Record Store Day 2015 Release

Now-Again | Mar. 10, 2015 | News |

The Zamrock masterpiece’s definitive reissue. 2 LP, 2 CD set with both issued mixes of the album, extensive booklet. Official Record Store Day release – out now!

Buy at our webstore at rappcats.com.

Issued in 1975, this is the articulation of Zambia’s Zamrock ethos. While other albums – Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia, WITCH’s Lazy Bones!! – are competitors, it’s hard to best this album as it covers each major quadrant of the Zamrock whole: it came from the mines; its musicians were anti-colonial freedom fighters, it envelops Zambian folk music traditions, and it rocks – hard.

Africa was issued in two separate mixes and two separate presses in 1975: one version is dry, with the vocals and drums mixed loud, the other slathered in reverb, with the vocals and drums disappearing into the mix, and with the guitar solos mixed much louder. Africa’s master tapes are long lost, but we have restored both versions in new transfers from the absolute cleanest copies of this incredibly rare album and presented them both in a 2 LP/ 2 CD set. Also included in both formats: an extensive booklet containing an essay on the album and detailing the history of the Zamrock scene and this album, with notes from Amanaz’s Isaac Mpofu and Keith Kabwe and rare photos. Download card included with LP version.

Hear examples of both mixes of the album below, with Isaac Mpofu’s scorching “History of Man.”

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