On The Corner Records @ Cafe 1001

pete-buckenham_by_gavin-mills-01

Pete Buckenham – On The Corner Records
Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

On The Corner Records label boss, DJ and music connoisseur, Pete Buckenham, has been a breath of fresh air to the UK Jazz scene. Since he established the label in 2013, Pete’s mission has been to bring to the masses the kind of Jazz and Global music that stimulated his ears in his formative years, and continues to do so today. On The Corner Records first started making waves back in September 2014 when they showcased the fabulous Collocutor – the first act signed to their label, live at The Forge, Camden Town.

Collocutor’s debut album release, ‘Instead’, written primarily by saxophonist and flautist Tamar Osborn garnered extensive critical and public acclaim, with DJ’s Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge, adding the ensemble as headliners for their annual Sunday Afternoon at Dingwall’s get together in Camden Lock. The album was released in all formats, including a most desirable vinyl pressing, which certainly made an indelible impact on the ears, hearts, minds and feet of UK Jazz aficionados, connoisseurs, DJs and record buying public alike. With a new album on the horizon. Michael J Edwards sat down with the self-effacing Mr Buckenham, and then with Tamar Osborn, prior to Collocutor’s most recent album showcase at Cafe 1001 in London – ably supported by new On The Corner label cohorts The Unified Field – to get a brief inside track on what lays ahead for this most progressive of UK record labels.

Michael J Edwards: Mr Pete Buckenham, it’s just over a year now since On The Corner Records announced their arrival on the UK Jazz scene, showcasing Collocutor at the Forge in London. We’re here now at Cafe 1001, what can we expect?

pete-buckenham_by_gavin-mills-02

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Pete Buckenham: Yes, that was thirteen months ago, so we’re more than a year in. Tamar Osborne (aka Collocutor) debuting new material ahead of recording in the New Year (2016). So that’s all good. We have a performance by Unified Field who are making their debut for the label. We’ve got Ben V of CDR, I’m DJing a little bit, Jesse Hackett from the Gorillaz is DJing and so is Chris Menist and Jean-Claude from IF Records.

Michael J Edwards: So how has the year been for you, given the interest and ascension in our consciousness’ of Collocutor?

Pete Buckenham: Yeah, Collocutor’s been great; the reaction’s been encouraging! There’s been plenty to do with the label and keeping the momentum has meant putting everything I can into it. I didn’t imagine I’d be in this position, building the network, great music and a bit of hype that has got us a start. I’ve just been building on it where I can, as part of the movement. So hopefully Tamar will continue to gain support and the next album will get the acknowledgement her talent deserves.

pete-buckenham_by_gavin-mills-03

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Michael J Edwards: Speaking of Tamar and Collocutor’s next album project, when will it drop and what can we expect?

Pete Buckenham: It will be recorded in January, she’s written it all. Some of it’s going to be debuted tonight, so you’re witness to a proper exclusive. The band are going to sound things out a bit tonight and then we’ll see how it goes man, thrash out a campaign vision to go with the music. It’s exciting!

Michael J Edwards: I’ll put this question to Tamar also; how does this album differ from the first?

pete-buckenham_by_gavin-mills-04

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Pete Buckenham: I think the pieces are more connected; there’s more of a direct narrative through the work. It’s all about a journey, Tamar can tell you more in detail. ‘Instead’, Collocutor’s debut LP, was a collection of compositions, all within a mode, this one has more of a defined beginning and ends with an arrival. Regarding On The Corner records, we’ve got a remix project coming out – On The Corner ‘Versus’ some forward thinking producers that have offered up different interpretations of Tamar’s work. There’s also a few fresh productions on there including a heavy percussion number from internet otherkin Black Classical. The inspiring thing is that these producers, be they from South London or based in other countries, is that they can see the depth of Tamar’s writing, and they’re picking it apart and then interpreting it for dance floors and underground ‘heads’ as well.

For example, FYI Chris are two guys called Chris that have been coming through with amazing productions over the last year! I’ve been patiently sitting on the ‘Loop Thriller’ remix they’ve done for that time and they’ve been getting involved in a lot of projects, like with Ninja Tune, CDR and also with Andy Votel and Bradley Zero’s labels. Al Dobson Jr remixed ‘Agama’ – he’s also blowing up, I just haven’t had the capital to push it out, yet his track was debuted at CDR in September 2014. Hopefully the timing will work out well as I lucked out that these producers loved Tamar’s sound, and their momentum has built in tandem with ours. It’s all about the collaborations man, I was introduced to BodyMoves also on the ‘Versus’ 12” by Tony at CDR when I debuted the Al Dobson Jr remix and now we’ve put him out on wax too. He’s also one third of tonights debut ,The Unified Field’. So hopefully it will be a good New Year. ‘Versus’ like I say it’s not only remixes, Black Classical, who is known for presenting a 13 hour Spiritual Jazz mix has presented ‘Running the Voodoo Down’, another nod to Miles. Gilles Peterson played it on his BBC 6Music show a few weeks ago and we couldn’t of dreamed of a better start, again. It’s not easy supporting forward thinking music, there’s no familiarity or genre to sit safely within.

Michael J Edwards: So onwards and upwards!

pete-buckenham_by_gavin-mills-05

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Pete Buckenham: We’ll see. It’s a labour of love, but a labour of love don’t pay the rent, and I need a roof fairly soon.

Michael J Edwards: We at UK Vibe have been following you from the outset and will continue to follow your output into 2016. If you keep putting the good music out, then we’ll be right behind it.

Pete Buckenham: Thanks for the support, it’s appreciated massively and encourages us to approach the next steps.

tamar-osborn_by_gavin-mills-01

Tamar Osborn aka Collocutor
Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Michael J Edwards caught up with the driving force behind the collective, Tamar Osborn, shortly before Collocutor’s latest album showcase at Cafe 1001, to get the lowdown on a whirlwind year, and what we can expect from the new project.

Michael J Edwards: Greetings Tamar Osborn.

Tamar Osborn: Hello!

Michael J Edwards: It’s great to see you again. I believe it’s just over a year since we were witnessing you perform a live debut album showcase at The Forge, London. Now we’re here, still in London, at Cafe 1001 for another showcase giving us a glimpse into your latest album release. Can we expect a blending of the old and new material; and I also understand from Pete Buckenham that the album is not recorded as yet?

tamar-osborn_by_gavin-mills-02

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Tamar Osborn: That’s right, we’ll be going into the studio in January. One of the tunes for the new album has been in our live set since our first gig, and another called ‘Arrival’ had its live debut at Record Store Day this year; but the versions we’ll perform tonight are closest to what will be on the album. There are also two other brand new tunes.

Michael J Edwards: What is the album going to be titled?

Tamar Osborn: The working title is ‘The Search’ and it’s kind of got a ‘journey’ narrative to it.

Michael J Edwards: From the first Collocutor album project to this new one, how have things progressed?

Tamar Osborn: It’s developed, it’s matured; the band’s working more as a unit now I think. The percussionists Maurizio and Magnus share a studio, so they do a lot of work together, trying out different things. I’ll send them the music and they’ll send me some ideas, and then we all discuss it – we’ll say “Try that, try that, and try this”. I’ve written the music, but some of it has developed, the textures have developed, very much in conjunction with them.

tamar-osborn_by_gavin-mills-03

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Michael J Edwards: And it’s more or less the same musicians from the first album, aside from Josephine, who left to become a doctor I understand?

Tamar Osborn: Yes, she trained as a psychotherapist I believe, and now she does performance coaching as well as performing herself.

Michael J Edwards: The point I wanted to highlight is that because it’s still that same tight nucleus; over time the band members begin to build up their intuition between one another.

Tamar Osborn: Also with the second album, on at least a couple of tunes, I’ve tried to allow the bass player and the guitarist a little bit more freedom to do their own thing. So I gave them a relatively simple part, or just a suggestion, and then we worked it out in rehearsal – so they’ve got some space to breathe.

tamar-osborn_by_gavin-mills-04

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Michael J Edwards: Overall how has the year been for you? You must have been extremely moved to be invited by Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge to play as their featured live band at the Dingwalls Sessions.

Tamar Osborn: It’s been good, it’s been really good! Playing at Dingwalls was great fun. It was really interesting, because the two gigs we had done before that were at The Forge, which was very much more ‘sit and listen’. Dingwalls obviously was a party crowd, so it was really interesting to see how it was going to go down there. Somebody managed to jazz dance to it!

Michael J Edwards: So Collocutor worked in Dingwalls?

Tamar Osborn: It did. It’s a very tight space, but we made it work, and the sound guy made it work.

Michael J Edwards: What kind of set can be expected tonight?

Tamar Osborn: There are four new tunes; so the album is going to be made up of four compositions and then three improvised segments, or ‘conversations’, in between those. So tonight, we’re doing the four main tunes; two in each set. And then we’ll be mixing those with the old stuff.

Michael J Edwards: How is the sound at this venue?

tamar-osborn_by_gavin-mills-05

Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Mills

Tamar Osborn: You tell us when it’s over! (Laughs) It’s interesting because it’s such a concrete box. The percussion is quite loud – we were going to try to do it reasonably acoustically, but actually we needed to mic the horns because when we started playing it was such a booming acoustic we couldn’t really carry over the percussion enough. So we’re doing it more mic’d and less acoustic now!

Michael J Edwards: Thank you for your time Tamar. I’m looking forward to it immensely.

Tamar Osborn: My pleasure.

Michael J Edwards

Collocutor are:
Tamar Osborn – baritone sax, soprano sax, alto flute
Simon Finch – trumpet
Mike Lesirge – tenor sax (live)
Marco Piccioni – guitar
Suman Joshi – bass
Maurizio Ravalico – various percussion
Magnus Mehta – various percussion (live)
Josephine Davies – tenor sax (album)
Afla Sackey – djembe and Ghanaian shakers (album)

On The Corner Records on Facebook
On The Corner Records on Twitter
Collocutor on Facebook
Collocutor on Twitter

pete-buckenham_by_gavin-mills-06

travelling the spaceways since 1993