Navid Izadi (Wolf + Lamb/ Crew Love) Q&A

navid 2How’s life as part of the Wolf + Lamb/ Crew Love collective in 2015. How important is it to you to be part of that?

Life with the crew is like life with any family. There’s a deep love and connection that goes beyond just being label mates. That being said, every family has it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. All siblings fight from time to time. In the end, though, like a family, they helped to shape who I am and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.

Your great new single for Wolf + Lamb: Messin features two new tracks. Could you talk us through how you produced one them?

With “Messin”, I started it on a flight from LA to Montreal, (it was called “Flight to Montreal” for a while), and I was going for the sound of a lot of the stuff I was hearing on the radio growing up in the Bay Area, California. There was a lot of tracks that I was into then with that Latin freestyle, with these deep chords and poppy vocals, etc. I had a situation with a girl and thought it would lend itself well to the kind of simple, universal lyrics that a lot of those songs had. Then when Angelica (from Body Language) got on it, it all came together to really make this kind of 90s Latin house radio jam that I was looking for. The “Shades Up” dub was a stoned tangent I went on while mixing the original forever that ended up being something really cool with a old-school sunrise house feel.

With “Hard 2 Say”, the song started off sounding really dark. I made most of the drums with synths so it was really sharp and industrial sounding. Then I added the vocoder and the bass at the same time and it totally changed the dynamic of the song. I’m a big fan of that, when something starts off really dark or really tough, then a new element is added to the equation and your emotional perception of the whole is transformed, and the parts that came off as tough ends up working to heighten that new emotion. I love that alchemy.

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Midnight Magic and FSQ both provide diverse remixes. What’s your relationship with those artists?

I saw Midnight Magic for the first time in Berlin when I was living there a few years ago, when I first starting playing out. They totally blew my mind. I had already been rinsing “Drop Me A Line”, “Beam Me Up” and all those tracks to death, but seeing them live was just something else. Tiffany Roth in particular carries such a commanding presence but at the same time has such levity and charisma. Also a really great and funny dialogue with the crowd, unsure if they could even understand her or not. That really had an impact on the way I wanted to perform my music when I started playing live. On top of that, all their remixes are fire, so I was honored to have them involved.
FSQ are close friends that are really so talented. They carry the Funkadelic torch and have a deep funk lineage that comes out in everything they do. It was really amazing to get an interpretation of the track that had live instruments and real soul in it, and I think it really shows a different perspective of the track. They’re really great at flipping tracks like that, as they’ve been consistently proving. Everybody should keep a keen ear to these guys.

Your music a very emotionally charged. What is the importance of Soul in music for you, and how do you feel about the art of song writing in 2015?

I’ve always been really connected to music that elicits strong emotion, from a lot of different genres, and that’s had a big effect on the way I produce. Sometimes that’s a conscious choice, sometimes it happens by accident. It would be a challenge for me not to write in that way. I think music can be a powerful healer, especially when it strikes those deep-rooted chords we all share as humans, and I’d love to be able to produce that kind of effect with anything I do.

Can you tell us about any of your favourite instruments/ software that you like to use when producing?

I guess it’s become pretty cliché, but I’m a sucker for old analog gear. The Roland drum machines, Juno, and Prophet are probably the big three in my studio. That being said, I’m really into FM synthesis too and the amazing “90s” sounds they make. This EP, and “Messin” in particular is mostly digital FM stuff. I have a DW-6000 and R3 from Korg and a Yamaha DX-100, they can do some really sweet, nostalgic things that I love. Software wise, I use Ableton to track the stuff with some of the better soft synths involved sometimes.

Can you tell us about the Crew Love event at Studio 338 in London?

crew loveMost of the crew was involved and it was really special. That space is great, we played here last tour at the end of our week long bus tour, which was a special day. It’s outside and there was a lot of light coming in, which is the right kind of setting for our kind of party. London’s full of friends, as well, so it’s always a nice mini-reunion when we play here.

What are your forthcoming plans for live performance and recording?

Barcelona is coming up on Friday then Bucharest on Saturday, and Paris on Sunday. Then I’ll be in Colombia (Cali, Medellin and Bogota) next weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to snag a recording of something soon!



Deniz Kurtel
The Way We Live
Wolf + Lamb

Deniz Kurtel’s second album defies time and space with a collection smouldering electronics that fuse technology together with provocative vocals and emotive synthesisers. The Way We Live goes a long way in proving just how excellent music is at the moment, from the opening I Knew This Would Happen, which is one of the most atmospheric pieces of music so far this year, through to the exquisitely rapped Right On featuring Michael Franti. While this is more about horizontal listening there is an occasional nod towards he dancefloor such as on the Soul Clap collaboration, Safe Word – the album being enriched throughout with an amalgamation of impressive guest artists. By and large the album feels like sharing someone else’s introspection – which is what I think art is supposed to be about after all, isn’t it?

release: June 4


Moon Harbour InHouse Vol. 4
Mixed by Dan Drastic

Matthias Tanzmann’s Leipzig based label again delivers another selection of captivating productions, which in this case have been provocatively mixed together by Dan Drastic and whose own percussion fuelled Freaks and Geeks makes its timely appearance too. Despite being three years since the last one standards haven’t slipped either, with the likes of Guido Scheinder’s excellent Luna sitting alongside music from Marinez and of course Tanzmann himself. Watch out for Reboot’s devastating Bucaboca if you like your bass twisted and Luna City Express, Ultimo if you’re more into seductive atmosphere!

release: June 6


Various Artists
Cocoon Compilation L

The mystery unfolds as Cocoon’s yearly compilation now explores the lovely letter L. Standing for the love of… the music here builds from Tale Of Us & Visionquest’s  ambient foundations of Equilibrio and then twists and turns through a first rate selection of electronic music. The sounds get progressively heavier, though all contain that funky intensity associated with Sven Vath’s label, and while it would be easier to simply say that all the tracks are good/great it has to be said that there are some particular standouts: Tim Green’s shuffling Curious Green, Sian’s buzzing East Of Eden and Daniel Stefanik’s expansive Everything Goes Green which also goes to finish off this highly recommended compilation.

release: June 8


Joe Europe
Joe Europe EP
Vitalik Recordings

Five tracks go to make up this debut release for the label and there’s something almost restrained, yet deeply intense, about the way the opening production Runner plays out. Its imaginative use of vocal snippets and old school – sounding very new school – stabs work with the shuffling rhythms to become purely addictive. Some of the same principles apply to Things with its warmer, funkier bassline and this again hits the spot. Amore then explores more in the way of spacious tones, while the more apt Attitude goes tougher with yet more vocal cut-ups and moody keys, leaving the equally impressive Standing to end on a - not feeling too blue in the process -Jazz note.

release: June 4


The Underworld
Indigo Raw

Sassafras comprises of label bosses’ Mirus (Norway) Paul Loraine (U.K) and Dominic Plaza (Sweden) who along with seriously hot sounding vocalist Nikol Kollars (Hawaii) have combined to deliver one of the more curious highlights this week. Deep, stripped back grooves set the scene while haunting spoken vocals sizzle suggestively on top, accompanied by the occasional burst of organ and spaced out fx. The Hatikvah remix then treats the voice and adds in even moodier sounds, while Paul Loraine flavours it heavily with percussion, and Vlad Malinovskiy’s remix pumps it up still further for the dancefloor. Though for me the original is best.

release: July 5


Matt Tolfrey and Lazaro Casanova feat. Nikko Gibler

Three heads are clearly better than one as this new ep goes to prove from Culprit. LAX begins with deep beats and ends up with a punchy tech bassline competing for your attention along with striking tribal snares, edgy keys and voices which all feel tastefully irresistible. Globe, then provides another thoughtful collection of ideas which this time play intriguing keyboards over quick fire eighties percussion, leaving Metronomy to get deeper with gorgeous lush bass and mood enhancing synths to round off.

release: June 4


Nigel Hayes
Northern Lights Part 2 EP
Intelligent Audio

The multi- talented Nigel Hayes shows what all the fuss is about with this new selection of carefully crafted grooves that lean heavily on the Jazz/ Funk side of life – good. Whether it’s the squelchy funk of the opening Santos or indeed the ‘Expansion’s’ flavoured Jazz Funk this unquestionably plays like a touch of class. Moody Cha Cha’s excellently titled number finishes off with jazzed-up percussion and sassy vocals combined neatly with expressive horns, though not before the Northern Lights has the chance to shine in your direction with gorgeous piano, double bass and cool muted trumpet.



Hang Together

Next in bbr’s superlative series of reissues sees the legendary Odyssey’s 1980 album get a fresh make over, and as is the custom with the label it’s accompanied by invaluable sleeve notes. No matter what you may, or may not, think of Use It Up And wear It Out (which is also on here) the group wrote many bone fide classics such as Going Back To My Roots and Native New Yorker in their time. But back to Hang Together and its opening title track displays the musical and vocal process which made them famous and this you can also witness on supremely funky Don’t Tell Me Tell Her. But as was the want at that time some bands filled out their albums with ballads and even flirted with other styles of music, although not always successfully. Never the less this is excellently produced by Sandy Linzer at NYC’s Hit Factory…




Jimmy Edgar
Hotflush Recordings

Following on from XXX Jimmy Edgar begins Majenta with a bang, and then keeps on banging. From the opening Kraftwerk referencing, Too Shy you’re immediately captured by the sheer funkiness of it all but with the arrival of Punk attitude declaring itself: This One’s For The Children, all hell breaks loose. Tempos continue to lift and drop as the machine-funk proceeds to probe different moods and agendas, feeling sometimes dangerously sleazy, sometimes joyus and uplifting. The one thing that is patently apparent is that this simply gets better with each consecutive listen. And so to highlight the diversity the warmth generated by R&B flavoured, Touch Yr Body and Hrt Real Good is equally offset by the cosmic discotheque of Heartkey. While the albums finale: In Deep draws together such a far reaching set of musical ideas that they are probably too long to list here, but which combine – like everything else – to feel very much like, Jimmy Edgar. 8

release: May 7


Geddes presents Mulletover: The Story So Far 2004-2012

You could say: hotly anticipated, but then that would be somewhat of an understatement. And even if you haven’t made it to London’s premier installation, then the story so far plays like the best excuse to indulge yourself in Geddes first rate selection of deeply involving music. Featuring productions that expand the possibilities from Maya Jane Coles stunning, Dubchild through to Delusions Of Grandeur’s quietly immense, Don’t Sleep the party never seems to end. That realization of course also comes care off Okain’s very sublime, Scream and via the Murk classic, If You Really Love Someone. The journey through the timeline smoothly twists together the lows and highs of everything worthwhile, yet feels every bit about the here and now. 9

release: May 7



Deniz Kurtel & The Marcy All-Stars
The Way We Live – The singles
Wolf + Lamb

Just ahead of the June release of, The Way We Live album alongside The Marcy All-Stars comes this stunning set of three singles. Worked in collaboration, with firstly, Tanner Ross on the very divine, I Knew This Would Happen featuring Pillow Talk, which sequences together gorgeously haunting pads and expertly played bass along with Jazzy attitudes and heavenly treated voices to produce what is simply sublime music. The Jazzy notation follows on, The Beat Drops with Tanner Ross again and Jules Born developing a Saxophone theme across pulsating electro-beats and moody vocals. Leaving, Thunder Clap complete with thunderous fx and Voices Of Black to deliver P-Funk inspired funkiness to entice you further into the cosmos. 9

release: May 7



Mirko Loko

Featuring features two tracks: Harder (with Jaw) and Timeline (with Francesco Tristano). The former works Jaw’s detuned vocal over bubbling synthesisers and consequently feels tastefully sinister yet bizarrely funky.  Reaching almost twelve minutes long the arrangement delivers aural surprises along the way, not least of all the way the bassline climaxes the into a fizzy contortion. Timeless, is almost conventional in comparison, although while acclaimed pianist Francesco Tristano challenges you with abrupt, improvised notes it never-the-less makes sense via the engaging technological rhythm section and its familiarizing repetition. 7

release: May 7



Lonber Attract EP
Air London

You get the feeling that you don’t know where this is going to end up – which I like – as the opening title track unnerves you with its brooding beats and dark electronics, despite LK’s unsettling voice telling you to conversely relax in the process. Never less than interesting this creative production always holds your attention even right down to the very ending at almost eleven minutes. What Where, continues in a similar vein though rewards you funkier percussion and bass, with the tINI remix of Lonber Attract sounding excellent with imaginative drum programming and further carefully- crafted hypnotic atmospheres.  8

release: May 9


Nikola Gala

Nikola Gala’s relentless production doesn’t indulge much in the way of subtlties but does dive headlong into pulverizing beats coupled with classic House stabs and vocal edits for quality measure. Indeed, the kick drum is soo harsh it makes everything else seem like light relief - which I guess of course is the whole point – with the resulting experience being uplifting almost despite itself. Ryan Elliot plays with an altogether different beat and indulges in mood enhancing pads and funky hi-hat fuelled percussion to provide a sassy alternative. 7

release: May 7