präsentiert von Black Atlantic, Wadada Records & WDR Cosmo
‘She has a commanding tone, pliable, fibrous and full of power’, Richard Williams, The Blue Moment
“Brilliant, brilliant saxophonist…creating a lot of waves“ – Gilles Peterson
„A burgeoning artist of genuine star quality“ – Bonafide
Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Nubya Garcia is back with the eagerly awaited next chapter to her musical unfolding, When We Are. Enabled by the support of the prestigious Steve Reid Foundation’s InNOVAtion award, and with Eglo records co-founder Sam Shepherd (Floating Points) as her mentor, this self-released EP features two newly recorded compositions from the much-lauded artist. The record also comes with B-side remixes from two generations of London’s finest producers, K-15 and Maxwell Owin.
Much like the celebrated Brownswood release, We Out Here, where Garcia features on five of the nine tracks, When We Are offers a snapshot of the artist she is today and the organic musical languages she continues to form with her long term collaborators Femi Koleoso, Joe Armon-Jones and Daniel Casimir.
Following on from her scorching sophomore release, Nubya’s 5ive (jazz re:freshed), When We Are sees the trailblazing player take typically self assured steps into new territory with electronic experimentation. “I’ve been inspired a lot by the producers around me at the moment, people like Ben Hayes, Tom Misch, Joe Armon- Jones, Jake Long and Maxwell Owin. There’s an electronic vibe in there that I wanted to explore more, and this release feels like a positive evolution from the last EP.”
The title track opens with the easy cascading of Armon-Jones on keys, Garcia’s signature erudite tone dancing against drummer Koleoso’s boxy afro-tinged hip hop; and all three riding on Daniel Casimir’s beautifully subtle, abetting bass. Crisp and clean, the track’s sweet inflections are carried into spacious territory by light touch pedal experimentation. Source comprises of shape-shifting, Tetris-like grooves. It’s a characteristically sophisticated sound from the band, where each player is able to shine around the remarkable fusion of gospel, soul, broken beat, Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles that Garcia has deftly crafted into her own.
Alongside her releases, Garcia has a burgeoning reputation as a DJ, bolstered by her hit residencies on platforms including Balamii and NTS, and a growing number of live sets across Europe. The record partly draws on the energy of the club-nights that shaped her formative years. The grime and garage in north London, dub across the river in south London, and of course, the infamous Steez performance jams that have served as a rite of passage for much of the scene. “A night by the people for the people, it brought together different audiences and changed our perception of what music could be. Watching my peers get excited over solos before they were over was incredible and the energy of that space will stay with me forever.”
The remixes on the EP offer a different of the same coin, continuing the trajectory of genre blending that has been championed by a resurgent generation of players. “I knew I wanted remixes, because I wanted this to also be on dance-floors – at nights like Touching Bass or Co-op presents in London. Remixes open the door to new possibilities in sound,” Garcia shared.
For the remixes she enlisted the wizardry of house stalwart K-15, on the recommendation of Floating Points, who knew the renowned producer was best placed to play with the underlying energies of the track. K-15 transforms When We Are into an expansive, mellow soundscape, revolving around Garcia’s mesmeric solo. Sharing his process, K-15 offered “That sax solo alone is amazing, so I kept it simple, focused on that and built around it with the piano and harmonisers.”
Source is given a new lease of life by Maxwell Owin. “I knew I wanted Max, his knowledge is so extensive. I have a theory that he and a few other producers are the secret puppeteers of the scene”. This rework takes on a cool, numinous opening, giving way to dance-floor fanfare and 1am baselines made for flaunting footwork.
An exciting new chapter for one of the UK’s leading instrumentalists.