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Emanative // The Light Years Of The Darkness

March 9, 2015

Emanative – The Light Years of the Darkness (Steve Reid Foundation/Brownswood)

Created with love for the Steve Reid Foundation

Purchase via iTunes or Bandcamp

Emanative’s latest body of work comes in the form of this incredible collaborative piece of art all in the name of the charity, the Steve Reid Foundation. With features from Four Tet, Collocutor, The Pyramids, Earl Zinger, Jessica Lauren, Finn Peters, Rocketnumbernine, United Vibrations and Steve Reid collaborator Ahmed Abdullah! This will be a limited edition release of 500 2xLP on 180g heavyweight vinyl.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Emanative’s ‘The Light Years Of The Darkness’ album be our first release for the Steve Reid Foundation. In Keeping with Steve’s open ended approach and his musical history Nick Woodmansey has delivered a knock out Jazz and beyond album.”
Gilles Peterson

The Light Years…

The album opens with a sunrise, glowing in the form of a rendition of Alice Coltrane’s Eastern hymn “Om Supreme” a peaceful serenity laid down by Jessica Lauren with added analog effects and tape delays.

This is followed in spiritual essence and intention but with a different point of origin, by a version of Pharoah Sanders’ universal prayer for peace; “Hum Allah Hum Allah Hum Allah” now joining forces with San Fransisco band The Pyramids.
Idris Ackamoor and Kenneth Nash help to give a different slant on an almost untouchable and timeless piece of music, whilst allowing it to be inspired by the original and still giving it a new life of its own.

At this point it seems essential to introduce something in keeping with Steve Reid’s Mantra of “Stay In The Rhythm’s”.The free-form percussion discussion of Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell’s “Makondi” was suggested by Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) and is undertaken by Nick and him in hypnotic simple synchronicity.

“Communication has always been an important part of our existence. In Africa we were dependent upon the drummer’s rhythm to keep us informed and in touch with villages far up the Nile”. Gil Scott-Heron

As we flip the first record over, the light intensifies into ‘Fire’, an arrangement of the beautiful Joe Henderson piece from ‘The Elements’. For this the Emanative band is united with Tamar Osborn’s Collocutor, with added heat and sparkle from the flute of Finn Peters and harp by Gemma Williams.

As the flames die down and the smoke rises into the stratosphere we find ourselves in outer space for the melancholic beauty of Sun Ra’s cosmic poem of love; a chant and solo delivered to us by trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, veteran member of both The Sun Ra Arkestra and The Master Brotherhood alongside Steve Reid himself. The double vinyl includes two very different versions of this, both from the same session.


The vibrations of the sounds seem the same
But the meaning of the sounds
Take separate directions
At the crossroads
of the Cosmic-point of the arrow . . .
Beyond this Age
Through the darkness of the light years
And the light years of the darkness
Is the pure light of the pure darkness
And the pure darkness of the pure light.
The light is as the darkness
Because the light is the image
And the shadow of the fire.
Sun Ra

The Darkness…

Second record, and as we put the needle on to the darkness, in the shadows we are introduced to ‘Black’Arthur Blythe and the album takes a turn to the dark side, be it the lack of light or the darker vibrations and expression of more aggressive and angry tones towards freedom, this is unknown “As Of Yet”.

One thing is for certain though, “if you find earth boring, just the same ol’ same thing…” we’re now ready for a journey on “Rocket Number Nine”. Emanative are accompanied on this trip by Neneh Cherry’s backing band and entity in their own right Rocketnumbernine. These two brothers, Ben and Tom Page, are further joined by the brothers of United Vibrations who supply Sun Ra’s chant, vocals and message.
A battle of celestial rhythms featuring two drummers; Nick & Tom Page (also a fellow Steve Reid Foundation trustee); the analog versus digital synth of Jessica Lauren and Ben Page; two percussionists and a horns and flutes free-for-all.

The sun sets with a message just as spiritual as the album began; keeping the four to the floor bass drum pattern pulsating; and perhaps in the dark setting of an early hours backroom basement club session; for the last track of the last side;
“Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe”.
Emanative are joined by Earl Zinger & Valerie Etienne on this Albert Ayler signature piece, providing us with the bloodshot blues of Mary Maria Parks preaching over the tortured darker forces of horns and woodwinds with a subtle yet unrelenting ever-building electronic gospel beat.

With love for the Steve Reid Foundation

“I see this as a celebration of the wealth and depth of the art of black musicians, magicians, who have given us so much; as well as a joining of forces with an emergence of new and present time talent to co-create new versions of music of this era.

I’ve definitely taken inspiration and influence from Steve Reid and the artists he worked with from Fela to Sun Ra, James Brown to Arthur Blythe – from the soulful to the experimental; whilst at the same time, after having been given complete artistic freedom to create something new and fresh in my own way, I didn’t attempt to make it a direct tribute as such, as I did more so previously with our version of Lions Of Judah”.
Nick Woodmansey

This whole double album was conceived from the beginning as a way to raise both
money and awareness for Gilles Peterson’s Steve Reid Foundation.
Orchestrated by Nick Woodmansey/Emanative, but not without the generosity, help and contribution of every musician and collaborator involved.

All of the effort and countless hours invested by all; from the musical, recording and mastering to the organisational and administrative; including the record’s art and design, have been given with the sole intention of flowing towards this cause – in the knowledge that all proceeds are going to The Steve Reid Foundation.