Category Archives: Luminous

Guest presenting The Efpi Show – 21st June 2021

I’m very happy to be a guest presenter on The Efpi Show, a fortnightly radio show from the label Efpi Records – home of the first album of my own compositions Quadraceratops back in 2014. The show goes out today, Monday 21st June at 5pm on Camp Radio, and will be up on Mixcloud afterwards. [Edit: the Mixcloud player is below! And the page is here.]


Below is a complete tracklist from my episode, and I’ve included links to places where you can buy the music either direct from the artists or from their labels. Sometimes I couldn’t find the track/album in question, but I did find a place where the artist was selling other/more recent work, so I included those links. Some of the tracks are old pop songs that are widely available in the usual places…

Also on the show is an unreleased Ripsaw Catfish set recorded over JackTrip earlier this year, and an interview with Dee Byrne about her new Deemer + 1 album on Luminous.

Hope you enjoy the show! I had a lot of fun putting it together.

The Efpi Show with Cath Roberts, 21st June 2021

Camp Lo – Luchini AKA This Is It (from Uptown Saturday Night, 1997)
Andrew Weathers Ensemble – A Mountain Of Snakes, The High Plains, A Knee In The Earth (from The Thousand Birds In The Earth, The Thousand Birds In The Sky, 2020)
Rogue Three – I Really Kronenberged Up The Whole Place (from No Meat On Bumblebees, 2018)
Elliott Smith – Condor Avenue (from Roman Candle, 1994)
Okkyung Lee – Two Perfectly Shaped Stones (from Ghil, 2013)
MF Doom (prod. Flying Lotus) – Lunch Break
Deemer + 1 – Clear Seeing (from Aftermath, 2021)

[Interview: Dee Byrne]

Deemer + 1 – Kinetic Frenetic (from Aftermath, 2021)
Veruca Salt – Spiderman 79 (from American Thighs, 1994)
Silence Blossoms – King Of Everything (from Silence Blossoms, 2014)
Nut Club – Cheekbones (from December 2013, 2014)

[Ripsaw Catfish – Unreleased JackTrip set, February 2021]

Left-Handed Tapedeck Mix
(originally side A of a cassette mix for Sophie Cooper’s mixtape exchange in the first 2020 lockdown)
Ryoko Ono – pAq (from Alternate Flash Heads, 2015)
Georgia Anne Muldrow – Never A Day In Vain (from Early, 2009)
Laura Cole – Outgoing Vessels (from Enough, 2018)
Stephanie Richards – New Moon (from Fullmoon, 2018)
The Breeders – I Just Wanna Get Along (from Last Splash, 1993)
The B-52s – Dry County (from Cosmic Thing, 1989)
Max Tundra – Lights (from Mastered By Guy At The Exchange, 2002)
Scarub – Wishful Thinking (from Savvy Traveller, 1999)
Beck Hunters – Yes And No (from Has It Been Found?, 2019)

New Luminous website and Deemer + 1 release

It’s done! I’ve been working on a website for the Luminous label for quite a while – and it’s now live at luminouslabel.co.uk. The label has been going for six years, so it feels good to give it an independent online presence as well as its collection of nested Bandcamp sites. Along with the new mailing list (see previous post), the site will be the primary place for all label activities. Speaking of which…
The new album by Deemer + 1 is available to pre-order today, in advance of its 4th June release on Luminous. They are also doing a live show on release day to celebrate the album, which is a collaboration with Johnny Hunter. Head to the Deemer Bandcamp site to order these things…

New mailing list for the Luminous Label

I haven’t been blogging much recently – apologies – but I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work with not much to show for it yet! Some of this has been working with Dee on the label, and we’ve got some nice plans for the rest of this year. It feels good putting some more energy into Luminous, and one thing that I *can* point to now is that we’re setting up a new mailing list for the label. This will be a dedicated email list for updates on releases and any other label-related activity. So if you’re interested in hearing about what we’re up to, you can subscribe now using the shiny new form I just made. There will be a first email relatively soon announcing some exciting stuff….

Out today! Exabout: Live in Ramsgate

A new Sloth Racket live album is released today on Luminous! Obviously 2020 hasn’t quite gone as we’d planned, and so instead of touring this year we are putting out this lovely recording from our 2019 tour.


It’s the full set from our gig at Arco Barco in Ramsgate, hosted by our friends Extra Normal Records. This was a really great night at a brilliant quirky seafront venue (accessed via a ladder!), where we shared the bill with Evan Parker playing a solo set. Anton Hunter was on recording duties and Alex Bonney has mixed it for this special live release.

The album is a digital-only release, our first one ever and mainly to keep costs down during these ‘times’. However, I had always planned to do new Sloth Racket shirts in 2020, and even with no tour I’ve gone ahead and got them made. There are three colours to choose from and a brand new scribbly logo design. The shirts are organic cotton, printed with eco-friendly inks by I Dress Myself in Frome. I’m really happy with how they came out – they are really soft and the print quality is excellent. The mockup image below shows the colours – head to the Bandcamp page for a size guide.

Hope you enjoy the music! I enjoyed listening through last year’s tour in the process of making it. Here’s to the slothtours of the future…

New duo album with Dee Byrne: DISEMBARK!

Disembark! is out today on Luminous. It’s the first duo release from Dee Byrne and me – I’m so happy to see it out there after the release (and a tour that was supposed to happen earlier this year) got derailed by the pandemic. It’s available now as a digital album, the thirteenth release on the label, with amazing cover artwork by Dee. I hope you enjoy the music! And keep an eye on Luminous over the course of this Autumn, as we have a few more things up our sleeves….

New live recordings site, and some Bandcamp recommendations

With all live music off for a while yet, I’m working on a new project that looks back at the gigs I’ve been a part of over the past few years. My hard drives are full of audio from past concerts, and in normal times I hardly ever had time to listen to them. In lockdown, or at least in the rare moments that I’m able to focus on working at something, there’s time to have a good dig around in the files and listen back to some sets. I’ve set up a new Bandcamp site that will act as a kind of scrapbook of old and raw live recordings from my archive. This will be a slow burner, but the first two recordings are up now – a solo set and a duo set with Seth Bennett, both from 2016. All the music on this site will be ‘name your price’, so there’s the option to pay on the door for these old gigs. The money will be split equally between the musicians on the recording.

As you may be aware of from seeing a billion social media posts, Bandcamp are giving artists some extra support during the pandemic by waiving their commission on the first Friday of the month in May, June and July. We have something in the pipeline at Luminous HQ for the July one, so keep an eye out for that. And as today is May 1st, I thought I’d pull together a few recommendations of music to check out and support some artists close to my heart…

Article XI – Live In Newcastle (Discus) / Anton Hunter – LUME Kestrel Online

I’m proud to be a member of Anton’s large ensemble, and it’s great to see a second release out there. This live album was recorded on our double bill large ensemble tour in 2017, at the mighty Bridge Hotel in Newcastle for Jazz North East. Featuring two previously unrecorded Anton Hunter originals! Anton is also releasing a brand new track TODAY, made in lockdown, with lots of us playing and a kestrel drawing by me…

Bathing Trio – Stretford – Bromley-by-Bow – Peckham

The excellent trio of Sam Andreae, Otto Willberg and David Birchall are making tracks together live over the interwebs. This is one of several improvised lockdown sets they’ve published so far…

Deemer – Live at the Vortex (Luminous)

Dee and Merijn are currently working on something new for Luminous, but check out this live set from 2016 if you haven’t already.

Kodian Trio – Live In Leeds (Raw Tonk)

The latest slice of Kodian Trio goodness on Raw Tonk Records, recorded by Chris Sharkey at LS6 Cafe.

Ti/om – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Madwort Records)

This is a pretty special release, several years in the making. Ti/om went to the Isle of Eigg in 2016, staying in a bothy together for a week and recording these pieces. It’s lovely to see them surfacing now on Madwort Records.

Johnny Hunter – Pale Blue Dot (Northern Contemporary)

A four movement sextet suite by Johnny Hunter, recorded at the Lescar in Sheffield. A gig I wished I could have attended! The fourth release on the excellent Northern Contemporary label.

Venue fundraisers

It’s a very challenging time for music venues right now for obvious reasons, and they need our support if we are able. Hundred Years Gallery and the Vortex both have fundraiser Bandcamp sites, Martin Clarke’s oem label is raising money for Arch 1, and IKLECTIK has a page of fundraising music on its website. Here are some starting points…

Off Bandcamp, you could always become a digital member of Cafe Oto and support them while treating yourself to a year of amazing downloads.

I’m finding it hard to engage with the online world, and with everything that’s going on around us in the real world I’m struggling to even think about being creative. We all have to do what we do to get through this! I hope you find some sounds you love in this post, and that we can all be back out there listening to and playing live music again soon.

Tracks played on the Ambrosia Rasputin show…

Earlier today (Sunday 30th September) I was a guest on Ivor Kallin’s Ambrosia Rasputin Show on Resonance FM. It was a lot of fun chatting to Ivor and playing some tracks by friends and collaborators as well as some of my own, so I thought I’d post links here to the music I played. You can find the relevant albums on Bandcamp by clicking through on the embeds below. The whole show is available to listen to on Mixcloud, and also features two duo improvisations from Ivor (on viola) and me (on baritone sax) live in the studio.

We opened with a couple of my own pieces:

Then I played ‘Bone Machine’ by the Pixies! A classic track that I don’t need to link to here…

Next up was some Entropi:

And then some Article XI:

Some Birchall/Cheetham/Webster/Willberg:

And a track from the new album by Tom Ward and Adam Fairhall, the first release on Madwort Records:

To round things off I played Dee Byrne’s composition for Saxoctopus:

Big thanks to Ivor for inviting me! It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday lunchtime.

Sloth Racket ‘A Glorious Monster’: available to pre-order today!

The third Sloth Racket studio album ‘A Glorious Monster’ is available to pre-order from Luminous! Recorded last November in Manchester, it was mixed and mastered by Alex Bonney at the beginning of this year and I’m really happy with how it sounds. Listen to a preview track and order your copy over at the Luminous Bandcamp site:

The CD edition of the album comes in a hand-printed sleeve as ever (this year I’ve been experimenting with neon ink!), and we also have super exciting 2018 Sloth Racket t-shirts on sale in either lime or charcoal, as seen in the ultra-realistic collage below:

Orders will ship out to arrive on release day, 4th June, but if you want to get your hands on one before then and you live near London, Bath, Manchester, Derby, York or Durham, they will be on sale from the merch table at all of our tour gigs. We’d love to see you there!

SLOTH RACKET: A GLORIOUS MONSTER TOUR 2018!

Apologies…..this post demanded all caps. I’ve been working on this for a LONG time, so I’m pretty ecstatic to announce that Sloth Racket will hit the road once again this year with support from Arts Council England! It’s an eight date tour taking in some new places and revisiting some familiar sloth haunts, to celebrate the release of our third studio album ‘A Glorious Monster’ on Luminous this June.

Head to the dedicated tour page on the Sloths website for all the info and to buy advance tickets…

 

Favourite Animals album reviews round-up

Reviews of the Favourite Animals album have been appearing since its release in December. Have a listen as you peruse what the critics had to say below…

Print

In the March issue of the Wire magazine was a half-page triple review from Stewart Smith of the Favourite Animals and Article XI albums, plus Sloth Racket’s live album ‘See The Looks On The Faces’. Favourite Animals are described as as ‘lurching between riff and abstraction’, ‘maintain[ing] an elegant balance between emergent melody and the wilder activity at its fringes’…

Also in print was a great Jazzwise review from Thomas Rees, who writes that the ‘gritty and anarchic’ Favourite Animals album ‘confirms Roberts’ talent as a composer and Luminous as a label to watch’.

Online

Excitingly, Dave Sumner at Bandcamp Daily (also of Bird Is The Worm) included Favourite Animals in his list of ‘The Best Jazz On Bandcamp: January 2018’. ‘On first listen,’ he writes, Favourite Animals sounds like it may be broken,’ but he then goes on to describe ‘startling moments of altered perspective’ in an enthusiastic mini-review complete with Bandcamp embed.

Steve Day published an extremely detailed writeup on Sandy Brown Jazz, describing the album as ‘a brilliantly conceived big band construct’ and ‘radical contemporary music which is absolutely on the money’. ‘Favourite Animals are making a ‘mindset’ change not just a musical one,’ he writes to close the review.

Sammy Stein on Something Else Reviews also has good things to say about the album: ‘Everyone creates, is supported and leads at different times… [and] there is also a sense of one-ness and understanding which only happens when musicians are completely intuitive of each other.’

Lee Rice-Epstein posted a lovely four star review of the album on the Free Jazz Collective blog (‘bursts out of the speakers’!).

On The Quietus, Stewart Smith included the Favourite Animals and Article XI albums in his Complete Communion Jazz Roundup: UK Special: ‘Roberts and Hunter show new possibilities for the leftfield big band by combining sophisticated ensemble writing with state of the art extended techniques from the wilder shores of free improvisation.’

One of the first reviews that came in was from Gert Derkx on Op Duvel (in Dutch). A bit of online auto-translation help for my almost non-existent Dutch suggests that he counts Favourite Animals, among a number of current bands, as proof that exciting improvised music can be made by large lineups!

Live reviews

Ian Mann at The Jazz Mann came to the Birmingham gig of our Favourite Animals/Article XI tour in December, and reported back with a great review of both bands on his blog. ‘The music of Favourite Animals is consistently mutating, never remaining in one place for long and taking great delight in stylistic and dynamic contrasts,’ he writes of our set, going on to describe the gig as ‘an absorbing and intriguing evening of uncompromising music making at the interface where the composed and the spontaneous conjoin to rewarding effect.’

The Newcastle gig was also reviewed: Steve H on Bebop Spoken Here describes the Favourite Animals set as ‘very cinematic’ and the gig as a ‘brilliant doubleheader’.

Thanks

Compiling this post prompts me once again to thank the 90 truly amazing people who backed my crowdfunding campaign to make the Favourite Animals album last year. Without you, the music wouldn’t have made it out there and into the ears of music lovers and critics! Thank you!!

Favourite Animals live photo by Oliver Dover.