August 23, 2019

Leon Ware - Rainbow Deux (2LP, GF)

BEWITH034LPFormat Notes: 140g vinyl, double LP, gatefold sleeve, printed inners Territories: Worldwide no exceptions Track List: A1 : Rainbow Deux (6:57) A2 : Let Love In (6:14) A3 : Sigh (4:08) B1 : The Darkest Night (7:32) B2 : Surrender Now (6:08) B3 : Summer Is Her Name (4:37) C1 : Are You Ready (3:18) C2 : Streets (Keep Me Runnin’) (7:00) C3 : Samba Dreams (3:20) D1 : Let’s Go Deep (5:27) D2 : We Should Be Laughin’ (3:45) D3 : Wishful Thinking (4:00) Release Notes: The melodically adventurous soul of Leon Ware continues its expression in his final opus Rainbow Deux, released on double vinyl on September 13th. The album features new songs recorded and performed by Leon before his health turned, leading to his transition on February 23rd 2017. Co-produced by Taylor Graves, it has stellar musical contributions from the likes of Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Ronald Bruner Jr, Rob Bacon and Wayne Linsey.
Taylor Graves came into Leon’s musical family in 2002 when he, his brother Cameron and the Bruner brothers Ronald Jr and Stephen (Thundercat) were playing along with their schoolmate Kamasi at an L.A. jazz club. Taylor, Cameron, Ronald and Stephen became Leon’s band for his debut shows in Japan in 2002 and Taylor continued to work with Leon as his mentor and collaborator over the next 15 years.
“Leon was ALWAYS writing something or developing his musical palette” his wife Carol Ware tells us, so it’s impossible to pinpoint any single moment of Rainbow Deux’s genesis. Six of the songs go back to 2012/2013 and were released in 2014 as part of Sigh, a Japan-only CD collection heavy with Rob Bacon’s tasteful licks and Wayne Linsey’s piano vibes. The rest of the material comes from Leon’s sessions with Taylor.
Describing Leon’s and his process, here’s Taylor:  “We’d start by having some great homemade food! Then a glass of wine ‘to slow down time’. After we’d have our fill and smoked our joints we’d go into his studio room to listen and create.”
The album was finished-up around August of 2016 in a back-and-forth between Leon and his go-to mastering engineer Toni Economides in the UK.
Leon worked on Rainbow Deux with life’s greatest challenge looming over him, yet it is one of his most focused and cohesive solo offerings since the 1980s. The entire record is a vibe: mellow, deep and smooth as silk. The lyrical themes are eternal, and the music is elegant, soulful and sensual.
The album opens with the hypnotic throb of “For The Rainbow”, coming on like a percussive, slow-mo house shuffle. Gilles Peterson is a fan. The exotic “Let Love In” follows, with its gradual-build Island Funk, intricate guitar picks and sassy female vocals. It explodes when it hits its stride. “Sigh” is the stylish slow jam close-out to side A. Serene guitars and polished drums create neck snapping funk, with a swaggering finger-snap strut.
Side B opens with the easy-burning broken-beaty “The Darkest Night”, the centrepiece of the album. Kamasi Washington’s lurking sax, restrained and beautiful, unfurls into the dank, sticky atmosphere of Thundercat’s signature creeping bass laid over his brother’s in-the-pocket drums. Leon’s vocals are perfect, a masterclass in seductive sax-soul.
“Surrender Now” conjures waves of vocals to swell and wash over the glossy piano, subtly bumping hip-hop drums and bubbling synth-bass stabs. It’s got the trademark Leon layers. “Summer Is Her Name” has Kamasi’s effortless, melancholic sunshine sax give way to rising tempos and propulsive rhythms.
“Are You Ready” is a total highlight (and we’ve been playing it out for ages). It’s a nimble groove of piano and synth rolling around Theo Croker’s sensual trumpet playing. Digi-soul at its finest. With lush G-Funk sensibilities “Streets (Keep Me Runnin’)” sounds like a lost Dam-Funk produced gem. All tough kicks and snares and street sounds. Leon’s hood pass will be forever intact.
“Samba Dreams” is the first of two tracks that bring a little Rio magic to Rainbow Deux. Leon created a whole body of work in partnership with Brazilian legend Marcos Valle that includes “Rockin’ You Eternally” - a hit for Leon - and “Estrelar” – a hit for Marcos. Leon channels his obvious love of Brazilian music here through more of Croker’s sumptuous trumpet, played over loose percussion. “Let’s Go Deep” is next up. A dreamy between-the-sheets quiet storm anthem and a real showcase for Leon’s vocals.
The dripping, honeyed harp-funk of “We Should Be Laughin’” marks the star turn of the brilliant Kimbra. Leon first met her on-stage to do an impromptu duet of “Inside My Love” during an open-air celebration of Minnie Riperton in July of 2014. Kimbra was working with Taylor on her music and he brought her to Leon’s house to do some writing. This was the result.
Warm synths radiate shuffling samba soul on “Wishful Thinking” as those Brazilian rhythms return to bring Rainbow Deux to a close.
During an apartment move Leon and Carol rediscovered some watercolours Leon had done years ago. One of these paintings had been dubbed “Deux Hearts” and Leon decided it should be on the cover of Rainbow Deux, getting as far as approving a draft concept for the artwork.
Carol has overseen developing that draft into the final gatefold sleeve. It brings together quotes, photographs and tributes in what is a reflection on the music, relationships and philosophy of the sensual minister.
Gerry “the gov” Brown, Leon’s long-time sound engineer, was by his side throughout the project, recording and mixing. The album was mastered by Toni Economides and Simon Francis’ additional sensitive work makes sure this double LP sounds like it should on vinyl.
Be With’s first ever release was Leon’s eponymous LP. Re-issuing that album planted the seed of a relationship that has grown to grant us the privilege of presenting his crowning achievement. We know that Leon’s fans all over the Earth will love Rainbow Deux. But we also hope that this album, the final entry in a phenomenal body of work, will reach new fans and find fresh conduits for the spirit of this oft-unsung hero of Soul.
Leon always said “they will get it when I'm gone.”
He also said that “the spirit never dies”…


August 23, 2019

Steve Hiett - Girls In The Grass (LP)

ES11BEWITH62LPWorldwide no exceptions LP & CD Format Notes: Previously unreleased material from Steve’s private recordings, remastered from the original masters, 140g vinyl, 4 page photography insert with liner notes. LP Track List: A1 : Are These My Memories? A2 : Walking Across The Field A3 : Summer Stroll A4 : It’s Raining Tomorrow A5 : Dancing In July B1 : Shadows Across The Path B2 : Waiting By The Car B3 : Kinda Knew Anna B4 : Love That Bird B5 : More Rain In The Woods Release Notes: Three emotional years in the making, Be With and Efficient Space finally present Steve Hiett’s Girls In The Grass. Pressed alongside the long awaited reissue of his one-shot masterpiece Down On The Road By The Beach, these ten balearic soul instrumentals are of equal necessity; unrivalled beauty rescued from the fashion photographer-guitarist’s Paris Tapes (1986-1997).

While recordings unintended for release should often be approached with caution, this is a rare case of unheard material being assembled as an indispensable and coherent piece. Girls In The Grass is something super special. The light and shadow that defines Hiett’s music is arguably more compelling here. It speaks to us in a language that feels profound, yet entirely comforting and familiar.

Girls In The Grass reintroduces Hiett’s languid electric blues boogie, crafted on Saturday afternoons with fellow art director Simon Kentish. Kentish would cook, pour some wine and then utilise his arsenal of technology. He’d dial up a chugging rhythm, together with some ambient pads or keyboard textures, and anchor the weightless gauze of Hiett’s six-stringed touch.

Hiett’s guitar sings with the same clean, crisp tone as Down On The Road, animated by a carefree weekend groove. Unlike his defining album which was boiled under pressure, these subsequent sessions have all the time in the world. The naïve melodies chart a missing link between Vini Reilly’s ventures into electronica and Booker T, sounding like sun-warped takes on wordless, fractured non-hits from his heroes The Beach Boys.

Remastered for public pleasure by Simon Francis, these private moments are adorned with Hiett’s singular photography and feature typically idiosyncratic liner notes from Mikey IQ Jones.


August 23, 2019

Steve Hiett - Down On The Road By The Beach (LP, GF)

ES10BEWITH61LPWorld excluding Japan LP & CD Format Notes: First re-issue since its original release in Japan in 1983, remastered from the original masters, 140g vinyl, gatefold sleeve, 16 page photography book with liner notes. LP Track List: A1 : Blue Beach - Welcome To Your Beach A2 : Never Find A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do) A3 : By The Pool A4 : Roll Over, Beethoven - Out Of The Beach A5 : In The Shade A6 : Looking Across The Street A7 : Long Distance Look B1 : Hot Afternoon B2 : Crying In The Sun B3 : The Next Time B4 : Miss B.B. Walks Away B5 : Sleep Walk B6 : Standing There Release Notes: For the first time since its inception 36 years ago, Steve Hiett’s elusive Down On The Road By The Beach is finally made available outside of Japan. Most recognized in the fashion sphere as an English photographer and graphic designer, Hiett‘s transportive audio portraits amplify his serpentine guitar to the infinite blue, recorded across Paris, Tokyo and New York with no coastline in sight. Now widely celebrated as a desert island disc, very little is actually known of its unfathomable genesis.

A career devotee of Brian Wilson’s ground breaking harmonies, Hiett shot The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone - as well as The Doors, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix (in one of his final performances at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival) - while establishing himself as a fashion photographer. Decamping to Paris in 1972, he began what would become 20-year collaborations with Vogue Paris and Marie Claire, printing his signature warm, saturated and vibrantly hued snapshots.

In 1982, representatives from Tokyo’s Galerie Watari visited him to propose a solo exhibition. Asking if he could insert a 7” of original music into the back of the exhibition catalogue, Hiett laid down ‘Blue Beach - Welcome To Your Beach’ in a Parisian radio station, playing all of the instruments himself, and two more cuts in New York with Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan hired-gun Elliot Randall. Once dispatched, the phone began ringing off the hook with requests for him to fly to Tokyo. Assuming these long-distance callers were wanting him to check proofs for the book, it wasn’t until he arrived that he discovered CBS/Sony had facilitated an entire album. Heitt hastily gripped some petty cash, bought a guitar and retreated to his hotel room to start writing.

Entering the studio the following day, he was further surprised by a waiting room of session players known as Moonriders - one of Japan’s most acclaimed rock bands of the 1980s. Intimidated by their indecipherable sheet music, Hiett suggested Randall join them and with money being no object for major labels at the time, his wingman was on the next plane out of New York to finalise the high production indulgence. Near-ambient arrangements that float in a space between The Durutti Column, Steve Cropper and Ashra, Down On The Road By The Beach also crowns Hiett the master of recontextualization with his zero-gravity blues visions of Roll Over Beethoven, Santo & Johnny’s Sleep Walk and the 1967 Eddie Floyd soul hit Never Found A Girl.

Produced in coordination between Be With, Efficient Space and the artist, this definitive reissue is restored from original masters with vivid reproductions of the Down On The Road By The Beach exhibition catalogue, intended to accompany its original release, and extensive liner notes penned by fellow Steve Hiett obsessive Mikey IQ Jones.


August 20, 2019

Pablo Mateo - Weird Reflections Beyond The Sky

figurelp042x12” vinyl with full cover print TRACKLIST: A1 Just News A2 Blew It (Feat. Emika) B1 Transformation B2 How To Crush A Supernova C1 Weird Reflections Beyond The Sky C2 Don’t Walk Alone D1 XX Cheater D2 Sexual For Cannibals INFO: An outstanding artist since his earliest productions, Pablo Mateo now fully joins the ranks of Figure for his first album. On this versatile LP finally expands his complete creative vision of what techno music truly means to him. Weird Reflections Beyond The Sky is an album that is accessible to all audiences. When engaged with actively, it holds narratives deeply connected to personal experience, going beyond what words or even images can describe. Confronting the listener with their own complexity and emotions is both its feat and feature. A beautiful use of technology and synthetic sounds as a means to journey far within. An open invitation to drop all expectations and simply let the mind wander, creating an immersive soundtrack for each individual to explore.


July 15, 2019

Chris Korda - Akoko Ajeji (2x12 Lp) & (CD)



Info: New album by Chris Korda. Akoko Ajeji means “Strange Time” in Yoruba. All the tracks on the album are in complex polymeter, determining not only the rhythm, but the harmony too. The result is an intricate but non-random pattern of interference. Vizyon means “trance” in Haitian Creole. Its polymeter repeats after 155,195,040 beats (roughly 805 days) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 19. Asiri means “secrets” in Yoruba. Its polymeter repeats after 14,894,880 beats (roughly 80 days) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 31. Iyika means “circles” or “revolution” in Yoruba. Its polymeter repeats after 58,198,140 beats (roughly 300 days) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 19. Ala Aye means “dream world” or “space bound” in Yoruba. Its polymeter repeats after 118,731,810,156,960 beats (roughly 1.7 million years) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 37. Awose means “template” or “stencil” in Yoruba. Its polymeter repeats after 5,785,219,440 beats (roughly 85 years) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 349. Ra Bayi means “buy now” in Yoruba. Its polymeter repeats after 629,909,280 beats (roughly 8.6 years) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 23. Ra Mi means “buy me” in Yoruba. Its polymeter repeats after 480 beats (3 minutes and 26 seconds) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 5. Egungun is Yoruba for “bones” or “ancestors” in the collective sense. Its polymeter repeats after 27,720 beats (3:33:14 in elapsed time) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 11. Dek Sep Bluso means “seventeen blues” in Esperanto. Its polymeter repeats after 16,336,320 beats (roughly 91 days) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 17. Fazo Kanto means “phase song” in Esperanto. Its polymeter repeats after 78,540 beats (roughly 10 hours) and has a Greatest Prime Factor of 17.


June 27, 2019

Manuel GÖttsching - Dream & Desire (cd, Re 2019, Sticker)

Notes to a friend…
The 1970s. The Vietnam War is slowly coming to an end; the RAF thrives and prospers; 
the first Achtundsechziger ('68 protestors) are actually
planning to march through the institutions; rock and roll is getting heavier;
and hardly noticed by the mainstream public, some West-Berlin musicians
develop a world of sound, which later eventually became labelled as
“Electronic Music”.
Indeed, there was nothing electronically generated initially,
let alone even digital. In the beginning they simply named these
sound-mixtures "electro-acoustic". These compositions of slowly evolving
soundscapes relating to the Minimal Music concept created a meditative
mood. This was new. This was the Berliner Schule (Berlin school).
Being responsible for popular music at a radio station in the 1970s
was an absolute dream job. At least that’s what it was like at RIAS Berlin
(Radio In the American Sector). There was no quota, no pressure,
no hit-terror, and we just invited the artists, bands and musicians we liked
to the studio. The artists from next door. That’s how I got to know Manuel.
He was living right on the Ku-Damm (Kurfürstendamm), right in the city
centre, but in the rear building, shielded from the noise.
Manu didn’t have a sequencer. Everything that sounded like a sequencer
was his highly focused guitar work. The slowly changing tone sequences
for example. This was a physical accomplishment in itself.
His minimalistic play is still part of his signature style.
The musicians from Berlin, who worked in the same genre, were either
friends, periodically played in Manuel’s ASH RA TEMPEL, or built up their
own careers. 
The scene was small, but equipped with illustrious celebrities
- Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Harald Grosskopf, Agitation Free.
And my RIAS colleague Walter Bachauer. He had called the Metamusik
Festival into life and brought the international avant-garde to Berlin.
The festival opened up new aesthetic continents to us when we were grateful to listen to chants of Tibetanian 
monks or the Steve Reich Ensemble play “Drumming”.
Manuel was able to start his international career pretty quickly, focusing on England, France and Japan.
For the German middle-of-the-road-consciousness, these countries were as exotic as the winds on Jupiter, 
especially Japan, where Göttsching still enjoys superstar status. Today it is not only these countries, which 
consider him a cult figure. He has also made his mark as a film composer and has added his music to numerous 
events and art happenings.
In November 1975 I had initiated a concert at the RIAS Studio 10, entitled “Futurum 3”, with ASH RA TEMPEL 
performing. Apart from the guitars there was also an EMS Synthi A on stage. And an old Farfisa Compact Organ 
that Manuel played and of which I was especially proud:
I was able to buy this instrument in 1964 after a summer job at a steel drill factory. This Farfisa was on stage 
when I performed with my band the Team Beats Berlin, as support act for the Rolling Stones at their legendary 
concert in September 1965 at the Berliner Waldbühne.
Somehow this instrument had survived the riot, and ten years later Manuel bought this organ from me. He had 
played this Farfisa in many concerts and recordings in the following years, and it can be heard also prominently
here on “Dream and Desire”.
Originally, the two tracks “Dream” and “Desire” had been conceived for my one-hour radio feature at RIAS Berlin 
in summer 1977. Then, although being broadcast only once in Berlin and Belgium, they soon became cult 
amongst listeners, who taped, multiplied and distributed the tracks throughout Manuel's fan base.
But it was only in 1991, after 14 years, when Manuel decided to make it an “official” release on CD. Something like that is unusual at times when only the new things count - until it is dismissed by the new and gets 
The revival of Dream & Desire is not nostalgia but an indication that the present will only be appreciated after 
acknowledging the past. Applies also to art.
The bonus track “Despair” was not part of the original radio-feature, but was composed and recorded around the 
same time in 1977, and the track fits perfectly in style and sound.
Manuel's music has been with me for now almost 50 years.
I own a superb LP and CD collection of him.
Dream & Desire is beautiful - what more can I say ...
Olaf Leitner, March 2019