LABEL FEATURE: International Anthem Recording Company, their outstanding stable keeps expanding – featuring the pick of forthcoming releases and a look back at the 2020 treasure from their family of artists

International Anthem are on fire right now, diversifying their avant-garde catalogue and continuing to redefine the parameters of jazz.

Here’s part one of a WTM mix series dedicated to the label:

And here’s a run down of some of the fantastic music that’s dropping over the next three months, as well as the constant heaters that have been released during 2020.

Rob Mazurek – Exploding Star Orchestra

Mazurek emerged from the musical nexus of the 1990s Chicago scene and has created music for the past 30 years since, writing more than 400 compositions, featuring on more than 70 various labels, and has led or co-led many ensembles – including Exploding Star Orchestra (his flagship large ensemble), Chicago Underground, Isotope 217, and more.

The first single, A Wrinkle in Time Sets Concentric Circles Reeling, from his new album Dimensional Stardust, is out November 20th.

It starts with a question: “Who Am I?” via the distorted radio-style transmission of Exploding Star Orchestra vocalist Damon Locks (aka the leader of Chicago’s Black Monument Ensemble) and featuring label-mates, guitarist Jeff Parker, vibraphonist Joel Ross, and flutist Nicole Mitchell. The accompanying video is directed by Mikel Patrick Avery, who says: “Watching and being around my five-year-old daughter, I am constantly reminded of the imaginary spirit that is in all of us. Over time we are subject to a fading of this spirit. In these films I wanted to explore the idea of our imagination being a different type of currency that we must fight to protect and carry with us despite its oppositions.”

“[The song is] a tone poem in three parts concerning possibilities,” Manzurek explains. “There are so many different sides to a thing… a kaleidoscope of possibility exists in each moment in each breath in each movement. The first part of the piece is the winding up, intricate layering, the study of time, of angles, of colour, of space. The second part is the breakthrough, the realisation that each moment is a possibility for cathartic action through universal love wave correspondence, the sound of feeling, the sound of healing, the sound of joy. The third part continues this idea as if in a dream…what is real, what is imagined…perhaps we can break through the galaxial ceiling of what we think we know and treat each other, this planet, this universe with the respect and dignity it so deserves.”

Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes

Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes (Irreversible Entanglements) are to release a new album Heritage of the Invisible II, out October 23rd – a pulsing combination of Afro-Caribbean roots and improvised free jazz – with Pueblo being the first single from it.

“Telepathic Afro-Caribbean improvisational trumpet-and-percussion duo, Aquiles Navarro and Tcheser Holmes are longtime friends, collaborators, and tireless hustlers on the creative music scenes of New York City,” the label expalins.

Pueblo is a celebration of life, the coming together of the people, el pueblo, a celebration of who we are, where we come from, it’s our pueblo, our people, a feeling of openness, hope, and a future of unity from el pueblo, the people,” says Navarro.

Heritage of the Invisible II follows Navarro and Holmes’ rise to prominence as members of the free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements – with whom they released Who Sent You? in March. In The Nation, writer Marcus J. Moore, said: “Irreversible Entanglements’ fearless music takes to task the police, American politics, capitalism, and racism.” The revolutionary ethos that drives Irreversible Entanglements is just as present in Navarro and Holmes’s duo work, where they embrace their Latin and Afro-Caribbean foundations.

The duo layer samples and electronic elements from Juno 106 and Moog Grandmother synths over their acoustic improvisations, overdubbed contributions from vocalist and instrumentalist friends, and added field recordings of themselves in conversation.

The duo contacted ada adhiyatma (aka Madam Data, a Philadelphia-based composer/electronicist, who they’d met through a joint collaboration with Moor Mother) for a final mix. Additionally featured are Spanish poet Marcos de la Fuente, pianist Nick Sanders, Panamanian mejoranero Ricardo de León, and vocalist Brigitte Zozula.


Anteloper is a duo of psychedelic sonic compatriots – trumpeter Jaimie Branch and drummer Jason Nazary.

Their mini-album Tour Beats Vol. 1. follows on from Jaimie Branch’s solo project Fly or Die II released in 2019 to widespread critical acclaim (click here to read more). and Jason Nazary’s work with Helago Negro. This album is released on vinyl tomorrow.

Makaya McCraven’s latest album and accompanying documentary

A new project by Chicago-based drummer/producer Makaya McCraven. An addendum to his critically-acclaimed 2018 release, Universal Beings E&F Sides presents 14 new pieces of organic beat music cut from the original sessions, prepared and produced by Makaya as a soundtrack to the Universal Beings documentary film.

Named one of the best jazz albums of 2018, Universal Beings was recorded at four sessions in New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles, and features some of the best jazz players from these cities: Brandee Younger, Tomeka Reid, Dezron Douglas, Joel Ross, Shabaka Hutchings, Junius Paul, Nubya Garcia, Daniel Casimir, Ashley Henry, Josh Johnson, Jeff Parker, Anna Butters, Carlos Niño and Miguel-Atwood Ferguson – all of which feature on the forthcoming Universal Beings E&F Sidesclick here to read more.

Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson

Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s album, Chicago Waves is a blissful ambient release, it’s a must-hear live jam.

WTM covered the exciting combination earlier this year, click here to read more.

Angel Bat Dawid

The artist has had two releases on the International Anthem sub-label, Intergalactic Mantra Recording Co. – an album in 2019 and the 7″ record, Transition East, in 2020.

One of the most engaging artists of recent times, her album The Oracle in 2019 sounded like nothing else, featuring Impepho.

Her appearance at In Progress, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, posted in May, is a must watch also.

Fans will no doubt be looking forward to the next outing for this artist, or the sub-label’s next output.

Jeff Parker & The New Breed

Read all about Jeff Parker’s supreme second album for the label in 2020, Suite For Max Brown, following The New Breed in 2016 (click here).

International Anthem feature mix (part one)

Once again… And for even more, visit the International Anthem Recording Company Bandcamp page.


Makaya McCraven – Beat Science

Makaya McCraven, Joe Armon-Jones, Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia – Ox Tales

Resavoir – Taking Flight

Makaya McCraven – The Royal Outro

Resavoir – Plantasy

Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – Chicago Waves: Part 7

Irreversible Entanglements – Fireworks

Jeff Parker & The New Breed – Del Rio

Angel Bat Dawid – We Are Starzz

Jaimie Branch – Prayer for Amerikkka pt. 1 & 2

Jeff Parker – How Fun It Is To Year Whip

Junius Paul – Baker’s Dozen

Irreversible Entanglements – Enough

Hear In Now – Last Night’s Vacation

Makaya McCraven Feat. Ben LaMar Gay – King Drive, ‘86 Cutlass, no Plates

Makaya McCraven, Joe Armon-Jones, Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia – Run Dem

Makaya McCraven Feat. Earl Jeffers (Darkhouse Family) – Jupiter Jawn

Anteloper – Bubble Under

Jeff Parker & The New Breed – Max Brown

Ben LaMar Gay – They Done Left You

Makaya McCraven – A Queen’s Intro

Emma Jean-Thackray – Too Shy

Makaya McCraven Feat. Quiet Dawn – Drums&Bruk&FeelTheVibe

Jeff Parker – Para Ha Tay

Carlos Nino & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – Chicago Waves: Part IV

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