Archeo Recordings feature and interview:
A label reissuing the finest Italian music of a golden era, led by a dedicated aficionado. Manu tells us his story so far – meeting his childhood hero Tony Esposito, his musical process and one day in Napoli with Roberto De Simone.
When I was eight-years-old I started studying classic drums for 5 years and I remember I use to spend lots of time listening to my mother’s collection of vinyls. There was one in particular that seduced me and it was the Tony Esposito first LP!
I started DJing when I was 16, buying two grey Technics 1200 (still have them!) and a cheap mixer. I was a dancer before and I used to go to Matis, Les Bains Douches and Kinky in Bologna on Saturday nights or Tenax, Space Electronic and Happyland (Torquemada night) in Florence. It was the house/Italo-house scene and I spent hours in front of DJ Ricci (R.I.P.) and others to see how they worked and mixed and let people dance and have fun. I was so influenced by the classic new-wave, house, electro, ’80s and ’90s scene. From here I started to buy vinyls regularly.
In the years after – from the mid ’90s – I started play regularly as DJ in clubs, bars and private party in Florence and Bologna. I was also introduced to the Cosmic sound (I was too young to go to Cosmic or Typhoon, I was only five-years-old when Baldelli started his magical DJ residence at Cosmic) by our group of DJs here in Florence and by older DJ friends. Particularly by Luca Effe (my-older-brother-in-Music!), a great DJ active in the Cosmic era, with whom I often play here in Florence – Manu•Archeo and Luca Effe DJs. We sometimes meet and talk about new, rare vinyl gems that we have in our private collections or just discover. It’s fantastic, so stimulating!
I also started to listen to the famous “BD & TBC MIX” tapes (Baldelli Daniele and Tosi Brandi Claudio)… I spent hours to tracking down what I was listening to and I can say that it only added fuel to the fire of my passion and has trained my ear to an eclectic sound.
WTM – What has that been like meeting the artists that have appeared on Archeo?
I’ve had contacts with all the artists that I have reissued and that I will reissue, that’s really important to me. It’s an essential part of my work and I really love it. It’s always so stimulating and I think enriches the entire process.
Every artist has a great and important part of the musical history to tell and discover with his productions but also with his past and tales. I spent hours with them, in ecstasy with their stories… which are many and varied. And that is what sometimes I try to bring on my releases with Archeo Recordings, yes with the music, but also with inserts full of old photos, anecdotes and others.
WTM – You are reissuing the Roberto De Simone ballet piece, II° Coro delle Lavandaie, on 12″ in June with a Leo Maas remix. It is breathtaking and inspiring. How did you come across this piece? Was your mind totally blown!?:
The famous mix II° Coro delle Lavandaie was (and is) always in my wantlist for many years. My idea on it was there… I put it on my possible reissues. Then I saw with great satisfaction that the attention of this piece was growing up and so I decided to go on with the licenses. I remember that in the ’90s the play La Gatta Cenerentola (1976) of Master Roberto De Simone (from which is taken the II° Coro delle Lavandaie) was put in production at the Arena Del Sole theater in Bologna (an architectural project of my father) and I heard about it and was so curious. Then… this so marvelous and that leaves you breathless cover, with the figures between the flames, sacred and profane, so spiritual and evocative… I love it!
In November 2015, I had the honour and pleasure to meet Master Roberto De Simone at his house in Naples (below). It was incredible! He’s now 83, but… that strength! I talked with him about the “II° Coro delle Lavandaie” project and about what was the meaning of the play “La Gatta Cenerentola” and this particular track. He said he really wanted that I’d put the original text in the reissue. So I did it, you’ll see… It’s so powerful, obsessive and ecstatic! 😉
More then, in the LP La Gatta Cenerentola (1976) there are the original photos of the play made by the famous photographer Mimmo Jodice, one of my great teachers in photography.
WTM – What does the translation say and what did Roberto say the song meant?
This piece has an obviously double meaning with sexual connotations. It speaks about a woman who is dreaming in her bed a great dream about a king or a prince who will love her and ask her to dance with him and he will ask her to marry her. But in the beautiful moment of the dream the woman’s mother wakes her up and she’s so furious with her that she swears at her and says all the worst Neapolitan insults.
WTM – How did the Leo Mas contribution come about?
Last year, one evening I was at the phone with my dear friend Leo Mas. We were talking about music and all our ideas… and I hinted him I was treating for the licenses of the II° Coro delle Lavandaie and that I would meet soon Master De Simone in Naples. He totally exploded with joy and he confessed to me that it was some time he was thinking of his personal and slowed Balearic version of it. I said: “Here we are! Cool, man!”. He started to work on it with his partner in production, Fabrice and finally they made this masterpiece!
Leo is one of the most precise and scrupulous people I know. He has worked from the beginning, with great precision and an organized way. I was astonished. He also asked me for the precise translation from the archaic Napolitean dialect of the piece into the actual Italian, to have a better understanding of the texts and to work on the voices. Fantastic! Thank you, the one and only Leo!
WTM – Why did you start the label?
Archeo Recordings was and is the normal extension to all this and it satisfies my desire to be active in the production and diffusion of old and new good music. Also music is an artistic patrimony which might be lost… and I don’t want it to happen. Mine – in a certain way – is a labour of Love! I come across the music I have reissued with all the vinyls I had (and still have!) on my Wantlist and obviously with what I like listening to, playing in my gigs and think they deserve a proper attention and a lap form to be heard.
It’s a labour of great passion, enthusiasm and patience! I start with the idea of the release I would like to reissue, then I start my researches to find and contact the artist and the original old labels to have the legally licenses and permits. Meanwhile, I start from the original cover art to develop the new graphic of the sleeve and the inner sleeve – I’m a photographer too and that’s my creative part on the image. It’s so funny. At the same time, most of the time, if I can’t have the original Master, I send the original vinyl to Mr. Sean P. in London, who provides to acquire it, to clean it and do the final Master. He’s amazing! A very lovely and professional person!
Then I proceed with the real contract with the owner of the licenses and with the artist, the graphic artwork, the audio. At the end, when all is ready, we go on pressing the vinyls and the sleeves. I wait for the TP like a child waiting for Santa on Christmas night… ha ha ha…
And finally when the release is ready, my joy is immense! Part of me is given to everybody! It’s an important part of me and I’m really really happy, honoured and grateful of that. I’m fulfilled! I really give thanks to all the musicians, the artist, all my collaborators of this long but fantastic process, people who buy my vinyls and the Music, that for me is Life! 🙂
WTM – Who do you admire musically in the present?
And now, of course, I have to say thanks to the great Balearic family of DJs and Labels for such examples of inspiration, love and respect: my friend Chuggy and his marvellous Emotional Rescue; Kenneth Bager and his prolific and super Music For Dreams; Mudd and Claremont 56, Leng and the new Spacetalk (with Danny Psychemagik); my dear friend Leo Mas and his incredible remixes and productions; Moonboots and Aficionado Recordings; Balearic Mike; Rob and his Be With Records; Phil Mison and his fantastic productions as Cantoma and now Ambala; Nancy Noise; Apiento and Dr. Rob from Test Pressing; RedLightRecords guys and Music From Memory; Izabel and Lullabies For Insomniacs; Yozo and EAD Records; Lexx and Phantom Island; Chee Shimizu; Mark Seven; Steve Lee; Ruf Dug; Mark Barrott and International Feel Recordings; Sean P.; Basso and his so beautiful Growing Bin Records; Andy Pye and Balearic Social Records; Andy Taylor & We Are The Sunset parties; Simon Lee and Faze Action.
WTM – What else is coming up with the label?
AR005 II° Coro delle Lavandaie 12″ (June 2016).
AR006 Blue Gas – Shadows From Nowhere 12″ in collaboration with Best Records, Italy – Rome (September 2016).
And many others that I will leave as secret for now, but all up and coming new released you can find on the website: www.archeo-recordings.com . 😉
WTM – What is it about the Italo/Cosmic sound that makes it so special – is it still strong in Italy and Europe?
Yes sure! Most of the Italo/Cosmic scene has ended up in the now so called Balearic scene. Of course for my Italian origin, I’m really passionate and devoted to the Italo-disco, Italian folk and pop songs of the 70s and 80s.
It’s always so difficult to make a Top chart (especially a Top 10!). I’m sure a best chart always reflects the mood of the person is doing it in the precise moment and it pulls out all the best shades of his soul… here’s mine and always in my record bag:
– Yawn Yawn Yawn – Sth. Notional (ultra rare 12″, Zero Corporation – XRJN-1014,
– Scerizza (part 3) – Pepe Maina (from “Scerizza” LP, Imbroglio – MP 007 LP (Italy 1977)
Italian Balearic/Ambient/Folk/Organic/New Age
– Comunicazioni interne – Francesco Messina (from “Medio Occidente” LP, Casablanca Records - 814 429-1, Italy 1983)
– Pessimistic – Eugenio Finardi (12″ Fonit Cetra – DLP 629, Italy 1987)
– Notturno italiano – Mario Acquaviva (but also Fortuna!… from Mario Acquaviva 12″, Ariston Music AZRL/103, Italy 1983)
– Gambarra (Lexx remix) – Cantoma (12″ Leng – LENG005, UK 2010)
– Tagomago – Javier Bergia (from “Eclipse” LP, Emotional Rescue – ERC020, UK 2014)
– Huiziopochtli – Andreas Vollenweider (from “Caverna Magica (…Under The Tree – In The Cave…)” LP, CBS 25265, Switzerland 1982)
– Umbria – Marco Fedrigo (from “Il giorno del troppo amore” LP, Clan Celentano – CLN 20052, Italy 1978)
– Aqua Sansa – Markus Stockhausen / Jasper Van’t Hof (from “Aqua Sansa” LP, Archeo Recordings – AR007, Italy 2016)
You can hear my mixes in the Archeo Recordings Soundcloud page:
I recommend you the:
Frederiksberg Records feature and interview:
World Treasures Music spoke to Andreas Vingaard who runs a new label called Frederiksberg Records. Frederiksberg is the neighborhood of Copenhagen where Andreas grew up. The label has released a beautiful jazz record by Carsten Meinert Kvartet, a spiritual and haunting selection from Denmark recorded in 1968. Andreas is also a video journalist in New York, as well as writing a music blog called Othersounds.com.
WTM – Does the label have a plan or mission?
It all started because I wanted to re-release Carsten Meinerts music. I’ve known him for more than ten years now. I’m sure we could have found labels to re-release To You (1969), as his first album is titled, but we just weren’t sure that others wouldn’t cut corners. We decided that the only way to do it right meant having full control of every aspect of the project. Since it’s release we’ve received loads of positive feedback from all over the world. The sound quality (which beats the sound of the original by the way), the in-depth liners to the restoration and design of the sleeve and booklet, which the talented Josh Dunn helped out with, are all been things that people have mentioned. On top of that, hearing how proud Carsten Meinert is about the final product, is in and of itself a huge reward.
WTM – What else is in store?
What started off as a one off release, has quickly evolved into a series of cool projects. In parallel with To You, we’ve also put out For Friends and Relatives (1966) by The Christian Schwindt Quintet, probably the greatest Finnish jazz record ever released. We also have other releases lined up including some disco / AOR from Bermuda, ambient, more jazz and some New Age Folk by the late great (but more or less totally unknown) Suzanne Menzel (thanks to Martin Pac for letting me know about this one!) and that’s really our goal for the future: to keep releasing good music. Go ‘like’ our FB page if you want to get the latest updates!
Meinert was a friend of mine before I started the label. The Christian Schwindt Quintet, which was our first release, is a very rare Finnish jazz record from 1966. It was recommended to me by the Swedish record dealer Pär Melcherson of Swejazz / Bromma Records in Stockholm as a potential idea for a possible re-issue.
WTM – Any audio enhancements to the original record?
I didn’t want to do a straight re-production of the original when it could be improved. One side of the original Christian Schwindt LP has more than 25 mins and the other more than 27 mins. There’s a steep decline in audio fidelity after around the 22 minute mark. Our goal has been not just to release records, but also try to improve the original without taking anything away from it. Eventually, we decided to upscale the Christian Schwindt project and go all the way with a double album in a gatefold with unpublished photos and new liner notes written by the Finnish producer and jazz authority Matti Laipio. Overall, I’m happy we did it that way. Anything else would be a shame, I think.
WTM – You also run a blog. It is really informative, thorough and brilliant and about a diverse range of artists. How do you come to interview these artists?
Thank you, I really appreciate that. There’s a lot of work involved to be honest. It can be quite difficult to track down some of these people. I feel there are so many musicians that have made great music and they deserve to have their story documented and shared. I’ve been seeking out musicians for a long time now. When I come across good music, I’m always struck by the story of where it comes from. In many instances you can’t find much information anywhere. Of course, the internet has changed that but in many cases I am the first person to interview some of these fine musicians. There are still plenty of musicians I would love to talk to. Certain musicians I’ve been in touch with for several years without being able to sit down and record their story for whatever reason.
WTM – What else are you working on?
Together with my friend Fredrik Lavik, I’ve helped put together a compilation on the Somali label, Light & Sound.
That project came about after I read a blog post by Matthew Lavoie on Voice Of America. In the comments, people were mentioning that the owner of L&S Dahir lived in Denmark. I decided to locate Dahir and I was able to meet him at his house. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any master tapes, records or even paper goods relating to his label. He was a very nice gentleman but I just couldn’t find a way to move forward with a potential compilation. Several years later I mentioned the story of Dahir and Light & Sound to Fredik Lavik who runs the label Afro7 / Jazz Aggression. He was really into the idea and he was able to make the compilation happen. It’s available shortly and is limited to 1,000 vinyl copies. The test press sounded great.
Again, the story here is very important. Most people think only of pirates, Al-Shabab and the war that has been going on for decades when Somalia is mentioned but Somali culture is as diverse and rich as anywhere else. Hopefully, this compilation, along with the Somali music Brian Shimkovitz of Awesome Tapes From Africa has already released, can help a bit in changing the perception of what Somali culture is.
In a sense the blog and stuff like the film festival curation I’ve done in the past, as well as the label feels like an extension of my day job. It’s all about telling stories. That’s what I love to do.
WTM – So you’re very busy in the future?
As far as Frederiksberg Records goes then our next two releases are a LP by Paradise entitled Sizzlin Hot and Gunner Møller Pedersens STONED master piece which is truly something that will grow on you as a listener. It’s so deeply meditative, trippy and wonderful! While the label is based in the US, I owe a great deal to my friends and colleagues back home. I couldn’t do this without the help of Jacob Graulund (of Fire House Sound System), DJ 2000F (of Ohoi and Hyper Dub) and Søren Skov (who plays saxophone in the group Debre Damo who recently put out an excellent ethio jazz inspired surf instrumental 45), to name a few. Several people have all gone out of their way to help. Something I’m very thankful for.
Check out Andreas’ blog: http://othersounds.com/
More on the Light & Sound of Mogadishu here
One of Andreas’ video series is called 8 Mill Stories:
Matsuli Music feature and interview:
World Treasures Music spoke to Matt Temple from Matsuli Music – a specialist label reissuing priceless vinyl from South Africa. Together with Chris Albertyn, Matt has brought some amazing music to a new audience, igniting a huge interest in South African music at present among collectors.
Their releases include Batsumi’s seminal spiritual jazz albums, Sathima Bea Benjamin’s African Songbird LP (with Dollar Brand), Dick Choza’s Chapita LP and most recently Ndikho Xaba’s holy grail, Ndikho Xaba and the Natives.
WTM – When did you first hear the band Batsumi?
I first heard Batsumi on a compilation called Ouelele, put out by the French label Comet. The master tapes were acquired by Rashid Vally through whom I have licensed a number of reissues. It must have been in 2010 when I first got a copy of the South African issued Batsumi compilation and then a bit later I found a copy of the debut album. I also discovered the documentary Life and Death in Soweto that focuses on the Batsumi bassist, Zulu Bidi.
WTM – What was the reaction of Batsmi’s Johnny Mothopeng when seeing his work brought to the light for a new audience?
Johnny was amazed and so happy for the music to be reissued. As I may have mentioned, the royalty payments he received from Matsuli are ten times what he received back when the records were originally released.
WTM – Did you get to meet anyone from or connected to the band?
WTM – What is your process when you set out to reissue an LP?
Each one is different. Through Rashid Vally we have a large catalogue of material that could be reissued, only not all of it is currently commercially viable. So its a matter of selecting albums that we know are in high demand in collectors circles and working from there.
WTM – How do you monitor ‘collectors circles’?
eBay, Popsike, Soul Strut, Waxidermy, talking to fellow collectors etc.
WTM – Is South African jazz celebrated around the world, have the records been received well?
A number of individuals are celebrated – Abdullah Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba – but others not so much. The exiled group The Blue Notes have been credited with reinvigorating British Jazz in the late sixties. But there are many individuals and groups that have not received much publicity – for example Batsumi, Kippie Moeketsi and Gideon Nxumalo. To date we have done five releases – primarily on vinyl and these have all done well. Most sales are in Europe and the USA followed by Japan and South Africa.
This would have been at University around 1982. The composition that was a consistent soundtrack to those times was Mannenberg. Around the same time I started visiting Rashid Vally’s record store, Kohinor, in Johannesburg and started collecting South African jazz seriously.
WTM – What Matsuli Music releases are expected in the future?
We have a slight departure for our next release – a contemporary album from classical guitarist Derek Gripper – who plays the music of Toumani Diabate on the guitar. An incredible achievement! Beyond that we are looking at some other recordings from the seventies much in the vein of what we have released to date. It’s tricky to talk about future releases or work in progress as some of these may never come to light for various reasons related to licensing, lack of masters, etc. But its safe to say that we plan some future releases that were originally issued by Rashid Vally’s As-shams (The Sun) label back in the 1970s as well as some lesser classics that today only gather dust on collectors’ shelves.
WTM – How do you manage to track down such an artists, are there challenges?
A combination of social media, following leads and lots of groundwork. The biggest challenge is ensuring that the rights holders are correctly paid. And then there is the small matter of getting access to the original master tapes. I could go on and on!
WTM – For more about Matsuil Music click here to visit them at Bandcamp. Vinyl is 180g and includes unlimited streaming, MP3 download, FLAC and more. This label does a superb job with liner notes, restoration, unseen archive photos, the real deal.
All images courtesy of Matsuli Music.
To read more about the music of South Africa (Shangaan, kwaito, jive, etc) and its neighbouring countries click here.
Listen to WTM South Africa mix featuring spiritual jazz, The Mgababa Twins, Dollar Brand, township jive and more: