Album launch at Rough Trade East on Wednesday 9th April - Howie B
DJ Set from 7 - 8.30PM.
Download 'Ganzi' HERE
He’s one of the creators of trip hop. He collaborated with Soul II Soul on their epochal ‘Club Classics Vol 1’, he’s written songs with Björk. he’s produced U2. He’s played bonkers sets of boshing techno. He’s remixed everyone from Placebo to Annie Lennox.
And now, Howie B is back with his first studio album in over five years and the first on his new label, HB Recordings.
‘Down With The Dawn’ is a warped ride through the mind of the Scottish talent, veering away from the often conceptual approach of his other albums to instead create an assemblage of the multifarious musical trajectories that he frequents. Free from any shackles of working with and molding another artist’s sounds, Howie allows himself total musical freedom on this record - and the results are wildly varied and captivating.
This album is also his most collaborative effort to date, with the likes of Gavin Friday (Virgin Prunes), Joe Hirst (Bloc Party/DJ Shadow/jarvis Cocker) and Italian musicians Riccardo Tesio and Gianni Maroccolo working alongside him.
The futuristic bombast of ‘Frankie’s City’ kicks the album into life while the lolloping ambient acid of ‘Run Always’ harks back to some of his most slumberous past works. There’s the self-explanatory quirk of ‘Kazoo’, the mellifluous warmth of the title track, and the hypnotic introspection of ‘Can I Close My Eyes’. The whirling synths and lo-fi glitch of ‘Ganzi’ are clinically juxtaposed by the hushed chimes and barely-there beat of ‘Heaven’, while the yearning synth-strings of ‘Authentication’ are an unexpected piece of intense emotion following in their wake. ‘Master Inch Mile Haunch’ comes laden with brooding, dark tones, ‘Night Nice’ brings some hazy electronic dub to the table, and ‘Summers Flower’ brings the album to a close with the album’s only vocal performance – a fittingly haunting one to fit with the track’s ghost-of-trip-hop aesthetic.
‘Down With The Dawn’ is a quietly thrilling album, providing a refreshing antidote to the overly-processed and predictable sounds of today – and one that will speak volumes to both lovers of Howie’s back catalogue and curious new audiences alike.
Through his label Pussyfoot, his series of artist albums with Polydor under his own name (plus others as Skylab and various aliases) Howie B built up his own reputation as a formidable artist in tandem with his growing prowess as a production genius across the ‘90s and 2000s.
His output has grown ever more diverse in scope in recent years, with projects including creating a score for a show at the Milan Planetarium, working as creative director for Italian fashion house Fornarina, writing soundtracks for four Chinese feature films in the last four years as well as scoring independent films including ‘Dollhouse’, ‘How To sell A Banksy’ and ‘Rabbit’ and most recently the end title music (co-written with Robbie Robertson and Matthew McConaughey) for Martin Scorsese’s new film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.
01 - Frankies City ft. Joe Hirst
02 - Run Always
03 - Kazoo
04 - Down WIth The Dawn ft. Gianni Maroccolo
05 - Can I Close My Eyes
06 - Ganzi
07 - Heaven Part 1
08 - Authentication
09 - Master Inch Mile Haunch
10 - Night Nice
11 - Summers Flower ft. Gavin Friday
This particular artwork for Ganzi which is irish for sweater/jumper features a pop art take on the classic forties and fifties sweater girls pin-ups. Sweater girls were girls in very tight sweaters who service men usually stuck up in their lockers. The cover features a multiple of an idealized sweater girl.
The creative style of the album artwork is driven by ASCII art a form of computer graphics that dates back to the very first computers, computers that had no graphics capabilities and no monitors also. Back then the programmer would type code in a machine using a punched card system and the results of the work were printed out on large rolls of paper. In the downtime they began to create ASCII art which was printed out an stuck on computer room walls. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange and it represent all the characters present on a computer keyboard.
The first pieces were created completely manually. The art style for Howie takes all aspects of ASCII and grows it through the campaign, it is derived from designer Mat Cooks hazy memories of his schools Commodore PET machine and his personal VIC20. The campaign started with the familiar flashing cursor on the top left hand side of the Howie B website and has grown into Howies world. The code for the campaign has been corrupted and damaged using a variety of modern design computer programs and thus only could have been created in 2014.
The look (Analogue to Digital) was a graphic gag celebrating Howie a master of the electronic returning. Howies production processes are being visually paralleled, he uses the latest production equipment yet creates sounds using a vast array of old and intriguing electronic musical instruments _ the visual is a parallel to the creative process.