Google+ Beathearts: Mark de Clive-Lowe - Church (track-by-track album walkthrough)


Mark de Clive-Lowe - Church (track-by-track album walkthrough)

Last week after the Myele Manzanza show at Fasching Jazz Club in Stockholm we got the first sneak preview into to the long awaited upcoming Mark de Clive-Lowe Church album. The album is the recorded version of his legendary live experience set in New York and L.A called Church. Mark was generous enough to give us a track-by-track walkthrough of the album.

Last time we met (2012) we were talking about the possibility of putting the Church experience on wax and keeping our fingers crossed. Now, through Kickstarter funding, it's almost here! Tell us about the album!

It's in mastering right now. It's funny because it was supposed to be for a specific label. But then there were all kinds of label politics and I waited a year the decided I wanted to do it for myself. So that's when I decided to do a Kickstarter. And that was scary.

Especially because I grew up in the old model. I dig the new model but Kickstarter is a step beyond the new model. It's truly transparent and you find out if the people truly support me or not. But it worked out!

I worked very hard to make it work. It made it possible to make the record the way I wanted to make it. To get the people I wanted to work with. This will be the official launch of my Mashibeats label and I'm partnering with Ropeadope in America. The record will be out late May or early June and I'm super excited it will finally come out!

Mark de Clive-Lowe - Church (track-by-track walkthrough)

1.The Mission featuring John Robinson 5.41
John's great! He's been a resident for our Church shows in New York. Most of records was recorded in New York and a little bit was done in L.A. He's got a real nineties flow and a great story teller. He came through a crew called Science of Life who worked with MF Doom. The track is like a hiphop vibe with an anthemic kinda horn thing going.

John asked me what I wanted and I told him that I wanted him to tell the story of Church. So in three verses he tells the story of me and the concept of Church in rhyme. Which is amazing because, on a skill level it's dope but also because records don't really have liner notes anymore so this will be the audio liner notes for the record. I think it's a nice way to open the record and explain to the people who I am and where I come from.

2.Nova Roda featuring Contramestre Xingu 1.54
I've been doing Capoeira for three or four years and it's a huge part of my life. I train four or five times a week. And my Mestre Xingu he's been great for me I love the whole concept. Both the martial art, the music and the history. So through training Capoeira I've played Berimbau so I wanted to include that.

When ever there's a show in L.A. there's always a Roda where all the Capoeiras come out and mix dancing with Capoeira. It's crazy! So, I thought let's put that on the record. It's like a two minute interlude with Berimbau and some programming. I really wanted to include all that vibe in there.

3.Brukstep 5.09
Back in the day we used to call broken beats Bruk so it's kind a hommage to my West London days. Rhythmically it's got that kind of groove. Most of the record's got two horn players on it who plays the melody. It's kind of like a dance track on the jazz tip. It's a fun vibe.

4.The Processional 5.36
It's a homage to some of the great who've gone past. Specifically Alice Coltrane, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner and J Dilla. So it's kind of my imagining all of them. There's a great talent on there called Low Leaf  - she's a harp player. She plays harp, sings, makes beats and all sort of stuff. She's playing harp on that track. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is also on that track. Just a little tribute track to the forefathers.

5.Now or Never featuring Nia Andrews 4.14
We've performed it for quite a long time but never recorded a studio version. It's been kind of a theme song a Church. I was working on the track and actually was going to have someone else sing on it and she heard it and said "hey, this is me!". She wrote this amazing song called "A love letter to her wildest dreams" which is what it is. It's a fun jam.

6.Ghaziya 4.22
It's related to belly dancers. A Ghaziya is a middle eastern dancer and the track has kind of a middle eastern flavor to it. I've been playing with a group called Ethio Cali and we do a lot of mulato music together. So I guess I wrote that piece a bit inspired by my time with that group.

Ghaziya also means conqueror. So, I like the combination of a dance vibe and the conqueror aspect. It just felt right.

7.Sketch for Miguel 5.57
I was in South Africa, I had a day off and I thought I'd write some music. I wrote something very specific for Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. How I feel about him as a musician and how he sounds. So he played on that and it's a beautiful piece of music. Jamire Williams is on there as well. On the drums for ERIMAJ. Miguel is an artist I love collaborating with. He's just a great musician and great to work with.

8.Hollow featuring Nia Andrews 4.34
There's a lot of pain in that song. It's about nothing going right. It's like that moment in life when you're soaring in the sky but then your wings get clipped and you can't fly anymore. But all you want to do is fly. It's sounds kind of depressing but it's also very hopeful because I think there's a universal feeling about it that I think a lot of people have experienced. And it's something we overcome. That was important for me and Nea really captured that. She sounds incredible on that track. I think it's the best she's ever sounded.

It's funny, Bahamadia recently released a track also entitled "Hollow" with Swedish art/music collective MELO talking about the state of the word (read the whole story here). Did you hear that track yet?

No, but I have to check it out! I worked with Bahamadia on the Politik album. She's great!

9.Prayer 2.20
I was with the band in the studio and I wanted to make sure we had a couple of interludes on the record. Things that capture the vibe and the emotion of the project but no whole pieces. Those kind of moments we play together and you don't know what's going to happen and you just trust in the music. To me that's kind of a prayer.

10.Imam (composed by Abdullah Ibrahim) 4.14
I love Abdullah Ibrahim. I love the South African vibe. Both Hugh Masakela, Ibrahim, Miriam Makeba - it's such a great soulfulness to their music. When I first heard the tune I loved it and we started to playing it out live a lot at Church shows. So when it came to the record it made sense I wanted to do my own version of it. t was a fun way to connect South Africa to the project. It's a fun, funky joint.

11.Sun Up Sun Down featuring theeKIDICARUS 5.07
(performed live at the Myele Manzanza show)
On the record there's KIDICARUS as a guest vocalist. He came through by working with a lot of stuff with Pharrell and Chad Hugo. He's from Virginia. He's an MC. Musically the track got a West London kind a vibe to it but also very influenced by Ornette Coleman, a 50's free jazz player. And Art Blakey as well. So it's kind of a combination of the jazz thing and the beats vibe.

KIDICARUS was in L.A. for a while. He's kind of gone under the radar for most people. I don't usually let people jump up on the stage during shows but he was cool. As an MC he didn't have a hiphop vibe but more of contemporary vibe to him.

12.Mason’s Galaxy (composed by Charles Earland) 5.10
It's from a Charles Earland record called "Leaving this planet". I did a version of the title track a few years ago. It's a great record and this track's got a real spooky vibe. Harvey Mason plays on the original track so I guess that's why Charles named it "Mason's Galaxy"? And I've been playing a lot with Harvey as well with his band so it just all made sense to include the piece.

Charles Earland - Mason's Galaxy (1973)

It's kind of a halfway thing between dubstep and a broken vibe. It's pretty mental. I can't wait to hear that in a club. And Nea Andrews guests again on a part of the outro. It's a fun, dark, breakbeat kind of vibe.

I think the whole record is very eclectic  when it comes to BPM perhaps but it's very cohesive with that most of it was recorded in one session in New York and the rest was one session in L.A. And the band is very cohesive. The same musicians through most of it. So it's nice to have everyone bring their own personality to it and their experience to the music I had written.

Have you set a release date yet?
It was supposed to be May 27th but right now it depends on artwork. As soon as the artwork is done I will now. But I'm hoping for May 27th.

I'm going to do a worldwide listening session for it for two weeks. I've done listening sessions before but this time I will be there in person. It will be L.A. New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and Auckland over two weeks. And when we land back in L.A. there will be a launch party.

Any chance of a live stream? We all love those boiler room sessions!

You know what? That particular room doesn't have WiFi set up but now that you mention it that could be fun! Boiler room sessions are great - I'll look into that! We might do a listening session in New York with Red Bull. If so that will be streamed for sure.


Mark de Clive-Lowe - compositions (except 10, 12), piano, rhodes, synths, synth bass, live sampling, live beats + electronic manipulation

Tivon Pennicott - sax+flute (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) - (Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter)
Duane Eubanks - trumpet (1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) - (Elvin Jones, Alicia Keys, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu Tang Clan)
Robin Eubanks - trombone (12) - (Art Blakey, Dave Holland)
Tim Lefebvre - bass  (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) - (Arif Marden, Tedeschi Trucks Band)
Nate Smith - drums  (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) - (Jose James, Michael Jackson, Dave Holland)

Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - viola (4, 7) - (Suite for Ma Dukes)
Josiel Perez Hernandez - trumpet (4, 7) - (Orlando Maraca Valle)
Low Leaf - harp (4) 
Ben Shepherd - bass (4, 7)
Jamire Williams - drums (2, 4, 7) - (ERIMAJ, Lonnie Smith, Robert Glasper, Kenny Garrett)
Contra Mestre Xingu - berimbau+vocals (2)
Tim Stewart - guitar (13) - (Lady Gaga, Chris Dave)

Nia Andrews - (Janelle Monae/Common)
John Robinson - (Scienz of Life, MF Doom, Renee Neufville)
theeKIDICARUS - (Pharrell, Chad Hugo, Geechi Suede)

Mixed by Ty Macklin (India Arie, Erykah Badu, The Roots)

Mastering to be done by Pete Maher (U2, King Tubby)

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