Tag Archives: matthew halsall

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Preview: Mammal Hands debut LP ‘Animalia’ on Gondwana Records


Mammal Hands are the newest signing to Matthew Halsall’s renowned Gondwana Records, and follows two dope recent albums for the label from Matthew (When The World Was One) and GoGo Penguin (v2.0).

Pre-order the CD and digital over at Gondwana’s Bandcamp page, and listen to track previews over at Kudos.

The album’s produced by Matthew Halsall. Find out more info about these guys in the press release below, and catch them on Facebook, Twitter  and their own site.


1. Mansions Of Millions Of Years
2. Snow Bough
3. Kandaiki
4. Spinning The Wheel
5. Bustle
6. Inuit Party
7. Street Sweeper
8. Tiny Crumb 


Press release:

Mammal Hands are a trio of like-minded musicians: Nick Smart keyboards, Jesse Barrett drums and tabla, and Jordan Smart saxophones. Drawing on influences from Steve Reich to Bonobo and Pharoah Sanders to Cinematic Orchestra, alongside elements of North Indian and African music, they produce their own beautiful, inimitable music – at times wistful and melancholic and others raucous and catchy. They evoke a range of moods, from delicate and subtle to explosive and frantic, blending thoughtful compositions with spontaneity and interplay.  On the road they have been wooing audiences from the Norwich Arts Centre to Mostly Jazz Birmingham, King’s Place London, Band On The Wall Manchester and most recently Love Supreme Glynde. Indeed it was at Mostly Jazz that the band were heard by Gondwana Records recording artists GoGo Penguin’s bassist Nick Blacka, who liking the band’s unique sound brought them to the attention of label boss Matthew Halsall, who immediately signed them to the label and has now produced their sublime debut album, Animalia, which is released on 15th September.




Mammal Hands met in April 2012, while busking in Norwich. They gelled quickly, drawn to each other’s open approach to music making. The brothers Nick and Jordan were already playing together as an electronica duo but with drummer Jesse joining the band they developed a distinctive sound drawing on their love of electronic, contemporary classical, world and jazz music. Drummer Jesse’s knowledge and understanding of Indian Classical music brings a unique/distinctive approach to the rhythmic framework of the band’s tunes. His disciplined study with tabla maestro Sirishkumar has allowed him to develop the ability to explore intricate and complex rhythmic patterns and the freedom to explore time signatures and rhythmic patterns less commonly heard in the western world. Jordan brings a love of DJ culture as well as the influence of Pharoah Sanders to his playing whilst pianist Nick brings a knowledge of classical Jazz harmonies but also a deep interest in the minimalist composers (Terry Riley, Steve Reich) which has influenced his compositional approach, striving to create hypnotic, rhythmic patterns that can provide a foundation for Jordan and Jesse to build on. It is this unique combination of influences and their unusual baseless line-up that makes Mammal Hands’ sound so distinctive.



Brilliantly produced by Matthew Halsall and recorded at his home away from home, 80 Hertz Studio, in Manchester, and engineered by George AtkinsAnimalia opens with the lyrical Mansions Of Million Years, a slow building tune that takes it’s name from Egyptian mythology and draws the listener into the band’s distinctive sound world. Snow Bough is a short, melancholic, but moving, ambient composition which gives way to the gorgeous, hooky Kandaiki which makes stunning use of looped melodies in different time signatures, creating a wonderful interplay between the parts. Some of the melodies are inspired by Irish folk music as is the down tempo, but anthemic, Spinning the Wheel, which also features drum beats inspired by chopped up electronic drum patterns and hip hop instrumentals. The jaunty Bustle is a frantic, upbeat tune with slower breaks for melodic fragments and hints at the influence of bassist Avishai Cohen’s hugely influential trio, whereas the delightful Inuit Party moves from a downtempo section through groove to end on a hint of free-jazz and Street Sweeper is inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s orchestral music. Finally the album closes with Tiny Crumb, which explores melodic ideas inspired by Alice Coltrane and Joe Henderson and builds in intensity from a quiet start to a powerful collective improvisation and heavily features Jesse’s Tabla. It is this mixture of quietness and intensity that gives Mammal Hands their unique flavor and that marks them out as the breakthrough band of 2014.



Matthew Halsall, GoGo Penguin & Mammal Hands live in June, Band on the Wall



Fresh from a guest appearance on Mr Scruff’s new long player Friendly Bacteria, Matthew Halsall is prepping the release of new album When The World Was One on 16th June. Released on his own Gondwana Records label and with ongoing and dedicated support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Matthew continues to mature into one of the country’s finest and most well respected jazz musicians.

This date will see him accompanied by the Gondwana Orchestra, consisting of Matt on trumpet, Jordan Smart on saxophones, Lisa Mallett on flute, Rachel Gladwin on harp, Taz Modi on keys, Gavin Barras on double bass and Luke Flowers on drums.

The night before will see the mighty Go Go Penguin take to the stage, with the newest Gondwana signing Mammal Hands in support.

Buy tickets for both events at the Band on the Wall at their website on the below links.

Have a listen to Matt’s ongoing DJ mix selections on his Soundcloud!

Matthew Halsall album launch

GoGo Penguin and Mammal Hands

Read reviews of When The World Was One at The Guardian, All About Jazz, Marlbank and The Times.

Keep an eye out for upcoming events and news at.gondwanarecords.com.

Further ahead, you can catch Gondwana brethren Nat Birchall at BOTW in July as part of Manchester Jazz Festival.

Listen to and purchase Gondwana music at the Bandcamp.

Preview: Matthew Halsall and the Gondwana Orchestra – When The World Was One


Buzz is building nicely for this, from the likes of longtime Halsall fan Gilles Peterson amongst others.

Pre-order the album, which is available on vinyl too, over at Bandcamp; it’s out June 16 2014.

WIN! Tickets to Manchester Tru Thoughts showcase with Werkha & Harleighblu + Matthew Halsall

MOF.TRU A6 flyer final44


Easter Thursday sees Manchester crew Mind on Fire join forces with the mighty Tru Thoughts record label to present a heavy night at the most consistently solid venue in Manchester, Band on the Wall.

WERKHA – with live guests (Tru Thoughts)
HARLEIGHBLU – live (Tru Thoughts)
MATTHEW HALSALL – DJ set (Gondwana Records)

Grab Werkha’s Beacons EP here and Harleighblu’s debut album ‘Forget Me Not’ here. Matt Halsall’s Gondwana Records have just dropped the amazing new GoGo Penguin album here.

TO WIN TICKETS – share this post on Facebook or Twitter, or email me (j @ groovement.co.uk) with the subject line MIND ON TRU THOUGHTS with your full name. Winners announced WED 16 APRIL 2014. 




8pm-2am at The Forum

Tickets: £12.50 Early Birds, £19.50 Advance, £22.50 Late Buyers, more on the door

  • Seun Kuti & Fela’s Egypt 80 (live)
  • Jazzanova ft Paul Randolph (live)
  • Matthew Halsall (live)
  • plus very special guests
Another smasher from the guys at Soundcrash. Matthew Halsall joins two giants for a unique London gig.
Check Groovement’s Jazzanova interview from a couple of years back here. Find out much more about Matthew Halsall here!
Press release:

Soundcrash presents a celebration of live Jazz in its many variants; from Seun Kuti’s devastatingly infectious Afrobeat to Jazzanova’s love affair with electronica and Matthew Halsall’s deep spiritual jazz. We’re in for a very special evening of music excellence. Join us!

With the mighty From Africa With Fury: Rise, Seun Anikulapo Kuti heads up Egypt 80, the extraordinary combo first fronted by his father, the legendary Fela Kuti. The album sees Seun, who began performing with Egypt 80 when he was just 9 years old, find his own idiosyncratic voice as songwriter, singer, and bandleader. Its songs and sonic approach are marked by a provocative edge, militant precision and mature self-assurance, setting the classic Egypt 80 sound in the modern era. The band’s explosive power, fraught with the scorching rhythms and kinetic funk energy has rightfully earned the group worldwide acclaim as, in the words of Brian Eno, some of the “biggest, wildest, livest music on the planet”

The Jazzanova collective belongs to a small, worldwide group of incredibly influential innovators of dancefloor, jazz, broken beat, funk and soul. Their signature sounds are guaranteed to take you on a trip, mixing and matching genres as wide ranging as the hip hop that remains their roots, Brazilian samba and the ever elegant and precise German techno. Their worldwide travel only ensures the diversity of this palette, and with the implementation of a live band to augment their sound and the elegant vocal tones of Paul Randolph you are sure to be treated to something very special indeed. Tonight Jazzanova will be performing live with their 9 piece band. Don’t miss out.

Manchester based trumpeter Matthew Halsall is one of the UK’s brightest talents. A gifted trumpeter with a beautiful, expressive tone, his music draws on his love of the transcendental spiritual and modal jazz of Alice and John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as more contemporary dance music and electronica and has won him fans from Gilles Peterson to MOJO Magazine. Influenced by the likes of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Portico Quartet, Flying Lotus, Madlib, Alice & John Coltrane and Erik Truffaz, Matthew Halsall’s new band takes his beautiful, melodic music into warped new territories as the trumpeter explores new sonic textures using a combination delays, reverbs and loop pedal effects. Pianist Taz Modi (Submotion Orchestra) supplies the additional chords and deep sub bass lines on Fender Rhodes and Moog Rogue and the mighty drummer Luke Flowers (of The Cinematic Orchestra) adds his trademark groove.


Matthew Halsall celebrates the release of new album Fletcher Moss Park with a hometown gig that’s sure to sell out, with support from GoGo Penguin (whose album is out on Matt’s Gondwana label in a couple of weeks). This gig sees Matt in trio form rather than the extended line-up, so expect a more experimental evening.

Visuals from Manchester’s most creative Norvun Devolution.

Details and tickets here. Facebook event here.

Inbetween sounds come from Gondwana’s own Nat Birchall.

Listen to and buy Fletcher Moss Park at the Gondwana Bandcamp or below.

Gondwana site

Matthew Halsall site  GoGo Penguin site 


Matthew Halsall is a Manchester based trumpeter who I first met back at Sketch City, the Sunday arts session the Hoya Hoya boys used to run. DJ Woody was chopping up some of his horns, as it were, as Matt told me he was getting a CD out on his own label. I found out Matt also DJ’d, and for a time played hip hop and beats to the students of Liverpool of a Monday evening. The ‘beats’ side of Matt is still very much apparent with the Matt Halsall Trio, whose repertoire includes an Aphex Twin cover – you might catch this incarnation playing with the likes of Portico Quartet.

A recent example of Matt’s refusal to keep to one jazz stereotype is the recent Holmfirth gig he orchestrated, which saw the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band playing some of his work. Check them here covering his cover of Cinematic Orchestra‘s Ode To The Big Sea (as a side note, the Cinematics’ drummer Luke Flowers often plays and records with Matt).

Fletcher Moss Park is Matthew’s latest album, and further cements his place as a modern jazz genius. On The Go, previous to this release, won Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Award for best jazz album and a MOBO nomination for the same, so no pressure there. Check it out below together with the rest of his back catalogue on the Bandcamp embeds.

I’m now working with Matt’s label, Gondwana Records, on a few bits and bobs so it seemed only right to share the sounds. Their catalogue also includes saxophonist and reggae selector Nat Birchall, plus the much-hyped GoGo Penguin whose debut is out in a couple of weeks.

Check Matt’s new site, with tour dates and buy links, here.

Listen to Fletcher Moss Park

Listen to On The Go

Listen to Colour Yes

Listen to Sending My Love

Focus: MATTHEW HALSALL on Bandcamp

Photo taken by Jos L Knaepen @ C-mine Jazz Festival


Matthew Halsall, trumpeter and Gondwana Records label boss


All three albums now available to download on Bandcamp



Spiritual jazz with a modern vibe.


Gondwana Records head honcho Matthew Halsall has had quite the 2012, with his MOBO nomination and subsequent winning of Best Jazz Album at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards.

This past Friday Matt hit the stage in Séte, France, for the Worldwide Festival, and at the end of June worked with a 28 piece brass band in Holmfirth to reinterpret his own tracks. He’s got an amazing release about to drop from another Gondwana Records artist to top the year off too.

Get involved by downloading his three albums from Bandcamp at a ridiculously cheap price.



ON THE GO (2011)



Reach: MATTHEW HALSALL with BRIGHOUSE & RASTRICK BAND // Holmfirth 16 June 2012

A project Matt’s been working on a while now comes to fruition on the 16 June 2012, when he performs with a brass band in Holmfirth. The Brighouse & Rastrick Band are UK national champions for the second year running!

Facebook event

Buy tickets from Holmfirth Arts Festival site

Find out more about Brighouse & Rastrick

Matthew Halsall’s Gondwana Records 

Scott Carey’s on the artwork, check his show below or at Radio Republic where a fine roster of artists, including our pal John Robb of Louder Than War, bring the selections.