Update: Raw Fusion
By Christine Moritz
The Stockholm-based Raw
Fusion label and its founder Mad Mats have been busy since RE:UP
last caught up with them for Manual 009.
In early 2006, the label
signed the British project Spiritual South, best known for the dancefloor
stormer "Green Gold," a Latin house-flavored tune released
in 2003 on Afro Art.
In March, Raw Fusion
and its sublabel Jugglin' went to Miami Beach for the Winter Music
Conference. At the club Jazid, Raw Fusion hosted a party featuring
the label's Freddie Cruger (a.k.a. Red Astaire) and Mad Mats, along
with kindred musical spirits Quantic and Rich Medina.
Over the course of the
year, Raw Fusion and Jugglin' released 12-inches by artists from
all over the world: Polish jazz/funk/broken-beatsters Innocent Sorcerers,
Japanese jazz band Quasimode, French soul producer Simbad, British
house/broken-beat producer Zumen, German project Aphro Pzyko (one-half
of Inverse Cinematics), and Swedish hip-hop crew Up Hygh, as well
as full-lengths by Up Hygh and fellow hip-hop duo Hearin' Aid.
In October, the monthly
DJ event from which the Raw Fusion label took its name celebrated
its 10th anniversary at its regular home, the Stockholm club Mosebacke.
Mad Mats headlined, with support from Raw Fusion residents DJ Asparagus
and MC Aaron Phiri.
Since 1996, the Raw Fusion
eventoriginally named Fusionhas welcomed more than 150 guest DJs,
among them King Britt, Bugz in the Attic, the late Jay Dee, Vikter
Duplaix, Goldie, Matthew Herbert, James Lavelle, Jazzanova, Peter
Kruder, LTJ Bukem, Nuspirit Helsinki, Osunlade, Gilles Peterson,
United Future Organization, Louie Vega, and Andrew Weatherall. Fittingly,
the music for the anniversary affair surveyed all the genres played
during the eclectic event's past decade: hip-hop, R&B, disco,
house, jazz, funk, soul, Latin, drum'n'bass, broken beat, and more.
The October release of
Freddie Cruger's long-anticipated debut full-length Soul Search
was perhaps the 2006 occurrence with the widest-reaching impact
for Raw Fusion/Jugglin'. A blend of hip-hop, reggae, dub, R&B,
soul, funk, Latin, and jazz, the album was licensed to Ubiquity
for the United States and Canada, Creative Vibes for Australia,
and Tru Thoughts for the rest of the world.
The dominant sensibility
of Soul Search is hip-hop; the album features guest MCing
by Americans Anthony David, Cee-Rock, Swingfly, and Rapadon, as
well as Swedish rapper ADL. Not to be overlooked, however, are the
soulful reggae vocals of Jamaica's Desmond Foster and the R&B
vocals of Sweden's Linn. The album ranges from the dubby "Running
from Love" to the feel-good "Bap Yo Head," and channels
retro hip-shaking melodies on "I Wanna Make You Move"
and "Something Good."
In early November during
the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, the Raw Fusion crew performed
at three events. First came a Scion-sponsored afternoon/evening
event, with a live set by Melo and DJ sets by Freddie Cruger, Mad
Mats, and Up Hygh. That same night, the three DJs spun at Turntables
on the Hudson. The following night, they played at Brooklyn Bridges,
an event hosted by Chris Annibell (a.k.a. Osiris).
Late November saw the
release of Spiritual South's "Hullabaloo," a housey Latin
nujazz collaboration with Singapore-based producer Sweetalker Sleepwalker.
Backed with a bossa version of Nat King Cole's "Calypso Blues,"
the tune has garnered praise from Gilles Peterson and numerous other
Raw Fusion ended 2006
with a huge New Year's Eve party at the Stockholm venue YES, taking
over both floorsits regular home of Mosebacke, as well as
the Södra Teatern. After a break in January 2007, the Raw Fusion
monthly resumes in February.
February and March 2007
will see a flurry of activity for the Raw Fusion label, as it releases
four 12-inches: Arch_typ's "Detroit Bounce" EP; Future
Beat Investigators' "Forthosewhoknow" EP; Demetrius Price's
"No Holdin' Back," backed with a remix by Markus Enochson;
and Simbad's "Supersonic Revelation," with remixes by
Marathon Men and Karizma. There's no rest for Sweden's issuers of