There are few people within the Amsterdam music scene that have been such a big influence as Jamie Tiller and his crew in recent years. The London native, who recently relocated to Berlin from Amsterdam, is responsible for the highly respected Music From Memory which he co-runs with partners-in-crime Tako Reyenga and Abel Nagelgast of Redlight Records. Jamie, who’s also part of the original Redlight-crew would fill the racks of this influential store with many finds from his digging trips through Europe. Being an integral part of this, it will be no surprise that Jamie is a close and very dear friend of the Red Light Radio-team as well. Besides putting out celebrated unreleased and overlooked electronic gems with his label, it may be said that Jamie has been one of the finest local DJs around lately playing well known festivals and parties all around the world. From African proto-house to oddball Euro boogie and the kind of 80’s Japanese Synth-Pop records that sound like the best new dance music you’ve never heard; blending them together is no big deal for the master mind himself.
With his Liner Notes mix for Red Light Radio and Sonos, Jamie comes up with that exact combination and balance of records. Picking everything from Italian ambient, Jamaican reggae and dub, French pop, hidden Brazilian gems and much more in between, it reflects a diverse record bag that many would surely be jealous of. Whilst Jamie explains that he “recorded this mix on one of the hottest days of the year” it’s completely driven by a certain time and mood rather than a specific genre of music. “I always try and avoid mixes driven by genre or any musical dogmas. For me, that’s the challenge; how I can connect all this music I love, which can be from many sources in several musical styles from completely different times and places and turn it into something that makes sense or tells a story. Maybe even putting music together that isn’t supposed to go together”, Jamie says. And that’s how the tone is set.
Jamie’s stunning opening record ‘Zona D’Ombra’ (don’t confuse it with the movie!) was written, produced and recorded in 1983 by Francesco Messina himself and co-arranged by Robert Cacciapaglia. Birds twittering softly on the background, whilst the synths slowly kick-start the serene vibes that will mostly prevail the first records on Jamie’s mix. Putting out three albums and two EPs during his career, Messina’s ‘Harem’ 7” is the only place to find this beautiful piece of ambient music. “I discovered Francesco Messina’s music by chance about 8 years ago searching for disco funnily enough; one Italian record dealer had uploaded a bunch of things he was selling to YouTube, mostly all disco but amongst them the ‘Prati Bagnati Del Monte Analogo’. This record totally blew my mind and seemed little known, or at least much less so than the eighties work which was popular in the Italian ‘Cosmic’ scene during the 1980s. Finding little info about it, I luckily managed to track down the ‘Prati Bagnati’ LP from a Japanese store for what turned out to be a fraction of the price it now goes for. That LP was later reissued a few years ago, but his 1980s work I find equally incredible,” Jamie explains.
“There’s Steve Reich in here - I’m in love!”, someone wrote in the Soundcloud comments for this track. Jamie’s pick of this wonderful recent release from Motion Graphics was released this year on the never disappointing Future Times, run by Maxmillion Dunbar (1/2 of Beautiful Swimmers). It’s no coincidence that the New York based Motion Graphics - better known as Joe Williams - joined the well-known label. Years ago, Williams used to make music as White Williams, but also served as a member of Dunbar’s Lifted ensemble. His first ever single under this pseudonym was his ‘Brass Mechanics’, which was followed up by his same-titled album on Domino not soon after. The Reich-comment clearly is one thing that suits the mesmerizing feels ‘Brass Mechanics’ shows. Floating on minimalism, whilst the sound of mechanics knock you down softly.
Jamie is a man of his crew. Playing this new gem by one of the most talented producers and good friend of Jamie’s - Los Angeles born but Amsterdam based Suzanne Kraft (Diego Herrera) - will clearly be no surprise to anyone. Kraft’s crazy yet intelligent soft house already found home to many labels and ended up in fantastic releases. His unique way of creating music that crosses paths with ambient, electronic and house makes heads turn. The ‘City Boy (Ambient Mix)’ by his new alias D will see the light as the first release on P&D Records, a new label set up by Kraft himself along with long-time friend Parker Harris, which is soon to launch. And again, Kraft delivers as always with a simple yet moody ambient mix. “This young man can do no wrong of late”, Jamie adds. Big up, Kraft!
Jamie sticks to his ambient-vibes with ‘Lonely Planet’: a cut from the eagerly awaited album and forthcoming Running Back-release of Tornado Wallace. Wallace has been at the fore-front of a new wave of Australian house producers in recent years and with this new release sees him revealing a more ambient, poppy side to his music productions. Setting up the Melbourne party and record label Animals Dancing, Wallace recently relocated to Berlin and released an EP on Second Circle, the sub label of cult Amsterdam archivists Music From Memory, run by Jamie and Tako Reyenga, which makes the connection between the two music heads even more clear.
Step by step, Jamie slowly moves to the part where it gets more obvious that he has been recording this on one of the sunniest days of this year. Richard Kruza’s ‘Clockwork Nostalgy (Motorikus Nosztalgia)’ perfects this move with its easy yet strangely danceable electronic new age. Richard Kruza, who was a predominantly jazz musician who normally goes by the name of Ryszard Ludomir Kruza, was born in Poland in 1939, though he was raised in Hungary where this track was recorded and released. As a music composer and vocalist, his talents layed within playing the vibraphone, key instruments, synthesizer, piano and percussion, which were all heard in this fascinating Polish piece that was released in 1988. Summer joy!
Sometimes you get attracted to the sleeve, sometimes the artist name already makes enough impression. In this case, it should’ve been both to Jamie. Having spent a number of months in Japan looking for records back in the years 2008/2009, Jamie made many Japanese discoveries of which some of them you can hear within his cult mix ‘Evening Shadows’ (deeplink: https://soundcloud.com/jamietiller/evening-shadows-mix-2010) that introduced many people to the wonders of Japanese music from the 1980s
Free jazz, fusion, future jazz and electro in one by Japanese guitarist Masayoshi Takanaka debouched into ‘Noon’. Takanaka released over 57 records during his career, with this one being released in 1983. Whilst well-known for being part of rock outfit Sadistic Mika Band, he created this solo-jam for Universal Music Japan in 2006. Tropical, sweet vibes taking over. Jamie: “This record appears on the Japanese label Kitty Records which released the much sought after Imitation’s ‘Muscle and Heat’ as well as Hiroshi Sato’s ‘Orient’ to name a few.”
A typical Jamie record. French lyrics, obsessing claps, danceable synths and drums; it’s all in here. The synth-pop chanson from France was only released on a single and is highly wanted by many. The French disco band Bandolero was formed in 1983 by José and Carlos Perez, also known as The Perez Brothers, and Djill. Their career mostly lasted between the eighties and nineties, wherein they put out seven several EPs, all unique in their own kind.
Brazilian vibes incoming! Brazilian artist and actress Fafá de Belem’s ‘Doce Misterio’ is this Latin master piece which continues the emotive use of synths. Whilst it was released somewhat strangely on French label Vogue it also appears on a German compilation and a Brazilian LP pressing, that proved that Fafá put out yet again an emotional yet touching piece. Fafá was known as a national figure, producing both music as films and TV and released many, many records.
Continuing the Brazilian-adventure, Jamie includes Viva Voz’s ‘Trip Tropical / Fugitivos De Azul’ from 1984. Having released five records during the span of their career, this now much sought after and amazing single is one of the true favourites. This boogie and funk piece is accompanied by the classical Brazilian lyrics. Tropical-it-up, Jamie!
Let’s start with an explanation to this one. Jamie: “This is a James Pole aka Calypso Steve Waterlooplein 50 cent discovery” James Pole - the man co-running Redlight Records - is known for having the incredible talent of finding rare gems at flea markets. Carita’s ‘Pussy Cat is obviously one of them. Who the woman that is Carita exactly is, is still a mystery. This record, which was released on Hamedi Records, was her only single during her career. Next to that, Carita used to act as well and played in the movie The Green Ray from 1986, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. However, this poppy ‘Pussy Cat’ track reflects her inadequate yet cute English including French accent (“I’m not your pussy cat anymore! Stop playing games, I mean what I say. I’m fed up with this life, I want to be free.”), and gives some fantastic old school pop and disco feels.
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love Sade? Probably not. This The Tamlins’ dub reggae version of ‘Hang On To Your Love’ gives a Caribbean touch to Sade’s love tragedy. Next to that, it reminds us of another Sade cover played by Jamie and now much in demand, namely The Rebles’ version of ‘Sweet Taboo’. Jamie: “I took a two euro guess on this Tamlins LP at a record fair in Ghent a few years ago as I saw it had what I guessed was a version of the Sade classic on, which I’m a big sucker for. It turned out to be great. When I got home I discovered there was a 12”, so I grabbed it cheap for some extended goodness plus dub version.”
The Tamlins, originally formed by Derrick Lara, Carlton Smith and Sylvanus Moore, are responsible for quite a catalogue. The Jamaican reggae and dub vocal group started in seventies and are among the most recognized back-up singers within reggae. After years of international touring in support of Peter Tosh, backing John Holt, Delroy Wilson, Pat Kelly and many more, they gained wider attention for their Sly and Robbie produced version of Randy Newman’s ‘Baltimore’, released in 1980.
Jamaica, Jamaica! Jamie is taking us around the world within one proper hour. Jennifer Lara’s ‘Big Surprise’ is part of her ‘Week-End Loving’ album from 1985, released on Black Solidarity. Lara was born in 1953 as a cousin of The Tamlins member Derrick Lara, and was introduced to the recording studio in 1969 for the first time ever by keyboardist Richard Ace. It was her who did many background vocals for artists such as Delroy Wilson, Dennis Brown and Freddie McGregor. ‘Big Surprise’ gives a soulful touch to the funky beat and vocals. “All I need right now is you! Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, baby..”.
And then Jamie closes off with Bovick’s ‘Exo 7’. “I found this at a store in Berlin. Berlin is pretty tough for digging these days as many big cities are I guess as every record store and dealer has begun to check every record on their Iphone. Still thankfully there are some nice unknown records to be discovered out there which seem to pass both record store owner and record dealer by”. Romantic vibes with Bovick Bondo Gala’s jazzy and African creation. With loads of people working on this Safran put-out, there’s less known about the artist himself and this France pressing in general. What a ride this was.