My Funky (In)Disposition´╗┐

The LF soul music blog run by music-mad Imran Mirza, in conjunction
with his Starpoint Radio show, 'The Blue-in-Green Sessions'.


"Oh sh!t!" Ben Westbeech ... [extra]

IMRAN: Hi Ben, I'm Imran, we have an interview scheduled today for 6pm?

BEN: Oh sh!t, I completely forgot!!

Ben Westbeech is a super cool dude, and I'm thankful for the article we got out of him, but it would have been remiss of me not to have included the above highlight from our chat, which makes me smile whenever I think of it.

We had some great feedback from the feature so thanks to all who read it.  Fortunately, there was enough left over though for me to provide you with an aside from the article, so my friends, I hope you enjoy the extra portion below.

LIBERATION FREQUENCY:  I checked out your Dap-Kings remix of 'So Good Today', which is brilliant! Did you guys meet up for that, or was it done via sending files, etc?
BEN WESTBEECH: I recorded new vocals for it and we sent the track over, and didn't meet up.  It's quite strange that a lot of collaborations in this day and age happen like that, because 25 years ago they couldn't have, so it's a bit strange that you don't get to meet them but they're a band who can knock out backing tracks pretty quick, and we just asked them to do it and they were up for it. It's good having a track from those guys because they're quite obviously renowned so that's quite cool.
LF: It's a shame as I think listeners like to romanticise the idea of everyone in the studio together bouncing ideas off each other?
BW: Yeah, the majority of music you hear, it's a funny one when you know how it's made, all the mystery and romance just sort of disappears, which is a real shame, but sometimes it's best to let people think it's made like that.
LF: What are your thoughts on the mp3 generation?
BW: I'm all for it, I think if you're in the industry and you're still hating on it, then it's silly as there's really nothing you can do – you either go with the flow or get stuck in the past. I think it's great, because so many people make music, but that does mean there's a lot of crap about, that's the only problem with it, you have to sift through loads of really dodgy tunes to get a good one, because everyone's making tunes on computers, which in fairness is a really good thing in itself. You get people that make music and they're amazing at it and you think ‘wow’, without this generation then it wouldn't be possible, because some may not be able to afford it or you'd have to get into a studio, but these days it's so quick and easy, anyone could do it, and I'm always uncovering loads of gems from people that are doing it.
LF: As an artist though, does it bug you?
BW: Well, it's easy to be bitter about it but you just have to get on with it and realise ‘this is the reality of it’. This is the music business now so you just have to do what you can to make good music and survive in it.  It doesn't really bother me at all – I think it's more of a positive thing than a negative one. It's so much more power to the people now, you don't need a major record label to succeed anymore which is really wicked. Not for the majors, it's not, but that's why you have so many people setting up record labels and doing really well.


Welcome all... the music blog centred solely around my inane ability to have everyone I know like exactly the same things as me - for example, have you all bought the new album by Kings Go Forth...? [wait wait wait, slow down Imran, all in good time!]

sigh ... I can see the topics of my future blogs that my one track mind is going to take you in, and I'll apologise in advance for my ramblings on the top 5 album releases from Daptone Records, my top 3 songs that Nicola Conte has played guitar on, or my favourite songs under 3 minutes long... my goodness, the topics are endless!

One of the coolest things in the world is discovering something new, so we hope that's what this site and blog can become for a lot of you as we explore the wealth of undiscovered treasures together. 

Stay in touch!



In memoriam... Guru

May 2010

Written by Imran Mirza

It was announced 18th April 2010 that Guru (Keith Elam), one-half of legendary rap group Gang Starr, sadly passed away due to suffering from cancer over the past year.  He had suffered a heart attack in February and had been in a coma since that time.

Guru’s legacy in hip-hop had been established years ago throughout his much revered work with fellow Gang Starr affiliate, DJ Premier, as pioneers in the jazz-rap sound, clocking up an incredible body of work since 1989, with albums ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ (1989), ‘Step in the Arena’ (1991), ‘Daily Operation’ (1992), ‘Hard to Earn’ (1994), ‘Moment of Truth’ (1998) and ‘The Ownerz’ (2003).

The critical acclaim, the fan adoration and the peer respect the group amassed was, and still is, immeasurable.  For me, Guru was one of my first heroes in hip-hop, which makes writing this all the more difficult.  Through him, I found myself wanting to expand my horizons and explore new styles of music, but he actually made this connection with me outside of his work in Gang Starr, and through his series of ‘Jazzmatazz’ projects.  While the basis of Gang Starr’s signature sound came from the maestro that is DJ Premier sampling vintage jazz records, Guru abandoned the sampling and recruited jazz musicians and artists like Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock and Ronny Jordan for a hip-hop / jazz fusion series that spanned 4 volumes.

‘Jazzmatazz’, to me, was nothing short of inspirational – it sounds like a conventional thing to say, but that’s what great artists do: inspire.  Guru’s lyrics always hit me like an experienced older brother was educating me on the ups and downs of life, teaching about responsibilities, always encouraging us to strive for something better, and he had an impeccable sensitivity when he relayed his tales of street hardships.

It’s always difficult for anyone to lose someone who instils a passion in them, but in this case, it’s a wonderful thing that Guru’s efforts – and most importantly, his words – will not be forgotten, and that due to the widespread coverage of his passing will hopefully be able to reach and inspire a new generation.  It’s certainly sad to note that his death has brought more questions about his personal circumstances over the last few months, and even longer than that, but I prefer to focus on the music and the legacy of which he’s left behind.

I picked out a few songs that i’d like to encourage you to check out if you’re unfamiliar  with Guru’s work, and I can only hope it will encourage some of you to explore Gang Starr’s or the ‘Jazzmatazz’ work more extensively.

Gone, but not forgotten... Guru!

'Full Clip' - Gang Starr

'Royalty' - Gang Starr featuring K-Ci & Jojo

'Loungin' - Guru featuring Donald Byrd

'Jazz Thing' - Gang Starr

'Plenty' - Guru featuring Erykah Badu


Ana Silvera celebrates new single, 'Hometown'

Written by Imran Mirza

One of our most beloved acts here at Liberation Frequency, this month celebrates the release of her first single, ‘Hometown’.

Having been recorded between London and New York, and produced by the likes of Ray Singer (Peter Sarstedt, Japan, David Sylvian) and Brad Albetta (Rufus Wainwright, Willie Nelson), patience for the full-length album is something we hope we won't need too much more of, but ‘Hometown’ is certainly enough to tide us over. 

Lucky fans in attendance at the Purcell Rooms, Thursday 11th March were treated to live renditions of many of the forthcoming album’s tracks, including favourites, ‘All The King’s Horses’ and ‘Salome’, as well as 'Hometown’.  Accompanied by Marco Susino and the Santiago Quartet, the songs were presented with the precision, warmth and charm we’ve come to expect, but it’s the excellence Silvera displays in each of these qualities that still manages to make us feel like it’s the first time you’re experiencing one of her incredible live performances. 

There’s a consistent enchantment to Silvera that oozes out of her music and it’s a quality captured throughout ‘Hometown’ - the rich strings and piano all paint the lavish backdrop for Silvera's rich voice to soar over, making it a distinguished choice for a first single.

As if that wasn’t enough, lucky Liberation Frequency readers are in for a further treat as we’re also able to present an exclusive free download of Ana Silvera’s cover of Toto’s ‘Rosanna’ for you to enjoy, so click the link on the home page for your free download!

Please click here to read our exclusive interview and feature on Ana Silvera


Junkyard Scientists - say it ain't so?!

Written by Imran Mirza

It's with a heavy heart that I announce to you all that friends of Liberation Frequency, the Junkyard Scientists, have announced they're calling it a day.  The London-based soul/funk band, who have an incredible self-titled release under their belts (available to purchase from Itunes), will be playing their final gig this Friday 18th December in Reading, and we really urge whoever is available to attend that they please do - the group are famed for their live performances so we guarantee you a great night!

The below was the announcement from the group:


It is my sullen duty to announce that our gig at Global Cafe, Reading, this Friday 18th Dec will not only be Junkyard's last gig of 2009, but most likely our last gig EVER.

I won't go into details as I simply don't have the inclination to write the mammoth speech that would give justice to the occasion (and would probably bore most of you to tears in the process) so I'm gonna keep it on a short, high & positive note - as is the tradition of Junkyard.

The last 2.5 years have been amongst the best that most of us have experienced so far. We've played some amazing gigs, made some life-long friends and shared some hilarious and often outrageous moments together.

We've all got exciting new opportunities on the horizon and 2010 holds a lot of potential for each of us on our new respective musical paths. So it is as much a time of celebration as lament.

We thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts for making our gigs so enjoyable and strutting your stuff on the dancefloor. I sincerely mean it when I say that we simply wouldn't be here without your love and support along the way. For that, we will always be grateful.

Jim & the Junkyard crew x


Some time ago, the Junkyard boys were kind enough to contribute to LF summing up their favourite songs and inspirations so please check it out here if you haven't before.

We at Liberation Frequency would like to wish the gang success in wherever life takes them next, and for the times we've seen them live, for their contribution to the site, and most of all for the great music, we'd like to say Thank You!

(As we say, there is a cracking release out there that's waiting to be heard, so we urge readers to check them out on Itunes when you can.)