Badge Époque Ensemble is the latest project from the madcap mind of Toronto’s Maximillian Turnbull. Formerly known as Slim Twig, he’s spent recent years focusing on production, writing, and wah-wah guitar shredding for U.S. Girls, alongside offshoots such as heavy rock group Darlene Shrugg and galactic out-jazz octet The Cosmic Range. But Turnbull has now re-emerged as the leader of the largely instrumental BÉE,
On Badge’s self-titled debut LP, available from Hogtown’s Telephone Explosion, they drift through dusted funk moves drawing inspiration from library music records, electric Miles, and the spaced-out hip-hop productions of Madlib, Dilla, and Edan.
Miles Davis: Get Up With It
My approach to instrumental music-making begins here, in admiration of
EDAN: Beauty and the Beat
My musical pallet was informed at a young age by listening to underground hip-hop and studying what producers like Madlib, Dilla, and Edan used as source material. Because they were making records at a stage when a lot of the classic jazz and funk stuff had already been flipped, their productions started to make use of psych, prog, electric, and international jazz lps, as well as library records all of which informed my sense of musical atmosphere. Records like this and Dilla’s Donuts were like road maps to raw shit.
DANIELA CASA: America Giovane No. 2
This was my inadvertent intro to library music. Early in my music-making, I made a song that sampled Madlib’s flip of Daniela Casa’s “
Jay Richford and Gary Stevan: Feelings
Finding out about this classic library LP (composed by Sandro Brugnolini and Stefano Torossi under pseudonyms) is what precipitated my immersion into the weird and wonderful world of library records. The basic premise of much of these records is a European composer infatuated with American jazz and funk, but not knowing how to translate the feel ‘correctly.’ The mistranslations result in records with spectacular drums, lush arrangements and vibed out productions, which feel somehow off. Mistranslations are
Lloyd McNeill Quartet: Washington Suite
I love flute as a lead
Annette Peacock: X-Dreams
Annette’s approach as an artist is something I draw a lot of inspiration from. Reading about how she cultivated and protected the idiosyncrasy of her style has helped me to actualize a positive image as a self-taught instrumentalist and producer who collaborates with some highly refined players. Being yourself is the most humanizing, and expressive thing you can aspire to in music. Annette is the essence.
Alessandro Alessandroni: Ritmo Dell
Alessandroni may be my favorite library composer. That this record is so anonymously, even generically presented, and also that it remains
Alain Goraguer: La Planete Sauvage
Encountering ’70s French funk has had a massive tonal influence on my writing and sense of melody. There’s a distinct aspect to the sense of arrangement and harmony in this world, which you can trace through contemporary French artists like Daft Punk and Justice. This soundtrack retains a very modern flavor in its combination of American crime-funk and ornate Euro orchestration… basically arriving at the feel of a rap loop, which waited decades to meet its purpose. I love records that exist anachronistically, jarred loose from
Monk Hughes & the Outer Realm: A Tribute to Brother Weldon
Pure dank vibe. Jazz as an act of sonic imagination and world building through production. I think this record really articulates informed listening as an active musical virtue. Madlib uses deep record scholarship to produce visionary results rather than pastiche. It doesn’t matter if he’s making loops or live jazz records; the distinctness of the voice is the same.
Zacht Automaat: Za
A part of my musical awakening was playing in a psych cover band with Carl Didur and Louis Percival of Zacht Automaat (Tony Price, who co-produced the BÉE lp, was the fourth member). We re-arranged cover tunes from the culty crevices of the ’60s and ’70s, but a big part of our getting together was also to play each other works in progress, which was very formative. Carl’s aesthetic approach to instrumental keyboard music made a big impact on me, as did Louis’ endless archive of warped rap beats. Zacht Automaat combine prog, jazz, and imagination in wonderful and resourceful ways. I feel lucky they formed in my corner of the world. words / j locke and m
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