Before reading too deeply into the title’s Sun Ra reference: Tenderlonious isn’t a disciple of the Afrofuturist composer, bandleader and theorist. He leads the 22archestra rather than the Myth Science Arkestra, but like Sun Ra does create prolifically, exploring a wide-range of jazz-derived music. He has been known to add decorative touches to his own vinyl releases too, not unlike Ra who hand-decorated many limited and self-released albums. But all things considered, the label boss, producer, multi-instrumentalist and composer is a completely unique artist. He negotiates the airwaves rather than travelling the spaceways – his 22a show going out regularly via Worldwide FM and his guest spots on Solid Steel and NTS radio furthering his repute as a selector. He works with musicians in various locations and settings, having recently travelled to Poland to work with the EABS collective and holding down multiple ensembles at home: Ruby Rusthon and 22archestra amongst them. There’s a wealth of music and information to uncover with Tenderlonious, so ahead of his show at Soup Kitchen in June, here are five track introduction to his wide-ranging work.
Tenderlonious – The Shakedown
Lifted from his forthcoming album with the 22archestra, this track is Tenderlonious is pensive mood. His delicate flute trills develop into more insistent, vocal phrases, before giving way to sharp electric keyboard. It’s a smoky, slow burner that pairs bluesy lines with mysterious minor changes, retaining a cool groove and demonstrating Tenderlonious’ compositional dexterity. Recorded in a single day session at Abbey Road with Yussef Dayes on drums and Matt Mysko at the board, it has a classic sound and beautiful fidelity to boot.
Ivan Conti – Mamão’s Brake (Tenderlonious Remix)
Tenderlonious’ off-kilter, subdued house rework takes the ideas of legendary Azymuth drummer Ivan Conti and places them within a broken beat context. The cut is warm, chilled and deceptively simple, showing Tenderlonious’ economy at the DAW.
Ruby Rushton – Charlotte Emma Victoria
With its complex time signature yet relatable hook, this Ruby Rushton composition has a duality similar to that which interested Herbie Hancock between the time of Fat Albert Rotunda and Thrust (1969-1974). Tenderlonious’ infectious sax melody – duplicated on brass and bass at points during the track – introduces the piece, before Eddie Hick’s frenetic drums pull focus. Tenderlonious plays a ripping sax solo on the cut, naming the finished product after his sister. He speaks at greater length about the importance of family, home turf and ‘real s**t’ in his interview with Vinyl Factory.
Tenderlonious & Dennis Ayler – Brick City (4pm)
Dennis Ayler is one of Tenderlonious’ regular collaborators: he mixed the latest Ruby Rushton record, has released a handful of 12” EPs on 22a and also DJs at Tenderlonious’ forthcoming Manchester show. Their collaborative LP presents a music ‘unique to their world and lifestyle’ – a bold exploration of afro-house, boogie and broken beat that is diverse and groovy.
Tenderlonious – Song for my Father
At the time of release, Stamp the Wax called On Flute ‘his finest work to date’ and Rodriguez Guido agreed, stating ‘There are not many producers that I can think of that have managed to fuse as many influences and musical approaches into one record as he has’. There’s a Biddu Orchestra feel to the track, thanks to the string pads and global disco groove, but it still feels fresh and contemporary with the stacked kick, snare and claps.