Past Releases

Liam Bailey "Zero Grace"

Big Crown Records is proud to present Zero Grace, Liam Bailey’s sophomore album on the label. Following the success of 2020’s Ekundayo album, the tried and true chemistry of Bailey and producer Leon Michels (El Michels Affair) is on full display again as they take the sound they established and push it further. On Zero Grace they lean more into the bleeding heart singer-songwriter side of Liam. The result, much like Bailey himself, is impulsively honest without reserve.

Born and raised in Nottingham, England, the son of an English mother and 2nd generation Jamaican English father, Liam will admit his early childhood was fairly chaotic and filled with “all the cliche racism that happens when people started mixing up in the ’80s in England.” Liam got his early influences from his mom’s record collection. Bob Marley and Dillinger, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix would eventually shape the singer/songwriter we know today. Fast-forward to 2005, Liam is in London performing at every open mic and acoustic night he could, hustling with hopes of landing a record deal. It was through this time that Liam first teamed up with Michels, musician/producer luminary, and the co-founder of Brooklyn’s own Big Crown Records. Liam flew out to New York and those first sessions together produced the now classic tunes “When Will They Learn” and “I’m Gonna Miss You” which still gets spins at Reggae spots around the globe and were co-signed by heavy hitters like David Rodigan & Don Letts.

That first trip to NYC brought a lot of industry attention to Liam, including being noticed by a just-famous Amy Winehouse who heard one of Liam’s apartment-made, lo-fi recordings, and liked what she heard. Regardless of the audio quality, Liam’s particular sound shone through—all guitar, warm-rough and genuine soul. Eventually Liam signed to Polydor and wound up bumping against the typical major label industry obstacles. They already had an idea of the Liam they wanted to make, promote, and push. With the typical large advance enticement, Liam did his best to trust that path. “Maybe I can make it work,’ that’s what you’re thinking,” Liam remembers, “but, you quickly find out that you can’t.”

Zero Grace is full of freedom and love, in fact, working with Leon Michels and Big Crown Records has encouraged Liam to be himself. On album opener “Holding On ” Bailey speaks to his observations & fears when looking out at the world in front of him and also to the dedication it has taken to get on the other side of his personal trials & tribulations. “Dance With Me” is an instantly infectious two-stepper that nods to those incredible soul records that were coming out of Jamaica during the early Reggae days. Bailey steps into the dance with hopes of finding a new love and pulls us all out on the dance floor with him. “Disorder Starts At Home” is another close to the chest tune that addresses the difficulties he struggles with from his early chaotic childhood and his progress in getting past them. “Mercy Tree” is a powerhouse of Reggae Rebel Music. Bailey addresses the racial tensions that plague humanity and encourages everyone to step up and do their part to help foster equality. What starts out as a declaration of injustice turns into a call for action and an inspiration for hope.

Bailey has managed another album that moves across genres but remains entirely cohesive. The title Zero Grace represents his uninhibited energy. He wears his heart on his sleeve, he speaks his mind without filters, and he has little concern for formalities where his ambitions are concerned. He won’t be held back ever. One thing is for sure, his talent speaks for itself, and it is on full display on this album.

Talk Show "Effigy"

If Talk Show’s exhilarating full-length debut, Effigy, feels more like a film than an album, that’s no coincidence. The band crafted the collection to soundtrack to a fictional nightclub. “One of the biggest influences on this record was the intro to the movie Blade, where this character’s being dragged through a meatpacking plant and into the vampire rave,” says frontman Harrison Swann. “There’s so much tension and anticipation and intimidation in that scene. We wanted to create the kind of music we’d play if we were performing in that club, to put ourselves into that scene and see how far we could push it.

Maya Shenfeld "Under the Sun"

Maya Shenfeld’s expansive, kaleidoscopic music is as illuminating as it is exquisite. Classically trained, Shenfeld has fast grown into one of contemporary music’s most exciting, vital voices. Every aspect of her dazzling, multifaceted output interrogates the way we experience the world around us – be it solo microtonal explorations, site-specific installations or commissions for leading New Music ensembles. Shenfeld’s 2022 debut album In Free Fall established the composer as a potent force in new music. Hailed by the Guardian as one of the year’s “best contemporary albums,” Shenfeld balances orchestral ambition and compositional rigor with the joy of noise, and granular detail. Under the Sun provides a daring expansion of that musical vision, a series of pieces exploring change and repetition, deep time and the ephemeral moment, equilibrium and imminent threat. Composed and produced over the last two years between a studio in Berlin and on site at one of the world’s deepest marble quarries in Portugal, the album’s powerful sounds are a meditation on the natural world, wrestling with the looming threat of catastrophe and crisis, and the power of community and collaboration to enact change.

Under the Sun’s evocative title is an excerpt from a proverb “There’s nothing new under the sun” from Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) in the Old Testament. Shenfeld elaborates: “It’s an unusual book within the Old Testament that isn’t so much preoccupied with god or religion but rather reflects on life’s impermanence and the pursuit of meaning amidst change and uncertainty… this image of the Sun as a force of stability, change, and tension really stuck with me.” Shenfeld’s excerpted title creates a distance between the stoic philosophy of the proverb and the evidence this is distinctly not the case, especially in relation to the climate. Our environment is more than just an abstract theme, it is interwoven into Under The Son’s very sonic DNA. Field recordings taken deep within the still-active quarry in Portugal were recorded, quite literally, under the scorching sun on one of the hottest days on record in the country. Shenfeld extracted sounds from this scarred, deeply mined landscape, and threaded these samples into rich arrangements of synthesizers and acoustic instruments. She explains: “Our physical experience under the scorching sun (which was reflected by the white marble) gave shape to the album’s final form.” Sounds recorded closer to Shenfeld’s adopted home of Berlin provide a hopeful, human counterpoint, playing with tension and release. The atmospheres of Under the Sun evoke that push and pull through an eclectic and rich sonic palette, from the sacred sounds of the organ at St Matthew’s Church, to the ethereal voices of the Ritter Youthchoir conducted by Ann-Kristin Mayr. Reflections of her punk and electronic forays bubble up in a collaborative composition with Emptyset’s James Ginzburg, summoning raw, primal energy. Says Shenfeld “There’s a juxtaposition here between the heavy electronic processing, which could be the sound of a dystopian future or past, and the choir, which like in the Greek tragedy, could be the voice of a shared consciousness, and maybe a voice of a hopeful future.”

Rather than being nihilistic or fatalistic, Under the Sun instead encourages us to explore and rethink how we relate to our environment. Shenfeld’s slowly evolving, hypnotic pieces make canny use of repetition, space and silence to play with our very sense of time and our relationship to our surroundings, creating a space for deep listening that enables us to better attune our ears to the world around us, championing collective listening and collaboration as a force for change.

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The Special Pillow "The Sleep Pillows Meet the Space Monster"

What is the Space Monster? Some malevolent entity from the cosmic beyond or the void itself? Are we talking about outer or inner space? And is the monstrosity manifested as too much space or too little?