We wanted to let you know that Rudy Tambala (The R of A.R. Kane) is going to be performing live at Rough Trade East on Saturday April 23 for Record Store Day. (His set is at 6 pm).
While you’re there, you’ll be able to get your hands on a limited edition, double LP, RSD-exclusive version of Americana. (If you're in the states, you can get Americana in color—Green Hazed Daze.) This new edition has the same beautiful cover and artwork by Fabien Baron of Baron and Baron as the original, but comes with new notes by the late, great art and music writer Greg Tate.
Happy Record Store Day.
P.S. Here’s Yale on what it was like to work with A.R. Kane back when this record was first released thirty years ago:
In 1990, I started to work with David Byrne at Luaka Bop. I had heard that he felt I would bring more of the downtown avant grade world I had been involved in to the label. The truth of the matter is, as we were going through Warner Bros and David was known for taking that downtown aesthetic and making incredible pop music through the Talking Heads, I thought I better meet them on their terms and not try to put what would have been inappropriate music through the Warner pop/rock machine. So I suggested a few things I thought we could sign: Anna Domino (David said no), Glenn Branca (David said maybe), and A.R. Kane, which was a yes.
I suggested a few things I thought we could sign: Anna Domino (David said no), Glenn Branca (David said maybe), and A.R. Kane, which was a yes.
A.R. Kane were, to some extent critics darlings, but still fairly unknown and with slight sales. We got them through Rough Trade in the UK. They were ground breakers, Alex Ayuli (the A) had worked in advertising, I don't know what Rudy had done before. They had joined together with the band Colourbox to form M.A.R.R.S and had a huge hit with “Pump Up The Volume.”
That success led them to cycle through labels, from One Little Indian Records over to 4AD and then finally on to Geoff Travis at Rough Trade, completing sort of a full house of important British indie labels at that time. (If you’re curious, it’s worth reading how the Wiki folks lay it all out).
I met Geoff in his small office in the UK on my way to India where I was traveling for a month. I met him again on my way home. On the way over I noticed his very nice Mies Van Der Rohe sofa. On the way back he had it covered over with a fabric. When I asked why, Geoff said he didn’t want people to get the wrong idea. He told me a story about the band—that that they were quite a handful to deal with—telling me that the black and white line drawing on A.R. Kane cover [of i] was not one he thought they should use, and how adamant the band was about using exactly that cover.
When I asked Rudy about the cover, he quickly moved his hand up to my eye, “You had to blink right?" he asked.
“Of course," I said.
“Well it’s the same with that cover,” he said. “We couldn’t have done anything else.”
At the time of our release, unbeknownst to us, the group had been getting more and more into an Ouspenskii cult called The Way. Pyotr Ouspenskii was an associate of G.I. Gurdjieff. His own group says The Way, “provides a path to wisdom and enlightenment for ‘householders,’ ordinary people living in the world today.” I just mention that to highlight all the different strains of stuff going on in their music.
Perhaps I should let the late great Greg Tate take it from here as his notes on our release were among the last things he wrote. This is just an excerpt, but you can read his complete notes on our website here:
In the beginning there was only Black Noise. As in, every sound Western European ears heard emitted from an enslaved African lung, on either coast of the Black Atlantic, was considered barbaric yawp, barely human let alone musical dissonance.
James Brown, Albert Ayler, Aretha Franklin and Jimi Hendrix recovered the blackest screams hauled off the auction block, the whipping post, and the lynching tree, as race-memory recalled and replicated necessities for any Black musician attempting resonant and authentic Black and blue expressionism in the 1960s. Hendrix’s deployment of harmonic feedback created lyrical consonance from electronic Black noise and opened up the cosmos for his Stratocaster’s infinitely barbaric yawp.
These desires for more hoodoo, juju and muon headroom in modern Black music-making found their way to Jamaica and the outlier outposts of King Tubby and Lee Scratch Perry’s dubwise reggae factories, and to the Columbia Records operation, the temple where Miles Davis and Teo Macero would deploy a bevy of ‘mugicians’ well-versed in what Ornette Coleman called ‘The Art of the Improvisers’ to stir up his own hybrid of jazz, funk and psychedelia, Bitches Brew.
Not long after, George Clinton and Eddie Hazel blessed the omniverse with their implosive supernova homage to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Jimi’s ‘Machine Gun’’ and called it “Maggot Brain.” Next up: Bad Brains, the original hardcore autocthonic dubwise Rastafari Afropunks.
And then came A.R. Kane.
New York, April 18, 2022