The Anglo Files

News on Agent Sumo, Matthew Herbert, Compost, Air, Mark B & Blade

Agent Sumo Set to Dominate

Agent Sumo -- Martin Cole and Steven Halliday -- are the latest dance act to emerge from the prolific area of South London that spawned fellow Virgin signings Mutiny and Basement Jaxx (XL Recordings/Astralwerks). The duo scored huge success at this year's Winter Music Conference in Miami and have been burning up dancefloors across the U.K. the track "24 Hours."

Cole and Halliday, who met in 1998, fuse together hybrids of disco, electro, and hip-hop through house and garage. "Sunflowers," their Virgin debut (and very limited) 1999 single, caused a considerable stir in the underground. Sumo recently completed recording their debut album, "Do It Yourself (We Did)."

The duo will release new single, "24 Hours," May 28 in the U.K. It is currently a hot favorite with numerous influential DJs, including Pete Tong, Ralph Lawson, Boy George, and Danny Rampling.

Matthew Herbert Makes Studio K7 Debut

U.K. producer Matthew Herbert will on May 14 release his first album (under his Herbert alias) for acclaimed German label Studio K7. The "Bodily Functions" album is a brave and uncompromising mix of melancholy pianos, deep house beats, and jazz aesthetics.

Herbert, who set up his own Accidental record label and administrative hub last year, did his musical apprenticeship as a youngster playing violin and piano in orchestras across Europe. It was later whilst studying at drama college in 1995 that he began experimenting with sampling obscure sounds -- in amongst the somewhat bizarre collection of samples on this album are the mutated sounds of laser eye surgery, various body parts, and a trapped mouse.

The following year he put out his first three records under three different aliases (one for each of his chosen musical genres). As Wishmountain (now revamped as Radio Boy) on Universal Language Productions he entered the realm of techno; as Doctor Rockit he explored electro on the Clear label; and as Herbert on Phono, his creations revolved around a deep house core. He was branded one of the most sought after producers of the late '90s after working his remix magic on the likes of Moloko, Motorbass, and Presence.

Compost is 100

Munich based record label Compost will celebrate its 100th release July 2 with a double album titled "Compost One Hundred." The album will include some brand new and exclusive tracks from label artists, including Truby Trio, Fauna Flash, and Minus 8 (whose "Snowblind" track is on the current Apple Mac TV advert with Jeff Goldblum). To promote the release, Compost will stage a tour of the U.K. in July.

Founded in 1994 by Michael Reinboth, the label rapidly surfaced as a favorite among supporters of the lo-fi sound like James Lavelle (Mo'Wax) and Gilles Peterson (Talkin' Loud), and continues to hold its own at the forefront of this genre.

Air Go Deeper

On May 28, French duo Air -- Nicolas Godin and J.B. Dunckel -- will release "10,000 Hz. Legends", the widely anticipated full-length follow up to "Moon Safari," the pair's 1998 album debut on Source/Virgin.

In the three-year lapse since their last long player, Air kept fans happy with the release of 1999's "Premiers Symptomes," a collection of singles, and the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides" in 2000.

Recorded in Paris and Los Angeles with barely a (trademark) vocoder in sight, the album boasts a maturity and darkness that "Moon Safari" only hinted at -- their dream-like, tranquillised Vangelis sound is punctuated with more orchestral strings and folk guitars than Rhodes riffs. The essential rock star collaboration comes courtesy of Beck, who once provided a mix of Air's "Sexy Boy" single and appears here on two tracks -- "The Vagabond" and "Don't Be Light"

The first single from the album, "Radio #1," will be released May 14 in the U.K.

Mark B & Blade Choose Rock

"The Unknown", Mark B & Blade's first album for Source Records released in the U.K. in 2000, took homegrown hip-hop into the British album charts and afforded them some long overdue glory.

"Ya Don't See the Signs," their newly remixed fourth single release from the album -- out May 14 in the U.K. -- juxtaposes traditional b-boy breaks with the thrash guitar of Grant Nicholas of U.K. indie band Feeder (with whom Mark B & Blade recently toured) in a relentless package of raw energy.