London-based The Heliocentrics have long stirred a bewitching brew of funk, jazz, psych and library influences. Their 2007 debut album taking you ‘Out There’, described as “a funk-jazz continuum letting imaginations turn a dark corner”, laid the foundations for their 2009 magnum opus ‘Inspiration Information’ alongside Ethiopian musical legend Mulatu Astatke. Held in the highest esteem, ‘Inspiration’ was Giles Peterson’s Worldwide Album of the Year, and was later recommended by Jamie Cullum as one of ‘Five Essential Jazz Albums’ to wrap your ears around.
After three more Now-Again albums and a vital alignment with afrobeat originator Orlando Julius, 2017 saw the release of ‘A World of Masks’ with vocals by Barbora Patkova, and ‘The Sunshine Makers’ OST, a score they wrote for the 2015 British documentary of the same name, directed by Cosmo Feilding-Mellen. Their bar always set prodigiously high, The Heliocentrics have played with a huge number of influential and diverse artists, from Marshall Allen and the Arkestra, Archie Shepp and Gaslamp Killer, to Pharoahe Monch, Cut Chemist and Kareem Riggins.
Labelled by Pitchfork as “a live-band culmination of every obsessive hip-hop-era producer’s drive to fall deeper into a rabbit hole of the previously unheard”, the band’s far-reaching influence meant a natural knock-on in being cited by hip-hop royalty: namely, featuring on DJ Shadow’s ‘Skullfuckery’, from 2006’s ‘The Outsider’ LP, and being sampled by Nas and Kanye West on the track ‘Everything’, featured on 2018’s ‘Nasir’ album. The Heliocentrics will release their new long player on Madlib’s label in 2020.