acr:mcr

Afro Dizzy + UK Tour News

A Certain Ratio have shared their seazing afrobeat-inspired track, ‘Afro Dizzy’, writtenaround drum samples recorded by the late Nigerian master percussionist Tony Allen. The new single is the latest clue of what to expect from their forthcoming studio album, 1982 – out on Mute on 31 March 2023.

‘Afro Dizzy’ features one of Manchester’s fastest-rising neo-soul musicians Ellen Beth Abdi, Though a newcomer to A Certain Ratio, it says a lot about the band’s progressive instincts that she’s already as central to the process as the members who’ve been there since the 1970s. For ‘Afro Dizzy’ she penned her own lyrics around a whirling instrumentalbased on a sample pack of drums by Tony Allen. ACR, who have long idolised Allen, had hoped to one day work with him, and wrote the music for the track just days after he died, in 2020.

Watch the video, an animation from artist and musician Tom Furse, and keep your eyes peeled for Tony Allen, who can be seen via archive footage.

To celebrate the release of the album, A Certain Ratio will be embarking on a UK tour throughout April – full details below.

A CERTAIN RATIO – 2023 TOUR
20 April – Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
21 April – Huddersfield, The Parish
22 April – Manchester, New Century Hall
23 April – Leeds, Brudenell
25 April – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
26 April – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
27 April – Bristol, The Exchange
29 April – London, The Garage


Before that, the band will be hosting a number of special Q&A / signing events in partnership with independent record shops in Manchester, Nottingham and London:


31 March – Manchester, Piccadilly Records – Q&A / signing
1 April – London, Rough Trade East – Q&A / signing
2 April – Nottingham, Rough Trade – Q&A / signing

1982

A Certain Ratio have shared a new track, ‘Waiting on a Train’, the first to be taken from their forthcoming studio album, 1982, scheduled for release on Mute on 31 March 2023.

A Certain Ratio’s greatest strength has always been their unpredictability – “That’s what people like about us, they don’t know what’s coming next!” explains Jez Kerr – and this new track ushers that in via the slick and charismatic presence of Mancunian rapper Chunky . Chunky trades bars with the vocals of one of Manchester’s fastest-rising neo-soul musicians Ellen Beth Abdi, who you’ll recognise from the ACR live line up in recent years, resulting in a track unlike anything the band have made to date.

Watch the video for ‘Waiting on a Train’, directed by Rollcam Directors, produced by Joe Vickers with Jan Koblanski as Director of Photography:
https://mute.ffm.to/acr-1982

‘Waiting on a Train’ began life as a lo-fi hip hop jam in the studio, and it made perfect sense to bring in both Chunky and Ellen – already good friends outside of A Certain Ratio.


“It worked really well, there’s great chemistry between them,” Martin Moscrop continues. “It’s got the right amount of pop, the right amount of surrealism, the right amount of moodiness. It just works.”
Since they emerged from the hallowed grounds of the late 70s punk scene, A Certain Ratio have moved with gleeful disregard for boundaries of style and genre, their eye fixed firmly on constant progression. It’s an ethos that’s open-minded over all else, and that’s seen them take everything from experimental electronica to vintage funk, filtered through their own Mancunian lens.

Even by the band’s own standards, however, their latest studio album 1982 is multidimensional. It shoots off in every direction, whether via searing Afrobeat, mind- melting jazz breakdowns or moody electronic experiments. Recorded by the core ACR line up of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson, alongside Tony Quigley, Matthew Steele and Ellen Beth Abdi, soon after their 2021 triptych of EPs and 2020’s ACR Loco, the band’s pleasure at being together in the studio is audible and follows a series of dates that have seen them perform at a huge variety of festivals, including Womad, Wide Awake, Blue Dot, Green Man, Latitude and the Manchester Warehouse Project, in recent years.

And the album title? Although 1982 might conjure memories of the year that saw ACR put out both the acclaimed Sextet and the cult favourite I’d Like To See You Again, it’s more of a playful red herring than an invitation to nostalgia. Like all the band’s best ideas it emerged spontaneously in the studio when Martin was ad-libbing into a vocoder. “It’s called ‘1982’ but I wouldn’t say this album sounds anything like ‘Sextet’,” he points out.
Adds Donald: “The title is just playful. People can take it whichever way they can.”

Looking backwards and forwards all at once, drawing on influences from across every spectrum, 1982 is a record that will reward a dedicated listener dozens of times over.


1982 TRACKLISTING (CAT # STUMM480)
Samo
Waiting on a Train
1982
A Trip in Hulme
Constant Curve
Afro Dizzy
Holy Smoke
Tier 3
Ballad of ACR
Constant Curve

LOCO REMEZCLADA OUT NOW

A Certain Ratio continue an incredible run of releases and touring, one that has marked a dynamic new phase in their career, with details of LOCO REMEZCLADA: a collection of entirely new mixes and reworkings of tracks from across their recent catalogue. Out on 5 November 2021 on double clear vinyl, triple sparkle vinyl, CD and digitally, the new album takes in 2020’s acclaimed ACR LOCO album alongside ‘Down and Dirty’ featuring Denise Johnson, taken from EPA, the first in a trip of EPs released this year: https://mute.ffm.to/acr-remez

LOCO REMEZCLADA features a diverse range of artists, each bringing their own take on the band’s material and list of remixers – which includes Dan Carey, The Orielles, LoneLady, Sink Ya Teeth, The Lounge Society, Lou Hayter, Skream, Colleen Cosmo Murphy and many more – were all chosen by the band, who explain, “We took time to consider who we’d like to have involved, who we admired, who we love hanging out with, who we couldn’t wait to hear what they came up with.”

Dan Carey’s ‘Down & Dirty (Mr Dan Remix)’ opens LOCO REMEZCLADA and the producer, songwriter, mixer and founder of Speedy Wunderground brings his inimitable touch to ‘Down & Dirty’, one of the last tracks ACR recorded with Denise Johnson who passed away unexpectedly last year. 

Listen to the track here: https://youtu.be/ocd-HDJVA_Q 

Carey explains, “A long time ago when I was a teenager, I was out in Manchester and spotted a poster that said something about A Certain Ratio remixed by Norman Cook. At the time I didn’t really know what a remix was, who Norman Cook was, or who/what A Certain Ratio was, but somehow I knew it was worth investigating. As a result, I discovered ACR, figured out what remixes were, and started trying do my own. I’ve loved ACR ever since, and got pretty involved in production and remixing, so it meant a lot being asked to do this. It also meant a lot to work with one of the last vocal tracks that Denise recorded.”

Elsewhere on the album, Maps remix ‘Get A Grip’, The Orielles reimagine ‘Yo Yo Gi’, Sink Ya Teeth (who collaborated with ACR on the last studio album) take on ‘What’s Wrong’, Lou Hayter mixes ‘Friends Around Us’ and LoneLady gives ‘Bouncy Bouncy’ the 12” remix treatment.

Down & Dirty (Mr Dan Remix)

Dan Carey’s ‘Down & Dirty (Mr Dan Remix)’ opens our forthcoming album, LOCO REMEZCLADA and the producer, songwriter, mixer and founder of Speedy Wunderground brings his inimitable touch to ‘Down & Dirty’, one of the last tracks ACR recorded with Denise Johnson who passed away unexpectedly last year.

Carey explains, “A long time ago when I was a teenager, I was out in Manchester and spotted a poster that said something about A Certain Ratio remixed by Norman Cook. At the time I didn’t really know what a remix was, who Norman Cook was, or who/what A Certain Ratio was, but somehow I knew it was worth investigating. As a result, I discovered ACR, figured out what remixes were, and started trying do my own. I’ve loved ACR ever since, and got pretty involved in production and remixing, so it meant a lot being asked to do this. It also meant a lot to work with one of the last vocal tracks that Denise recorded.”

We love Dan’s remix xx

Pre-order the new album LOCO REMEZCLADA, out 5th November right here >> http://mute.ffm.to/acr-remez

EPR + Tour News

“Their sense of adventure means that they are still in the now and it’s time to shift the focus back onto them.” – Louder Than War live review

A Certain Ratio release the final EP in a trilogy of releases – ACR:EPR – today on limited edition storm grey vinyl and download.

After an emotional performance celebrating the life and work of Denise Johnson last month, the band are set to perform at We Out Here and Wide Awake Festivals before embarking on a headline tour across the UK with support from The Emperor Machine – full details below.

The band will be joined on stage by Manchester singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Ellen Beth Abdi. In true ACR style, they have invited an artist they admire into the fold, to augment and bring an extra dimension to their live performance. ACR explain, “It would have been impossible to replace our beloved Denise with a similar singerbut in Ellen we recognised a fellow artist, someone creating inspiring and original music, and were made up when she agreed to join us – first in the studio and now on the stage.”

Ellen Beth Abdi goes on to say, “I love listening (and dancing) to ACR’s records so to be performing with them live is an amazing feeling. Denise was a friend as well as a massive inspiration and support to me.”

Talking about their decision to release this latest run of releases via the EP, ACR explain, “…since our 1981 ‘Do The Du (Casse)‘ EP on Factory US in 1981 we’ve held the format dear to our heart.” and on each of the series of EPs released throughout 2021, the band explore a different theme.

ACR:EPA pays tribute to Denise Johnson, compiling their last recordings together before her untimely passing and on ACR:EPC, dedicated to the late Andrew Weatherall, the band dig deep into the art of collaboration.

For the new ACR:EPR – where “anything goes!” – the band entered the studio with no preconceived ideas of what was expected from them and each of the songs from the EP, apart from ‘Big Boy Pants’ which began life the same time as ACR:EPA, were written from scratch, recorded and mixed over two weekends in November and December 2020. As John Robb wrote in a recent review, “Few bands age well – that’s just the cruel way music is – but ACR defy this and are surely, as musicians, at the peak of their powers.”

ACR LIVE – 2021/2022

19-22 Aug – We Out Here Festival, Cambridgeshire

3 Sep – Wide Awake Festival, Brockwell Park, London

3 Nov – Huddersfield, The Parish*
4 Nov – Newcastle, St. Dom’s Social Club*
5 Nov – Manchester, Gorilla*
6 Nov – Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, The Sugarmill*
7 Nov – York, The Crescent*
9 Nov – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds*
10 Nov – Southampton, Engine Rooms*
11 Nov – Brighton, CHALK (formerly The Haunt) *
12 Nov – Bristol, The Exchange*
13 Nov – London, EartH*
15 Nov – Preston, The Ferrett*
16 Nov – Leeds, The Warehouse*
17 Nov – Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut*

7-9 Jan 2022 – Bognor Regis, Rockaway Beach Festival

16 April 2022 – Futurama Festival, Liverpool

*with support from The Emperor Machine

Remembering Denise

Last night (Saturday July 31st), at Gorilla in Manchester at the Remembering Denise event where all proceeds were donated to Music Venue Trust, the band took time to reflect on their friendship and lives with our beloved friend.

“The outpouring of love for Denise just shows how well she was respected by everyone, not only an amazing singer but a lovely caring person as well.

Denise was a true professional and we were never worried about her delivering the goods in the studio and live.  In the studio she usually took a few minutes to learn her lines and then would deliver an amazing vocal in one take. She was an absolute pleasure to work with.

I always knew Denise was special but I didn’t realise quite how special until she had left us.”

Martin

“It was a great shock when Denise passed away last year. The band had just finished recording new tracks together in a great session in the studio and we were looking forward to the time when we could all return to playing live gigs.Denise was such a warm and caring person, her smile could light up the whole room and her hugs were legendary.I really miss her, as I’m sure all her many friends do, and those who never met her can get a sense of her soul through the many great recordings she sang on.She was one in a million.”

Jez

The thing I loved about D was how infectious her huge personality was with everyone she met. We would always look forward to seeing her at rehearsals/studio sessions because we knew something special was going to happen.  When she arrived, she would alway give everyone a huge hugs before she preformed & that would always instantly elevate the session.  If Man City had won that weekend, her banter with the band Reds would be on top form. One of my favourite things live was preforming ‘Knife Slits Water’ with her at the front of the stage where we would use the same mic and she would always try to make me laugh during the song and I’d do the same to her. She was playful yet alway the ultimate professional.

Don

We miss Denise terribly, but her legacy will always remain. She will always be a Ratio x

ACR:EPC

A Certain Ratio announce the second EP in a series of three, ACR:EPC – out on 2 July 2021 on cornflower blue vinyl and digitally here.

The new EP, which focusses on the art of collaboration and is dedicated to Andrew Weatherall, launches today with ‘Emperor Machine’. ACR and The Emperor Machine’s collaboration came about after a chance meeting at an Andrew Weatherall Weekender outside Todmorden’s infamous Golden Lion. Andrew Meecham (aka The Emperor Machine) explains, “It was Martin who suggested we should maybe collaborate so I sent him a track I’
been working on and when I received the track back, I’ve got to be honest, I was a bit nervous because I’m an ACR fan and wanted to be so perfect. I put my headphones on, pressed play and it totally blew me away. It was just what I was hoping for and more.”

ACR are long-time fans – Jez and Martin often include The Emperor Machine in their DJ sets and describe the track as “a perfect collaboration of ACR & The Emperor Machine.”

Watch the video, by Groovy Chaos, here.

ACR:EPA- OUT NOW!

A Certain Ratio today release their ACR:EPA on limited edition Valentine red vinyl and digitally: https://mute.ffm.to/acrepa

Featuring the singles ‘Keep It Together’ and ‘Wonderland’, the four-track EP pays tribute to Denise Johnson who unexpectedly passed away in 2020, and marks their final recordings together. The EP centres around a joyous jam session from March 2020 when the band – Denise Johnson, Tony Quigley, Matthew Steele, Jez Kerr, Donald Johnson and Martin Moscrop – gathered at Oxygene in Salford for an informal weekend of studio time, in part to celebrate completing the mix of their first new album in over a decade, ACR Loco.

You can even hear the band cheering and Denise laughing at the end of ‘Down and Dirty (Jam 2), the band explain, “We wanted to keep all her laughter and our response in the track as it has such warmth and it highlights the real Denise, always laughing and smiling and full of passion.”

Keep It Together- Out Now!

Following the track’s premiere on the BBC 6Music breakfast show earlier today, we’re pleased to share the video for the new track ‘Keep It Together’.

Manchester video makers Luke Logan (director) and Joe Vickers (producer) created the psychedelic video, which opens at Stockport Plaza.

“We wanted it to be set in the ‘70s so we invited ACR fans to dress up and become part of the video, among the extras that turned up were Calder Valley’s finest The Lounge Society and Lee from Manchester’s Heavy Salad. They arrived as funkateers, punks, soul boys and girls, hippies, post punks and prog rockers – and everyone looked amazing. The video is about overdoing it on a night out and trying to keep it together.”  ACR

Watch the video here.

Keep It Together’ is the latest track to be taken from the forthcoming ACR:EPA, out on Mute on 7 May 2021. The four-track EP centres around a jam session recorded last year with Denise Johnson, sessions that unexpectedly became their last together after the much-loved and much-missed artist passed away several months later. Pre-order here.

Wonderland- Out Now!

Wonderland- Out Now!

‘Wonderland’ is the first track to be taken from ACR:EPA, out on Mute on 7
May 2021.

Back in early March 2020, ACR gathered at Oxygene in Salford for an informal weekend of studio time. With no fixed agenda and no preconceived ideas, the band – Martin Moscrop, Jez Kerr, Donald Johnson, Denise Johnson, Anthony Quigley and Matt Steele – entered the studio in part to celebrate completing the mix of their first new album in over a decade, ACR Loco.

‘Wonderland’ is unmistakably ACR, their fusing of genre is impossible to pin down but the rhythmic groove and Denise’s vocal evokes a dreamlike idyll.

ACR:EPA, is a four-track collection that centres around the studio jams with Denise Johnson. These sessions became their last together after the much-loved and much-missed artist passed away unexpectedly several months after the recordings.