‘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.
A Certain Ratio celebrate a busy year with the release of a limited edition series of vinyl releases of their first four albums – the ACR Loco editions – due out on 11 December 2020 (15 January in N America).
The Graveyard and The Ballroom, Sextet, I’d Like To See You Again and To Each will all get the ACR Loco treatment, each album will be available on white vinyl in specially adapted black and white artwork. Each limited to 1000 copies worldwide.
Following the release of ACR Loco – described by Uncut as “their best LP in decades” – A Certain Ratio return with a new single, ‘YoYoGrip’ accompanied by a mesmerising animation by Griff, created using rubber Japanese Kinnikuman wrestler figures from the ‘80s.
The new single, a collaboration with producer and mixer Jacknife Lee, marries two of the new album’s standout tracks, ‘YoYo Gi’ and ‘Get A Grip’. After hearing their track ‘Lucinda’ feature on Jacknife Lee’s guest mix for BBC 6Music, ACR got in touch, discovered he was a fan and the conversation went from there, “Seeing that Jacknife Lee had produced and mixed some of the biggest artists in the world (U2, REM, The Killers, Editors, Taylor Swift, Bloc Party, Robbie Williams) it was a bit of a curveball for us, but we like the unexpected and we’re glad we took the chance.” The band go on to explain, “Jacknife Lee took two songs that were totally different tempos and keys (one is a 99 bpm Funk chugger and the other is a 126bpm banger aimed at the dancefloor) and joined them up perfectly using the best elements of each song.”
Jacknife Lee expands, “When I was a kid in Dublin, my older brother Derek bought ‘Shack Up’ and we listened to it so much it embedded itself into our DNA. We learnt how to play it, formed bands and we played ‘Shack Up’ in the school halls. It was a thrill to me to make the connection with ACR and I’m ecstatic that the collaboration worked.”
The track melds ‘YoYo Gi’, influenced by the Tokyo neighbourhood of the same name, with ‘Get A Grip’, which features Maria Uzor of Sink Ya Teeth. She reminisces, “I remember being pretty excited when they first asked about the collaboration. I mean, when you start a band you don’t expect to end up collaborating with one of your influences!”As well as this collaboration with Jacknife Lee and Maria Uzor, ACR have been in the studio recently crafting reworks for Baba Ali, Number and AK/DK.
A CERTAIN RATIO have shared the brilliant video for ‘Berlin’, the latest single to be taken from their eagerly anticipated new album, ACR Loco – due out on Mute on 25 September 2020.
Over the last few months, the band have shared a taste of the directions and styles distilled into their forthcoming new album. From ‘Friends Around Us (Part 2)’ to ‘Always in Love’ via the Tokyo suburbs on ‘Yo Yo Gi’, now comes the brand new single ‘Berlin’. ACR Loco, explains Jez Kerr, “…is a culmination of everything we’ve ever done.”
‘Berlin’ also includes the beautiful voice of Denise Johnson, who sadly passed away in July this year. “Denise will be missed so much by us,” says Martin Moscrop, “but her soaring voice will live on forever in our music and we are so blessed to have recorded with her on ACR Loco.”
The album’s release on Friday 25 September will be marked by a very special online event. An Evening with A Certain Ratio will see the band will play their new album in full at the Hope Mill Recording Studio following an exclusive premiere of their 2019 hit-laden gig for the Manchester Warehouse Project’s Haçienda night. The band will also be in conversation, with a Q&A and to finish, expect one of the band’s infamous ACR Soundsystem DJ sets. To book your ticket, visit: www.livefrom.events/ACR
Looking ahead to 2021, A Certain Ratio will be continuing their run of unmissable dates with a winter tour, starting in Huddersfield on 3 November, with a show at London’s EartH on 13 November, finishing at Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on 17 November.
ACR Loco was recorded by the core line up of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson with contributions from the ACR live line up – Tony Quigley on sax, Denise Johnson on vocals and Matt Steele on keyboards. Additional guests include Sink Ya Teeth’s Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford, Gabe Gurnsey (Factory Floor) and Manchester luminaries Mike Joyce (The Smiths) and experimental multi-instrumentalist Eric Random.
Keen on the joys of collaboration and sharing, it makes sense that adding the ACR touch to other artists via a series of reworks led to their latest album taking shape. Recent reworks of tracks for the likes of Baba Ali, Maps, Number, Barry Adamson and The Charlatans saw the band return to the studio to unpick those original tracks. “The reworks were crucial,” says Donald Johnson. “They got us back in the studio and forced a union and a bond. They allowed us to start getting a groove again.”
The new 10-track album is out on CD, cassette and limited edition coloured vinyl. The vinyl will be available in one of four colours: white, blue, red and turquoise, randomly packed, with each colour of varying rarity.
It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beautiful dear friend Denise has passed away.
A full statement will be released later, for now please give her family and friends the space they need. Spend sometime listening to her wonderful voice, remembering her loving nature and infectious sense of humour.
Love you loads D. Jez, Martin, Donald, Tony & Matt xx