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Local Labels We Love: Now-Again

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By KCRW DJ Mario Cotto:

“To everything turn, turn, turn, In every season turn, turn, turn…” so went King Solomon’s proto-existentialist poem in the Book of Ecclesiastes, which inspired Pete Seeger to write his folk peace song, which became a huge hippie folk rock hit by The Byrds. That’s the beauty of a great lyric, like the beauty of a great groove — although it is perfectly rooted in its time and place, it’s timeless.

This is one of hip-hops great lessons in my life. Amazing producers like, J-Dilla, Premier, and Prince Paul take a split second of the past and turn it into a perfect loop, a repeating moment completely in time and out of time, simultaneously.

With the unbelievable wealth of lost sounds now being unearthed thanks to the Information Age, great lost grooves and lyrics are now resurfacing. And local label Now-Again is playing the role of Pete Seeger, taking that old poetry and making it fresh.  Run by Eothen Alapatt (aka ForgeYourOwnChainsCDCoverEgon) Now-Again is essentially the re-issue label affiliated with the truest keepers of hip-hop’s flame, Stones Throw.

One of the albums that is currently at the top of my 2010 favorites is Now-Again’s recent “Forge Your Own Chains” compilation. It is hallucinatory, but precise in its spiritual focus. It is both intimate and expansive, sun-drenched and pastoral, while also contemplative. It shatters the illusion of time.

And, having already released lovely comps (Cold Heat) and albums (Heliocentrics & Savath and Savalas) in recent years, the label seems to be on its way towards a fantastic year with a Fela Kuti tribute, new Whitefield Brothers, and a re-issue of Witch’s “Lazy Bones!!”