Wah Wah 45s are very proud to announce their first foray into the format of the future-retro fan – the cassette. And who better to deliver our debut release on this cult medium, than our very own electronic beat makers and hip hop nerds, Paper Tiger.
Over the last four years, the Leeds and London based crew have been quietly pasting together some of the more interesting and subversive off-cuts and live interludes that were recorded around their two LP releases.
In 2013 Paper Tiger released their long awaited debut album Laptop Suntan on Wah Wah 45s. After a collection of head-turning EPs, featuring collaborations with leftfield electronic and hip-hop artists including Foreign Beggars, Homeboy Sandman, Joshua Idehen, Archie Pelago and more, the time for their full-length project finally arrived.
In order to whet the listener’s appetite for this stunning debut long-player, Wah Wah 45s shared the first instalment of Sonic Boom Head Zoom, a glimpse of the full Paper Tiger live band in action. With hints of what you would experience on the record, plus exclusive bonus material, this twenty-minute live digital beat tape was by turns hypnotically head-nodding, experimental and downright hilarious (shout out to all Emmerdale lovers).
In the words of the band’s electronics expert and woodwind player Greg Surmacz:
“As we were completing our album, we came up with the idea of recording some live interludes – our live band set-up and instrumental recording/sampling are a big part of what we do and we wanted to give a proper nod to that on the record.
We set up in a studio without much of a plan and ended up recording a few hours of jamming – all live, all completely improvised on the fly. There was an abundance of material, some of which we will sample and develop into fully-fledged tunes, but we thought it’d be nice to compile a short mix-tape of some of the highlights. You can also hear the album’s interludes in their original context.”
Bizarre & Hilarious
In the autumn of 2013, the band went on to release a remix record, Sultan Ant Pop. As well as receiving contributions from some of their favourite producers (LV, Werkha, Murder He Wrote, Bambooman and more), they decided to record more brand new music to mould it into a coherent listening experience.
As a result, Sonic Boom Head Zoom 2 was born. Clocking in at over 30 minutes, it was a deeper, darker and weirder affair than its predecessor despite being produced in the same way – 100% live, totally improvised and recorded in a single day. There were head-nodding grooves, bizarre and hilarious rhymes from MC Raphael Attar, space-jazz excursions and much more.
After a short hiatus, in 2015 Paper Tiger began work on their second album, Blast Off. Having grown in confidence and stature as a live band, they were keen to fully integrate their live sound into the new record. They spent a day at their regular spot in Leeds, ATA Studios, and recorded over five hours’ worth of ideas, sketches and improvisation.
They ended up with an abundance of material, some of which was incorporated into the sound of Blast Off. However, there was still plenty of music left over to compile a new entry in their live mix-tape series. Clocking in at around 30 minutes, Sonic Boom Head Zoom 3 retains the SBHZ premise – 100% live, totally improvised and recorded in a single day – but is more adventurous and diverse than ever. There’s everything from Krautrock to neo-soul in there, non-sequiturs aplenty from MC Raphael Attar and the usual leftfield beat music.
In late 2015 Paper Tiger went back into the studio in order to capitalise on the creative momentum from the Blast Off project. As with previous sessions at their regular home of ATA Studios, there was a wealth of material generated from a single day of recording. Much of this provided the starting point for what will become their third album, due for release in 2018, but in anticipation of that they gave us Sonic Boom Head Zoom 4.
Like previous volumes, SBHZ4 is a beat tape made up of live jams, totally improvised and recorded in a single day. This latest set is stuffed full of head-nodding, off-kilter rap beats full of natural swing and groove that you only get with the tightest rhythm sections, pushed into left-field with squiggly synths, curveball sample choices and stoopid-smart similes from MC Raphael Attar. While more focused than the last edition, it’s still not averse to the odd jazz freak-out. Just don’t mention Whiplash…
The Sonic Boom Head Zoom double-cassette brings all four mix-tapes together on in one place for the first time and is released in limited numbers on November 10th 2017.