December 1998, Coda magazine HQ, Paris (France). One could feel a boiling atmosphere in the newsroom when putting together the next issue of the publication while selecting the CD’s we’ve recently received for reviews. On top of my pile, an album – ‘That Something’ – which I’ve been listening to on repeat since I got it, speakin’ of which I suggest doin’ a cover story about its author. His name: Martin Iveson, better known as Atjazz!
Atjazz… A name you, regular of these shores as of our Facebook page, should be familiar with. Although he would just be a newcomer for most of us back then, apart from a couple of single releases to that date…
Quite tempting to establish a link with Larry Heard at the time, even though their styles happened to be quite different, as the 24 years old man back then was (already) a true studio addict. Aside from his activities alongside DIY, a Nottingham-based collective of free party DJ’s featuring Digs and Woosh among others, Martin Iveson happened to be responsible for the production of the soundtrack and the special effects on famous video game ‘Tom Raider’ for Core Design Ltd, a company equally remembered for ‘Lara Croft’ for which he started working by the beginning of the 90’s. “I can’t help myself writing music and doin’ productions”, he said, explaining the origins of his moniker. “It’s the name of a character from a cartoon named ‘Top Cat’.” With Atjazz to be considered as the abbreviation of All That Jazz! “And if ever that album had something to do with Jazz, I decided to give it a soul approach.” This with the will to give heat to his compositions with the help of the latest technology to date.
Iveson would start listening to artists like Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and the likes, prior switching to Jazz and Ambient, feeling more and more attracted by atmospheric and mental sound ranges. We then would decide to review the influences we could feel back then on Martin Iveson‘s work. Talkin’ All Atjazz, but not only!
“Prince? I particularly love his versatility. He explores many different directions, and so do I. As a matter of fact, I suppose that’s what has allowed him to customize compositions to the max. Each piece he’s got to produce is different from the preceding one. He’s got his own space and time.”
“Definitely! We had a regular nighter – Studio – in a bar called The Loft where we used to play 70’s/early 80’s classics. Pieces of music by the likes of Larry Levan and big producers of that period. I loved the way Disco was produced. With a certain intensity and an obvious move…”
“People like Herbie Hancock and Donald Byrd have heavily contributed to redefine Jazz while makin’ it more compact and adding Funk that would give birth to a new system. But I also love Chick Corea…
Roy Ayers? A brilliant composer, although I don’t see his repertoire as of any influence (referring to ‘Eastern Sound’, the final cut of his ‘That Something’ album) I’d rather quote Modern Jazz Quartet, although I’ve forgotten the name of their vibraphonist.”
“No more than that! I’ve never been a big fan of Parliament, and no more of guitar which is a major instrument in the Funk production…
Prince? I particularly love his versatility. He explores many different directions, and so do I. As a matter of fact, I suppose that’s what has allowed him to customize compositions to the max. Each piece he’s got to produce is different from the preceding one. He’s got his own space and time. This said, speakin’ of Funk as a system, I like its construction in terms of groove. Which brings us back to Jazz/Funk. And speakin’ of this, I could also talk about those Frenchies at Big Cheese…”
- HO– USE
“House Music? Chicago! Never managed to get to it before the mid-90’s. I would listen to Trip-Hop or downbeat stuff. And I came to meet Andy Mac who eventually became my partner. He’s the one who got me into Chicago House with labels like Prescription. That’s how I started diggin’ into it, and most likely Deep House. Larry Heard? The absolute genius who had his part of influence on me, like on ‘Close Perspective (released back in 1999 on Martin’s first imprint Mantis Recordings).
Like him, I tend to think I feel closer to Jazz than House. Not Modern Jazz, I mean, but Jazz dating from the middle of the 70’s. Modern Jazz to me is over produced. That said, I don’t think I’m writing Jazz, but more of Jazz-inspired music, which is something you might feel in the most sophisticated chord sequences…”
- DRUM & BASS
“Hmm, you mean things like ‘Mag Pie’ (from the ‘Served Chilled’ compilation on DIY). I love these connections which exist between musicians here in the UK. It’s probably more obvious as far as Deep House is concerned… We’re in regular contact with each other. This is what has allowed us to release countless projects, with most of my peeps hailing from the North Of England. I dunno much of London. I’m more of a rural kinda guy…”
“Yeah! Like The Orb or a group named Ozerik Tentacles…”
“I’ve never listened to a lot of Latin music, although what I would get from it is the percussion. With the same applying to Balearic…”
“Yes, also! I love lazy R&B. I’m thinkin’ of artists such as Mary J Blige and Erykah Badu because their music is so soulful…”