The word is out! A carefully selected group of producers was allowed to come digging into the iconic KPM music library—carte blanche. Initiated by London-based label Def Pressé in affiliation with EMI Production Music’s hip-hop outfit The Real Fifth. First up to enter the KPM vaults: Damu The Fudgemunk, who was selected and invited to London for this project in conjunction with us here at The Find Mag.
(Header photo: Damu The Fudgemunk digging through a first selection of KPM records in London, UK)
Other producers as Stro Elliot (of The Roots), J-Live, Jazzy Jeff, Bastien Keb, Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave, and several other sound-excavationists make up the roster of beat librarians and sound archeologists, for this project dubbed Crate Diggers. With more names to be announced.
The releases will take shape as two types of records: Def Pressé Editions/KPM Crate Diggers are works built around samples from KPM releases amongst other library catalogues. The first edition is today’s newly announced Conversation Peace LP by Damu The Fudgemunk. Def Pressé Editions/KPM Originals are brand new compositions of music, free from samples. Added into the KPM library music, joining the works of acclaimed library composers Keith Mansfield, John Cameron, The Mohawks founder Alan Hawkshaw, The Shadows drummer Brian Bennett, David Bowie and The Beatles collaborator Alan Parker, and Exotica pioneer Les Baxter.
From DC to LDN
Mid-January 2020, Damu The Fudgemunk traveled from his hometown of Washington, DC to London, UK to visit the EMI Production Music headquarters, where the entire—let that sink in for a minute: entire—catalogue of KPM records is stored. For a little over a week, he got full access to start digging, listening, and sampling right from a studio then and there.
“I had been lucky enough to find a few [original KPM records] over the past decade during my digging trips up and down the east coast. But looking at the complete vinyl catalogue was a great privilege,” says Damu The Fudgemunk. “I anxiously began combing through records from morning to night looking for the right sounds. The whole experience was surreal. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t somewhat overwhelming. As a producer looking for textures, inspiration, and grooves, the abundance of those things made it extremely difficult to narrow down what I wanted to use. From drums to sound FX to orchestras to small rhythm sections to ambient noises… I heard a wide variety of things and they were all so well produced and recorded.”
Heading back home via a detour to Berlin to visit friends and family, he had a ton of samples and MPC2000XL beat sketches to start working with. Little did he know, the world would drastically change in the next month following his return—making his KPM trip to London the last time traveling abroad up to this day.
“I anxiously began combing through records from morning to night looking for the right sounds. The whole experience was surreal. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t somewhat overwhelming.”
Four Better or Worse
“Four Better or Worse” is the first official single of Damu’s Conversation Peace LP, to be released September 3rd on Def Pressé. The track spans the album’s B-side as a four-part suite. The first single features Brooklyn emcee Nitty Scott, with the following parts featuring Blu, Raw Poetic & Damu himself on the mic. Four voices, one twenty-minute suite, fully built around KPM samples.
Damu’s Conversation Peace is now available for pre-order on black or Powder Blue vinyl on Bandcamp. Or head to Get On Down for a limited-edition purple edition, fitting in with Def Pressé’s purple take on KPM’s iconic green colourway.