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Viv Akademia

Vivienne awarded album of month

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Vivienne Neville’s Plankton Records album VEILED IN MYSTERY has been award May 2016 Christian/Folk album of the month by Akademia Music Awards, who are based in Los Angeles, California.

Plankton’s Keith Dixon responded “We are all totally surprised by the news as Vivienne’s album is not a new album. But it is a beautiful album and both Vivienne and the album fully deserve any and all praise and recognition that they get. We are all very very happy and thrilled for Vivienne too”.

To see the album of the month page on Akademia’s website (CLICK HERE)

VEILED IN MYSTERY is available on CD from this very website (CLICK HERE) and on every major digital music download and streaming site Worldwide, including iTunes and Amazon.

As well as reading about Vivienne on this website in the news and artist section, you can also follow her on her artist Facebook page that we run for her (CLICK HERE)

Pebbles out now

Matt JR Hurley single released

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The new single by Plankton’s latest artist MATT JR HURLEY is released today and is now available on all major digital music download and streaming sites Worldwide, including iTunes and Amazon.

“Even after being involved in the running of Plankton Records for 25 years I still find it exciting when we release something new and it’s also a bonus when it is by a new artist too!” commented Keith Dixon of Plankton.

Matt’s single has been garnering a good level of interest even prior to release day. Amongst the activity, last weekend Matt was interviewed on London’s Premier Radio and this week top UK CCM website Louder Than The Music posted a news article about the single (to read the full article CLICK HERE).

Here are the direct links to the single on the iTunes and Amazon UK and USA sites.

For iTunes UK (CLICK HERE) USA (CLICK HERE)

For Amazon UK (CLICK HERE) USA (CLICK HERE)

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Soul Food garners another great review

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THE DARN FUNK ORCHESTRA’s album ‘Soul Food’ has earned another great review, this time from top UK CCM site CrossRhythms

Points of reference are the obvious influences of funk, soul, jazz and ska, but they owe more to early Dexy’s Midnight Runners than, say, The Fatback Band. This all-white five piece have a full-on brass section attack, balanced by poise, precision and patience. Darn’s vocal delivery clearly evokes London-Essex rather than Chicago or Detroit and reminds me of various acid jazz acts of the early 90’s” notes the reviewer in the middle of his review in which he awarded the album a great 8/10 

A big thank you to reviewer John Cheek and the editorial team at Cross Rhythms. To read the full review CLICK HERE

‘Soul Food’ is available as a digital release on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide, including iTunes and Amazon and on CD from this very website (CLICK HERE) for UK and Worldwide readers or alternatively from Amazon (CLICK HERE) for UK readers only (where its already received 2 5 star customer reviews!) and also from CrossRhythms Direct, CrossRhythm’s own on-line store (CLICK HERE)

To read more about THE DARN FUNK ORCHESTRA visit their artist page on this site which also includes direct links to iTunes and Amazon UK and USA sites (CLICK HERE)

Matt on premier

Matt JR Hurley radio interview

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Plankton’s newest artist MATT JR HURLEY was the featured artist on Lorretta Andrews show on London’s Premier Radio on Saturday.

In a great in-depth interview Matt talked about his life, his music, the new single PEBBLES (released on all leading music download and streaming sites Worldwide on Friday April 29) and his up-coming EP, which will also be released via Plankton Records – watch this space for more details soon.

The PEBBLES single is now available to PRE-ORDER on iTunes and Amazon Worldwide, before going live everywhere from Friday

It was a fantastic interview and Matt spoke very well. Check out the full interview, which includes a play of the new single, from 33 minutes on this link (CLICK HERE)

Matt Hurley intro

Introducing Matt JR Hurley

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We are pleased to announce that our next release will be Worldwide digital single by our latest artist Matt JR Hurley. Matt is a Singer/Songwriter who writes music with the aim of allowing and helping people to address some of the big questions of life and Faith when facing the hard times and challenges on their journey through life. Influenced by his strong Christian faith he hopes that the music he writes will ‘bring hope and blessings’ to all who hear it.

“This single is a taster for an EP/mini-album that we are releasing later in the summer” explained Matt, “I’m actually in the middle of recording at the moment and we are hoping to have it ready and released in time for a week’s residency as Worship leader at a Christian holiday on mainland Europe that I’m involved with”

Plankton’s Keith Dixon added, “I liked Matt’s approach to us and his approach to writing and performing too. He was happy to work with us in a way that suits both him and us. We look forward to hearing the other material Matt is recording now”.

Matt’s debut single PEBBLES looks at the very real topic of losses that we face in life whether of a person, possession or place. It is released Worldwide on Friday APRIL 29 and will be available on all major music download and streaming sites. Here are the links to iTunes and Amazon in both the UK and USA where the single is available to pre-order now:

iTunes UK: Click here

Amazon UK: Click here

iTunes USA: Click here

Amazon USA: Click here

You can find more about Matt on his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/MattJRHurley

and follow him at on twitter:

https://twitter.com/MattJRHurley

 

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Great Review for Soul Food

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Top UK CCM website Louder Than The Music have posted a great review of our latest album release ‘Soul Food’ by THE DARN FUNK ORCHESTRA

Awarding the album 4 stars (out of 5), the reviewer summed up the album by saying “It has a real happy, feel good factor, combining brilliant music with well delivered vocals in thoroughly enjoyable songs”. We think that’s about the best way to sum up the band’s sound which is a brilliant mix of soul, funk, jazz, rock and pop!

A big thank you to the Louder Than The Music team for their support. To read the full review CLICK HERE

‘Soul Food is available as a digital release on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide, including iTunes and Amazon and on CD from this very website (CLICK HERE) for UK and Worldwide readers or alternatively from Amazon (CLICK HERE) for UK readers only (where its already received 2 5 star customer reviews!)

To read more about THE DARN FUNK ORCHESTRA visit their artist page on this site which also includes direct links to iTunes and Amazon UK and USA sites (CLICK HERE)

Cliff & Keith

New Cliff Bergdahl releases on the way

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Cliff Bergdahl (here pictured on the left following a recent meeting near the BBC in London with Plankton partner Keith Dixon on a rather dodgy selfie!) is a man that has had a long long association with Plankton Records. Simon Law, the founder and still partner in Plankton played with Cliff in his Really Free Band in the 1970s touring churches, schools and prisons across the UK.

In 1985, long after Simon had left Really Free and set up his own band Sea Stone and then launched Plankton Records, Cliff and the Really Free Band released their first Plankton title – a cassette called ‘Reverence’. Since then, Cliff (as both the leader of Really Free Band and also as a solo artist) has released several titles through Plankton, the last being ‘The Cry of Urgency” in 1996 (CD available from this website’s on-line store and also a digital release on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide)

Forward 20 years to now and Cliff is back with at least 2 projects to be released with Plankton Records in the next year. “The first release”, stated Cliff,  “is a real family affair as it includes three generations of our family. It’s a four song EP that features myself and Char my wife, our kids – who are all great singers and musicians, and my grand children who provide some great vocals too!”

“The second release is going to be a re-release of a Really Free project. I’ve had it remastered and it sounds great! I’m also working on a third project too at the moment but it’s too early to say how and when that will appear. I need to talk that through further with Keith at Plankton”.

So, 2016 (possibly into early 2017) will see an EP and an album released through Plankton involving different areas, and eras, of Cliff’s long musical journey and career. Watch this website for more details.

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First details of new album release

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We can today confirm the first details of the next Plankton release. It will be the debut album from THE DARN FUNK ORCHESTRA called “Soul Food”. The album will feature 12 original tracks, all composed by  band leader, singer and drummer James ‘Jimmy’ Darn (1 track with two co-writers) and it will be available on CD (from this website and via Amazon in the UK) and on all major digital download and streaming sites Worldwide.

The only detail left to be 100% confirmed is the actual release date of the album as we await confirmation of delivery date from the plant etc. The target release date is Friday January 29

More details/confirmation  to follow.

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Celebrating 25 years

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I’ve been reminded this week by my Linked-In page that I (this is Keith Dixon posting this item) became a Partner in Plankton Records in January 1991! My, how times flies! So, on this momentous (ha ha ha) occasion I thought I share a few thoughts and memories of the last 25 years.

Plankton Records was launched in 1978 by Simon Law (who remains the other Partner with me to this day). I got to know Simon in the late 80s. We both lived close to each other in the East London borough of Newham (where I still live) and the band I was working with (as sound man, roadie and ‘manager’) which at that time was called “Against The Tide” played a few local gigs and festivals with Simon’s band “Fresh Claim”. Simon then talked to us about releasing some music on his record label and in 1990, by which time the band had changed some personnel and changed their name, the “Medals” cassette 6 song EP ‘Blue Blood’ was released (‘Blue Blood’ is to be made available on all major digital music download and streaming sites Worldwide at some point this year). I then started working as a self-employed painter and decorator and was employed by Simon to decorated several rooms in his house, which included the Plankton Records head office in, what would normally have been, the front bedroom. As time went on I spent less time decorating and more time sitting and working with Simon in the office and then Simon suggested I became a partner – Hey presto! A dream fulfilled – I’d always wanted to work in the ‘music industry’ (how glamorous does that sound!).

In 1991, my first year, I got to sing some backing vocals on a recording we did of kids songs for Scripture Union (called ‘Newshounds’ – available on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide!) in Studio 2 at ICC studios in Eastbourne (for whom I would later work for for one year in the mid 2000’s) and we released our first CD (Marc Catley & Geoff Mann’s “The Off The End OF The Pier Show” – CD available from this website’s store and also on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide!) which was very exciting but in all truth I had very little involvement in as Marc Catley had sorted it all out and presented us with stock at the Greenbelt festival, where Plankton Records ran the Musician’s Advice Tent on the Fringe until the Fringe was unfortunately axed!

In 1992 we released the “Generation” album for Ben Okafor on CD and cassette. This was very exciting for me as Ben, at that time, was fairly well known within the UK CCM scene and was unique in so much as he was mainly a reggae artist. It was ,and still is a fantastic album and I was actively involved in the song selection and also designed the lettering used on the front of the album and also designing and setting all of the artwork. Ben launched the album at a packed Big Top appearance at Greenbelt that year and it received to great acclaim by both reviewers and fans.

Many more events, gigs, missions and releases of all kinds followed during the 90s. We produced a company T-shirt (see pic) and in 1995, when CDs were still a new and expensive format for independent artists, I organised the compiling and release of the 20 track “Greenbelt Fringe ’95” CD which featured 20 artists that appeared on that year’s Fringe programme. It proved a very popular idea and sold really well.

Then in 2000, following Simon completing a degree at Oak Hill College, he fulfilled a long held ambition and was ordained as an Anglican curate. I found myself a job working with a company supplying kid’s music to major UK High Street stores. So, apart from releasing a teaching cassette in 2001 for some old friends in Cardiff (Gary Smith and Nigel James’ “Big Ideas”)  Plankton very much went into mothballs for several years.

Then in 2006 I decided I wanted to re-activate Plankton and with Simon still available to help with accounts and book keeping when needed, and still performing recording with “Fresh Claim”, I took the reigns as effectively a one man operation. In the first year we released two albums with Ben Okafor – a remastered and extended version of his classic 1992 ‘Generation’ album and a wonderful acoustic album ‘Acoustic Close’ (CDs of both albums available from this website’s store and also on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide!) as well as a CD for the dynamic “Mohabir Sisters” who were 5 actual sisters who mixed gospel and soul beautifully, with some brilliant vocal harmonies (‘Feel The Power’ CD available from this website’s store and also on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide!).

I also spent over a year trying to get Plankton’s album available on the (at the time) new digital music sites, which were totally dominated by iTunes. It took a lot of research, time, energy and paperwork and it was a steep learning curve. It was because of all the contacts I’d made and everything I’d learned that I decide to launch the aggregation service DOXMEDIA (‘Dox’ was my nick name as a kid) which still running and growing to this day (check out the Doxmedia website, Facebook and Twitter pages), helping artists and their labels avoid all the hassle and trouble I’d experienced and to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for them to place their music on all major music download and streaming sites Worldwide.

I’ve now been involved with around 40 releases on Plankton (albums, EPs and singles), almost 25 of which have been released since the 2006 re-launch and I have to say that I still get the same joy and excitement when a new release launches as I always did. And it still carries on. There’s a new album coming very soon for “Darn Funk Orchestra” and hopefully a new EP soon from a very old Plankton friend and I’m also talking with “Echo” about their second album. Here’s to many more!

It’s been a joy to work with all of the artists over the years (a big thank you to you all) and I hope to keep helping, supporting and encouraging artists through Plankton Records for a long time yet!

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Echo update – Fund raising & Christmas radio

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It’s been a little while since we posted news on our favourite soul band ECHO so here is some news of a recent gig and an upcoming radio appearance.

Throughout 2015 ECHO have played a series of intimate stripped back events in the Kenya Coffee House in Romford. For their last appearance there this year in November they were joined by the talented ‘B Naturals’. (The picture above is from the gig.) The two bands, together with the audience raised over £1000 for two charities. Well done to everyone and a big thanks to everyone who came and contributed so generously.

On Monday December 14, ECHO will be making turn to London’s Premier Radio and between 8.00-9.00am ECHO will be appearing on John Pantry’s Inspirational Breakfast Show. The band told us “We’ll be on for an hour, singing and playing live, chatting etc, come and join us!”

For a link to the breakfast show on Premier’s website, click here