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James Hardway works most often with cool textures cutting his own path on a genre-defying jazz funk excursion that echoes the punk-soul of James Blood Ulmer, evokes the spirit of Fela Kuti's epic jams and is infused with a Cali bounce.
Hardway has worked with an impressive cast of British producers, from Genesis P-Orridge to Adrian Sherwood and Jah Wobble to Andrew Weatherall. During the early '80s, Hardway lived in Germany and acted in films before getting into the Berlin music scene. He recorded an album in 1983 (as David Harrow), and was the main force behind European electro-pop star Anne Clark . Hardway also appeared with Jah Wobble on the continent, but relocated to London by 1986, where he was swept up by the acid-house phenomenon.
Hardway divided his time during the late '80s and early '90s between dub units (Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound System, Lee Perry) and the burgeoning electronic community, working as a producer with Psychic TV and many others. This one time drum'n'bass fusionary, now following a more eclectic path, previously went by the name David Harrow, is and reportedly related to Al Capone.
The name change and new directions started in the 1990s, after a night of jungle music in darkest South London. David Harrow was back at the studio at 4 in the morning, dropping Charlie Parker over double timed hip-hop beats, discovering a brand new sound - thus James Hardway was born. He revealed his James Hardway guise with the impressive Deeper, Wider, Smoother, Shit in 1996. The album was all the more noteworthy considering he played all live instruments (except for flute) and covered programming as well. " Hardway also displayed a talent for writing songs, with a credit for Billie Ray Martin's 1996 million selling hit "Your Loving Arms."
After the release of his second, 1997's Welcome to the Neon Lounge, Hardway earned an American contract through Shadow. The label collected tracks from his two albums to date for the 1998 compilation Easy Is a Four Letter Word. A remix collection, Reshuffle and Spin Again, followed and Hardway returned with his third proper album, A Positive Sweat. For the recording of 2000's Moors + Christians, he assembled a virtual studio band by gathering recordings together from a journey to Cuba and Jamaica. In 2001 he released Straight From The Fridge which, after the tragic death of his close friend and reggae singer Bim Sherman, was the last he?d release in the UK before moving to America.
?I have always been influenced by the atmosphere of Los Angeles , says Hardway. ?James Ellroy, my favorite writer , was a great inspiration for early albums . But I began imagining a whole later period of LA music from the early 70s and with LA Instrumental. It?s like a journey to the downtown LA of the 70s using a classic musical pallet of real drums, silken strings , pulsing wurlitzers and Theremins.?