Joseph Malik - Proxima Ebony

Joseph Malik - Proxima Ebony

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Release Date 03/11/2023
Format LP/ CD
Label Ramrock Records
Catalogue Number RRRLP10/

From the first track, ‘Introduction’ to ‘High Over Low’, Joseph Malik wants the listener to know that they are on a musical exploration through a collection of highly original soundscapes and that ‘Proxima Ebony’ is no ordinary album. ‘Proxima Ebony’ marks the end of a five year, five album output and the beginning of a new era of collaborations with international musicians, combining talents on projects created in Edinburgh, Scotland.

‘Introduction’ opens Side A with ‘Proxima Ebony’ following as the title track of the album. This collaboration with San Francisco based rapper and producer, Antoine Green aka Capitol A, is a true labour of love and in the process of making the track, Joseph and Antoine have created a bold Afro Futurism anthem for our times. ‘Adjust Like Dat’ draws on many influences including Joseph’s Nigerian culture and early 80’s Philly International rhythms, resulting in an Afro Boogie track that takes no prisoners with its incessant keyboard and bass riffs and Joseph delivering his vocals with a nod to Nigerian patois. The international collaborations continue as multi-talented Philadelphia based rapper and spoken word artist, Kameelah Waheed joins forces with Joseph on the duet, ‘Be A Lion’. Kameelah and Joseph bring back the fun and positivity to this old skool hip hop outing in its truest sense with Edinburgh hip hop legend, DJ Nasty P on the kuts. ‘Shuya San’ sees a dedication from Joseph Malik’s music brother, Shuya Okino, from Kyoto Jazz Massive. Here, Shuya talks about their close personal bond and musical family connection in Edinburgh, related to the listener in Japanese. Daniel Walls plays the Shō, a Japanese bagpipe, to reinforce the blending of cultures with music created in Scotland. Side A signs off with the Dirty Soul meets Punk Funk monster, ‘Trouble with a Capital T’ which gives off bad boy attitude from the very first note. Joseph wrote this song when he was in a club in Madrid and met an enticing woman on the dance floor and they danced the night away. The original musical input came from Daniel Walls who envisioned the track as the essence of New York club, CBGBs meets Talking Heads anarchic ‘Psycho Killer ‘with the additional snarling guitar riff played by Suddenly WOW’s Otti Albiez.

Side B opens with the most personal track on the album, ‘Only Fans’ - a reflection on Joseph’s childhood. His mother worked in the sex industry, and he saw a lot of things that he should never have seen as a child. This is why Joseph has always had compassion for those who work in the industry. Digital Liquid adds his signature brooding Acid Techno worm lead, giving the track its darkness and menace. ‘Adult Contemporary’ is one of Joseph Malik's most insightful songs - vulnerable and inspirational in one track. With deepest respect paid to his inspirations, 70s disco icon Sylvester, legendary producer Patrick Adams and trailblazer, Larry Levan, Joseph's exquisite, falsetto vocals soar above the keyboard mastery of Darren Morris to deliver a track remembering all those who passed or were affected during the AIDS epidemic in the early 80s. On the next track, ‘My Whole World (Is Fallin’), Kameelah Waheed joins Joseph again. Her beautifully delivered flow intertwines with Joseph’s achingly soulful vocals to create a track of great depth with an otherworldly vibe. Joseph is joined on ‘Hollywood Africans’ by Alina Bzhezhinka, an outstanding harpist who is regarded as one of the best jazz harpists in the World. Her dramatic score underpins Joseph’s dedication to Hattie McDaniels – the first black person to win an Oscar for her character, ‘Mammy’ in ‘Gone With The Wind’. This is also his acknowledgement of the painting by savant, Jean Michel Basquiat - ‘Hollywood Africans’. Darren Morris composed a big symphonic piano accompaniment, to compliment Alina’s harp, which alludes to the majesty of 1930’s film scores. ‘Proxima Ebony’ draws to a close with the ethereal ‘High Over Low’ – this is how the story ends for the couple who met on the dancefloor in Madrid. This heartbreaker showcases the guitar wizardry of Chris Franck with David Donnelly’s double bass adding resonance along with the North Street West choir of Darren Morris and Jo Wallace adding the final sparkle….


A1. Introduction
A2. Proxima Ebony
A3. Adjust Like Dat
A4. Be A Lion
A5. Shuya San
A6. Trouble with a Capital T
B1. Only Fans
B2. Adult Contemporary
B3. My whole world (is fallin')
B4. Hollywood Africans
B5. High over Low