The inaugural release on Phat Phil Cooper's new Sick Trumpet label is a must-have two track seven by Opolopo. Cunningly pressed on a 33rpm dinked 7" it contains two ace four minute plus tunes. "Theme From Hotspot" is a real funky number with a house foundation and a disco-funk heart. "Closed Circuit" is pure 70s exploitation flick title / action sequence, heavy on the wah wah and theremin effects with a cool melody.
Hungarian born Swede, Peter Major, a.k.a Opolopo, has been immersed in soulful music since early childhood. Having a keyboard playing father with a respectable collection of jazz soul and fusion records laid out the obvious musical path. Artists like Herbie Hancock, Jeff Lorber, Earth Wind & Fire, Brecker Brothers, Bob James, George Duke, Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Gino Vannelli etc, started him off and are still major influences.
As well as playing in various funk and fusion bands, Peter started experimenting with production and recording right from the start. Starting out with overdubbing on cassette decks with a Casio VL Tone toy keyboard, through proper synths and beat boxes to computers. The production side of things slowly took over as his music became more and more dance oriented - he couldn't resist the beats, bass and energy. However he found a lot of dance music rather tedious after the first eight bars. The combination of dance elements with rich soulful musical content was the way to go. When composing he tries to write and produce music he himself would buy. Most of it is danceable but never looses the jazz and soul element. It’s like Herbie Hancock once said in an interview: "As much as I kept trying to make it funk, it kept integrating with these jazz elements, so after a while I stopped fighting."
After years of gigging with the band while perfecting production skills in the studio, it was time to approach the record labels. After few obscure releases he also drew the attention of the majors. The new millennium saw him doing soulful productions and remixes for Warner, Sony, Universal and BMG.
The Opolopo debut album was released in Australia in 2003, summing up the various elements that had made up his musical universe to that point. Spanning from d'n'b through house to soul, the album received great reviews and was on heavy rotation on club oriented radio stations.
Apart from working on material for a follow-up album, he's also involved in the live electronic jazz project Expansions. Fusing beats with laptops and live musicians while keeping everything loose and rearrangeable in real-time, focusing on the improvisational elements of jazz. The project has had some of Sweden's finest jazz musicians as guests and is currently brought to the studio for an upcoming album.
There are also some talked about remixes floating around the internet - new takes on classic r'n'b tracks that has raised many eyebrows. This has led to the upcoming original 7" releases on Phat Phil Coopers new label Sick Trumpet.
"SICK TRUMPET" - FROM CLUB NIGHT TO LABEL
As the clubbing institutions of old begin to crumble and the relentless house beat slowly leaves the pop charts a new generation of clubbers are taking dance music back underground. Intimate venues, deeper sounds and close knit communities are taking over from super clubs, banging beats and big business. Here in Liverpool Sick Trumpet are spearheading the soulful dancefloor renaissance as they carve their own niche in the Capital of Culture’s revitalised music scene.
Like minded souls Phat Phil Cooper, Steve Hodge and Phil Charnock run the night and reside behind the decks. Each member of the trio has an enviable track record in DJing and Sick Trumpet is the culmination of their vast experience. The music policy is wide open to reflect their broad tastes with previous guests having included fellow ‘eclectitians’ Rainer Truby, Jigsaw Music DJs, Diesler, Blackbeard, Landslide, Kelvin Brown and local heroes such as DJ Conrad and Sarah Sweeney. Deep house, disco, dancefloor-jazz, hip hop, broken beat and any other form of good soulful music could be heard. The great thing about a night at Sick Trumpet is not knowing what style of record you could hear next. A loyal core of regulars support the night, following it from the murky basement below a Kebab House in Liverpool where the adventure started through to its current home; the legendary raw dance space The Lemon Lounge. Each party seems to be better than the last and the Sick Trumpeters are always bowled over by the great response to the genre-defying sounds.