SystemEcho Recordings launches its second release ‘Breathe 15th Anniversary’, an adventure collaboration between veteran DJ/producer Lee Castle (Version Xcursion) Paul Silvestri (classical composer) and Andrea Lucarelli singer/songwriter/yoga instructor.
It's been 15 years since Version Xcursion gave Andrea some instrumentals which lead to the creation of ‘Breathe’. Andrea Lucarelli, is a singer/lyricist, she is one third of the band UNDADOGG formed in 1998 with twin brothers Ruben-guitar and Remi Miquez-drums and keyboardist Christian Kada who have all been playing together since high school.
Version Xcursion met Undadogg back in the early 2000’s when they first stumbled across their music and played it on their VX popular radio show on the now defunct CKLN. VX invited Undadogg as featured guest to play a live acoustic show at their famous Dub & Beyond, a monthly event.
As time moved on and the two collective built a strong relationship it was not surprising when VX approached Andrea to be a feature vocalist on a new EP.
The process was quite different from the way she’s used to working with her own band. Instead of a group- based writing approach, VX gave her some instrumentals and she wrote her part separately. They only got together when it was time to record the vocals in the studio.
“I’ve really only played with my band before this. I was always reluctant to play with other people – out of loyalty, I suppose. I’ve realized, though, that if it’s with like- minded musicians, good people we respect who are on the same wavelength and vibe as us, then it’s not cheating.”… Andrea
In 2006 VX and Andrea released a 3 song EP on CD, the collaboration entitled “Breathe“ the track debuted at #1 on CKLN’s electronic chart and received lots of support from college radio. Dubmatix Toronto’s number one dub producer and Juno winner supported the release with a remix, which helped ’Breathe’ gain a lot more attention around the release. Drum & Bass producer at the time Dj Mutt also contributed a remix which was never officially released.
It was supported by Crissy Criss on BBC 1Xtra. The full remix will be available as part of the 15th Anniversary release.
Andrea and I have always stayed in touch, she’s fully involved in her yoga teaching and is now a full time mum. We’ve always talked about how much ‘Breathe’ means to us and is still dear to our hearts…VX
Fast forward to date when Lee realized it was coming to the 15th anniversary since the release of ‘Breathe’ he reached out to Andrea and mentioned the idea of recording a 2021 version of ‘Breathe’ and if she would be interested in shooting a video and collaborating on a new song in celebration of the 15th Anniversary.
Once Andrea was fully on board with the idea, Lee reached out to longtime friend and pioneering digital video artist/producer/videographer Lisa Santonato (FTP Media Inc.) to direct the music video for Breathe".
Version Xcursion Presents: Holding Back VX & Amai Kuda
The message that comes through constantly in my music is the call to ‘follow’ ancestors and take up the wisdoms of the past. This is where my work intersects powerfully with the Version Xcursion project in that Lee is also on a mission to share an aspect of Black peoples’ history and share the magic of some of our musical stories. For Lee 'Holding Back' is "a reflection of the past growing up in St. Paul, Bristol, a working class neighborhood populated by Jamaican immigrants. More then just a collection of tracks, the EP is a chance to educate and bring awareness to the musical richness and history of the St Paul’s Bristol sound. my home town!"
“My music is my story”
Veteran producer Lee Castle has unleashed a new project. With help from vocalist Amai the featured tracks are peppered with the raw organic feeling which birthed the downtempo sound of his youth. More then just a collection of tracks his current EP is a mission to educate people on the history of the Bristol sound.
Castle’s unapologetic emotional beats drive with the force of conviction while Amai’s vocals force us to look deep within to where the ache of our existence meets the beauty of being. The duo hypnotizes us with their hauntingly moody collection of tracks, guiding us on a journey that eventually soothes our troubled souls with the gentle ease of acceptance.
‘The Making of the Song’
It’s been a refreshing process for me - just being able to focus on composing lyrics and the vocal-line melody without having to worry about instrumentation because I know Lee’s got that. I get to jam over the beat and just let the stories unfold. Allowing myself to release like this is always a healing, liberating process.
In Follow there are two voices. There’s mine, that of the searcher who doesn’t ‘wanna be holding back’ and then that of the Guide, the ancestor, who describes the Searcher with her “heart open wide” and calls her/us to ‘follow me.’ This is a message that comes through constantly in my life and work – the call to ‘follow’ ancestors and take up the wisdoms of the past. This is where my work intersects powerfully with the Version Xcursion project, in that Lee is also on a mission to share an aspect of Black peoples’ history and share the magic of some of our musical stories.
SystemEcho Recording views music as a powerful tool to expand consciousness while acknowledging the need to keep things entertaining and dance floor friendly.
Heavily influenced by Dj and Sound System culture the label focus’ on bass heavy music which unifies the people and uplifts the community.
'sharing music, discovering stories, building community'.... VX