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8 Track: Ishmael Ensemble

Ishmael Ensemble bristol on Cone Magazine 8 track

In time for their debut LP release, contemporary Jazz collective Ishmael Ensemble, featuring a combination of six musicians and collaboratives, provide us their selection of records for ‘8 Track’.

On 3 February 2017, Bristolian collective Ishmael Ensemble release their debut LP ‘Songs for Knotty’ on Banoffee Pies Records. The tributary album, is a remarkable exploration into free form jazz, from a contemporary standpoint, and has since garnered support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Alexander Nut and BBC 6 Music.

You can stream an album sampler of this powerful and thought provoking release here, and it will be available for purchase on the labels Bandcamp.

As part of our ‘8 Track’ series, the band have also provided us with a selection of records which you can listen to underneath.

8 Track: Ishmael Ensemble

A track that first sparked an interest in music.

A track that has influenced the way you play today.


[ypt playlist_id=PLl_zi9NNCmoyDPqas7isC8fRdJoZdgKsn]

Pete Cunningham – Producer, Vocals, Saxophone


This is a record my parents would play at home and is probably my first memory of music taking me to another world. I used to take great joy in identifying each instrument, and this is probably the first saxophone I would’ve heard as well.


An older friend lent this to me when I was about 14/15 and it redefined my understanding of what a song could be. The whole album is a real journey and explores many different moods and textures. This definitely inspired me to explore different instrumentation in my own work.

Holly Wellington – Vocals


I remember one of my earliest connections to music was watching the animated film Fantasia 2000 at my grandma’s house. It was Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ which accompanied a beautiful spiritual sprite that brought vivacity into my head.


This introduced to my ears an entirely new musical approach, particularly the poetic and seemingly complicated yet beautiful soul induced melodies.

Chris Hillier – Vocals, Saxophone


Near the end of school, I was given a copy of Either/Or by my friend Dan, who had been given a copy by an older, cooler friend. At the time my music taste was probably quite prescribed. This album felt very unprecedented. It didn’t feel very cool. Strange voice, so personal and exposed. Dan bought a 4-track soon thereafter.


There is a certain mythology surrounding Talk Talk and the very particular way they worked, but for me their music has always been about restraint more than it was about improvisation. Every time I listen to this track I notice that long moment of silence before the piano starts.

Stephen Mullins – Guitar


The ‘greatest hits’ was a cassette that would always be playing in my dads car stereo as we made our way to another steam railway!


Been listening to her album a lot lately. Reminds you how effective bass, drums, guitar and great songs can be.


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