27 year old Niko Schabel was brought to our attention by Quantic. “Have a
listen, you might like this,” he said handing over a CD-r to Ubiquity
A+R rep Andrew Jervis after a gig in San Francisco. He was right.
Schabel hails from Berlin and, thanks to Quantic, now records for
Ubiquity as Radio Citizen. His sound ranges from slack dub, moody
folksy-soul, to adrenalin infused and spiritual cinematic jazz. The
sound of Radio Citizen comes from Schabels ability to loosely glue
together a collage of sampled textures which are embellished with gifted
musicians and often topped-off with the seductive vocals of the worldly
Bajka. It sounds complicated, but the end result is actually very simple and addictive.
Schabel is the main force behind Radio Citizen and in addition to the sampler and mixing desk he plays alto saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet, kalimba and small percussion, plus rhodes, flute and synthesiser. He is regularly assisted by vocalist Bajka and flute and sax man Wolfi. Bajka was born in an Indian temple and grew up in Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and on a catamaran in South Africa. She has traveled the world with a music commune called Embryo that her uncle founded and father was a member of, and which coincidentally Schabel was also a latter day guest. Bajka has recorded with Compost act Beanfield and released solo records on the Jazzman label. In addition Schabel has played and performed with the Niko Schabel Quartet, the Express Brass Band, the Poets of Rhythm, Jojo Kuo (ex-Fela Kuti), Nik McCarthy (Franz Ferdinand), the Last Poets, and many more.