Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
Selections, this month, present a mix of two halves. Split between the “Strictly” Ambient, and more Pop pieces, that combine Folk and Jazz.
On the Ambient side, Elements Of Life`s Are You With Me Love?, in my opinion, is THE track from that E.P. on Mysticisms. New Age-y swirls, (birth of the) cool blue trumpet, and angelic whispers, edited down in to sunset bliss from the original 1996, thirteen minute Trance-y House epic.
Similar in feel to EOL is Gallo`s Sagajar, The odd-one-out on Clandestino`s Various Vibrations. Swapping the Miles Davis touches of Are You With Me Love? for a sax. The four remaining cuts, however, could be described as “Balearic House”. Christophe, Field Of Dreams (Al Mackenzie and Chris “No Way Back” Kentish. Al will be one of our guests at Bonobo on November 3rd), and Field Theory, bubbling, banging, and acidic. Mixing in tropical field recordings, squeaking cuica, and big Basic Channel Dub chords. Chris Coco`s La Naturaleza manages to fuse Malcolm McLaren`s Obatala with Lil Louis` French Kiss.
Peaking Lights new long-player, Sea Of Sand, on Dekmantel, also contains banging moments. Specifically, Shift Your Mind. A piece of cowbell-tastic Punk Disco, which comes on like offspring of Aaron`s Leisure Connection and House Of Spirits projects. Gurgling, rumbling, and speaking in tongues. But for the main part, the album is psychedelic Electro-Pop. Reminiscent of The Chromatics and Chris And Cosey. Standout, Noise Of Life, adds some Lemon Interrupt, while the title track, is a breath-taking, thought-catching, calm of pitched-down pianos and harmonies.
Still staying beatless, Ai Messiah`s Sentience And Sapience on Touch Sensitive sets out to describe the blurred line of Man`s trajectory, between religion and science. Theory and myth. An ambience, of sometimes lava lamp, stoned, Psychedelic. Sometimes spinning backwards. Edited machine noise, digital sparks, and Fennesz-like glitches. Wind chimes and helicopter rotors. The strings of love, and tears in rain, of Vangelis` Blade Runner. Cyborg sighs, and industrial crashes. Amplified by the reverb of deserted factories, and warehouses. Noir Jazz, and Electro ghosts (in the shell). The glissando of virtual streams. Simulated sitar. Techno tabla. The wildlife chatter of chasm circuitry. All segue and merge in an Orb-esque score. Washes, and waves. Echoes of humanity as we reach for the stars, and beyond. Transhuman transcendence towards The Singularity. A future as meta-connected, immortal, code. Here to go. Its mourning, crystal-aligning melancholy interrupted by metallic feedback, as an Eden is rendered.
*You can catch Ai Messiah`s live debut on November 17th, at The 343, Newtownards Road, Belfast.
Leaving Parts 1 & 2, from Smith & Mighty`s Ashely Road Sessions, forthcoming on Tectonic / Punch Drunk might be breakbeat-driven and in possession of some serious sub-bass, but its Erik Satie at the Soundclash vibe, puts it less with their Proto-Rave warrior charges, and more with their downtempo work with Mark Stewart (Stranger Than Love), and Paul Oakenfold`s Movement 98. For further reference points, see also Keith Le Blanc`s Ending, and ON-U Sound`s Language And Mentality.
More organically rhythmic, but equally chilled, is Percussions Pour La Danse. A privately-pressed collaboration between dancer Tony Kenneybrew and musician Jean Pierre Boistel. Originally issued in 1989, now rescued from three-figure Discogs prices by Left Ear Records. Choreographing berimbau, bells, and seashells. Pretty kalimba colours with pitch-perfect guitar. Congas, muted bugle, and pan pipe whistle. Talking drums, shakers, and Güiro scratch. Gwo Ka, and Chant Du Le Monde. Steel pans, saxophone, and even a Space Rock solo. Bongos keeping the beat.
In the first of two moments from Alix-kun`s Kumo No Muro compilation on Jazzy Couscous, Shigeru Suzuki`s axe makes a sound that`s a dead-ringer for that of reverb-king, Robin Guthrie. Fragile, and frozen, on Silver Snow Shining. In the second, the bass and keys of Yoshio Suzuki pass for modern Ambient House on The Mirage.
Also proto-Ambient something are Clifford White`s Lifestream, and Nic Lyon`s Woody. Resurrected by Emotional Rescue, and Left Ear (again), respectively. The former is “New Age Disco” of fidgeting fractals remastered for a 12 from the 1989 Lifespring LP. I guess, the closest comparison might be Zennamon`s Oh Nandu What Have We Done? The latter, one of the highlights on the Antipodean Anomalies compilation, counters water-like chimes with violin and Japanese koto. All bottomed off by a Digi-Dub b-line.
Japanese Art Pop comes from Studio Mule. A project that involves super-producer, Kuniyuki Takahashi, and Dip In The Pool`s Miyako Koda. The duo covering the left field dance “unclassics” of their homeland. Having already interpreted Taeko Ohnuki`s Carnaval, and Mariah`s Shinzo No Tobira, they now turn to Yumi Murata`s Face To Face. Miyako-san yearning, slo-mo, over fretless bass, chiming guitar, and sparse synthesised woodwinds, and strings. RecallingIchiko Hashimoto`s Kitsune, and, of course, Dip In The Pool.
Not from Japan, but only available in the land of the rising sun, is Litto Nebbia`s, Canciones Favoritas. A compilation of recordings by the legendary Argentinan singer, put together by Chee Shimizu for Japanese label, World`s Trees. Picking ten tracks from eight albums, spanning 1976 to 2014. Collecting sunshine-filled, acoustically strummed Folk, synth-y Fusion, and slinky, jazzy Pop. Presenting a set that`s in equal measures Azimuth, Gerardo Bátiz, Javier Bergia, Lucio Dallo, and Pat Metheny.
The Jazz continues with reissues from Judy Roberts, and Dorothy Ashby. An ton of classic Jazz and Soul seems to be being repressed. I`m keeping a list, and if I get a chance I`ll do a round up, but in amongst this ocean of essentials is Jose Padilla favourite / Cafe Del Mar standard, Little Sunflower. Dorothy Ashby`s cover of the Freddie Hubbard tune, taken from her Richard “Burning Spear” Evans-produced, 1968 LP, Afro-Harping. Back out there as a consequence of Geffen acquiring the Cadet catalogue.
The Judy Roberts Band has two Dynamite Cuts, from their sole 1979 long-player, twinned on a single 45. The racing, bass riff-driven Fusion of Never Was Love was comped by Gilles Peterson for his “scene-defining / every home should have them” Jazz Juice series. Fantasy is sophisticated adult Pop. Judy sounding a bit like a female Michael Franks.
More of a Boogie bent, all be it of a sleazy, seductive bedroom kind, is Andi Hanley`s extension of Serbian, Boban Petrovic`s Zajedno Srećni, for Magic Wand. While DJ Rocca & Leo Almunia`s Estate, from their recent Rhythm Collision E.P. on Really Swing has a kinda Bobby Caldwell groove. Making morning music with Jap-Jazz-like fretwork and a funky flute.
Finally on the Folk front, Stubb team-up with Huw Costin (of Torn Sail, who were responsible for the Claremont 56 hit, Birds), and Rachel Foster, for some Love Not Sex, on Paper Wave.
Funky drums back a bottleneck, Bluegrass lick that might be a vamp on Fleetwood Mac`s Oh Well. Tambourines tap, Muscle Shoals keys smoke, and there`s a jammin` synth solo. But, really, it`s all about Huw`s David Byrne-like vocals. Delivering a sweet declaration of love, that`s a great follow up to Stubb AKA Ben Davis` previous Jane Weaver collaboration.
On the remixes, Leca resets the beat to “gentle percolation”, and focuses on some pedal steel arcs. Mori Ra, in contrast, Rocks out. The guitars now rising walls of feedback squall. The drums, the sexy Burundi of Kate Bush`s Running Up That Hill.
Elements Of Life – Are You With Me Love? – Mysticisms
Peaking Lights – Sea Of Sand – Dekmantel
Gallo – Sagajar – Clandestino
Studio Mule – Face To Face – Mule Musique
Shigeru Suzuki – Silver Snow Shining – Jazzy Couscous
Ai Messiah – Enter Realm – Touch Sensitive
Smith & Mighty – Leaving Parts 1 & 2 – Tectonic / Punch Drunk
Jean Pierre Boistel & Tony Kenneybrew – Dans Le Secret Clepsydre – Left Ear Records
Litto Nebbia – Paso El Circo – World`s Trees
Boban Petrovic – Happy Together – Magic Wand
Judy Roberts – Fantasy – Dynamite Cuts
Dorothy Ashby – Little Sunflower – Geffen
DJ Rocca & Leo Almunia – Estate – Really Swing
Stubb – Love Not Sex – Paper Wave
Nic Lyon – Woody – Left Ear Records
Clifford White – Lifestream – Emotional Rescue
Yoshio Suzuki – The Mirage – Jazzy Couscous
Brian Eno – From The Same Hill – Virgin***
Ai Messiah – Sentience – Touch Sensitive
***Four essential Eno Ambient LPs are being reissued. Which need to be covered in detail elsewhere.