To say that A Man Called Adam`s new album Farmarama dances somewhere between their 1990s Balearic / House output and their recent more experimental sound design found on Emotional Response`s Schleißen Series, would be a bit lazy, and a slight stretching of the truth. The record does, however, sound like Sally Rodgers and Steve Jones have taken their back catalogue and deconstructed it. Name-checking pioneers Wendy Carlos, Delia Derbyshire, Pauline Oliveros, Daphne Oram, and Laurie Spiegel, along the way. Mixing the resulting sometimes asymmetric building blocks with clank, glitch, and digital fizz, to reconstruct something fresh. Music that references their Acid Jazz origins, yet has all its beats broken in a 21st century way.
I mean there are a lot of loops here. Shakers. Bells.Flashes of Fusion. Squelchy, Moog-y, and Weldon Irvine-esque. Pumpkin`s drums from Spoonie Gee`s Love Rap. Rastas, and percussion, twisted and delayed, a la Tubby`s Hi Fi. Tribal chants and highlife guitar. Harps and opera divas.
Cut-up keys that recall that old Johnny Fiasco record on Cajual. Or those brilliant Noid / Moton re-imaginings of Tenderness` Keep On Trying and Carl Bean`s Born This Way. “Filter” House is a definite touchstone. As is classic Boom Bap. With source material spinning through flange, and phase. Though its memory is used to create chilled-out masterclasses, that given time, will no doubt rival AMCA`s Cafe Del Mar favourites, Estelle, and Easter Song. That “barefoot in the head”, Second Summer of Love is there. In a muted What Is Love? B-line, and Acidic pulses. All embellished by live bass, horns, marimba, soprano sax, and woodwinds. A touch of gypsy toque.
Sally`s lyrics too are sliced and diced. I`m pretty big on words, and what sounds to me like deeply personal diary entries, and spontaneous improvisations on their reading, are rearranged with Burroughs` razor. Introducing ambiguity, and opening up their author`s private experience, into something shared. Perhaps aiming to achieve a stream of consciousness-like, dream state. Lyrics that seem to have a lot to do with recovery. Concerned as they are with “letting go”, and “flying again”. While digging at the emptiness and selfishness of modern life, they are effectively a healing mantra. Embodying positivity and hope. The closing track takes French poet, Paul Valery, to the Disco. Reseting the symbolist`s La Jeune Parque in a strobe and smoked filled club.
“The wind rises…..We must try to live.”
With Sally making like a hypnosis / meditation tape, to a backing of Cosmic Funk. Its bump reminding me a little of Jump`s Funkatarium**. The chug of Mach`s On & On, or Lips Inc.`s Funky Town, pitched down, as if segued by Baldelli.
You can order Farmarama directly from A Man Called Adam.
**For a moment, it`s 1992. Al`s dancing. Gurn on. Mouth like a crack in a pie.