Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
This segue starts with Talk Talk`s The Rainbow. A tribute to the band`s Mark Hollis, who sadly passed away on Monday, February 25th. The defiant message of the band’s 1984 single, It`s My Life summed up Hollis` journey, as his music found success, and he turned his back on the limelight, and eventually the industry. In 1989, this half-remembered Pop song, rediscovered by South London Amnesiac Tony Wilson, became a rallying call. Sung / shouted in chorus, by the disenfranchised working class ravers I found gathered in the dark, lit by lasers, at lunchtime, at The Downham Tavern All-Dayers. Life’s What You Make It, from 1986`s Colour Of Spring, was such a “Balearic” favourite that it got reissued post-Second Summer Of Love. Turned a 1990 warm up staple by the then fashionable hands of BBG, Fluke, and Neutron 9000`s Dominic Woosey. But 1988`s Spirit Of Eden, from which The Rainbow is taken, is probably Talk Talk`s lasting, defining moment. Credited, if you check Wikipedia, and all Hollis` current on-line obituaries, with launching the Post-Rock genre. Its focus on mood, and ambience, and rejection of formal song structure, echoes in every electro-acoustic set recorded since (check the track included here from Bartosz Kruczynski`s forthcoming Baltic Beat 2 on Growing Bin***). Its drum sound, adopted by Bristol`s Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky. The introspective instrumental Hip Hop of DJ Shadow, and James Lavelle`s Mo`Wax. Strings mix with machine chatter. Not digital, but cogs and wheels. Noise is wrought from guitar, like iron rusting. Harmonica is a locomotive`s lonesome whistle blow. Hollis, angelic, but outraged. Its weathered Americana, Dust Bowl Blues, can be heard in the albums of the briefly reformed Japan, Rain Tree Crow, and singer David Sylvian. There are melancholy muted Fourth World horns, and epiphanies of organ swell. The minimalism foreshadowing Hollis` 1998 self-titled solo LP. The process, drummer Lee Harris and bassist Paul Webb`s clanking, Can-like, rhythmic psychedelic jams as O.Rang.
Blending with the Post-Post-Rock of Bartosz Kruczynski, more new music comes from Chris Coco, and Seahawks. Chris` long-player, Indigo, isn’t due for worldwide release until April, but its been picked up in Japan by Calm’s Music Conception. Recording took place, in part, at Calm`s Tokyo studio, but draws the bulk of its inspiration from Ibiza. The island`s landscape. From the craggy North East coast, and its ancient shore-line defenses, La Torre. There are orchestral strings from Sacha Puttnam. Guitars from Danish group Bandina Ie. Treatments that could pass for one of the earlier releases on Jonny Nash`s Melody As Truth. Tiny repetitions that build to electric emotive climaxes, a la Mark McGuire. Star-like synths by Antonio Prosper. Swells that comfort like childhood seaside memories. Noir horns care of Adrian French. A bell, ringing softly, like the diner scene finale of Romeo Is Bleeding. The protagonist waiting for the ghost of love to walk back in through that door. But mostly there’s piano. Reverb-ed, and poignant, in the mode of Harold Budd, or Virginia Astley. The title track is laidback `Lectro that recalls Cafe Del Mar classic, Sisterlove`s The Hypnotist. Slow Motion Saturday, Dub House. Trance sequences spinning on its surface. While Onda, jointly the work of Roman artist Oora, is composed of gentle acidic tides. Boards Of Canada-esque. Like Recondite covering Sunday Best anthem, Danmass` Happy Here.
Seahawks, Jon Tye and Pete Fowler, present the “concept” album, Eyes Of The Moon, for New Yorkers Cascine. A sonic kaleidoscope of synthesizer swirl and Tesla coil fizz, recorded against the roar of the ocean at their Centre Of Sound studio in Cornwall. It aims to describe the Earth’s fate, as viewed from out in orbit. Descending bass-lines driving (predictably) kinda sad shuffles. A few tunes carry disembodied narration. The female voice lending those tracks a One Dove vibe, of chemical-induced transcendence. Grooves dissolve into wildlife bustle, celestial New Age-isms, electric counterpoint, phased percussive fills, lunar winds, and solar keys. Guitars that chime with a Lanois / Eno unforgettable fire. Sax in zero gravity. The effect, Orb-like in its drift. Sunset sambas move to blissful bongos and distant fanfares. Owls hoot. Woodwinds mimic mating calls. Tribal rhythms tap their feet. 5th World Symphony is non-carbon-based rainforest of shimmering shakers and animal shreek. Run Through My Mind is a pretty Ai waltz. Dancing towards The Singularity.
Older stuff this month includes those outstanding edits on that Shelved Recordings double-pack, and a few reissues: Groovy 70s sing-a-long, Korean Psyche from Kim Jiyeon & The Revival Cross, on Cobrarose / Beatball, and the latest offering from Preston-based Optic Nerve Recordings. The latter fast becoming one of my favourite labels, with their Optic Sevens series. Reissuing cult tunes, that tap into C86 Indie, as highly-collectable packages of badges, posters, and spattered, Pop Art vinyl. Recently there`s been former Heavenly signings East Village, and their Cubans In Blue Fields, but I`ve slotted in Pale Fountains` Spanish guitar, Tijuana brass-flecked, Just A Girl. In homage to those tapes of Jose`s that featured the neo-acoustic choruses of The Church, Everything But The Girl, The Lilac Time, and The Smithereens.
More Spanish guitar comes from Brazilian legend, Toquinho. The six-string-maestro probably best known for his collaborations with poet / lyricist, Vinicius De Moraes (the two of them once recorded a beautiful LP with Italian diva, Ornella Vanoni – Thank You! Leo Mas). Mr Bongo have Toquinho`s self-titled 1970 offering which features three songs penned, and sung with, Jorge Ben. Swooning orchestral arrangements. Swinging group harmonies. A Beatles-influenced ballad. Shorts of racing cuica, and fingers. The classic dancers, Zana, and Carolina Carol Bela.
Using that Spanish guitar as a link, there`s also a tune from the instrument`s Danish proponent, Jacob Gurevitsch. Motivo Loco, from An Introduction, on Music For Dreams. Its inclusion hopefully alerting Jacob`s cool interview to those who might have missed it.
In there somewhere, is another essential from Anna Domino, to keep your breath baited while you wait for the songstress` stories.
***Full review to follow, closer to release date.
Talk Talk – The Rainbow – EMI
Seahawks – Color Temples – Cascine
Bartosz – In The Garden – Growing Bin
Chris Coco – Onda – Music Conception
Jacob Gurevitsch – Motivo Loco – Music For Dreams
Pale Fountains – Just A Girl – Optic Nerve
Unknown – Can You Hear It – Shelved Recordings
Anna Domino – Caught – Les Disques Du Crépuscule
Kim Jiyeon – 웃어주세요 – Cobrarose
Unknown – Flight – Shelved Recordings
Toquinho – Na Agua Negra Da Lagoa – Mr Bongo