Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
I did a round up of recent Japanese releases last week. But music from my adopted home also features heavily here. I should perhaps change this month`s title to Miso Soup & Shochu. Anpan & Sake.
Tominori Hosoya, Ayuo Takahashi, and Coastlines I mentioned before. Records of sonic mirage, fragile, cherry-blossom like interlude, and Cantoma-esque Cafe Del Mar dynamic. But now they’re in the company of Max Essa, and Calm.
Max has a new E.P. forthcoming on Palms & Charms. Barkhan Dunes takes its name from the crescent moons blown by the winds that blast the sands of the Gobi Desert. Contained are three tunes of varying tempo. On The Price You Pay electronic percussion snaps and crackles. Guitar and synth create a mix of Euro Pop, and Neopolitan Fusion. Bolstered by Italo b-line, and snippets of sax. Imagine Noche Espanola remixing 291Out. The slower Sundowning has the guitar dueling Jazz and Blues licks. But best of all is the beat-less atmosphere of Kites At Nemoto Beach. A short suite in three parts, of treated chimes, sighs and far off whispers (French I think). A memory maybe of a day spent in Chiba. Cloud granting a view of Fuji-san.
Tracks from Calm`s By Your Side long-player, receive a series a reworks. On the first of two Hell Yeah! 12s, Calm himself turns Mellow Mellow Sadness, previously a kind of play on Kool & The Gang`s Summer Madness, into a piece of Acidic Dance. Mind Fair transform My Home Town into epic beach-bound Boogie. Raving in the open air to a musical marriage of Smith, Mudd and Quinn Luke`s The Distance and Kaoru Inoue`s remix of Crue-L Grand Orchestra`s L`ete Palma. Dominated by a catchy synth refrain, and interweaving piano overdubs. The second release will feature three more remixes. One of which has Yuri Shulgin disassemble Ending Summer Beginning Autumn. Building an abstract Tech-Jazz, of spaced out, refracted, blips and bleeps, from the fragments.
Erik Wollo`s electronics, collected on Sources, by Smalltown Supersound, are neither Jazz, nor Techno. Instead the Norwegian composer`s Early Works, dating from 1986 to 1992, are synth-scapes. Made possible by then newly affordable technology, and influenced by Harold Budd, Brian Eno, Klaus Schulze, and Jon Hassell. Forging a Fourth World of Brock Van Wey-like sustain and delay. With infinite guitar notes bent in the background. Cosmic sequences like the intro to The Who’s Eminence Front, or Michael Shrieve`s Transfer Station Blue. Scores for the PBR Streetgang to continue their search for Kurtz. Deep inner space explorations charged with Vangelis` Blade Runner Noir. Motifs like eastern reeds. Drums like a Levee breaking in the distance. Liquid drops of sound. Aquatic and gliding to a gentle Trip Hop beat.
HNNY`s 2014.12.31 on Omena is also Trip Hop tempo`d. The head-nodding electro-acoustic abstractions of Dolores Park recalling the Post-Rock of Mice Parade, Dylan Group, and Bubblecore Records. While Hemma could be its remixed twin. With a tighter, more polished, finish, and a sampled vocal hook. Frankfurt is a House-ier – though still chilled – setting for kalimba tones and organ swells. Intercut with overheard dialogue. Like an audio diary, the whole E.P. is peppered with field recorded conversations. Tape hum. Piano and rain.
The field recordings continue on a second E.P. from Omena, Tooli`s Tompkins Square Park. Audio snapshots subliminally circling the Samba, the nova Bossa Nova of the title track. Timbales tumbling. Percussion like a Summer shower. They`re between the breaks of It`s A Riot`s dubbed-out Batucada. Laughter remembered to a soundtrack of Jeremy Steig`s Howlin’ For Judy caught up in the Idjut Boys` Turntable Turbulence. The strings and marimba of Under The Sycamour`s Jazz. The standout on the 12 though is NY*AK & Mark Hand`s remix. Fourteen minutes, of classy, uncluttered, sophisticated, beatdown. Double bass amplified into a massive low end rumble. Fusion synths, and a vocal sample that might be, if not could pass for, Marvin Gaye. Church organ, and Gospel chorus. Building to a full congregation in blue blackness. For fans of Classic Detroit. The timeless Soul of Theo (Parrish) and Moodymann. For fans of quality music.
There’s Pop from Italy, Miami, via New York, and Venezuela, via San Francisco. The songs of Helado Negro on RVNG Intl. The “Tropical Sade”isms of Frank Harris and Maria Marquez, on Strangelove. Another of those mysterious Belpaese Edits. Il Respiro is a yacht-rocking, electric Blues, with vocoder whispers, and a hook-y chorus. Xanadur from the same E.P. mixes electronics and hand-drums in the manner of Wilfred Percussions cover of Airto`s Andei.
There’s a further teaser from Bartosz Kruczyński`s Baltic Beat 2. Due sometime this year, on Growing Bin. Petals consists of drone and Techno tone. Isolated idiophone, piano and guitar. A metallic, but beautiful, collage of dreams. Like John Beltran`s Ten Days Of Blue, slowed, and stretched over a fortnight. I won`t review the whole LP until its release date is out of the bag.
Lastly I’ve included just one of the twenty-two compositions that make up Joep Beving`s expansive Henosis, out this week on Deutsche Grammophon. Henosis translates from Ancient Greek, as “oneness”, and the album finds the Dutch pianist contemplating the Cosmos. Both mankind`s, and the individual`s, place in it. His Saudade Da Gaia is barely treated piano in counterpoint. Two lines. One faltering. The other determined. A musical mourning for the passing of our Earth. The mother of life. All that we have done to her. All we have stolen, squandered. All we have taken for-granted. All that regret cannot replace. It`s a cinematic sound that would suit a Christopher Nolan picture. That sits alongside other Modern Classical works by the likes of Poppy Ackroyd, James Heather, and Max Richter. Or Wim Mertens sacred score for The Belly Of An Architect. The album`s released on Friday, and its near two-hour running time honestly deserves more coverage than a simple footnote here.
Bartosz Kruczyński – Petals – Growing Bin
Tominori Hosoya – We Are Here – Scissors & Thread
Ayuo Takahashi – Nagareru – Light In The Attic
Joep Beving – Saudade Da Gaia – Deutsche Grammophon
Erik Wollo – Native Dance – Smalltown Supersound
Max Essa – Kites At Nemoto Beach – Palms & Charms
Nummer – Diving Bodies – Butter Sessions
HNNY – Hemma – Omena
Tooli – Tompkins Square Park – Omena
Frank Harris & Maria Marquez – Tonada De Ordeno – Strangelove
Helado Negro – Sabana De Luz – RVNG Intl
Unknown – Il Respiro – Belpaese Edits
Coastlines – Sunset Reflection – Flower
Calm – My Home Town (Mind Fair Remix) – Hell Yeah!