Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
A couple of pieces this month have a Classical bent. Taz Modi can be added to a list of young pianists reaching out to establish their own voice. Modi`s debut, Reclaimed Goods, on his own Reclaimed Records, places him in the growing canon of Poppy Ackroyd, Erland Cooper, Nils Frahm, James Heather, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, and Shida Shahabi. The album`s compositions for piano, quintet, and quartet, are concerned with 2019 and beyond, British identity and global climate change.
German pianist / composer Martin Kohlstedt spent two years rehearsing Strome, forthcoming on Warner Classics. A collection of subtle orchestration, slight treatments of echo and reverb, illuminated by the full chorus of the seventy-strong GewandhausChor. The voice of Leipzig`s one hundred and fifty-year old choir sometimes dominated by its female members, sometimes the male, but always sounding like angels caught in the struggle for pleasure.
Bartosz Kruczyński employs Classical percussion and elements of Minimalist composition on his Baltic Beat II, for Growing Bin. But he electrically counters that with Post-Rock, and Ambient Techno.
Suso Saiz` Nothing Is Objective, on Music From Memory also merges Post-Rock with Minimalism. Many of the shapes in its suite of subtly changing moods are created by Suso`s guitar. Near subliminal in places, the music is designed to draw you in. Providing a moment of reflection. Respite from the outside world.
Meitei`s Komachi, on Metron, is a similarly, immersive, deep listen. The music, a comment on beauty, tradition and inevitable decay. In places bearing comparison to the work of Christian Fennesz, who guests on the Suso Saiz record. The Japanese artist sampling the minutiae of everyday and magnifying it so it surrounds you.
Sound is expanded, and stretched, into drones on Oren Cantrell`s Kobzir. Of the four, organic, pieces, released by Seance Centre, Charzhou For Kerki is the longest. Clocking in at eighteen minutes and buzzing like a meeting of Ariel Kalma and Spacemen 3 / Spiritualized. Awakened Birds puts Oren’s voice in amongst the insect chatter of Kalma`s Osmose. Tiangi is a, comparative, short for wind chimes. Damp Saksoul comes in waves. Modular midnight blue strings, and muted horn, rising and falling in circadian rhythm. Cantrell`s music, methods, and aims are inspired by the teachings of mage / mystic / philosopher George Gurdjieff. Who sought to “wake” the true man from the sleeper within. To realize full human potential by means of focussing and disciplining mind, emotions, and body. Building on his own studies of Buddhism, Christianity, and Sufism, to offer a “Fourth Way”.
Pepe Maina`s Scerizza, reissued on Archeo Recordings, like Meitei, also celebrates tradition, and comments on its endangered nature. Employing psaltery, bagpipes and zither, in his Kosmische Folk, while overdubbing the noise of modern warfare and football chants.
Archeo Recordings also have Riccardo Giagni`s Kaunis Maa lined up. A balearic set, in anyone’s book, recorded by the Italian guitarist in 1988. It shares Celtic themes and melodies with Maina`s Scerizza, but has them dancing above a perhaps more obviously optimistic melding of New Age, and 80s World Pop.
Exploring a funky Fourth World is Deep Nalstrom`s Naive Melodies, on Natural Selections. The Frenchman cutting a path through the lush, alien fauna of a digitally sculpted paradise.
Also charting outer limits, though in a more definite Dub-Wise fashion, is Bill Laswell`s versioning of the music of his Ethiopian spouse, Ejigayehu Shibabaw, AKA Gigi. Combining pan-African players and a 21st Century mastery of Jamdown`s Hi-Fi techniques on Time Capsule`s beautifully remastered, and packaged, vinyl edition of 2001`s Illuminated Audio. A record which is already a contender for one of THE reissues of the year.
Jansen Jardin`s Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu also fuse African chant to a big old Dub bass-line on their remix of Cantoma`s Kasoto. Their “chilled out” take contrasting with the dance floor moves made by Noche Espanola and DJ Speedy Boarding on a Highwood Recordings 12. Karel`s Spanish licks had me thinking of Jam & Spoon`s classic Hispanos In Space, and the track would go very nicely with either and / or both Pan Electric`s recently vinyl-ed up Sweet As Rain, and Julian Dyne’s rework of African Vibration.
Blair French’s Patio Pastels is “Balearic” from Detroit. Six slices of Casiotone psychedelia, Post-Punk Pop, and Sunset Samba, on NuNorthern Soul.
Gallo`s Colori, on Hell Yeah!, lays out an ocean calm of lapping percussion. Synths chime, sigh, whistle, and trumpet, in twilight fanfare. Elsewhere on the E.P., wiggling free of a horizontal pigeon-hole, his Sapori shakes its tambourine, and is almost House. Riding a gently dusted breakbeat, as a piano picks out increasingly elaborate Trance patterns. Odori is more of a Hip Hop head nod. Swinging back to the serene, Chris Coco`s beatless Deep Space Version of Colori swaps the original’s tidal rhythm for swooning orchestral strings. Reducing melodies to Dub fragments. Astronaut echoes lost somewhere in the mix.
Bartosz – The Orchard – Growing Bin
Meitei – Chouchin – Metron
Deep Nalstrom – Between Spaces – Natural Selections
Riccardo Giagno – Kaunis Maa – Archeo Recordings
Taz Modi – Black Flowers – Reclaimed Records
Suso Saiz – From Memory – Music From Memory
Martin Kohlstedt – Thiphy – Warner Classics
Gallo – Colori (Chris Coco Deep Space Version) – Hell Yeah!
Gigi – Nafeken – Time Capsule
Pepe Maina – Scerizza Parte 2 – Acheo Recordings
Cantoma – Kasoto (Karel Arbus Remix) – Highwood Recordings
Oren Cantrell – Damp Saksaul – Seance Centre
Blair French – Lounsbury Gardens – NuNorthern Soul