On Magic Carpet Italian DJ / Producer Jose Manuel demonstrates the depth of his record collection. Globe-trotting through a personal selection of the musically weird and wonderful. Flying the flag for a cosmically (at least) united Europe. Taking in obscure (and expensive) sides from France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy (naturally), Sweden, and the former Yugoslavia – all recorded between 1982 and 1994. The outlier being a stopover in Japan for D-Day`s Sweet Sultan (lifted from the group’s 1986 LP, Grape Iris).
The 66 minute audio journey plots a path of experimental electronics, similar in terms of sonics if not location, to Music From Memory’s Outro Tempo compilations. It also reminds me of that old 80s Ethno-Beats record I was banging on about a week or so ago, with many of the oddball grooves mixing technology with traditional instruments. The slow snare drum march of Roots` Time 2, for instance. The ceremonial ambience of Astral Dance`s Transcendent Waveform – from their 1986 LP, Mindgate. Where circuits sound like cymbals and temple gongs. Keys whistle like Mayan woodwinds. Human Software’s Soft Sequence has its machines sing a dolphin-like song. Swimming through a sea of slo-mo arpeggios. Recite a pagan prayer to the strains of an electric violin. The Instrumental Noise Orchestra – a collaboration between balearic Brixtonian Richard Strange and Indian drummer Ramesh Shotham – make Middle-Eastern flavored new beat. Manuel Wandji`s Pourquoi Pas! – taken from his 1994 album, Portraits – is a tabla-tastic French tone-pome. The sets of legendary Italian DJs Daniele Baldelli and Bepe Loda looming large over proceedings, with most of the music chugging around 90-100 BPM.
While the bulk of Jose`s selections could be labelled afro-cosmic, another veteran afro-cosmic DJ, Daniele Mei, as Meo, actually turns in Magic Carpet’s most balearic moment. Alturas – from his 1987 American Records E.P. – features flutes and acoustic Spanish-leaning guitar, and must surely have been an influence on Naples` Early Sounds / Periodica crews.
Elsewhere the compilation touches on jazz. It`s there in the upright bass-line of Individual Sensitivity’s machine-made noir theme, Greece Ambientale, and Vangelis Katsoulis` ambient sax workout, Whispers Of Heavenly Wilderness. Mauro Sabbione & Maria Cinzia Bauci`s Bougainvillea – from their Melodrama For Flowers album – is a tango. Sweetly narrated and punctuated by operatic outbursts. Hmm by German fusionists Budi Und Gumbis begins as a Din Da Da-like rhythmic vocal experiment, opening with close mic`d deep breathing, but evolves into something orchestral and organic. Incorporating strange strings, reeds, and party percussion, like a Finis Africae you can dance to.