Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
Summertime feels a while ago now, and it seems like a lot longer since Invisible City Editions announced they’d be releasing Jeff Majors` For Us All (Yoka Boka) – cool Gershwin cover and all. I think it`s been almost a year, but the the Washington D.C.-based harpists debut is finally back win stores. Mixing up the analogue, the organic, and the spiritual like music made at a crossroads where Dorothy Ashby meets Beverly Glenn-Copeland.
Something else we were waiting a while for is Rare Silk`s Storm, care of a collaboration between Emotional Rescue and Be With Records. I included Arp`s remix in last month’s Balearic Beats, but the original vocal is a definite slice of strange soul best sampled at sunset.
If it`s pop you’re after well then we first jump over to Italy. Archeo Recordings continue to mine the overlap between their homeland`s musical heritage and Chee Shimzu`s Obscure Sound*** by releasing Mario Acquaviva`s self-titled 1983 E.P. Jazz-tinged stuff that rubs shoulders with other masterpieces by Lucio Dalla and Lucio Battisti. Reeds, keys and brass fused around breaks worthy of Toni Esposito. The odd Sgt. Pepper-like orchestral insert. Fortuna being the easiest to sing along to for those of a foreign tongue.
***A revised edition is on the way.
Staying in Europe, Germany`s Sound Metaphors have a few new 12s out on both their Thank you and Miss You imprints. From the Thank Yous I’ve gone for the label`s second release focused on Portuguese singer Jacky Ferreira. 69 Bingo is a bonkers dance number, that dates from 1991, but shakes like it was back at Shoom in 88. Imagine a mash-up of Numero Uno and The Theme From S`Express. Samples of “uno, dos, tres, quarto”, and “ah, yeah” vying with arms-in-the-air piano and the whispers of a Mediterranean minx. For the faint of rave, label-founder Castro Moore produces an Anti-Piano Mix – which concentrates on the squelching faux acidic b-line. Fico So – lifted from the same Dança Alegre LP – however is a Mike Francis-esque ballad. Its keys set to “Spanish Guitar”.
On Miss You there`s Louise Miller’s Share The Love Around. A piece of pop lovers rock that was originally released on Wing & A Prayer in 1989. It slots right into Oakenfold`s post-rush Smith & Mighty / Wild Bunch-inspired Movement 98 thing, meaning I could reference around half of my record collection: The Beloved’s Time After Time; Moccasoul`s Rhythm Of Love; Soul II Soul`s Courtney Blows; Sheertaft`s Cascades…..Like the Sheertaft 12, Share The Love Around comes with a couple of contrasting mixes. The more electronic Dance Mix – based around gated synths – and the more “organic” Sax Mix, which also features flashes of funky organ.
Also of a reggae bent, and with more fine funky organ, is Booker Gee & Lone Ark`s Rootikal Showcase. A limited edition 10” produced by HMV Japan, that contains two high quality Jackie Mittoo tributes. Fans of Mike Fabulous / Lord Echo and Emerson Kitamura should definitely take a listen.
Another Japanese exclusive is the repress of Hiroshi Sato`s 1976 debut, Super Market, on Wave Concept. The keyboardist was a frequent player in the projects of Haruomi Hosono, and Hosono played on and produced a far few of Sato`s solo records. So it`s no surprise that the bulk of Super Market finds Sato-san engaged in Hosono-like pop / rock songs – tunes like Rainbow Sea Line that fall between Hosono House and Paraiso. High Times though is an instrumental that begins kinda avant-jazz, before hitting a groove reminiscent of Bautista`s Gone. Taking off into electric fusion / folk shredding and Santana-esque Aqua Marine funk.
Mule Musiq originally released Kuniyuki`s All These Things as a CD in 2007. It`s now back in shops as a double vinyl LP. The first I heard of the Japanese super-producer was in 2008 when Flying Music was lifted as a single. At the time it seemed like a beautiful bridge between a house built from minimal micro-loops and something more obviously musical. It was afro-not-afro with hypnotic horns and highlife-like guitar. It went on for 18 minutes and never got boring.
Guitar Song, from the album, marries Metheny-esque intricacy to a broken beat. Tropical percussion of coconuts and conches. Its instrumentation coming in waves, washes. The mix very likely live, part improvised, and reverb drenched. Clearly influenced by Joe Claussell`s Spiritual Life electronic organics. New York via Tokyo. A sound no doubt designed with Sapporo’s legendary Precious Hall in mind. Aiming to fill that hallowed space with warmth and detail.
Rain Of Ocean races at 126BPM. Circuits itching like someone scratching an ahoko. Keys kinda recalling Claussell`s classic cover of Fernando Brant`s Escravos De Jo. Tribally trance-dancing. Rising to something like a more intense Whistle Song. In contrast, Touch shuffles, acoustic, at around 100. More folk, and most balearic, with flamenco flashes.
Not Japanese but yet another Japan-only licensing is Edson Natale`s Nina Maika. The title track appeared on John Gomez` amazing Outro Tempo II earlier in the year, but the Disk Union-funded Silent River Runs Deep have now reissued the whole LP. The new pressing coincidently remastered by Kuniyuki. Gentle, loose, and “highly organic” the album features soft, sometimes impassioned, songs that sound tropicalia-influenced. Imagine Finis Africae fronted by Caetano Veloso. Or Seigen Ono`s Comme Des Garçons waltzes tethered to typically Brazilian harmonies. The campfire rituals of Lula Cortes and Os Novos Baianos with added operatic divas, electric solos, and fusion flights. Viajante, for example, explodes into rhythm and climaxes in complex crescendos of both guitar and violin.
Yet more guitar-based virtuosity comes from Antoine Tato Garcia. It`s not as heavy as Paco (de Lucia) or El Chocolat, but El Mundo, on KaRu Prod, is song-led modern flamenco from France that`s for anyone – like me – who’s a sucker for say Ketama.
And staying in Africa, Into The Deep Treasury have the Francois N`Gwa compilation, Ogooué. Fusing the languages and music of Gabon, Mitsogho, Fang and the Meyene tribes, the Bantu n`gomi, balafon, and obala, with contemporary electronics.
Hiroshi Sato – High Times – Wave Concept
Jeff Majors – Summertime – Invisible City Editions
Rare Silk – Storm – Emotional Rescue / Be With Records
Cass. & Gianni Brezzo – Der Dane – Growing Bin
Diabel Cissokho – My Boy – Kafou Music
Antoine Tato Garcia – Ven Ven – KaRu Prod
Louise Miller – Share The Love (Dance Mix) – Miss You
Booker Gee & Lone Ark – Axumites – HMV Japan
Francois N`Gwa – N`kene – Into The Deep Treasury
Jacky Ferreira – Fico So – Thank You
Mario Acquaviva – Fortuna – Archeo Recordings
Edson Natale – Viajante – Silent River Runs Deep
Kuniyuki – Touch – Mule Musique
Antoine Tato Garcia – El Mundo – KaRu Prod