Chocolate Milk And Brandy / March 2020 / Part 2 

I wanted to post a second one of these, since there were a few things that didn’t quite fit the tone of the first. If that was largely beatless, introspective, and skewed towards Japan – partly in order to promote the Oto No Wa comp, well this has a bit more to nod your head to, and globe-trots a little further. It begins with a grounation. Where sweetly, sincerely, chanted vocals wash over hand drums and a deceptively jazzy bass-line. A Rasta call for universal love and understanding supplied by African Head Charge. Peace And Happiness being a previously unreleased track included in the Drumming Is A Language package, and on the Churchical Chant Of The Iyahbinghi LP, both care of ON U Sound. 

There are, of course, a few Japanese bits here. That new Coastlines single on Flower Records for starters.

Then the Little Annie meets The Cure meets Dip In The Pool of Yamp`s Fuyu No Ne, taken from the Claremont Editions 001 comp on Claremont 56. There`s also a 45 from Jazz Rooms. A newish label run by legendary jazz DJ, and coincidently Claremont’s Mudd`s namesake, Paul Murphy. Kaoru Iiyoshi & WIP`s Soul Tripper is lifted from, I guess the best word for it is an easy-listening LP, recorded in 1971. The album features covers of songs by The Beatles, The Carpenters, The Searchers, and Glen Campbell, while this Iiyoshi original mixes Hammond, horn, acoustic and wah-wah guitar. WIP stands for War, Intelligence, Peace, by the way. On the flip of the 7” you’ll hear Abat Jour. A piano-led latin cut taken from Italian composer, Alberto Baldan Bembo`s score for the 1975 movie, L’Amica Di Mia Madre. 

Two further soundtracks can be found on Wewantsounds. Both are due to be part of the now rescheduled-to-June Record Store Day “celebrations”. I hope that there`s no harm in flagging them up now. The score to Sidney Lumet`s 1973, Al Pacino-starring Serpico features Bob James` arrangements of a folk song written by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis. It was Bob James` first film, Pacino had just wrapped The Godfather, and Theodorakis had just got out of jail. At the time Greece was governed by a right-wing junta, and Theodorakis` left-wing politics first resulted in his music being banned, and then him being shipped off to a concentration camp. An international outcry eventually managed to get him released but exiled to Paris. Serpico was composed while on a concert tour of the US. When the junta fell, Theodorakis returned to Greece and served as a member of parliament. Bob James` arrangements are careful and understated. Orchestral fusions, a little sepia and a little sad, that highlight Eli Carmen’s bassoon. 

The second RSD exclusive is an expanded edition of Ennio Morricone`s music for Henri Verneuil`s Peur Sur La Ville. Back in 1975 only 9 tracks were released. This 2020 reissue stretches over 4 sides and rescues a further 21 cues and compositions. Complex but light, some feature the iconic Spaghetti Western whistle of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly`s Alessandro Alessandroni. 

Helping to segue between Mikis and Ennio are 2 more selections from the Seahawks` Island Visions, for KPM`s on-going collaboration with Be With Records. This time it`s the chiming tropic of the clever calypso cut-up, Catch A Wave, and the fluid, fresh water stream of Smooth Runnings. 

seahawks island visions

There`s more bone fide new music from Statues, who produce a 4-track E.P. for Eclectics. Both originals are built around bass, sax and whispers. Chilled but warmed by Rhodes-like details. Lele harbours a hypnotic marimba motif – each hit reverb-ed, each pattern expanding and overlapping – and receives a remix care of Flamingo Flame. The Brummies bumping the BPMs up a tad, adding disco handclaps and a 303 b-line. Max Manetti turns Visions into a tropical breeze. Twists its bass and guitar into increasingly highlife-like shapes. 

Hell Yeah! Recordings also have 2 fresh missives from My Friend Dario. Horn has the instrument of its title, a Birth Of The Cool blue trumpet, slowly emerge from an electronic fourth world fog. While My Friend Andrea is an off-beat fusion of kosmische and soundtrack themes set to a wonky chug. It`s one of the few moments where this mix gets to shake a leg. 

Finally, there are a pair of reissues from late last year, that I’ve only just discovered. One, from Brazil – included in a whole brace of 45s released by Mr Bongo – is the bright, mid-tempo boogie of Amigo Branca. Taken from Marcia Maria`s 1978 self-titled LP, it features the playing and arranging of Lincoln Olivetti and Robson Jorge. 

The other is Miquela`s I A Des Sers, released in 1978 on French label Ventadorn, and reissued by Finders Keepers. Recently I was writing something about the hippie community on Ibiza, and to help inspire me I also put together a playlist. In around tropicalia calls for freedom, Gong-like tribal freak-outs, and of course, Pink Floyd, this felt kinda perfect. A blend of folk and jazz, huskily delivered over acoustic guitar, and yet more honking sax. The songs are sung in Occitan, a dialect related to the Balearics` Catalan. A so-called “romance language” that lends itself readily to poetry, and one that was traditionally shared by areas of Southern France, Northern Spain, and the valleys of the Italian Alps. A language that Miquela and I A Des Sers sought to preserve. 


African Head Charge  – Peace And Happiness – ON U Sound

Seahawks – Catch A Wave – KPM / Be With Records

Statues – Lele – Eclectics

My Friend Dario – Horn – Hell Yeah!

Mikis Theodorakis – Alone In The Apartment – Wewantsounds

Statues – Visions – Eclectics

Coastlines – West Coast – Flower Records

Ennio Morricone – Dolcemente Ambigua – Wewantsounds

Miquela – I A Des Sers – Finders Keepers

Coastlines – East Coast – Flower Records

Marcia Maria – Amigo Branca – Mr Bongo

Kaoru Iiyoshi & WIP – Soul Tripper

Gerard Stokkink – Yellow Turtles – Music From Memory

Seahawks – Smooth Runnings – KPM / Be With Records

My Friend Dario – My Friend Andrea – Hell Yeah!

Yamp – Fuyu No Ne – Claremont 56


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