Chocolate Milk And Brandy / May 2020

Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today…

Chocolate Milk And Brandy May 2020  – to be honest it`s really a round-up of chilled out tunes I covered in April – but didn’t manage to “segue” before the month`s end. Same as with most folks, I’m finding it hard to keep track of which day of the week it is – let alone the date. We’ve resorted to curry for dinner every Friday – as some kind of temporal anchor*. Anyhow, while this is late, without a doubt – under current circs – all of these releases will still be available, both physically and digitally on-line. 

roger and brian eno mixing colours

Something I haven’t covered already is Roger & Brian Eno`s Mixing Colours – signed to Deutsche Grammophon by the ultradynamic duo – with hopefully more to come from this deal. The album consists of 4 sides of solo piano pieces, performed by Roger, recorded to MIDI, and then translated – usually without listening to the original – by Brian. Drawing the past into the future, Brian reworked the files on his laptop – on train journeys – “painting them in”. Reimagining their classical nostalgia with new sounds, a new palette of colours offered by electronics. On some tracks, such as Celeste, Roger`s keys are still recognizable – joined by chimes of differing timbre. Simple notes expanding out to fill the room, create a galaxy of stars, their own outer space. A vast, beautiful, hopeful universe. On others, like Cerulean Blue, only the chimes remain. Distant suns blinking out a hesitant music-box melody. There’s an incredible depth to the sound, and be warned when the bottom-end dropped it nearly blew my speakers. There’s a great interview with Roger and Brain about the album here. 

Eno`s sometime collaborator, and a definite source of inspiration, Jon Hassell is also here.  Represented by Toucan Ocean – taken from the Ndeya reissue of 1978`s Vernal Equinox. A timeless track that accidentally set a “chill-out” template. A lapping tide of congas, sampled surf, and Jon`s muted, wah-wah-ed horn. Electric Miles high on a desert island. Stoned stupid instead of flying on mainlined coke. An incredibly important figure in modern music – arguably even more so than Eno – Hassell is unwell, and in need of medical, and consequently financial assistance. Please help if you can. 

The only other reissue on offer in this cocktail-hour is Pauline Anna Strom`s Trans-Millenia Music. A collection of recordings made by the San Francisco-based artist between 1982 and 1988, originally released by RVNG Intl. back in 2017. It`s a set of deliberately, highly psychedelic, new age trance-scapes – proto-ambient-techno – with Strom acting as your “spirit guide” to a world where “past, present, and future co-exist”. The compilation is segued like a trip – easing you in, blowing your mind, and then easing you back out. The moments I’ve chosen, to my ears at least, are very “classic Cafe del Mar” – recalling artists such as Klaus Schulze and Software. 

Two releases on Growing Bin Records – together – also combine new age with psyche. Calm coming from R_R_ – the Eno-esque atmospheres of Train Of Thought – and the more brain-bending Lilipulu. A jam session led by Sergey Luginin which produced Four Amazing Tracks – three of which are percussive punk-funkers, while the outlier is a dense, virtual rainforest of midnight mating calls, modular oscillations, fretless bass and possessed glossolalia harmonies. 

R_R_ growing bin art

Clarice Jensen`s The Experience Of Repetition As Death on 130701 is another intense journey. A mediation on the cyclical nature of our lives, and life and death – constructed from tape treatments, and mis-treatments, of Jensen`s cello. Traveling between serene sadness and threatening fury. 

Tokyo-based guitarist, Leo Takami`s Felis Catus and Silence – on Unseen Worlds – is also a rumination on life’s universal loop – but in contrast illustrates this with flights of Windham Hill folk and flourishes of  Pat Metheny-esque fusion. 

Similarly weighty concepts reside behind Man Power / Bed Wetter`s Billy Mill is Dead, and Jonny Nash & Suzanne Kraft’s A Heart So White. The first is concerned with roots – what is it that drives us from our hometowns in search of fame and fortune, and also what is it that forever ties us to them. A hauntological history assembled from an archive of family Super 8 movies and Youtube clips. 

The second takes its title from a novel by Spanish author Javier Marías (itself a quote from Shakespeare`s Macbeth) and strikingly uses sustained organ treatments in its play on the book`s themes of passion and fate. I’ve also included Jonny and Diego’s sublime – free to download from the Melody As Truth Bandcamp page – Breath Chant. 

More playful however is the Vangelis-worthy synth fanfare of Rune Lindbaek`s San Agustin – from the Norwegian balearic veteran`s White Isle-worshiping Hierbas E.P., released on his own Drum Island. 

Finally, the only music in this round-up that`s as yet unreleased is lifted from In Mountains on Beatservice – by Rune`s fellow countryman and sometime label-mate, Kohib. Sonic explorations of the isolated winter landscapes of Tromsø – up in the north. An analogue adventure which closes with the delicate Spaces. 

*Since establishing this routine I`ve since learned – from my kids – that Japanese submariners employ exactly the same trick. You can actually buy “Submarine Curry”. 

Track-list

Kohib – Spaces – Beatservice

Rune Lindbaek – San Agustin – Drum Island

Pauline Anna Strom – Virgin Ice – RVNG Intl.

Roger And Brian Eno – Spring Frost

Roger And Brian Eno – Celeste

Jonny Nash And Suzanne Kraft – Breath Chant – Melody As Truth

Man Power – Len & Betty (Before The Plaza Burnt Down)

R_R_ – Opposite – Growing Bin Records

Leo Takami – Children On Their Birthdays – Unseen Worlds

Jon Hassell – Toucan Ocean – Ndeya

Roger And Brian Eno – Cerulean Blue

R_R_ – Luminosity – Growing Bin Records

Clarice Jensen – Daily – 130701

Lilipulu – B2 – Growing Bin Records

Jonny Nash And Suzanne Kraft – Knife – Melody As Truth

Pauline Anna Strom – The Unveiling – RVNG Intl.

Pauline Anna Strom – Freedom At The 45th Floor – RVNG Intl.

R_R_ – Outro – Growing Bin Records

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