Chocolate Milk And Brandy / May 2020 / Part 2

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

This is Part 2. There was always meant to be a Part 2. Part 1 was really me catching up with April, so this second installment is a lot more May specific. It`s focused around big releases on ESP Institute, Metron, Music From Memory, and Touch Sensitive – plus a couple of slightly smaller ones on Déclassé and NAHAL Recordings. Sets from Deathbed Convert, Fools, Yumiko Morioka, and Raymond Richards, that I’ve already gone into in some detail, and others by Steve Cobby and Christine Ott that I`ll expand on now. Segueing these together in a manner that hopefully suits a sunset cocktail, or two, and hour of reflection, or just the chance to switch off. Aiming to put these selections into context, looking for the accessible – the beautiful – in the sometimes avant-garde.

Released almost immediately after his СТИВИ collection, Steve Cobby`s Nostalgia Intensa, comes in contrast to that previous offering – with the emphasis being placed plainly on live playing, rather than electronic treatments there of, and with Steve`s understated 6-string heroics taking centre-stage. Dueling guitars of cooly muted jazz chords. Rockier riffs moving between Morricone`s wild west – by way of Andalusia`s Cabo de Gata-Níjar – and Neil Young’s fuzzed rust remover. There`s 70s space age bachelor pad Moog muzak, and funk further flavored by Mandre-esque synth madness. Any machined nods to house and electro are chopped, screwed, and wooed by woodwinds, melodica and careful kalimba-like twists. The Tommy Guerrero-worthy, bumping boom bap on sunset of  I`ll Tickle Your Catastrophe could almost be a roots-ier cover of The Cure`s Lullaby. That titular tickle perhaps how it feels to be eaten by “a thousand million shivering furry holes”. The halcyon haze of Swimming In Amber simmers in kosmische signals and groovy Greg Foat-like new swing. The whole lot, gleaming in the gloaming (I also stirred (not shook) in the Spanish-leaning Dandylion Clocks from СТИВИ). 

steve cobby Nostalgia Intensa

Christine Ott is an “ondist”, a virtuoso on the Ondes Martenot – one of the first electronic instruments ever invented. Patented in 1928, the same year as the theremin, by cellist Maurice Martenot, the Ondes Martenot is a keyboard operated wave oscillator. Ott`s new album, Chimères, is composed solely from its seemingly unlimited sound palette. Capable of absolute legato and glissando, the instrument is  characterized by a distinct voice – described by Wikipedia as “extraterrestrial, enchanted”. My notes say, “angelic, lonely, lost out in space”, and half of Ott`s track-titles refer to stars and distant suns. Triangle, square, pulse and sine waves are pushed through a series of built-in speakers – diffuseurs. The gong-based Metallique, and the Palme – a string resonance chamber. The emissions ranging between white and pink noise – pianissimo ghostly whispers, and fortissimo fairground carousels, spinning, veering out of control. Serene cello ache and anguished Sci-Fi shouts. Birdsong, mad organic mating calls, and machine screams – stretched satellite signals that disintegrate like a church organ rocketing free of Earth’s orbit. The 8 tracks traveling from calm to cacophony and back. The bass booming, beckoning, before exploding supernova. Its vapourised choirs in a stasis of staccato static like ancient Vesuvians forever frozen in lava.  

The Ondes Martenot`s otherwordly tones – to my ears at least – have something in common with Raymond Richards Pedal steel, Fools Hawaiian slide, and Deathbed Converts bottleneck blues. All this bending of alien tones I’ve bolstered by “blending” in ambient “icons” that employ similar “extraterrestrial, enchanted” voices. Cafe del Mar classics and contenders by Eno, Lanois and Eno, Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie, BJ Cole, and Ry Cooder. Bookending these 6 and 12-string explorations of inner and outer space with Moriko-san`s unique emotive, storytelling keys and compositions. 

Yumiko Morioka – Moon Road – Metron Records
Harold Budd & John Foxx – You Again – Demon
Christine Ott – Comma – NAHAL Recordings 
Steve Cobby – Dandylion Clocks – Déclassé
Raymond Richards – Livermore, California – ESP Institute
Brian Eno, Roger Eno, & Daniel Lanois – Always Returning – Virgin
Daniel Lanois – White Mustang II – Opal
Ry Cooder – Paris, Texas – Warner Bros
BJ Cole – Window On The Deep – Hannibal Records
Deathbed Convert – All Water – Touch Sensitive
Fools – Versitide – Music From Memory
Steve Cobby – Swimming In Amber – Déclassé
Raymond Richards – Fossil, Oregon – ESP Institute
Harold Budd & Robin Guthrie – Smiling Apart – Darla Records
Deathbed Convert – Inner Mountain – Touch Sensitive
Yumiko Morioka – Komorebi – Metron Records

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