I’ve saved these tunes for a separate post, since they’re nowhere as dark and sleazy as the rest of May`s gear.
Joe Morris` latest, Do You Believe In Magic?, is a another fine example of his now customary, characteristic, Shade(s) Of Sound. His is house at the loved-up end of rave, that pays homage to classy, `90s Italian classics. Where bucolic birdsong and sighing synths ride big room beats. The Magic Sunrise Mix of said tune might just be the best downtempo, chilled, thing that Joe’s made to date. Replacing the 4 / 4 with bongos and handclaps, and creating a Benirras beach drum circle, tailored to morning Tanit worship. Euphoric synths building, along with a Moments In Love vibe, as the track picks up an 808-like bang and boom. Mind Palette completes the E.P. While the musical influences remain in the early to mid-1990s, the scene is now set in New York. Garage, I guess, deep house, rolling to a massive bass rumble, iridescent with introspective but upbeat piano. Moving with an irresistible smile-inducing swing, as ever-ascending synths rush toward a seemingly impossible, unreachable, peak. Listening left an old fella like me exhausted.
Next on Re:warm is a retrospective focused on the recorded output of rocking San Franciscan chiropractor, Dr Robert Blackman. Eccentric and idiosyncratic, The Unimaginable DreamWorks 1983-1985 goes sort of bonkers, as it sets about harnessing a collective joy. These mid-80s studio sessions roped in visitors to Blackman`s holistic health practice – Riverwinds – and also choir members from local churches. Everyone engaged in group chants for freedom, and calls for unilateral disarmament, as Dr Robert delivered monologues against corporate America. These excited pro-amateur ensembles spinning delirious to spiritual love-ins of latin percussion. Bongos, congas, cuica, shakers, timbales, all made to “sing” with a celebratory air. The resulting motoring group mantras accompanied on kalimba, flute, and didgeridoo. Only One Wish is a shot of slapped-bass, jazz-funk, reminiscent of post-punk stuff like Carnival`s Eyes Growing Wider, and distinguished by a see-sawing electric violin. San Francisco Dance is this mad menagerie of carnie barkers, alien voices, laser blasts and arcade game noise. Cantering at a considerable clip, like a chance meeting of Arthur Russell, Detroit`s Was (Not Was), ZE Records` mutant disco, and Miroslav Vitous` Loft favourite, New York City. Imagine this melting pot then mixed with spiked punch-drunk love by Walter Gibbons.
A different kind of crazy and crackers is El Turronero`s New Hondo, on NuNorthern Soul. I sought out a copy of the LP, of the same title, a while back, when friends such as Andrew Schirmer, Jona Jefferies, and Chris English – who’d been partying at Pike`s on The White Isle – told me that DJ Harvey had been slotting this slice of Spanish high camp into his sets – getting blue Shazam lights flashing – in and around tunes such as Sister Sledge`s Reach Your Peak and Queen`s You Don`t Fool Me. NuNorthern Soul have now licensed the two key tracks from El Turronero`s album and are releasing them on a repro of a super rare promo 7. Las Penas is a chunky-bassed chugger, with orchestral strings and a mad operatic backing chorus. Musically it reminds a bit of barmy italo-disco obsurities, such as La Bellini`s Satan In Love, or Sandy Samuels` (I Like) Sado-Music – but then there are the flamenco vocals – full on, packed with passion, like El Chocolate in bull-fighter ballad flight. To this already heady brew, Si Yo Volviera A Nacer, adds further spice in the shape of sitar and vibes, a snaking reed line, and big, bold, Bollywood synths. As well as the 45, there`s also a bundle package available to pre-order that contains a commemorative T-shirt, produced in collaboration with Disco Tees.