From Sindre Goksøyr`s cartoon artwork to the opening minimal techno rumble, I think Sex Judas, feat. Ricky, deliberately don’t want you to know what you’re in for. Tore Gjedrem of Ost & Kjex is at the helm, and my suspicion is that Night Songs is a two-fingered salute to your preconceptions. The sleeve might look a little irreverent, and perhaps the music was made tongue-in-cheek, but that’s not what I’m hearing. Instead I’ve got this pretty classy, electro-acoustic, kinda swamp funk thing going on. There`s something about it that makes me picture a New Orleans bayou, somewhere down Robbie Robertson`s crazy river, the 12, sometimes 16, legged ensemble collectively howling at The Neville Brothers` Yellow Moon. Across the 8 tracks the constants are lithe live percussion – ngoni, djembe, balafon – and fuck-off dub bass.
Vocals vary between the sleazy half spoken / half sung – imagine Yello`s Dieter Meier doing his best baritone – and a gospel-edged full chorus. There`s also a touch of the Leonard Cohens – the rich vibe of 2001`s Ten New Songs – and Alabama 3`s acid house blues. There are flashes of Prince-like falsetto testifying, and in places the kind of schizophrenic stretching and squeezing favoured by the purple one whenever he channeled his muse, Camille.
On A Man Without Purpose its an African healing chant. Perfect for entry and / or re-entry to any psychedelic ceremony. Hab Mich Lieb is the sort of cumbia meets reggae that Elijah Minnelli excels in. A sleepy nyabinghi rhythm rattling to a b-line that resembles Sabres Of Paradise`s Wilmot`s last skank. Slow Down is a sleek, feline, funky strut. The jazzy flute, and saxophone squealing on The Light You Saw Was Not For Real had me flashback to The Sandals, their beatnik balearic beat with modal, spiritual, conscious intentions. It also recalls a more recent reference in the releases of Switzerland`s Phantom Island family, Fuga Ronto especially. The Night Within The Night was / is giving me a Primal Scream feeling. George Clinton, Funkadelic, jamming with Dr. John. A slomo shot of stoned P-Funk gris-gris, underpinned by a Jah Wobble-esque bottom end.
The closing When You Wake Up Everything Will Be Fine is a sophisticated slice of eccentric pop that winds a similar uneven path to, say, Pete Brandt`s Method’s What You Are. A gently lapping tide of plucked strings and group call & response, synergising in a positive, sunset serenade to tomorrow’s possibilities.
Sex Judas feat. Ricky’s Night Songs is released today on Optimo Music.