When I first heard Claude Cooper’s Tangerine Dreams I was blown away. I think I described it as something like Red Snapper covering ESG. Listening again, that description still stands. Jazz driven by bad ass live upright bass runs, and dynamite live drums. The “punk funk” playing perhaps rooted in hip hop, with Claude hitting those strings and skins, as if recreating his favourite – obscure – ultimate breaks and beats.
In fact, the Bristol-based musician, on Bristol-based label, Friendly Records, expands that debut 45 out into an album of short, two to three minute tracks that segue smartly together a lot like a mixtape. Like someone, say DJ Format cutting between fragments of lost library nuggets and forgotten film scores. Plummy, public announcement-like instructions – advising that you “lose yourself in the sounds and become the music” – punctuate proceedings, and add to this overall effect.
The raw rhythms rise and fall, chopping and changing, but relentless, while the guest instruments – supplied by local luminaries whose pedigrees take in the likes of Beak, Beth Gibbons, Reprazent and Frank Zappa – rotate. That tune, Tangerine Dreams, stops for a piccolo solo,…and sirens. On Bloom Fields a flute forms the focus of a frantically tongued, conga`d, bongo`d, rainforest groove. Magic Circle features a fuzzed up electric axe attack. Mongoose harbours harpsichord-like keys and climaxes in spiraling sax and mod jazz organ. On Two Mile Hill there’s a trumpet. One of the highlights is Hardenhuish, a mid-tempo mover that mixes in tribal percussion, reeds and chants. A slice of Sun Ra-esque exotica, collapsing calypso, that puts dubwise drops on those slamming snares.
Claude Cooper’s Myriad Sounds will be released on January 28th, care of Friendly Records.