Here comes a very welcome wider release for DJ Amir’s 2012 excavation of Kenny Cox’s mid `70s original, Clap Clap! – truly a joyful noise indeed. There are five tracks, mostly lengthy, laid-back explorations of the good groove: warm, inviting, washing over your synapses with a pleasurable pulse and a cheeky grin – forget your troubles and let the music heal you. Amen to that right now, for sure.
The title cut is a perfect opener: tinkling keys ride a loping bass, the sound of the sea bubbles up underneath, and you’re there, sun-blinded, surf-ready, sand between your toes. There’s a real warmth here, conjured up by some super-fine musicianship, a touch of vocals popping in around the five minutes mark. All wrapped up beautifully as the waves roll back in and the track fades out. Bottled sunshine without a doubt.
Samba de Romance continues the theme: acoustic guitar licks tumble in and out of the keys, spacey synth pads float like a butterfly, the bottom end pulsing softly beneath as the melody unfolds. It put me very much in mind of one of my favourite Brazilian LPs, Bebeto’s awesome eponymous debut album – a classic bucolic Brasileiro bumper for sure.
Island Song breaks out a flugelhorn for some fiercely funky blowing, percussion rattling along – a mellow exploration of shapes and shimmies, the players kicking back, vibing, coming together and getting on down. It`s loose, relaxed, effortlessly summery. Feel-good music, timeless in its understated dexterity, fifty years old but it could have been made yesterday. This stuff never goes out of style because it is so damn good: rock-solid musical maestros having fun: that’s why it’s joyful – it literally flies off the vinyl and into your ears. Mira caballerro!
Beyond the Dream rounds things off with a vocal flourish: ‘love is for you and me’ they sing and suddenly as I write the sun comes out and – hey! – they might just be right. Love, as always, trumps all: love is the message – say it again and again and again, as it can’t be said enough when bombs are dropping and lives are being senselessly lost.
Clap Clap! The Joyful Noise is the antidote to hate, and to senseless warmongering. Music and love and laughter every time. These are the things that we hold on to, that we return to, what makes life worth living. Kenny Cox, Amir, BBE: a holy trinity of the groove. This is an unmissable, beautiful album: get it into your life, you won’t regret it.
Kenny Cox`s Clap Clap! The Joyful Noise will be released on April 2nd, on the brilliant BBE.