Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
There`s a definite Brazilian bent to this cocktail hour….
Berlin-based, South American enthusiasts Notes On A Journey have reissued Bahian singer / songwriter Bruno Nunes, aka Brunno`s 1992 LP, 3. Originally released on small independent, Geo & Cia, every track`s winner, but I`d like to draw particular attention to the tropical, skanking, reggae-fied, Aceite o Dendê, the romantic, swooning, Ó Pá’i Ó, the funky, Tribo, and the ace, aching, acoustic ballad, Vivo só.
For Record Store Day, our friends at the fabulous Far Out Recordings, have something pretty fucking exciting lined up from the legendary Joyce Moreno. Everyone will know Joyce’s sublime song, Feminina, but the label have dusted off a magical 11-minute plus version. Recorded in 1977, in New York, by producer / arranger / conductor, Claus Ogerman, this take surfaced super briefly on a couple of CD compilations in the late 1990s, but until now has never made it to vinyl. An extended flight full of fabulous flute, passionate percussion, sunshine-summoning strumming, virtuoso vibes runs, and of course, that voice, honestly, listening to it is like taking a short summer holiday. Cares, and cold weather, momentarily spirited away.
Acting as a teaser to an album’s worth of material, Natureza, due later in the year, the RSD 12 is backed by a terrific 20-minute interview with Joyce, about these previously shelved all-star sessions.
Far Out also have a second RSD exclusive in the shape of a collaboration between bassist, Dudu Lima, and venerable, veteran, MPB maestro, Joao Bosco, where they take on two tracks from Bosco`s 1976 album, Galos De Briga. O Ronco da Cuica is reimagined without its titular distinctive percussion, and instead with Azymuth`s Ivan “Mamão” Conti on drums. Incompatibilidade de Gênios is a wonderfully warm duet between Dudu`s fretless bass, and Joao`s guitar.
Finally, there`s Paprika Soul`s 1993 cover of Tania Maria`s classic Come With Me, recently reissued by hip imprint, Heels & Souls. I have to confess that I’m a bit biased here, as Maranhão-born Tania’s OG is one of my favourite old Cafe del Mar tunes. When Jose Padilla passed, I put it in my published top 10. There are 3 versions to choose from on the new 12. Sea Breeze is a Movement 98 / Ibiza 90-esque makeover. Bumping along to a big buzzing synth, and showered by sampled birdsong and surf. For further musical reference, see also Mental Generation`s tribute to Ibiza`s aforementioned sunset shrine. The Chill is a nod toward Nellee Hopper and Soul II Soul. Trumpet joining the trippy squiggles. The Bossa Mix injects a little more of an authentic Sao Paulo swing. Supplementing the programing with organic instrumentation. Piano, percussion, gifted guitar, funky organ flourishes, orchestral strings, cuica squeaks, giving it a full, live, band feel. Really, though, it`s the strength of singer, Sarah Newell’s vocals that ensures the project stays respectful, that keeps any of the cuts from ever feeling cheap or cheesy.
Zenmenn`s Bella Fantasia might be sung in Italian, but it bears a significant Brazilian influence – in its arrangement, and especially in its group harmonies. A whispered lullaby woven around gentle gyrations of conga, sparse keys, and picked guitar, musically its like Dip In The Pool relocated to Rio. With divine details like heavenly harp, and cute eavesdropped laughter, in its closing seconds the melody seems to segue into Wham!`s Last Christmas. On a limited 45, this treasure is flipped by Topaz 2. A broken-hearted love song, featured on the duo’s debut LP, re-imagined as a cooly crooned, beautiful even, supper jazz samba. Again, its cadence sighs, “Brasilia”.
The first in a planned series of singles to be lifted from Re:Warm`s hugely successful HOME compilation finds Jon “Turtle” Cooper remixing Bobby Lee & Mia Doi Todd – Walking With Trees – totally transforming the original’s irresistible folk lilt. Described by Bobby Lee himself as “full-on Blade Runner”, Jon turns the laidback hymn to horticulture into a pounding, stadium / festival, pop trance eco-anthem. The rhythm racing, and the b-line writhing like a giant snake. This, however, is accompanied by a beatless rendition – that`s far more conducive to sipping a Chocolate Milk & Brandy – where Mia is echoed, atmospherically, amidst bottom-end drones and clusters of kosmic synths.
Natasha Bai`s Just Say is a downtempo dance floor diamond from the Russian DJ / producer / promoter`s Ransom Note E.P., Transsib. A bass-heavy blend of street soul and bleep, a drum-machine driven, smooch of ethereal acid-edged dub, its slow, sensual rub is like Camella Lobo`s Tropic Of Cancer reworked by Apiento.
Crazy P`s If Life Could Be This Way is a rediscovered, archival, mellow moment. A jam where the band`s 3 core members – Jim Baron, Chris Todd, and Danielle Moore – channel the sumptuous heartfelt “hippie” soul of Jaki Whitren and John Cartwright`s International Times. Building to more than just a glimpse of gospel, pushing the positivity, it`s a low key, anthem, but a loved-up anthem all the same, for sure. A big “Thank you!” to both Coyote`s Timm Sure and Phil “Cantoma” Mison for the heads up.
Jazz singer, Betty Lou Landreth`s sublime I Can`t Stop was rescued late last year by the brilliant Backatcha. The label have now reissued the whole album that the single was taken from, expanded over two LPs, and if you’re lucky, a flex-disc 7.
All of the above are slotted, and sequenced, alongside previously reviewed releases from Electribe 101, Sergio Messina, Space Ghost, Tungusku, Ziad Rahbani, plus Imaginaria`s excellent El Mundo Es Sonido compilation. Hopefully, together, creating some kind of sonic sunset cocktail context.
PS. There`s also a teaser from the forthcoming fantastic Coastlines LP.
Electribe 101 – Conquering Tomorrow – Electribal
Bobby Lee & Mia Doi Todd – Walking With Trees (Turtle Beatless Remix) – ReWarm
DJ Pippi – Ibiza World Inspiration (Dub) – Imaginaria
Ziad Rahbani – Khalas – Wewantsounds
Zenmenn – Bella Fantasia – Music From Memory
Brunno – Tribo – Notes On A Journey
Joyce Morena – Feminina – Far Out Recordings
Sergio Messina – Jon Hassell Beach Bar – Hell Yeah!
Dudu Lima & Joao Bosco – Incompatibilidade De Gênios – Far Out Recordings
Brunno – Vivo so – Notes On A Journey
Betty Lou Landreth – I Can`t Stop – Backatcha
Natasha Bai – Just Say – Ransom Note
Ziad Rahbani – Houdou Nisbi – Wewantsounds
Fernandez Pan Liberson Aznar – Si Conociera Brasil – Imaginaria
Coastlines – Yasmin`s Theme – Flower Records
Crazy P – If Life Could Be This Way – Walk Don’t Walk
Space Ghost – Private Paradise – Pacific Rhythm
Tungusku – Reverie – Before I Die