Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
Spring has sprung and Phil Mison shares a new Cantoma track, Way To The Sun, plus the promise of an album in the pipeline. The single is a very nice slice of sunset flamenco, full of fiery guitar and passionate handclaps, that’s sure to heat up twilight dance-floors. Somehow managing to squeeze an accordion in around the storytelling 6-string, and then, when the brass blasts, it turns totally uplifting. For four minutes I felt like the last 3 years never happened.
Eddie Chacon’s latest long-player was written in Ibiza, and I guess music doesn’t get much more Balearic than that. Produced by John Carroll Kirby, and inspired by Pharoah Sanders’ Greeting to Saud, the aim, according to the press release, was keep things, arrangements, simple. To my ears, the title track, Sundown, brings to mind Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. Lapping congas adding to the song’s muted mellow feel, as synths and Fender Rhodes slowly bump on sunset. Cowbell and horns gradually adding just a little complexity. Eddie’s fragile falsetto, cool Chet Baker-esque croon, all the while lamenting “so many friends lost along the way”, and repeating the words “We all face the Sun… We are all staring at the Sun” like an existential mantra. As if our nearest star were symbolic of the universe, mortality, eternity. I want to say that there’s some Leon Ware in there, but I’m not exactly sure where that’s coming from.*
COYOTE & FLORECER / MELLOW STONE
The Is It Balearic? boys, Timm & Ampo, team up with Los Angeles based dream pop duo, Florecer, for a collaborative downtempo E.P. on Chris Coco’s DSSPR. The California-based couple are Allie Schulz and Alex Pasternak. Alex is also part of Saidera, who’ve been responsible for some brilliant Brazilian boogie-flavoured releases on Leng and Lets Play House.
Mellow Stone is an ethereal, sensual mix of cycling, classical strings, and Spanish guitar. It’s chugging beat conjuring tides breaking on secluded shores. The combination like an update of Linda Di Franco’s classic TV Scene. The song ending in electric Robin Guthrie-esque reverb arcs, which then form the focus of the following track, Natural Heat. Still seductive, and slo-mo, but with a much bigger kick, here Allie’s vocal is fragmented and fooled around with. Her heavy breathing is a major percussive element, rising to ecstatic explosions. In contrast, Seven finds Alex’s fragile flamenco fretwork accompanied by only a loose conga rattle, and its own echo. Buoyed by bass, but basically beatless. The Biggest is a delicious dub, with each drum hit drifting in delay. The melody powered by more prominent piano.
NENAD JELIC & LAZA RITOVSKI / RUMBA BALCANA
Rumba Balcana is probably the most accessible track on Opera, a cult Serbian jazz LP from 1986, recently rescued by Soundway Records. The work of percussionist Nenad Jelic and keyboard player Laza Ritovski the album on the whole is an avant garde affair, but said tune is a sublime sunset oasis in this experimental landscape. A conscious fusion of Balkan and Latin American percussion it floats on warm chords and fluttering pan-pipe-like keys, encouraged by gentle scat harmonies, and topped of by some beautiful blues harp – like Toots Thielemans at The Baghdad Cafe.
Aqueous is lifted from the first of 3 retrospective E.P.s that cherry-pick productions from the catalogue of mid-90s Norwegian techno trio, Neural Network. It’s an excellent 11-minute expedition, where sampled Sci-Fi dialogue, sonar blips, whale song, and splashing, lapping tides combine on an outstanding Orb-like, deep ambient (house) dive. Oxygen tanks are sucked on, yesterday’s chillout rooms invoked, and a heartbeat-like b-line creates a bit of a rhythmic undertow beneath a shoal of serene kosmische synths.
KENICHIRO NISHIHARA / SLIP AWAY
Award-winning Tokyo-based pianist / composer Kenichiro Nishihara has his debut single, from 2008, reissued on 45, by Urban Discos. The A-side is a cover of the tragic Tenorio Jr.’s cult jazz-dancer, Nebulosa, but the Balearic-ally inclined should flip to the B, for Kenichiro’s take on Pat Metheny’s sunset favourite, Slip Away. This tasteful twist on Metheny’s much-loved outing, swaps Pat’s 6-string virtuosity for piano and vibes, and Kenichiro’s whispered scatting. Halfway through it also hits a super syncopated Latin / Brazilian break. One to file close to Coastlines.
ROSANNA & ZELIA / BAIAO DA LUNA
Rosanna Guimarães Tavares and Zélia Nogueira da Fonseca are two Brazilian musicians who briefly relocated to Seinäjoki, in Finland, during 1989 / 1990, where they recorded 3 tracks for local label, Maumau Music. Restored and repressed, by Helsinki’s We Jazz, the titular Baiao Da Luna is a Joyce Moreno-esque joy, while the duo’s cover of Gilberto Gil’s Extra (Brazilian Reggae) has a great Gal Costa-like groove. With all acoustic, organic, accompaniment the E.P. really works from me in this sunset cocktail context.
There actually seems to a wealth of brilliant Brazilian / Portuguese music about, both reissues – Mr Bongo`s Tudo Ben comp – and new releases – Caixo Cubo, Pedro Ricardo, Gabriel Da Rosa, Bala Desejo – and, time permitting, we’ll do out best to cover it.
Autumn 2001 is an incredible Italian library music treasure taken from Gianni Safred’s 1978 album, Futuribile. Decades ahead of its time, it sounds like Roy Budd hallucinating after huffing on Carl Craig’s Televised Green Smoke. A mini symphony of synthesized strings, bass undulations, and bent Arp notes, where George Duke’s Northbeach might be another musical point of reference. If slowed to a crawl. A future fusion full of jazzy Fender Rhodes runs, the phrases phased, and then frayed by echo.
MARSHALL WATSON / HIGH DESERT (SEAHAWKS HIGH SKY REMIX)
San Francisco’s Marshall Watson has a 5-track E.P. lined up with NuNorthern Soul. The tunes are a mix of breaks, bleeps, and bucolic acid. The central piece, High Desert, puts guitar picking with tumbling, rattling, percussion, chilled chiming keys, and synths in sunset / sunrise swirls. This then gets a remix from Seahawks, who reduce the beat to handclaps, and have the percussion tripping over itself, like a machine-manipulated drum circle. A tribal, tom-tom, trance-inducing ritual. Filtered, and muted, like surf crashing in the distance, while a sampled voice describes a “vast, deep, ocean of thought.” To my ears, at least, their rework seems to pay homage to Marshall’s musical Bay Area predecessors, people like the Hardkiss Brothers, Gavin, Robbie, & Scott, and Greg Scanavino aka Young American Primitive.**
*Morning Sun is also a magical shuffling, 2-stepping moment, with a wonky, whistling melody, and gradually climbing, assisted by a lovely loping b-line and tight, economic brass. “The morning sun kisses everyone” is another damn fine mantra.
**If you’re into the Seahawks then you should also check their remix of cult soft-rocker Danny Morgan, on Be With Records, which has just been announced.
Part 1: “Organic”
Steve Cobby – All The Faith I Had Had Had No Effect
Nenad Jelic & Laza Ristovski – Rumba Balcana
Nat Birchall – Heart Spirit Love
Eddie Chacon – Sundown
Aria Rostami – Golden Hour
Big Daddy – Molecules Dream
Kenichiro Nishihara – Slip Away
Marshall Watson – High Desert (Seahawks Mix)
Kulture Blak & Ras – On My Path
Coyote & Florecer – Mellow Stone
Rosanna & Zelia – Baiao Da Luna
Cantoma – Way To The Sun
Part 2: “Electric”
Nina Walsh – Goodnight Sweet Droog
Big Daddy – Molecules Dream
Fila Brazillia – Subtle Body
Paolo Mosca – Organic AI
Gianni Safred – Autumn 2001
The Irresistible Force – Lotus Position
Neural Network – Aqueous
µZiq – Burnt Orange
One thought on “CHOCOLATE MILK AND BRANDY / APRIL 2023”
As always sir, thanks for the support.