Thursday, 12 September 2019

Greg Foat ‎– The Mage (2019)

Style: Contemporary Jazz, Folk, Jazz-Funk, Soul-Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Athens Of The North

Tracklist:
1.   Of My Hands
2.   Endless Love
3.   Drifting
4.   The Magic Radish
5.   The High Priestess
6.   Incantation
7.   The Mage

Credits:
Alto Saxophone – Rob Mach
Bass – Phil Achille
Choir – Simon Ljungman & Friends
Congas – Eric Young
Drums – Clark Tracey, Malcom Catto, Moses Boyd
Guitar – Ray Russell
Guitar, Percussion, Field Recording – Warren Hampshire
Harp – Heather Wrighton
Piano, Harmonium, Synthesizer, Percussion, Arranged By, Producer – Greg Foat
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Art Themen
Tenor Saxophone – Duncan Lamont
Vibraphone – Nat Steele
Vocals – Kathy Garcia

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Colour Field ‎– Virgins And Philistines (1985)

Style: Pop Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Chrysalis

Tracklist:
01.   Can't Get Enough Of You Baby
02.   Pushing Up The Daisies
03.   Faint Hearts
04.   Castles In The Air
05.   Take
06.   Thinking Of You
07.   The Colourfield
08.   Cruel Circus
09.   Hammond Song
10.   Your Love Was Smashing
11.   Virgins And Philistines
12.   Sorry

Credits:
Drums – Paul Burgess, Pete De Freitas
Percussion – Preston Heyman
Instruments, Voice – Karl Shale, Terry Hall, Toby Lyons
Producer – Hugh Jones
Written-By – Terry Hall, Toby Lyons

Terry Hall's reunion with The Specials may have hogged the limelight for the last year or two, but – argues Wyndham Wallace – the debut album from his short-lived project The Colourfield is equally worth revisiting

Pop music is full of auditory trompe l'oeils, the rush of hearing something for the first time that in reality is perhaps not as breathtaking as it initially seems. Returning to records years after their release can sometimes reveal the weaknesses that we'd failed to notice at the time. What seemed refreshing or innovative can, further down the line, appear primitive or tiresome. There's a moment that used to give me goosebumps in The Blue Nile's 'The Downtown Lights', when the guitars shimmer like heat off a roof, which now almost makes me cringe, the sound having become over-familiar thanks to its use in sometimes less than welcome contexts over the years that followed. The reiteration of themes and tropes, whether by their inventors or subsequent imitators, offers diminishing returns. But we can't simply hold our nostalgia responsible for the fact that records from the past sometimes, upon reinvestigation, sound dated. Technology, too, is to blame: it often makes available to all what was once accessible only to those with the imagination to create it. And technology also renders previous developments redundant: my first Walkman's stereo sound was mindblowing, but compared to what my new Bose headphones can pull from even the most basic apparatus it likely sounds like an old Gramophone.

And so it is that the recollection of Virgin And Philistine's singles – 'Thinking Of You', 'Castles In The Air' – and its other standout moments have cultivated its candid melancholy and perversely perky pop, while the reality of listening to it exposes the tricks that memory plays as much as how fashions have changed. At the time it seemed a breath of fresh air, a semi-acoustic pastoral antidote to the neon pop landscape that surrounded it. Retrospectively, however, it sounds mildly overpolished, occasionally too close to the domain of session musicians playing along to click tracks, its steely (Dan) sheen a hurdle perhaps too great for some who didn't live through its historical context. You'll find the same problem with Aztec Camera, or Prefab Sprout, or The Lilac Time. But those who can accept this will find within its pristine forty minutes some of Hall's finest moments, lyrically and melodically, more than enough grounds for any latent nostalgia. 
Terry Hall seems to understand the way that familiarity can breed contempt. He's spent his career moving from one project to another, restlessly shaking things up, never staying with collaborators long enough for things to become stale. Virgins and Philistines may sound archaic, but that's more the fault of the pale clones that followed in its wake. Making allowances for its technical approach is imperative, especially since its intentions remain clear, and when he pursued the idea with its follow-up, Deception, he soon realised that he'd reached a creative brick wall and called it quits. In fact Hall has never made more than two albums under any of the many guises under which he has operated. He bailed from The Specials in 1981 as 'Ghost Town' sat atop the charts, taking Lynval Golding and Neville Staples with him to form Fun Boy Three. He called time on Fun Boy Three within two years, despite further hits, and The Colourfield were born, his collaborators this time Toby Lyons and Karl Shal (of Swinging Cats). They in turn dissolved during the recording of their second album, and Hall moved onto further experiments: two solo albums, collaboration with Dave Stewart under the name Vegas, further collaborations with (amongst others) Fundamental's Mushtaq, Damon Albarn, Tricky, Dub Pistols, The Lightning Seeds, and the rather painfully named (and oft forgotten) Terry, Blair, and Anouchka. 
It was on the latter's 'Lucky In Luv' that he sang "If life was fair / I'd be a millionaire", and, to be honest, given the affection in which he's generally held – underlined by the recent Specials reunion – it's a little surprising that he isn't. (Perhaps he is and simply doesn't flaunt it, in which case the man deserves even more respect.) But one of the reasons for the high regard people have for Terry Hall is precisely that he's never allowed us to become bored of his work. Its only constant is his doleful voice, its shortcomings at the heart of its charm. As soon as there's a danger that whatever he's working on might become formulaic he's taken another left turn, and with this has come the unspoken suggestion that we too should leave his previous activities behind. 
The Colourfield were one of those left behind. Two albums, a handful of singles that grazed the charts and a bunch of fuzzy videos on youtube are all that remain of this briefly wonderful exercise. The second album, frankly, is a mess, a painfully overproduced synthetic nightmare that could almost pass as part of the PWL catalogue. It's hardly surprising Hall left the project behind, and little wonder that he looks especially morose – even by his own standards – on its cover. But 1985's Virgins And Philistines is something else, and its reissue by Cherry Red – making it available on CD for the first time – is good reason to revisit it. 
Virgins And Philistines' overwhelming mood is, true to form, that of imminent regret, the foreshadowing of things going wrong or at the very least not working out as hoped if, indeed, it's not already too late. For the most part it's focussed on domestic affairs, as though Hall has just emerged from a series of painful failed relationships. At its most optimistic, "romance is a word that should be seen but not heard" consisting merely of "castles in the air", and even that often seems a forlorn hope: Hall's seen "the world about us / and the Disneyland dream's a lie" ('Cruel Circus'). Even the lovelorn sentiments of 'Thinking Of You' are undermined by the slowly dawning reality that the object of his desire is resistant to his sentiments, assuming they've not walked away previously anyway: "I could be the one thing there in your hour of need / So if you decide to change your views I'm thinking of you". At times, however, it broadens its reach to address social affairs: 'Cruel Circus'' refers to "fur coats on ugly people expensively dressed up to kill / In a sport that's legal within the minds of the mentally ill", while on 'Faint Hearts' he asks, "Will all this wishful thinking save your ship from sinking?"

In fact the number of lines that bear repeating here confirm that this was Hall at his most articulate, his attention to details as striking as Morrissey's, his ear for a wry observation never more finely tuned. "I was travelling to nowhere when I fell off the rails" ('Sorry'), "You took the good from the bad like the 36 pieces of cheap cutlery" ('Take'), "I really wanted her hair to touch her knees / I really wanted to share forgotten dreams" ('Castles In The Air'), "You can take me for a ride / but only if I get the window seat" ('Armchair Theatre'): the examples are legion. 
But the music – for the most part – matches this eloquence. On occasions, in fact, it's a masterclass in songwriting. 'Thinking Of You' recalls Bacharach and David's 'Do You Know The Way To San Jose' in its use of Spanish influences, its seemingly upbeat, almost coquettish melody at odds with its despondent lyrical tone. 'Faint Hearts' has hints of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Carousel Waltz', Hall's voice at its most yearning as he reaches for the top notes, Toby Lyons' organ wheezing much as Steve Winwood's did on Talk Talk's The Colour Of Spring. 'Castles In The Air', meanwhile sports castanets and flourishes of flamenco, an autumnal melody, dramatic cello strokes and a guitar solo that, under most circumstances, would drag a song to the depths of hell but which here lift it into that blue haze between bitter and sweet. 'Take' may seem a little clunky in comparison, but its awkwardness matches Hall's mood as he battles blatant belligerence with brutal honesty, the tremor in his voice challenged by the defiant self-denial at the song's heart ("Me and the cat own the lease on the flat / And nothing you do will ever change that… / You could say that we're having the time of our lives.") 'Cruel Circus' even breaks unexpectedly, delightfully, comically into a music hall bridge, the sampled sounds of ducks, chickens and horses interrupting his pleading "Isn't it enough to eat them?" while 'Yours Sincerely' is a deftly tender tune with which one suspects Kings Of Convenience may be familiar, though whether they're capable of lines like "I took the wrong decision
/ So you turned on your ignition" is open to question. And then there's 'Armchair Theatre', which alternates between the sincere, the twee and a knowing banality, highlighted by the way Hall delivers the line "I'm getting very bored indeed". 
But it's actually a cover of The Roches' 'Hammond Song' that steals the show, still sounding as magnificently heartfelt today as it did 25 years ago. Against gently strummed steel guitar strings, Hall shifts his attention from his own relationships to the naïve love of one younger than him who's leaving town for someone he considers unworthy, much as McCartney did on 'She's Leaving Home'. It's gentle, poignant and exquisitely understated, not a million miles from Simon & Garfunkel's gentler moments, while its lush harmonies recall another hit of the time, Godley and Creme's 'Cry'.

Winning new converts to Virgins And Philistines might be hard: quite apart from the production, its heart-on-the-sleeve sentimentality may be simply too saccharine in cynical times. But that's the danger of baring your soul, and Terry Hall never did it quite so beautifully as he did here. Like "the ghost of your love (that) will never die" in 'Yours Sincerely', its memory and wistful thinking still haunt those who experienced it. What we remember may not be quite what we find, but since nostalgia lies at its heart, let nostalgia be its reward. 
Wyndham Wallace / The Quietus

Waldeck ‎– Balance Of The Force (1998)

Style: Trip Hop, Downtempo
Format: CD Vinyl
Label: Sray Records, E-Magine Entertainment

Tracklist:
01.   Defenceless
02.   Spy Like An Angel
03.   Children Of The Ghetto
04.   Slaapwagen
05.   Aquarius
06.   Northern Lights
07.   Wake Up
08.   Superpopstar
09.   Death Of A Piano Salesman
10.   Moon

Credits:
Music By – Amoo Christopher & Eddie, Galt McDermot, Klaus Waldeck
Producer – Waldeck, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Mörth, Uptight

Though it comes from a previously unheard producer, Balance of the Force certainly begins on a high note, with the down-tempo soul of "Defenceless." While Waldeck himself takes the keyboards (both electric and standard piano), the deep groove of what sounds like a live drum set frames the yearning vocals of Joy Malcolm. It's that rare thing in electronic circles: the perfect integration of vocal track and production, with both pulling equal weight to set the mood. Amidst a beautiful, effortless transition, Waldeck moves on to "Spy Like an Angel," with male vocalist Brian Amos doing much the same as Malcolm did one track earlier. Either of these voices appears on all but two of the tracks here, the exceptions being the eerie, cinematic instrumentals "Slaapwagen" and "Moon." Fellow downbeat maestros Kruder & Dorfmeister help out on production for the sublime "Aquarius," and except for the slight reliance on a previously trademarked sound, Balance of the Force stands as one of the most quietly beautiful records of vocal trip-hop -- just slightly behind masterpieces like Portishead's Dummy and Massive Attack's Mezzanine. 
John Bush / AllMusic

The Lewis Sisters ‎– Way Out...Far (1959)

Genre: Jazz, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Liberty, EMI

Tracklist:
01.   What Is This Thing Called Love
02.   Day By Day
03.   Just Friends
04.   It Matters Not At All
05.   The Thrill Is Gone
06.   S'Wonderful
07.   Round Midnight
08.   This Can't Be Love
09.   Love Letters
10.   But Not For Me
11.   Moonlight In Vermont
12.   That's All

Credits:
Bass – Red Mitchell
Drums – Frankie Capp, Milt Holland
Flute, Alto Flute, Alto Saxophone – Paul Horn
Guitar – Al Viola
Vibraphone – Larry Bunker, Victor Feldman
Arranged By, Leader, Piano – Les McCann

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

VA ‎– I'm Your Fan: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen By... (1991)

Style: Folk Rock, Country Rock, Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: EastWest, Columbia, Epic/Sony Records, Atlantic

Tracklist:
01.   The House Of Love - Who By Fire
02.   Ian McCulloch - Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
03.   Pixies - I Can't Forget
04.   That Petrol Emotion - Stories Of The Street
05.   The Lilac Time - Bird On The Wire
06.   Geoffrey Oryema - Suzanne
07.   James - So Long Marianne
08.   Jean-Louis Murat - Avalanche IV
09.   David McComb & Adam Peters - Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On
10.   R.E.M. - First We Take Manhattan
11.   Lloyd Cole - Chelsea Hotel
12.   Robert Forster - Tower Of Song
13.   Peter Astor - Take This Longing
14.   Dead Famous People - True Love Leaves No Traces
15.   Bill Pritchard - I'm Your Man
16.   The Fatima Mansions - A Singer Must Die
17.   Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Tower Of Song
18.   John Cale - Hallelujah

Credits:
Executive-Producer – Christian Fevret, JD Beauvallet
Songwriter – Leonard Cohen, Phil Spector

Monday, 9 September 2019

R.E.M. ‎– Fables Of The Reconstruction / Reconstruction Of The Fables (1985)

Style: Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: CBS/Sony, I. R. S. Records

Tracklist:
01.   Feeling Gravitys Pull
02.   Maps And Legends
03.   Driver 8
04.   Life And How To Live It
05.   Old Man Kensey
06.   Can't Get There From Here
07.   Green Grow The Rushes
08.   Kohoutek
09.   Auctioneer (Another Engine)
10.   Good Advices
11.   Wendell Gee

Credits:
Guitar - Peter Buck
Bass - Mike Mills
Drums - Bill Berry
Vocals - Michael Stipe
Cello – David Newby
Tenor Saxophone – Peter Thomas
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone – David Bitelli
Trumpet – Jim Dvořák
Violin – Camilla Brunt, Philippa Ibbotson
Written-By – R.E.M.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Elza Soares ‎– Deus É Mulher (2018)

Style: MPB
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Polysom, Deckdisc

Tracklist:
01.   O Que Se Cala
02.   Exu Nas Escolas
03.   Banho
04.   Eu Quero Comer Você
05.   Língua Solta
06.   Hienas Na TV
07.   Clareza
08.   Um Olho Aberto
09.   Credo
10.   Dentro De Cada Um
11.   Deus Há De Ser

Credits:
A&R – João Augusto, Rafael Ramos
Co-producer – Kiko Dinucci, Marcelo Cabral, Rodrigo Campos, Romulo Fróes
Mastered By – Felipe Tichauer
Mixed By – Scotty Hard
Mixed By – Connor Schultze
Producer – Guilherme Kastrup
Producer – Bruno Pregos
Recorded By – Alejandra Luciani, Fábio Roberto

“Minha voz / Uso pra dizer o que se cala / O meu país / É meu lugar de fala” (“My voice / I use it to tell what’s kept quiet / My country / Is the place from where I speak” – “lugar de fala” is a safe and judgment-free place to talk for oppressed communities). Never short of provocative energy, which she’s showed since her 20s and her debut in Musica Popular Brasileira – MPB (“Popular Brazilian Music”), Elza Soares has kept the same team she’s had since her last groundbreaking album and put them on the field again. Because there’s a golden rule in futebol (“soccer”) as well as in music: never change a winning team. The coach being Rio-based Guilherme Kastrup, in charge of the production, arrangements and multiple instruments. On the field, in charge of arrangements and performance, the musical avant-garde of São Paulo: Marcelo Cabral on bass, Kiko Dinucci on guitars and keyboards (the pair play together in Metá Metá), Rodrigo Campos on cavaquinho and guitar, as well as other commendable talents, amongst them Mariá Portugal on drums, Maria Beraldo on horns, and lyricists Tulipa Ruiz, Rodrigo Campos and Romulo Frões. Notable guests on the album include the only-female and mainly Black percussion and chants group Ilú Obá de Min, the first Afro-Brazilian bloco de carnaval that appeared in São Paulo. The common point for these field players being that they’re in their 30s or early 40s, and their artistic freedom is as deep as their admiration for Elza Soares, their female leader; 40 years their elder. 
This admiration for Elza Soares runs so deep that it gives them the audacity to experiment the richest syncretism the Brazilian music scene has ever heard since Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso’s tropicália in the ‘60s. The team daringly ventures into the samba and bossa field – an easy task at first glance, but the real challenge is to make it sound modern – moving them into the more exotic sounds of post-punk, afrobeat and psychedelic rock; they dribble around the national championship of instruments (cavaquinho, classical guitar, violin, pandeiro, and samba percussions) as well as the international outsiders (rhythm box, synthesizers, distorted electric guitar). For the duration of the game, the Brazilian team offer their female coach a perfectly fitted strategy, allowing Elza her freedom to murmur, whisper, shout out and eventually scream, to express how happy she is to be alive as well as how she’s angered to see the promises of an inclusive and united society quickly faded away. The very society that the end of its dictatorship in 1985 had given a taste of. This very society that Lula da Silva had laboriously tried to bring about between 2003 and 2011, during his presidency. No one would argue that post-colonial and post-dictatorship Brazil is today experiencing a deep political and social crisis, and that its society contains almost all of the issues the world has or will have to cope with pretty soon. 
Religion, decolonization, sexuality, domestic violence, corruption… the veteran diva of the show spares no prisoners and speaks out loud on the album and on the stage, to represent the voices of the oppressed, at an age when her contemporaries tend to be more discreet (Gal Costa, Maria Bethânia, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, although the latter is known to be more activist when on stage). 
It can be heard on “Exú nas Escolas”, where she criticizes the dominating teachings of Catholicism at school, and advocates the importance of Afro-Brazilian religions and cultures, marginalized or made invisible. Or on “Banho”, penned by lyricist Tulipa Ruiz, where she pays tribute to two orixás figures that represent women and the water that comes out of their eyes, mouths and vaginas: “Eu não obedeço porque sou molhada” (“I won’t obey, because I’m all wet”). This mystic and sensual prayer/manifesto has become the unofficial anthem of the lusophone lesbian community. Or on “Eu Quero Comer Você” (“I want to fuck you”) where she explicitly talks of a woman’s sexuality with an infectious pride. Or on “Credo” where she assures that “love is a god that has nothing to do with religion”. Or on “Dentro de Cada Um” where she confronts both patriarchy, sexism and homophobia:
“[A mulher] vai sair de dentro de cada um
A mulher vai sair
E vai sair de dentro de quem for
A mulher é você.
De dentro da cara a tapa de quem já levou porrada na vida
De dentro da mala do cara que te esquartejou, te encheu de ferida
Daquela menina acuada que tanto sofreu e morreu sem guarida
Daquele menino magoado que não alcançou a porta de saída.”
[loose translation by the author]
“[The woman] will come out in everyone of us
The woman will come out
And will come out from anyone
The woman is you.
[The woman will come out]
Of the boldness of those already been beaten up,
Of the suitcase of the guy who destroyed you and filled you with pain
Of the girl who suffered so much and died without a lair
Of the hurting boy who did not find a way out.”
Deus é Mulher is a bible for transgression, a manifesto for activism addressed to the oppressed minorities of Brazil and anywhere else. This anti-reactionary time bomb should be placed into the hands of anyone who has the courage to fight. “Nós não temos mesmo sonho e opinião / Nosso eco se mistura na canção / Quero voz e quero o mesmo ar / Quero mesmo incomodar” she confesses in “Língua Solta”: “We don’t share the same dreams and opinions / Our echoes merge into this song / I want a voice and I want the same air / I really want to provoke.” Elza Soares and her team are in a league of their own, truly too dangerous to be let on the field of panem et circenses that has long ruled the society.
Kino Sousa  / Pan African Music

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Elza Soares ‎– A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo (2015)

Style: Samba, MPB
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mais Um Discos, Circus

Tracklist:
01.   Coração Do Mar / Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo
02.   Maria Da Vila Matilde
03.   Luz Vermelha
04.   Pra Fuder
05.   Benedita
06.   Firmeza
07.   Dança
08.   Canal
09.   Solto / Comigo

Credits:
Directed By, Producer – Guilherme Kastrup
Executive Producer – Ernst von Bonninghausen

There’s a story, often repeated, about Elza Soares’ big break. The future samba icon was just a teenager when she went on Rio de Janeiro’s “Calouros em Desfile,” a talent show whose name translates as something like “Freshmen on Parade.” The daughter of a washerwoman and a laborer, she cut a strange figure for a talent show, wearing an ill-fitting dress she had pilfered from her mother’s laundry, gathering and pinning its billowing extra fabric. The audience cackled as the show’s host, Ary Barroso, incredulously asked her, “What planet are you from?” 
Soares didn’t bat an eye: “Planet Hunger.” 
She wasn’t kidding. Soares, born in 1937 (by most accounts, anyway) in one of Rio’s favelas, grew up poor and desperate. At 12, her father had forced her into an abusive marriage with the neighborhood teen he believed was raping her. She had given birth to her first son at 13; by the time she was widowed at 21, she would have four more children. She gave up one for adoption; another died of malnutrition. It’s often said that she appeared on “Calouros em Desfile” in order to win the money she needed to buy medicine for her sick child. 
It goes without saying that she won the show. Afterward, Soares would go on to develop one of the most distinctive voices in música popular brasileira, or MPB, adopting elements of scat singing and New Orleans jazz and making the most of her richly expressive rasp. Today she is fêted as a national hero: Her biographer José Louzeiro has declared her contributions to Brazil’s folk music analogous to Bessie Smith’s and Ella Fitzgerald’s to the blues.

Black, working class, and self-taught, Soares is the literal embodiment of the classic rags-to-riches story. But hardship has never loosened its grip upon her. She has endured exile, scandal, and racist opprobrium. She watched the love of her life, the legendary Brazilian soccer star Garrincha, spiral into alcoholism; he was drunk at the wheel in the accident that killed her mother. They split after he beat her, knocking out her teeth shortly before she was scheduled to appear for a television interview. Not long after he died of cirrhosis of the liver, penniless and forgotten, her son from that union died in another car wreck. All in all, she has lost five of her sons and daughters. 
Soares is 79 now, and her latest album, A Mulher do Fim do Mundo (The Woman at the End of the World) marks the kind of record few artists ever make, much less iconic figures who could be reasonably expected to live out their remaining years resting comfortably on their laurels. The album is part autobiography, part reinvention, and all provocation, channeling both her life’s pain and her incredible resilience into an alloy that is by turns jagged and molten. Written by and recorded with a group of young experimental musicians from São Paulo’s “samba sujo” (or “dirty samba”) scene, including artistic directors Guilherme Kastrup and Rômulo Fróes and members of the bands Passo Torto and Metá Metá, it is a searing, surging work of fusion that combines Afro-Brazilian styles with wiry, dissonant strands of punk and noise-rock, where the Ex mingles freely with Tom Zé. 
This is not morbid music; it is full of life, of spit and grit. This is an album in which a 79-year-old woman barks a snarling ode to the joys of fucking, “Pra Fuder”; it is an album in which a battered woman threatens to douse her abusive husband with boiling water, to parade him before the neighbors, to humiliate him in front of his mother (“Maria da Vila Matilde”). “Get him!” she shouts as the dog tears off after him, her voice ricocheting down a dizzy chain of dub delay. The combination of sounds and textures is nothing short of astonishing: the hardscrabble guitar-and-drum interplay; the horns, betraying the faintest hint of two-tone ska; and above all, her impossibly malleable voice, like a scrap of sandpaper turning into a tsunami. I don’t know of any other records that sound quite like this one: by turns wiry, warm, playful, and elegiac, it evokes twisting vines and cracked cement, with guitars that snake like the pichação graffiti of São Paulo and Rio. 
The album doubles as a portrait of contemporary Brazil—a country beset by crises, including corruption scandals, the worst recession in over a century, a wave of police brutality, and a rising tide of anti-gay violence. The opening song, “Coração do Mar,” is a musical setting of a poem by the modernist writer Oswald de Andrade—a melancholy, imagistic meditation upon loss and slavery that becomes, in her weary recitation, something like an inverse national anthem. In the stirring title track, over bright cavaquinho and swelling strings, she sings a heart-rending ode to samba, carnival, and the lifesaving qualities of music itself. “I go on singing ’til the end,” she promises, and you can tell that she means it, her voice bristling like the hair on a dog’s back. 
Soares has long advocated for the downtrodden (“I’m always singing to remind you that blacks exist,” she once said; “gays and prostitutes” too), and in “Benedita,” she pays tribute to a crack-addicted transsexual with a slug lodged in her flesh and a silver bullet in her pocket, “to kill the careless cop.” But Soares and her co-writers take more abstracted paths, too: The breezy “Firmeza” turns a brief encounter on the street into a wry, dissonant tone poem. “Dança,” a song about a dancing corpse, channels Tom Waits’ junkyard fantasias. And the cryptic, mournful “O Canal” sings of death and exodus in “the gleam of Alexander the Great’s lighthouse.” (The album’s excellent lyric sheet, including Portuguese and English translations and even footnotes for select cultural cues, goes a long way toward unlocking its intricacies.) 
It all adds up to one of the year’s most original and exhilarating listens; that is equally true of its raucous, unorthodox fusions and its quietest, contemplative moments. Just as it opens with an a cappella, the better to highlight Soares’ inimitable voice—soft as a spring lawn, coarse as ground coffee—it closes with another, “Comigo.” The song begins with dark, droning tape loops, swollen as rain clouds, but they abruptly cease, ceding the stage to Soares alone. The song is about her mother; her voice wears the scars of a lifetime of grief. “I carry my mother with me/Even though she’s gone,” she sings, a hoarse, funereal lament. “I carry my mother with me/Because she gave me her own self.” You don’t need to understand the Portuguese to feel the weight of her words: It might be the saddest song you ever heard. She sounds exhausted, worn out, run into the ground by sorrow. But in every click in her voice, in every catch in her throat, there is also defiance. All these years later, the girl from Planet Hunger refuses to back down. 
Philip Sherburne / Pitchfork

Robert E. Brown ‎– Indonesia: Bali - Gamelan Semar Pegulingan : Gamelan Of The Love God (1972)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CDVinyl
Label: Nonesuch

Tracklist:
A1.   Tabuh Gari
A2   Gambang
A3.   Tabuh Pisan
A4.   Barong
B1.   Sinom Ladrang
B2.   Legong Kraton - Playon

Credits:
Coordinator – Teresa Sterne
Music Director – I Madé Lebah
Performer – I Madé Grindem
Recorded By, Engineer – Robert E. Brown

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Chimes ‎– The Chimes (1990)

Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul 
Frmat: CD, Vinyl
Label: Big Break Records, Kola Red ‎

Tracklist:
1-01.   The Chimes - Love So Tender
1-02.   The Chimes - Heaven
1-03.   The Chimes - True Love
1-04.   The Chimes - 1-2-3
1-05.   The Chimes - Underestimate
1-06.   The Chimes - Love Comes To Mind
1-07.   The Chimes - Don't Make Me Wait
1-08.   The Chimes - Stronger Together
1-09.   The Chimes - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
1-10.   The Chimes - Stay
            Bonus Tracks
1-11.   The Chimes - Bodyrock (Demo Version)
1-12.   The Chimes - So Much In Love (Extended Demo Version)
1-13.   The Chimes - Ready For Love
1-14.   The Chimes - No Need To Pretend
1-15.   The Chimes - Heaven (The Chimes Remix)
1-16.   The Chimes - True Love (Extended Version)
1-17.   The Chimes - Love Comes To Mind (Remix)
1-18.   The Chimes - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
            (US Mix)
2-01.   Pauline Henry - Heaven (Stonebridge Classic Mix)
2-02.   The Chimes - 1-2-3 (Philly Mix)
2-03.   The Chimes - Love Comes To Mind (Extended Version)
2-04.   The Chimes - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Street Mix)
2-05.   The Chimes - True Love (Louie Louie Remix)
2-06.   The Chimes - Underestimate (Special Extended Version)
2-07.   The Chimes - Stay (Extended Remix)
2-08.   The Chimes - Stronger Together (Red Zone Mix)
2-09.   The Chimes - Heaven (Heavy Club Mix)
2-10.   The Chimes - 1-2-3 (UK Raw Mix)
2-11.   The Chimes - Love Comes To Mind (Manasseh Mix)
2-12.   Pauline Henry - Heaven 2016 (DJ Spen Radio Mix)

Credits:
Reissue Producer – Malcolm McKenzie, Wayne A. Dickson
Remastered By – Anders Peterson
Research (Repertoire Research) – Wayne A. Dickson