Friday, 29 June 2018

Hercules And Love Affair ‎– Hercules And Love Affair (2008)

Style: Leftfield, House, Disco
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: DFA

Tracklist:
01.   Time Will
02.   Hercules Theme
03.   You Belong
04.   Athene
05.   Blind
06.   Iris
07.   Easy
08.   This Is My Love
09.   Raise Me Up
10.   True/False, Fake/Real

Credits:
Art Direction – Scott Williams
Engineer, Mixed By – Eric Broucek
Illustration [Drawings] – Ben Guttin
Photography By – Jason Nocito
Producer – Andrew Butler, Tim Goldsworthy
Written-By – Andrew Butler

Forget disco for a second. The most significant thing about the debut album from New York's Hercules and Love Affair has less to do with revival than arrival-- that of a compelling new voice in American dance music. Not Antony Hegarty's, of Antony and the Johnsons, even though his pipes are an integral part of Hercules' aesthetic, but Andrew Butler, a twentysomething resident of New York who has made one of 2008's great albums, and one of the best longplayers from DFA. (DFA's Tim Goldsworthy surely deserves some of the credit as well, as the album's co-producer and the programmer behind most of the record's beats.) Butler got his start writing music for art projects in college-- "like a remake of Gino Soccio's 'Runaway' done in the style of Kraftwerk," he told Fact magazine-- but Hercules and Love Affair's music doesn't require Fischerspooner-type theatrics. This debut album is a self-contained, self-assured, 10-song set that runs vintage styles through a restless compositional imagination to create something joyfully, startlingly unique.
Of course, you can't entirely forget about disco; the record owes a debt to the dance-music of the 1970s and 80s, from Gamble & Huff-style strings to the camp sensibilities of Sylvester or Patrick Cowley. Butler has clearly studied Arthur Russell: His dancefloor jams have the same energy that drives uptempo Russell numbers like "Go Bang" and "Is It All Over My Face?", and his arrangements-- as when he nestles Kim Ann Foxman's voice in a bed of spongy keys and bass on "Athene", like an Easter egg in plastic grass-- recall Russell's facility for space and timbre.
There are plenty of signposts for disco, the genre: octave-toggling bass lines (played by Automato's Andrew Raposo and !!!'s Tyler Pope), rattling congas, bouncing 4/4 kicks, and insistent open hi-hats. There are references to house, as well, as would be expected from a record whose lead single features a Frankie Knuckles remix. But they point less to the 90s version of house as a distinct genre, whether sleek and lush or raw and machinic, than to house music in its origins, when it was simply disco music that was played at the Warehouse. Only "You Belong", with its taut, spiky drum machine programming and pistoning chords, engages the formalism of early Chicago house.
And it engages it brilliantly. What is often forgotten when talking about music so steeped in tradition is how it actually sounds-- how it works, how it conjures. It would be a shame if Hercules and Love Affair's music were to be reduced to the sum of its references, even in shorthand, because Butler's music is too complex, too lovingly stuffed with ideas. That Hercules and Love Affair is as unwieldy as its name-- and also just as passionate, camp, and muscular-- is one of its great pleasures. "You Belong" begins as a faithful exercise in acid-house revivalism, from the syncopated cowbell patterns to a looped vocal sample recalling the classic house invocations to "Jack, motherfucker." (It doesn't matter that the indistinct sample says something different; its cadence triggers something like an unconscious memory of acid house's vocal tropes.) It's the way that Butler and his collaborators mold formalist fidelity into something stranger that makes the track really sing, beginning with keyboards that seem to float on a cushion of air, and extending to the way that the singer Nomi's lead vocals are mimicked by a multitracked backing refrain from Antony that sounds as though it's been run through a prism. For its minor-key structure, the song's augmented chords give it the quality of an exploding rainbow.
Not everything here is designed as "dance music." The opening "Time Will", one of the album's highlights, mutates a standard disco framework into a weird and gelatinous torch song. "Iris", likewise, slows house music's pitter-patter dramatically, leaving the rhythm a framing device for the interplay between horns, synthesizers, and Foxman's sentimental lead vocals. And "Easy", the album's most understated song, sounds so different from the rest of the record that it suggests an alternate trajectory Hercules and Love Affair could presumably pursue-- a dusky noir somewhere between the Knife and Shriekback.
But while more than half of the album's tracks would easily work on forward-thinking dance floors-- "Hercules' Theme", "You Belong", "Athene", "Blind", "This Is My Love", "Raise Me Up", and "True False, Fake Real" all cruise comfortably between 110 and 120 bpm-- what really shines is the songwriting. The album brims with hooks, choruses, bridges, strange twists, and turns. It's hardly maximalist-- every song feels like it could be played by a four-or-five piece band with a few overdubs-- and yet the record expands and contracts, pressing tones together before zooming outward to present each element in stark, shining relief. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the rollicking "Hercules' Theme", which opens with a spare loop of percussion, Rhodes, and electric bass and gradually balloons into a soaring mess of horns, string vamps, and vocal harmonies. Few producers can pull off excess as well as Butler and Goldsworthy; that they balance their outré tendencies with moments of careful restraint only confirms their finesse.
If the record has a flaw, it might be its overall pacing. "Time Will" and "Hercules' Theme" feel like they're vying for the opening slot, a sense confirmed by the fact that they're in the same key. And the flow of the record's latter half feels off, with the subdued "Iris" and "Easy" followed by another muted disco number ("This Is My Love") before jumping back into the jaunty "Raise Me Up" and "True False, "Fake Real". But these are quibbles. Hercules and Love Affair is a phenomenal album, one destined to save disco not from its detractors but rather from those fans and revivalists who would calcify the music as a set as a set of tropes and reference points. Lush, melancholic, gregarious, generous, both precise and a little bit unhinged-- this is the most original American dance album in a long while. 
Philip Sherburne / Pitchfork

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Fauna Flash ‎– Fusion (2001)

Style: Future Jazz, Drum n Bass, Latin
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Compost Records

Tracklist:
01.   Mother Nature
02.   Percussion
03.   Free
04.   Tel Aviv
05 .   Alone Again
06.   Referee
07.   Ten
08.   Morning
09.   Sunday At The Getty
10.   Question

Credits:
Bass – Raoul "Wei-Chi" Walton
Electric Piano – Michael Mettke (tracks: 1, 4 to 6)
Written-By – Christian Prommer, Roland W. Appel (tracks: 1 to 8, 10)
Mastered By – Stuart Hawkes
Design [Graphic Design] – Andrew Arnold
Photography By – Jörg Koopmann

Very few terms in the lexicon of music-journo speak raise a doubtful eyebrow as quickly or fiercely as that of "fusion." Often conjuring up memories of putrid jazz collaborations or frightening prog rock experiments, "fusion" is generally examined from a distance, like last week’s lunch. Not so this time around, here the brave German duo of Roland Appel and Christian Prommer step up to produce a mighty tasty, appropriately titled treat. As drummers and core members of both the Trüby Trio (with Rainer Trüby) and Voom Voom (with Peter Kruder), these guys are no strangers to experimenting with and merging a number of sounds and styles. They’ve taken their drum & bass roots to the next level with this album however, leaving earlier Fauna Flash releases in the dust. Fusion is aimed directly at the dance floor, but the arrow is far from straight. "Mother Nature," a thick, dripping and tripping slice of electro-dub, featuring Viennese vocalist Sugar B, is a great introduction to an album that moves successfully from jazz and drum & bass to house, funk, breakbeat and back again. The slinky, sexy and ironically giddy "Alone Again" seats ’70s disco next to nu house. "Ten" is a true schooling in contemporary dance music; it breaks, it boogies, it builds and commands all to shake our bodies down to the ground. Here, Fauna Flash has also created some of the strongest drum & bass tracks I’ve heard in some time. "Free" is pretty, jazzy and sumptuous, merging the feel of mid-’90s jungle classics with fresh, sweet bass drops, kicking percussion and a smattering of disco strings. Things get slightly darker during "Morning," where vocalist Marzenka simultaneously channels Grace Jones, Macy Gray and Leonie Laws over the rough riddims of this slow cooker. Trust the Compost camp to make fusion feel good.
Denise Benson / exclaim! 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Fauna Flash ‎– Aquarius (1997)

Style: Future Jazz, Drum n Bass
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:  Compost Records

Tracklist:
1.   In The Dangerous Kitchen
2.   Serpico
3.   Experimental Error
4.   Kiss
5.   Top Secret
6.   Synopsis
7.   T.H.E.O.
8.   Blue Lotus
9.   Suited For City-Squiring

Credits:
Written-By, Producer – Fauna Flash
Artwork – Andrew Arnold

Fauna Flash, the drum ‘n’ bass component of Compost Records, drops some hard beats on their first release, Aquarius. The drum tracks on these numbers are quick and oftentimes are well-complemented by the bassline (check out “Serpico” for an example), but the first third of this album doesn’t quite have enough to distinguish itself. Later on, “Kiss” has some of the jazziness that Compost is known for, while “Top Secret” and “Synopsis” go for some spy movie excitement. “Blue Lotus” and “Suited for City-Squiring” are more or less a downtempo tracks. It’s an album worth investigating.
scoundrel  / discogs 

Monday, 25 June 2018

The Durutti Column ‎– Obey The Time (1990)

Style: Abstract, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Factory

Tracklist:
01.   Vino Della Casa Bianco
02.   Hotel Of The Lake 1990
03.   Fridays
04.   Home
05.   Art And Freight
06.   Spanish Reggae
07.   Neon
08.   The Warmest Rain
09.   Contra-Indications
10.   Vino Della Casa Rosso

Credits:
Written-By, Performer, Producer – Vini Reilly
Engineer – Paul Miller (tracks: 1 to 8, 10)
Design – 8vo
Other [Food And Relaxation] – Dry
Other [Hypnosis And Medication] – Sydney Gottlie

Já foi um caso de vida ou de morte para quem respira música — a sua falange de apoio em Portugal, invulgarmente numerosa, que o diga. The Return Durutti Column (1979), LC (82) e Amigos em Portugal (83), discos de culto empilhados ao lado de Closer, Unknown Pleasures e From Gardens Where We Feel Secure, só em Portugal. E talvez no Japão, onde a predilecção maciça por produtos transviados da pop britânica possui tradições que o inimaginável clube de fãs dos Felt (o único...) desde logo confirma.    
O culto provoca • a curto e médio prazo, pelo menos — a cegueira e, no caso muito concreto da música, uma acentuada dureza de ouvido. Daí que talvez nem a ferros se consiga arrancar do mais fervoroso seguidor do guitarrista anti-herói de Manchester o reconhecimento daquilo que nos últimos anos se tomou inteiramente óbvio: que algo se foi perdendo pelo caminho. Não se pode dizer que estejamos perante uma situação de cansaço auditivo, pois tanto o elevado índice de devoção do auditório lusitano como a preservação dos pressupostos da música em causa (concepção atmosférica de sentido feérico e lúdico) tê-lo-ão impedido. A verdade, alojada em camadas mais profundas, parece ser esta: a música de Vini Reilly — sobretudo após a sua passagem pelos estúdios de Paço de Amos — entrou num processo de perda progressiva de consistência quando deixou de ser habitada pela motivação estética e pela pura paixão que, contrariando a sua aparente fragilidade, a distinguiram em pleno tumulto criativo de finais de 70 e inícios de 80.
Em Without Mercy, Circus And Bread e The Guitar & Other Machines — os capítulos, imediatamente posteriores a Amigos Em Portugal e ao ainda brilhante Another Setting —, a simbiose (invulgar nos domínios da pop) entre melodia, improvisação e estruturas rítmicas, resvalou de  uma forma um tanto comprometedora para o território menos auspicioso da gestão de ideias à medida que a energia criativa ia cedendo o lugar a um indisfarçável conformismo estético. A súbita promoção a lugar-tenente de Morrissey, pareceu, a dado passo, mais que uma segunda ocupação em «part-time» visando a liquidez da respectiva conta bancária, a antecipação do destino inevitável de um músico atolado na sua própria desmotivação.
Abordagem do «sampler, inconsequente do ponto de vista estético, The Durutti Column (álbum de 1989, assim mesmo intitulado, ao que se supõe, tendo em, vista a nova clientela adquirida ao lado do ex-Smith) trouxe como novidade os primeiros sinais de vontade de mudança de rumo e, porventura, novas esperanças de revitalização do projecto. Se bem que a consumação de algo esteticamente consistente tenha sofrido novo adiamento. Obey the Time (tomem o titulo à letra) vale pelo que neste momento se apresenta como prioridade fundamental: a confirmação do reacender da chama e a aterragem oficial de Vini Reilly nos anos 90.
Aquilo que se passa nesta nova colecção de exercício de progressão lenta delimitada por duas pequenas peças («Vino Della Casa Bianco» e «Víno Della Casa Rosso»), que se diriam ainda oriundas do primeiro trio de LP, irá — como todos os gestos de mudança — gerar alguma perplexidade no sector ortodoxo dos adeptos dos Durutti Column. Com efeito, a revitalização global do «guitar oriented muzak» de Vini Reilly (e, aqui e além, do velho cúmplice Bruce Mitchell) parece ter sido concebida mediante a incorporação de novos estímulos com a marca da última viragem da década, formando uma camada sobre a qual se repõem em cena velhos jogos contrapontísticos de guitarras (e de guitarra e piano) de progressiva insinuação melódica.
É um baixo invulgarmente poderoso de súbito promovido a pilar do edifício à luz das novas concepções do «house», às quais só terá  permanecido alheio quem muito satisfeito anda com aquilo que tem. É uma reformulação radical da componente rítmica, a denunciar uma estada recente na pista de dança (ele que, ainda há pouco, dizia sarcasticamente ao «New Musical Express»  que «a slow foxtrot» foi sempre o único elemento de dança inerente à sua música). É o inesperado recurso à técnica Jamaicana do «dub» (em «Spanish Reggae»), com a nova arrumação estrutural daí resultante. É, de uma forma global, a articulação de um novo conceito sonoro que passa pela assimilação da noção de «sound system» inventada pelos «disc-jockeys» jamaicanos e consagrada internacionalmente pela equipa Soul II Soul (também ela um ex-«sound system». É, em suma, um rigoroso teste de avaliação dos limites de uma velha devoção, até agora exemplar, e, para os outros, uma proposta de entrada nos anos 90 interessante como tantas outras sem passado histórico. 
Positivamente polémico. Obey the Time é o disco mais estimulante e vivo de Vini Reilly desde 1983.
Ricardo Saló / Expresso

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Donald Byrd ‎– The Best Of Donald Byrd (1992)

Style: Hard Bop, Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funkay
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label:   Blue Note

Tracklist:
01.   Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)
02.   You And Music
03.   Blackbyrd
04.   Think Twice
05.   Onward 'Til Morning
06.   Lanasana's Priestess
07.   Street Lady
08.   Flight Time
09.   Places And Spaces
10.   Wind Parade
11.   (Falling Like) Dominoes (Live)
12.   Steppin' Into Tomorrow

Credits:
Illustration – Hirschfeld
Liner Notes – Chris Philips

One of his last efforts with the Mizell production team was definitely not his most critically acclaimed, but Caricatures continued Byrd's commercial winning streak that started years previous with 1969's Kofi and such '70s Blue Note classics as Places and Spaces, Black Byrd, and Street Lady. His last release for the label was no exception to the formula set forth from the previously mentioned albums. One of Caricatures strongest features is the level of musicianship from start to finish. Byrd recruited some of the top '70s soul-jazz musicians, such as Gary Bartz, Alphonse Mouzon, David T Walker, and future '80s R&B hitmaker Patrice Rushen, to help complement the musicianship laid down by Byrd and the Mizell brothers. The atmosphere is light and soulful, with musicians bouncing off one another for ideas that shift closer towards R&B while maintaining a sense of jazz ideals. While there is no truly memorable anthemic release or hit to speak of, Caricatures serves its primary purpose of being a jazz fusion record to make both people dance and purists wince at the notion that jazz can fuse with other elements and achieve success. 
Rob Theakston / Blue Note

Friday, 22 June 2018

Kamasi Washington ‎– Heaven And Earth (2018)

Genre: Jazz
Format: 2CD, 3CD, Vinyl
Label: Young Turks Recordings

Tracklist:
Earth
1-1.   Fists Of Fury
1-2.   Can You Hear Him
1-3.   Hub-Tones
1-4.   Connections
1-5.   Tiffakonkae
1-6.   The Invincible Youth
1-7.   Testify
1-8.   One Of One
Heaven
2-1.   The Space Travelers Lullaby
2-2.   Vi Lua Vi Sol
2-3.   Street Fighter Mas
2-4.   Song For The Fallen
2-5.   Journey
2-6.   The Psalmnist
2-7.   Show Us The Eay
2-8.   Will You Sing

Kamasi Washington—a tenor saxophonist, bandleader, and composer with the profile of a low-level pop star—designed his second full-length album as a metaphysical dyad, unfolding over two halves that each run over an hour. Far and away the strongest musical statement of his career, it’s also an exercise in contrast, if not outright contradiction.
“The Earth side of this album represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am a part of,” Washington explained in advance press materials. “The Heaven side of this album represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me. Who I am and the choices I make lie somewhere in between.” (According to Discogs, a surprise third part, The Choice, comes as a CD tucked away in the album’s packaging; it wasn’t provided to reviewers, but it’s reported to contain five tracks—almost 40 minutes of additional music.)
This is a high-flown but still more intuitive concept than the one governing The Epic, Washington’s breakout 2015 debut, which sprawled over three hours and trafficked so heavily in heroic archetype that it should have a citation on Joseph Campbell’s Wikipedia page. Heaven and Earth proposes a play of external and internal realities—a bedrock of philosophical thought often framed as mind-body dualism. True to form, Washington presents this bifurcation more spiritually, as a pivoting balance of terrestrial and celestial concerns.
There’s a deadpan self-awareness to the framing of this theme, beginning with an album cover that depicts Washington like a Byzantine icon astride the Sea of Galilee. Musically, the idea coalesces best during the final track on Earth—an adrenalized piece of business called “One of One,” with a heraldic, hard-boppish horn line set against Afro-Latin polyrhythm and a blast of choral voices and orchestral strings. Its cyclical harmonic sequence creates a sensation of endless lift. That ascension brings us to the opening of Heaven, a sparkling interstellar overture called “The Space Travelers Lullaby.” Shifting strings and voices to the foreground, all billowy movement in a major key, it’s a cinematic theme whose rippling euphoria feels both magically ethereal and strenuously earned.
Washington wants it both ways, and that’s what he wants for you, too. As a listening experience, Heaven and Earth contains the most transcendent moments of his output thus far, as well as some of the gnarliest. His version of “Fists of Fury,” the Bruce Lee movie theme, falls into the latter camp, opening the whole affair à la Curtis Mayfield, in soul-warrior mode. The vocals on the track—by Patrice Quinn, a regular member of Washington’s entourage, and Dwight Trible, an emeritus alumnus of Horace Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra—gradually move further into an exhortative mode. “We will no longer ask for justice,” they each declare, one after the other, in an echoing cadence that evokes the People’s Microphone. “Instead, we will take our retribution.”
Washington has smartly sequenced the double album in a pair of dramatic arcs. And he marshals his musicians with no less careful calculation. The heavy-tread cohesion and cyclonic undertow on Heaven and Earth serve a reminder of how much time has passed since the West Coast Get Down, Washington’s Los Angeles cohort, laid the tracks that became The Epic—late in 2011. Since its blockbuster release in 2015, Washington and his band, the Next Step, have maintained a touring schedule of the sort that few jazz groups are ever able to sustain. Along the way, assorted members of the West Coast Get Down, like bassist-turned-vocalist Thundercat and keyboardist Cameron Graves, have branched out on their own, with varying degrees of success.
A handful of them stand out on Heaven and Earth. Terrace Martin makes his lone appearance count, delivering a molten, supplicatory alto saxophone solo on a bounding modal tune called “Tiffakonkae.” Brandon Coleman fashions a psychedelic synth solo on “Connections,” whose low simmer and melodic contour recall the Joe Zawinul / Miles Davis invention “In a Silent Way.” (He also does excellent vocoder work on “Vi Lua Vi Sol,” suggesting a system upgrade to Sunlight-era Herbie Hancock.) Trumpeter Dontae Winslow distinguishes himself on a handful of tracks, including a syncopated charge through Freddie Hubbard’s “Hub-Tones.”
Scan that rundown of tunes and it’s clear: Washington remains enamored of the jazz tradition even as he insists on reshaping it. The heart of the complaint against him in jazz circles is his limited range as an improviser. He has no real instinct for developing harmonic momentum in a solo, and he slips too often into pentatonic pattern-work, as if an algorithm were kicking in. On the other hand, Washington’s strengths have never been clearer. His sound is sinewy and centered, his rhythmic footing sure. And he’s a catharsis engine who also knows when to shrewdly dial it back. (Hear how he begins his solo on “Song for the Fallen,” as if delivering a confidence.) Anyway, assessing Washington by the same standard as Mark Turner or Chris Potter, or any number of other virtuoso tenors, would be something other than apples-to-apples, and missing the point. One of his core achievements on Heaven and Earth—even more than on The Epic—is to create a framework in which his ardent, expressionistic style can carry a standard into battle.
The album hits its full, glorious stride during its last several tracks. “The Psalmnist,” a taut, unassailable post-bop theme by trombonist Ryan Porter, sparks one of the sharpest Washington solos on the album, before a virtuoso battle royal between drummers Tony Austin and Ronald Bruner, Jr. The next tune, “Show Us the Way,” opens with a modal crush of piano chords that recalls “Change of the Guard,” from The Epic. It culminates, after a rafters-raising Washington solo, in a refrain by the choir: “Dear Lord,” they sing, invoking John Coltrane, “Show us the way.”
The power of that moment, which carries through the final track, “Will You Sing,” lies in a vibrational parallel to the black church, and all the momentous weight that comes with it. Washington is flagrant in aligning his music with a tradition of transcendent struggle. The feeling he’s chasing is the feeling of someone who’s been to the mountaintop and come back with an urgent story to tell.  
                                                                                                                                                                         Nate Chinen / Pitchfork

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Budos Band ‎– The Budos Band II (2007)


Style: Afrobeat, Funk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Daptone Records

Tracklist:
01.   Chicago Falcon
02.   Budos Rising
03.   Ride Or Die
04.   Mas O Menos
05.   Adeniji
06.   King Cobra
07.   My Girl
08.   Origin Of Man
09.   Scorpion
10.   Deep In The Sand

Credits:
Bass – Daniel Foder
Bongos, Congas – Rob Lombardo
Congas – John Carbonella Jr.
Cowbell, Claves, Tambourine – Dame Rodriguez
Drums – Brian Profilio
Flute – Daisy Sugerman
Guitar – Thomas Brenneck
Organ [Farfisa Electric] – Mike Deller
Saxophone [Baritone] – Jared Tankel
Saxophone [Tenor] – Cochemea Gastelum
Shekere, Tambourine – Vincent Balestrino
Trumpet – Andrew Greene, David Guy
Mastered By – Steve Berson
Mixed By – Gabriel Roth, Thomas Brenneck
Recorded By – Gabriel Roth
Executive Producer – Gabriel Roth, Neal Sugarman

The Budos Band's second album, much like their first one, is practically an archeological dig. They've broken down through all the strata of the post-punk/post-disco era to uncover the fertile soil of late 1960s and early 70s Afrofunk and soul-jazz, not to mention funky 70s blaxploitation soundtracks, 60s Now Sound LPs, Ethio-jazz and plain old superbad funk. The end result is something so hip it could kill you in large doses-in the right doses it just plain kills.
The Budos crew hails from Brooklyn, but their outlook is definitely global-- they somewhat restrictively term what they do "Afro-soul," which works well as a basic distillation of what they do and probably at least tells the right people to listen. It's strictly instrumental, but never showy, and they avoid protracted compositions-- there are no twenty-minute Fela-inspired burners on here, just a ton of memorable, concise tracks stuffed with compact solos and big themes played by a big horn section.
The band's rhythm section is truly fantastic. The bass is right in the pocket, the drums keep everything steady and driving, the judiciously employed hand percussion adds a gritty texture, and the guitar does everything from wah'd-out scratching to playing snaky, surfy leads. Checking over the songwriting credits, I was initially surprised to see Smokey Robinson's name in the credit for "His Girl", but listening closely, it is, in fact, based very loosely on "My Girl". It's so thoroughly altered that they could have gotten away with calling it an original, especially at this breakneck tempo, but either way, I'd be willing to bet Smokey never imagined his tune being blasted out by a smoking horn section over a chunky Afrobeat groove.
The band gets into Mulatu Astatke's Ethio-jazz territory on "Origin of Man", which cleverly references Mulatu's homeland of Ethiopia in its title. The dark, deliberate rhythm track is offset by a squealing organ and horns that have just a slight Latin tinge to them. There's not a bad track here, but my favorite might be "King Cobra", which opens with a cool, minor-key passage of film-noir guitar and busts into a crazed horror organ solo after the horns say their part. Opener "Chicago Falcon" has a wicked groove and excellent horn arrangement that pits legato passages against bursts of staccato. It's like the greatest library track DeWolfe never released in the 70s.
This is a supremely entertaining record, perfect for dancing, driving or just providing a soundtrack when you want to nod your head in time to something. The true secret to the Budos Band's success is that they keep it short and to the point. Only a few songs even make it past four minutes, and those are that long because they're able to sustain it. When your whole sound is based on the groove, keeping your listener wanting more is essential, and this does that. While it doesn't really represent a change from their first album, II is proof that the Budos Band's formula is good for a lot of mileage. I know I'll be listening a lot.                                                                              
Joe Tangari / Pictchfork

VA – Baku: Symphony Of Sirens (Sound Experiments In The Russian Avant Garde) (2008)

Style: Field Recording, Modern, Political, Avantgarde, Poetry, Soundtrack, Radioplay
Format: CD
Label:  ReR Megacorp ‎– ReR RAG 1&2

Reconstructions:
1-01.   Arseny Avraamov - Symphony Of Sirens
1-02.   Velimir Khlebnikov - The Radio Of The Future
1-03.   Ivan Ignatyev & Ego-Futurists Group - The First Spring Concert Of Universal Futurism
1.04.   Mikhail Matiushin & Kazimir Malevich & Alexei Kruchenykh - Introduction
1-05.   Mikhail Matiushin & Kazimir Malevich & Alexei Kruchenykh - Act 1: Bully's Song
1-06.   Mikhail Matiushin & Kazimir Malevich & Alexei Kruchenykh - Acte 2: Petite Bourgeoisie
1-07.   Mikhail Matiushin & Kazimir Malevich & Alexei Kruchenykh - Other Excerpts And Final Opera With "Military Song"
1-08.   Dziga Vertov - Laboratory Of Hearing (From The Rumor Of A Cascade)
1-09.   Dziga Vertov - Laboratory Of Hearing (From The Rumor Of A Sawmill)
1-10.   Arseny Avraamov - The March Of The Worker's Funeral
1-11.   Nikolai Foregger & His Orchestra Of Noises - Mechanical Dances
1-12.   Sergei Prokofiev & Georgi Yakoulov - Factory
1-13.   Dziga Vertov - Radio-Ear / Radio-Pravda
1-14.   Konstantin Melnikov - Sonata Of Sleep
1-15.   No Artist - Pause-Sleep...
1-16.   Igor Severyanin - Overture
1-17.   Igor Severyanin - Echo
1-18.   Vasilisk Gnedov - Poem 14
1-19.   Alexei Kruchenykh - Dyr Bul Shchyl
1-20.   Vladimir Kasyanov & The Futurist Circle - Drama In The Futurists' Cabaret
1-21.   David Burliuk - The Family Of Vowels, Laughingly
1-22.   Elena Guro - Finland
1-23.   El Lissitzky - About Two Squares - A Suprematist Story
1-24.   Olga Rozanova - [Spain]
1-25.   H₂SO₄ Group - Dada
1-26.   Simon Chikovani - Tsira
1-27.   Nothingists - Manifesto From Nothingism
1-28.   Nothingists - Decree About The Nothingists Of The Poetry
1-29.   Vasily Kandinsky - To See
1-30.   Kazimir Malevich - Poem
1-31.   Olga Rozanova - Poem Without Title
1-32.   Daniil Harms - Lapa/Paw
1-33.   Igor Terent'ev - Endless Toast In Honor Of Sofia Georgievna
1.34.   Mikhail Larionov - Ozz...
1.35.   Psycho-Futurists Group - Zatirlikali Lirlyuki
1-36.   Vasily Kamensky - Poem To The Letter 'K'
1-37.   Varvara Stepanova - Rtny Khmole
1-38.   Roman Jakobson - Mglybzhvuo
1.39.   Roman Jakobson - Distraction
1-40.   Vasilisk Gnedov - Poem Of The End

Original Recordings:
           Enthusiasm! The Dombass Symphony
2-01.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-02.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-03.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-04.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-05.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-06.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-07.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2.08.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2.09.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled
2-10.   Dziga Vertov - Untitled

2-11.   Alexander Mossolov - Zavod, Symphony Of Machines
2-12.   Julius Meytuss - Dneiprostroi, Dneiper Hydro-Electric Power Station
2-13.   No Artist - Pause
2-14.   Roman Jakobson Reads Velimir Khlebnikov - Incantation By Laughter
2-15.   Alexei Kruchenykh - Winter
2-16.   Vladimir Mayakovsky - Naval Romance
2-17.   Lili Brik Reads Vladimir Mayakovsky - From Street To Street
2-18.   David Burliuk - House-Painter
2-19.   Sergei Esenin - Confessions Of A Hooligan
2-20.   Vasily Kamensky - The Way I Live
2-21.   Semën Kirsanov Reads Velimir Khlebnikov - Not To Panel!
2-22.   Lenin - What Is Soviet Power
2-23.   Anatoli Lunacharki - On People's Education
2-24.   Alexandra Kollontay - To The Workers
2-25.   Leon Trotsky - 10th Anniversary Of The Left Opposition
2-26.   Boris Pasternak - Night
2-27.   Anna Akhmatova - To The Muse
2-28.   Osip Mandelstham - Gypsy Girl
2-29.   Ilya Ehrenburg Reads Marina Tsvetaeva - You Walk, Resemblin Me
2-30.   Naum Gabo & Noton Pevsner - The Realistic Manifesto
2-31.   Dmitri Shostakovich - Radio Message
2-32.   Dmitri Shostakovich - Radio Broadcast Of The Leningrad Symphony

tSubtitled: Sound Experiments In The Russian Avant Garde -- Original Documents And Reconstructions Of 72 Key Works Of Music, Poetry And Agitprop From The Russian Avant Garde 1908-1942. "These two CDs and 72 page clothbound book offer the most comprehensive presentation of the experiments and innovations in the exploration of sound by the historical Russian Avantgardes ever attempted. This publication is based around the sounds themselves. Though much was not documented at the time, and some has been lost, what remains is collected on the second CD, which centres around Dziga Vertov's prescient environmental sound composition for the 1930 film Enthusiasm..The Dombass Symphony -- and also collects together for the first time 22 original recordings of Mayakovsky, Mossolov, Jakobson, Khlebnikov, Lenin, Lunacharsky, Kollontay, Trotsky, Pasternak, Meytuss, Akhmatova, Mandelstahm, Naum Gabo, Shostakovich and others. But what makes this collection doubly valuable, and unique, are the contents of CD1, which consists of 40 painstaking reconstructions -- made by the Laboratorio de Creaciones Intermedia, Dept. of Sculpture at the faculty of Fine Arts in Valencia, Spain -- of documented sound-works that have subsequently been lost, above all the now legendary 'Symphony of Sirens' at Baku, by Arseny Avraamov. This massive open air composition, for two artillery batteries, several full infantry regiments, all the foghorns of the Caspian flotilla, several sea-planes, twenty-five steam locomotives, multiple choirs, arrays of pitched steam whistles and all the city's factory sirens can now, for the first time, be approached as a physical event through this careful and accurate spatialised audio reconstruction (using original contemporary source materials) as well as 39 other priceless lost works, including the legendary Victory over the Sun (mayak &c) and other works by Vertov, The Orchestra of Noises, Prokofiev, Mayakovsky, El Lissitsky, The Nothingists, Jandinsky, Malevich, Rozanova, Larionov, the Psycho Futurist Group, Kamensky, Jakobson, and others. The CDs give body to Miguel Molina Alarcon's comprehensive overview of the complexity and breadth of the many early C20 Russian avantgarde movements, and there are extensive detailed notes and contexts for all the individual recordings, as well as biographies of the artists, additional work-notes on the process of the Baku reconstruction, a bibliography, rare photographs, web research links, related artwork, facsimiles of contemporary documents, a comparative timeline of European and Russian Avantgarde movements, and the first English translation of an article by Avraamov about his events. Apart from a general appeal, this is a work particularly suitable for libraries, educational institutions and galleries."
Fonte / forcedexposure

Hieroglyphic Being, Sarathy Korwar, Shabaka Hutchings ‎– A.R.E Project (2017)

Style: Electronic, Experimental
Format: Vinyl
Label: Technicolour ‎– TCLR 023

Tracklist:
1.   The Doctrines Of Swedenborg
2.   Calling The Loas
3.   Dimensions Of Frequency & Vibrations
4.   Ashrams

Credits:
Jamal Moss AKA Hieroglyphic Being - Electronics
Shabaka Hutchings - Saxophone
Sarathy Korwar - Drums

Ok so anyone with their ear to the ground may be aware of this. Last year Chicago's alt demi-god Hieroglyphic Being joined forces with percussionist / producer Sarathy Korwar (who fused traditional folk music of the Sidi community in India with jazz and electronics on his debut album “Day To Day”) and Shabaka Hutchings (the highly respected British saxophonist and co-founder of Sons Of Kemet, Mercury-nominated The Comet Is Coming and Shabaka & The Ancestors). They recorded a 100% live improvised session at the iconic Lightship95 studio moored at Trinity Buoy Wharf, London. They recorded over 2.5 hours of music across 2 sessions, with 90 minutes streamed live via NTS. Here we get some choice selections from the session, handily split across four tracks (vexaciously I struggle with naming improv sessions, posthumously, after the session has 'died', but hey that's just me - ed). "The Doctrines Of Swedenborg" gallops in on gentle percussion while sine tones beam down from the outer galaxies amid a gust of solar winds and squalls of space dust. Hutchings' sax weaves a delicate but evocative passage through the melee, elevating the track even further out of our Earthly reach. Very heavenly, and thus achieving its allegiance with the cosmos. "Call The Loas" continues the theme, with Jovian elements mixed with the typical, jarred rhythms we associate with Hieroglyphic Being and further embellished with that epic freestyle sax work. "Dimensions Of Frequency & Vibrations" sees the trio plummet into cavernous, pitch-black realms, rotating percussion patterns grinding and whirring against abrasive, caustic elements until a winding, mystic lead line comes darting in straight from Hieroglyphic's Maths+++ catalogue. "Ashrams" concludes in suitably spiritual form, a tribal mantra that calls to the gods. Featuring tough tabla fighting hard drum machine usage while an aggressive, staccato sax line fires up a storm. Excellent stuff here from three unchampioned kings of the leftfield - voodoo tech-jazz for the freaks, gremlins and cyborgs.
Fonte / Piccadilly Records

Monday, 18 June 2018

Everything Is Recorded ‎– Everything Is Recorded (2017)

Style: Trip Hop, Beatdown
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: XL Recordings

Tracklist:
01 Intro
02 Close But Not Quite
03 She Said
04 Wet Looking Road
05 Mountains Of Gold
06 Show Love
07 Echoes In The Bone (Interlude)
08 Bloodshot Red Eyes
09 Cane
10 Purify (Interlude)
11 Be My Friend
12 Everything Is Recorded

Credits:
Drums, Percussion, Sampler – Richard Russell
Producer, Arranged By – Richard Russell
Engineer – John Foyle
Mastered By – Mandy Parnell
Mastered By [Assistant] – Hal Robinson
Mixed By, Programmed By – John Foyle, Richard Russell
Photography By – Ed Morris
Artwork – Maharishi Hardy Blechman

To best understand Richard Russell, watch him play “Please Forgive My Heart” in the studio with Bobby Womack. Outside of a few taps on his MPC, Russell’s almost not there, but as piano, bass, and drums move around the legendary soul survivor’s voice, his invisible touch provides the song’s underlying heartbeat. That unobtrusive quality helps explain how Russell has helmed XL Recordings into one of the lone record label success stories to be had in the 21st century, from signing a teenager named Adele to serving as the imprint that notoriously fussy artists such as Thom Yorke and Frank Ocean trust to press up their music.
While Russell put his own creative work on the backburner for decades, when he was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome in 2013, he decided to focus on making music again. That didn’t necessitate a move from the background towards the spotlight. For his latest project, Everything Is Recorded, Russell has surrounded himself with the XL Junior Varsity Team—meaning no Adele or Vampire Weekend, let alone Frank or Thom, but a few appearances from Sampha, Ibeyi, and Young Turks-signed Kamasi Washington. The bigger names that do appear on this album follow a similar attention-deflecting strategy to Russell’s, with the likes of Peter Gabriel and Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside near impossible to pinpoint without a credits list. The ultimate effect of all that ego sublimation is a somewhat scattered album with quietly stunning highs, if not much of a centering force.
Russell’s niftiest trick is take the premise that “everything is recorded” to heart, relying on his sampler to make voices from generations past duet with new artists in the present moment. But “Close but Not Quite” winds up being too on the nose. The song springs from a studio session where Russell paired Sampha with a snippet of Curtis Mayfield, finding a common ground not just in their heavenly, heart-breaking falsettos, but also their “gentle soul[s], in an era where a lot of soul artists were quite macho,” as Sampha put it in a New Yorker profile. The juxtaposition of string-laden early ’70s soul with 21st century machine rhythms is intriguing, but when both gentlemen address the theme of “speak[ing] the unspoken,” they end up undifferentiated, their messages redundant across the span of time.
Russell does better when he chops up a sample of Keith Hudson, whose haunting, brooding music in the ’70s and early ’80s earned him the nickname “The Dark Prince of Reggae,” for “Wet Looking Road.” The gloomy atmosphere and desolate vocal from Hudson provides an ink-black backdrop for British rapper Giggs. Similarly, when Russell utilizes the slink of Grace Jones’ “Nightclubbing” for “Mountains of Gold,” the sparseness of the track allows space for Sampha, Ibeyi, and Ratking’s Wiki all to operate effectively around Ms. Jones.
The surprise sax solo from Washington that closes “Mountains of Gold” feels like an afterthought, though, tacked on to the end of the song. The same goes for “She Said,” which pairs Washington with recent Rising subject Obongjayar. It’s a more nimble showing from Obongjayar than the abrasive song on Everything Is Recorded’s 2017 EP wherein Obongjayar shrieked over a distorted din from the Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis. Yet once again, Washington’s bold playing is reduced to a non-descript sax solo, made to grapple with a flatulent digital bassline from Russell.
The slower that Russell moves, the better for allowing the disparate components of Everything Is Recorded to settle into something exquisite, as on the gorgeous “Bloodshot Red Eyes,” an R&B ballad adrift in outer space. Quivering electric keys and a simple clap, plus a smattering of synthetic strings, are all that newcomer (and son of Ghostface) Infinite needs to send the track soaring. His voice transubstantiates heartbreak into something approaching the beatific.
The album’s other standout is “Be My Friend,” which also foregrounds Infinite, his voice layered this time so as to become a choir. Russell brings in a sample of Dallas preacher TD Jakes talking about the illusion of solitude: “It is possible to be alone and not live alone/It is possible to feel alone and not work alone.” It’s a poignant insight, but the same sample crops up multiple times across the album, so that by the time it lands here, it sounds like a rare miscue from Russell—a heavy-handed move from someone who’s trained us to expect a light touch.                                                           
 Andy Beta / Pitchfork

I'm Not A Gun ‎– Mirror (2008)

Style: IDM, Post Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:
Palette Recordings

Tracklist:
01.   Longing Mind
02.   Arcanum
03.   Ghost Has Gone
04.   Four Steps
05.   Turning Circle
06.   Looking Into
07.   The Dance
08.   Bright View, Windy Blue
09.   9th Day
10.   Lacuna

Credits:
Drums, Producer [Electronic Production] – John Tejada
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar [Classical Guitars] – Takeshi Nishimoto
Mastered By – Hive, John Tejada
Written-By – John Tejada, Takeshi Nishimoto
Artwork [Graphic Design] – David Grey

John Tejada and Takeshi Nishimoto have been recording and performing together as I'm Not A Gun since 2003. With a trio of excellent records released on Berlin's City Centre Offices imprint, the duo are treating things as more of a family affair for their fourth effort, Mirror, putting it out via Tejada's own Palette Recordings. Those unfamiliar with the project may be taken aback at first: The finely wrought melodic techno that Tejada has become so widely known for is nowhere to be found in the mix, the synths and sequencers left at home in favor of more organic instrumentation; centered on a core of guitar, bass and drums, Mirror showcases a collection of downtempo gems that reference everything from jazz to IDM to ambient.  
Tracks like "Looking Into" and "Four Steps" sputter into existence in a cloud of chopped and screwed guitar samples before blossoming into a languid weave of interlocking guitar lines and head-nodding rhythms, and others, like the gorgeous "Bright View, Windy Blue," get right to the point, underpinning dense clumps of guitar chords and sparkling drones with the sort of galloping beats that would seem right at home on a Mice Parade release.  
The album resembles a stripped-down revision of the revered Chicago post-rock ensemble Tortoise at times, while at others it veers towards the sort of electronically augmented instrumental pop trafficked in by Christopher Willits. But despite all of this unabashed eclecticism, Tejada and Nishimoto never fail to hit their mark, making Mirror conspicuously free of filler. Of course, Tejada's masterful production skills make the album worth a listen on their own merits. With every instrument crisply recorded and situated precisely in the mix—not to mention a judicious approach to the use of effects—Mirror is a real treat for the ears.  
Even though Mirror isn't really much of a departure from the duo's previous releases, it does find Tejada and Nishimoto refining their techniques and solidifying their signature sound. What's refreshing is that they aren't pushing themselves for the sake of the "new," instead opting to do what they already do so well: crafting lush instrumentals that are a welcome respite from the constant thump of the dance floor and a perfect soundtrack for the morning after.
Fonte / RA 

I'm Not A Gun ‎– Everything At Once (2003)

Style: Abstract, Future Jazz, Post Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: City Centre Offices

Tracklist:
01.   Jet Stream
02.   Frequent Syndrome
03.   These Thoughts Break
04.   Long Division
05.   Monovision
06.   Make Sense And Loose
07.   Search For Sleep
08.   Drunken Anecdotes
09.   Dazed In The Moment
10.   Vacant Sky
11.   Flash Bang Imagery

Credits:
Guitar, Bass – Takeshi Nishimoto
Guitar, Drums, Bass, Recorded By, Mixed By – John Tejada
Written-By, Producer – John Tejada, Takeshi Nishimoto
Mastered By – Loop-o
Photography By – Markus Knothe
Cover – Aesthetic Investments

O projecto I’m Not A Gun emana um tiro à queima-roupa que segue as pegadas dos discos anteriores da City Centre Offices (onde podemos encontrar, entre outros, Opiate e Denzel + Huhn) . “Everything at Once” é a eminente alvorada da dupla Tejada/Nishimoto que decidiu refugiar-se nos “relaxes” de fim de tarde para produzir um disco viajado: a Los Angeles de Tejada, a Fukuoka (Japão) de Nishimoto e a Berlim da City Centre Offices misturam-se num fértil cruzamento de referências.
Com dezenas de singles (mais de quarenta!) editados e formação clássica, John Tejada costuma estar associado ao techno californiano (como Dj, remixer, produtor, ou dono de pequenas editoras), à electrónica, à bateria e à guitarra. O japonês Takeshi Nishimoto é conhecido essencialmente como o guitarrista de excepção que é (o que já lhe valeu avultadas distinções) muito devido ao seu ar multifacetado que o faz trabalhar frequentemente na música clássica, jazz e electrónica. A colaboração entre os dois é por isso um importante e inovador desenvolvimento (no conteúdo e na forma) de ambos os músicos numa área em que não costumam trabalhar frequentemente. Tejada ficou encarregue das programações, bateria e guitarra, enquanto que Nishimoto ficou com o baixo e (também) com a guitarra. 
“Everything at Once” é para muitos o eco desenvolvido do som que já ficou conhecido como o de Chicago, mas a verdade é que se estende e transforma muito para além desse estereótipo. E podia ser apenas jazzrock com pitadas de folk music, mas não, é mais do que isso. É um disco orgânico em terra electrónica. É a experimentação dos instrumentais descontraídos com recurso aos instrumentos rock clássicos (e por isso mesmo, cada vez menos utilizados) e uma abertura de mente em relação a uma música ambiental simultaneamente livre e autónoma. Mas também pode ser menos do que isto. Pode chegar a ser enfadonho e a conter uma monotonia sonolenta. Chegar a pedir mais e a ficar-se pelo mesmo. Mas não, também não será bem assim. “Everything At Once” é, afinal, um conjunto de temas onde se distinguem o inicial “Jet Stream”, o jazz-indie-folk “Search For Sleep” ou “Long Division“ mas onde poderia ficar de fora, por exemplo, “Make Sense and Loop”. Não que este seja um mau tema, mas a sua saída asseguraria uma continuidade e conformidade maior ao álbum, que o beneficiaria em muito. Este não é um daqueles discos que o tempo se encarregará de apontar como uma marca, mas não deixa de ser interessante assistir a um certo bel-prazer da dupla Tejada/Nishimoto ao fazer música assim. 
A arquitectura rítmica e o consequente jogo guitarra/bateria/baixo são explorados de forma eficaz, e muitas vezes com enorme sentido de correspondência. Vagueando por deliciosas improvisações instrumentais e texturas sonoras de primeira água, este disco deixa claro que o jazzrock, ou também aquilo que se convencionou chamar indietronica, consegue continuar a mostrar novas perspectivas deixando de lado algumas “utopias” recentes sobre tudo o que gira em torno de Chicago.                                        
Tiago Gonçalves / bodyspace

Sunday, 17 June 2018

I'm Not A Gun ‎– We Think As Instruments (2006)

Style: Downtempo, IDM, Post Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: City Centre Offices ‎– Towerblock CD 033

Tracklist:
01.   Soft Rain In The Spring
02.   Ripples In The Water
03.   Move
04.   Long Afternoon
05.   A Letter From The Past
06.   Rush Hour Traffic
07.   Unseen Moment
08.   Blue Garden
09.   As Far As Forever Goes
10.   Continuous Sky

Credits:
Bass, Sarod, Written-By – Takeshi Nishimoto
Drums, Bass, Written-By, Producer, Mixed By – John Tejada
Guitar – John Tejada (tracks: 4, 9, 10), Takeshi Nishimoto
Mastered By – Lupo
Design – Artificial Duck Flavour
Photography By – Mark Oxley

Following the release of 'Our Lives On Wednesdays' it was hard to see where the ever prolific John Tejada and Takeshi Nishimoto could take their I'm Not A Gun Project... Yet rather than being precipitated by a lack of ideas, the potential stale-mate arose through their combined talents having given birth to an almost perfect album. We assure you; hyperbole doesn't even come into this. So what have they gone and done with 'We Think As Instruments'? Played a f*cking blinder, that's what. Adopting an approach which sees Tejada's white-hot programming skills coming more to the fore, 'We Think As Instruments' allows a fluid exchange between a spectrum of electronics and traditional instrumentation that is both utterly exhilarating and intuitively reciprocal. Opening with 'Soft Rain In Spring', Tejada and Nishimoto cast a web of digital filament which revels in its own fragility, before a exhalation of humid bass, chiming guitars and live drumming coalesce into a svelte piece of music that has real force despite its semi-skimmed constituents. Downing some high-protein aural fodder, 'Ripple In The Water' emerges from some gorgeous piano and fizzing electronics to deliver a striking sermon on the power of instrumental music, with staccato rhythms whipping a frenzied peak from a muted palate (think Mogwai but forced to ditch their scarred-sky operatics). Elsewhere, 'Blue Garden' displays Nishimoto's sublime finger-skills through a beautiful swirl of creamy instrumentation, 'Continuous Sky' refracts what sounds like distant vocals through a faraday's cage of buzzing static and broiling drums, whilst 'Rush Hour Traffic' is the sound of a hard-drive caught in a summer cloud burst. Shotgun!
Boomkat review 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Lucrecia Dalt ‎– Anticlines (2018)

Style: Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Rvng Intl.

Tracklist:
01.   Edge
02.   Altra
03.   Tar
04.   Atmospheres Touch
05.   Errors Of Skin
06.   Analogue Mountains
07.   Axis Excess
08.   Indifferent Universe
09.   Concentric Nothings
10.   Hello Tanz
11.   Glass Brain
12.   Liminalidad
13.   Eclipsed Subject
14.   Antiform

Over the past decade, the albums of Colombian musician Lucrecia Dalt have moved steadily away from playfully experimental indie pop into increasingly deeper levels of abstraction. There was a marked shift between 2009’s tuneful Congost—released under a previous alias, the Sound of Lucrecia—and 2012’s murkier Commotus, whose abiding sense of mystery recalled Argentina’s Juana Molina. By 2013’s more electronic Syzygy, her songwriting began to feel like it was tracing the shape of overgrown ruins; melodies jutted to the surface only to be subsumed again in drifting synths and thickets of reverb. 
On Anticlines, her sixth album, the former geotechnical engineer’s metamorphosis is complete. Anticlines takes the scraped drones and ethereal tone clusters of 2015’s Ou and distills them into cryptic miniatures reminiscent of the spectral frequencies summoned decades ago by Daphne Oram, of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The palette is suggestive of rubbed wineglass rims, faraway theremins, fields of crickets; it is punctuated by small, dissonant explosions of what might be guitar or a plaintive pump organ. Silence yawns: “Concentric Nothings” is fashioned out of what sounds like a quarter spinning to rest on the floor of a vast, empty chamber, while “Axis Excess” isolates a sound that could be stalactites dripping. The beats, when they occur, are slow, metallic pulses loosely rooted in coldwave and industrial music, though that link feels more like an accidental byproduct of her electronic tools than anything she might have intended. Nothing about Anticlines could be construed as a genre exercise. Quite the opposite: The album’s aesthetic is so singular that it feels like something she has dreamed into being. 
Anticlines would be fascinating enough had she left it at that: an exploration of strange, mercurial ambient music with a mind of its own. But what makes this a truly special record is its vocal dimension. A world away from her singing style on previous albums, Dalt’s performance here combines captivating spoken-word passages with subtle vocal processing that sounds like the product of a chromed larynx. Just six of the album’s 14 tracks foreground vocals, but they comprise the record’s emotional and conceptual core. Her lyrics draw upon the language of geoscience and quantum physics—“Glass Brain” nods to the Boltzmann brain paradox, the theory that the universe might be a self-aware system—to unpack metaphysical questions about the nature of being. Those queries double as ruminations on the poetics of boundaries and the limits of communication itself. “Could it be found in errors of skin/Could it be found in gardens of dust,” she asks in “Errors of Skin,” seeking the secret of existence in a concatenation of things (“masses of big,” “leanings of self,” “multiples of stupor”) whose curious grammar suggests the divine hand of an artificial intelligence. 
On the opening “Edge,” she speaks from the perspective of el Boraro, a mythological beast said to suck out his victims’ insides and then, blowing through a hole he has pierced in the tops of their skulls, fill them full of air and send them on their way. There’s so much going on here that it’s almost dizzying. There’s the clinical nature of her musing, which is something like the opposite of body horror (“What does the body want except to pass blood through tiny vessels and keep the whole shape intact?”). There’s the unmistakably erotic tenor of the way she enters her interlocutor, pressing against “the inside of your navel, the slippery side of your throat.” And then there’s the sound of her voice itself: a strange, zig-zagging sing-song at once reassuring and unsettling. 
There are hints of Laurie Anderson’s incantatory style in her measured tone, but Dalt’s diction is unique. Rushing and slowing unexpectedly, her voice moves like eddying floodwaters seeking a vacuum to fill. In the background, hard-panned clusters of tones sound more like pools of light than notes; a high whine could be air escaping from a leak. The album’s title refers to a kind of geological formation, but Anticlines has more in keeping with the properties of matter as it shifts from liquid to gas and back: It’s an album full of interstitial forms that flicker in between fixed states, and its magic lies in that liminal no-man’s-land.
Philip Sherburne / Pitchfork 

Monday, 11 June 2018

Dustin O'Halloran • Hauschka • Jóhann Jóhannsson ‎– Transcendentalism EP (2012)


Style: Modern Classical, Minimal
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: 130701 ‎– LP13-19Tracklist:

New Works
1.   An Ending A Beginning
2.   Spark
3.   Glíma
Live Recordings
4.   Opus 28
5.   The Great Escape
6.   The Cause Of Labour Is The Hope Of The World

Notes:
Limited, tour-only, hand-numbered 12" EP. 300 copies. 

4 : performed live at Oktaven Audio (New York, September 18th 2009) 
5 : performed live at The Great Escape / Brighton Festival '130701 Records Showcase' (Brighton, UK, May 12th 2011) 
6 : performed live on KCRW's 'Morning Becomes Eclectic ' (Santa Monica, CA, February 7th 2012)

The Transcendentalism EP was a hand-signed and numbered white-label 12″ sold only on ‘Transcendentalists’ tour dates. It accompanied a triple-headline European tour as a showcase and celebration of FatCat’s ‘post-classical’ imprint. Featuring brand new, exclusive works from all three artists, backed with specially-selected live recordings of special versions and new arrangements of existing pieces, Transcendentalism represents a musical snapshot of Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka and Jóhann Jóhannsson as the tour approaches: Hauschka performs with touring partner Samuli Kosminen (aka múm’s masterful, Finnish-Icelandic percussionist), O’Halloran and Jóhannsson both realign previously-recorded material to string quartet arrangements in keeping with their respective live sets for the tour.
O’Halloran donates ‘An Ending, A Beginning’ and a stunning new version of his 2006 piece ‘Opus 28’ (originally found on his second Piano Solos LP) featuring New York’s ACME String Quartet. Hauschka’s contributions – a skipping and melodious new composition entitled ‘Spark’ and an improvised live piece taken from 2011’s Brighton Festival 130701 showcase – demonstrate the breadth and colour with which he collaborates with guest percussionists. Jóhann Jóhannsson is represented by a recent re-write of film-score piece ‘Glíma’ (taken from 2007’s Icelandic feature Bræðrabylta) and a jaw-dropping, KCRW-recorded live interpretation of a second soundtrack composition that sees LA’s Formalist String Quartet perform parts originally written for brass, with breathtaking results. 
On record, each artist here occupies their own unique outcrop of the broad-reaching ‘post-classical’ field. Where O’Halloran’s hauntingly evocative string arrangements and solo piano pieces gently, quietly break hearts, Hauschka experiments playfully and exploratively with timbre and rhythm, allowing extra-textual clicks and tics into his sonic journeys through organic / electronic modernist piano. Jóhann Jóhannsson, contrastingly, offers a study of stillness and richness of texture – soft electronics and restrained, harmonic use of large-scale ensembles subtly permeate and underpin his own sonic collages. 
Though having debuted the combination of all three artists at a packed, bar-setting performance in Reykjavik’s oldest wooden church Frikirkjan for 2011’s Iceland Airwaves festival, the Transcendentalists tour and EP will mark the first time Dustin O’Halloran, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Hauschka have hit the road and released together. A set of artists connected not only by complementary approaches to composition and performance (or even by sharing a label), but also by the philosophical ideals found in Transcendentalism: a sense of self-reliance in their respective dual roles as composer and performer, and a rejection of the rigidity of convention and institution, leaving purity, individualism, intuition, invention and community. 
Released on 21st May, 2012,  it was to be 130701’s last new release for 3 years…
Fonte / 130701