Friday, 2 November 2018

Pere Ubu ‎– Cloudland (Remastered & Expanded) (1989)

Style: Art Rock, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Fontana, PolyGram

01.   Breath
02.   Race The Sun
03.   Cry
04.   Why Go It Alone?
05.   Waiting For Mary
06.   Ice Cream Truck
07.   Bus Called Happiness
08.   Monday Night
09.   Love Love Love
10.   Lost Nation Road
11.   Fire
12.   Nevada!
13.   The Wire
14.   Flat
15.   The Waltz
16.   Pushin'
17.   Breath (Alt Mix)
18.   Wine Dark Sparks
19.   Bang The Drum
20.   Bus Called Happiness (Live)
21.   Love Love Love (Cajun House Mix)

Bass, Vocals – Tony Maimone
Drums – Chris Cutler, Scott Krauss
Guitar, Vocals – Jim Jones
Keyboards – Stephen Hague
Synthesizer, Vocals – Allen Ravenstine
Vocals – David Thomas

In a press handout that accompanied the original release of Pere Ubu's Cloudland, David Thomas quipped "We'd never been asked to write a pop record before. I guess it never occurred to anyone." Given the sonic Dadaism of much of Pere Ubu's work, what's most startling is not that it took so long for someone to suggest they make a pop record but that they were able to comply so successfully. Stephen Hague, who had previously worked with the Pet Shop Boys, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and New Order, produced these sessions, and Cloudland boasts a glossy surface that was unprecedented for Pere Ubu's work; the drums sounded crisp and tight, the songs included traditional melodies and melodic keyboard lines, Allen Ravenstine's noisy punctuations were pushed to the back of the mix, and the harmonies sounded as if they were performed by actual professionals. However, beneath the hipster friendly production, Cloudland remained a Pere Ubu record -- David Thomas' yelping vocal style was as unrestrained as ever, and while the tunes here lack the sharp angles of Pere Ubu's first era, the lateral sway of the melodies is still cheerfully off kilter. Lyrically, Cloudland finds Ubu moving cautiously from their passionate defense of the Midwest's industrial wastelands to a look at the broad plains that lurked elsewhere, as if they were looking for sunnier climes like many other denizens of the Rust Belt and finding many strange, troubling and wonderful things in their new surroundings. Ultimately, Cloudland showed that however much you dressed up Pere Ubu's music, their heart and soul would show through, and that is a very good thing. [In 2007, Mercury Records reissued Cloudland in a new remastered edition created with the input of the band. The new disc includes two non-LP B-sides, "Wine Dark Sparks" and "Bang the Drum," as well as a live BBC recording of "Bus Called Happiness" and alternate mixes of "Breath" and "Love Love Love." David Stubbs' liner notes describe the circumstances behind the making of the album as well as Thomas' lyrical themes on this material.]
Mark Deming / AllMusic

Children Of Zeus ‎– Travel Light (2018)

Style: Soul, Contemporary R&B
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label:  First Word Records

01.   The Story So Far...
02.   All On You
03.   360º
04.   Slow Down
05.   Hoodman2Manhood
06.   Kintsugi
07.   The Heart Beat
08.   Fear Of A Flat Planet
09.   Hard Work
10.   Sling Shot Riddim
11.   Respect Mine
12.   Daddy's Car
13.   Vibrations (Divine Signature)

The journey of the Manchester duo has been an arduous one. Throughout their individual careers, Konny Kon and Tyler Daley have been plagued by setbacks, heartbreak, and glimmers of hope. Rather than hiding the cracks that have unwillingly formed, Children of Zeus show their scars as evidence of what they have been through, and where they are destined to be. 
Travel Light is an ode to the soul food sounds that Kon and Daley grew up listening to from a young age. Drenched in low-slung, summer-ready rhythms, their impressive debut draws heavily from the classic hip hop sound of the mid-nineties, but with an edge that could only be sharpened by decades of refinement. 
Opening with the defiant “Story So Far”, the pair use the introduction as a chance to face their demons and start afresh. The past may lay heavy on their minds, but Travel Light is filled with humour, honesty, and self-realisation – with Kon himself admitting: 
“Tyler hasn’t checked his emails in six weeks/but without T there’s no females just tramps in big jeans” 
Without this contrast between Daley’s unparalleled vocals and Kon’s fractured bravado, Children Of Zeus would never work. This sense of loyalty is a common theme throughout Travel Light. Not only are they loyal to each other, but they remain loyal to the music they love, and the people they believe in – shining the light on fellow Mancunians [ K S R ] and LayFullStop, as well as the undeniable talents of DRS and Terri Walker. 
In terms of hip hop, Travel Light doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it has definitely made the ride a whole lot smoother.
Simon Edwards / The Line Of Best Fit