Friday, 19 April 2019

DIIV ‎– Is The Is Are (2016)

Style: Lo-Fi, Shoegaze, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Captured Tracks, Casa del Puente Discos

Tracklist:
01.   Out Of Mind
02.   Under The Sun
03.   Bent (Roi's Song)
04.   Dopamine
05.   Blue Boredom (Sky's Song)
06.   Valentine
07.   Yr Not Far
08.   Take Your Time
09.   Is The Is Are
10.   Mire (Grant's Song)
11.   Incarnate Devil
12.   (Fuck)
13.   Healthy Moon
14.   Loose Ends
15.   (Napa)
16.   Dust
17.   Waste Of Breath

Credits:
Bass – Devin Ruben Perez
Drums – Ben Wolf, Colby Hewitt, Colin Caulfield, ZCS
Songwriter, Producer, Performer – Zachary Cole Smith
Arranged By  – Colin Caulfield
DIIV Is – Andrew Bailey, Ben Wolf, Colby Hewitt, Colin Caulfield, Devin Ruben Perez, ZCS

Tosca ‎– Opera (1997)

Style: Dub, Downtempo
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: G-Stone Recordings, Chrysalis, Studio !K7

Tracklist:
01.   Fuck Dub Part 1+2
02.   Amalienbad
03.   Worksong
04.   Gimmi Gimmi
05.   Ladies+Gentlemen
06.   Chocolate Elvis
07.   Ambient Emely
08.   Postgirl
09.   Listen My Friend
10.   Buona Sarah

Credits: Producer, Written-By – Richard Dorfmeister, Rupert Huber

Prins Thomas ‎– Ambitions (2019)

Style: House, Downtempo, Nu-Disco
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Smalltown Supersound

Tracklist:
1.   Foreplay
2.   XSB
3.   Feel The Love
4.   Ambitions
5.   Fra Miami Til Chicago
6.   Urmannen
7.   Sakral

Credits:
Keyboards – Bugge Wesseltoft
Mastered By – Michelle Grinser
Written By, Performer, Producer – Prins Thomas

At some point over the course of five solo albums, Prins Thomas’ space-disco sound slipped into autopilot. His perky beats and basslines were pure ear candy, but on his recent solo albums—2016’s Principe del Norte, 2017’s Prins Thomas 5—the really interesting stuff happened when he powered down his drum machines and let his tracks spiral out into synth-soaked minimalism. On Ambitions, the Norwegian producer born Thomas Moen Hermansen ducks back inside his groove-fueled wheelhouse, but this time he seems to be reveling in it. 
Some of that freshness may stem from the fact that Ambitions’ tracks weren’t originally intended as pieces of an album; they’re based on stray ideas sketched out on his laptop, or even hummed directly into a handheld recorder, while traveling and gigging around the world, and then fleshed out in Hermansen’s’ studio in Asker, an Oslo suburb. That shotgun genesis might help account for the range of the album, which takes in woozy soul, polyrhythmic drum studies, slow-motion dream techno, and even a couple of songs that might be mistaken for Moon Safari outtakes. 
The mood is cohesive throughout, but Prins Thomas never sounds like he’s repeating himself. Each song is a unique piece of the puzzle. If there’s a unifying theme, it’s warmth: sunny, wistful, as suggestive of spring. The chirping birds of opener “Foreplay” make way for the laid-back disco of “XSB,” which is whipped as frothy as a sugary meringue. Toward the end, melancholy strings rise in the mix, triggering memories of Massive Attack.

For fans of Prins Thomas at his headiest, two long songs at the center of the album should do the trick: The dazzlingly polyrhythmic “Ambitions” morphs, over 12 minutes, from 6/8 drum circle to a four-to-the-floor funk stomp. (In a note accompanying the album, along with shout-outs to Haruomi Hosono, Daniel Lanois, Shinichi Atobe, and Ricardo Villalobos, Hermansen thanks the late Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, and Liebezeit’s example rings loud and clear.) Where “Ambitions” is knotty, “Fra Miami til Chicago,” is smooth and pleasingly predictable, teasing out a chiming guitar melody over a clean 4/4 beat and rosy bass synth; it’s the closest the album comes to the blissful soundscaping of his last album, and it’s enough to make you wish he’d dedicate an entire album to this style. 
But the album’s penultimate and most far-reaching song, “Urmannen,” offers the best of both worlds: It’s a progged-out disco bubbler with all the nuance of Talk Talk in their blacked-out studio, delicate tendrils of sound disappearing into the loamy darkness. It’s the rare occasion that Hermansen’s ambient interests align so neatly with his disco instincts—a small step, perhaps, toward a new era in his exploration. 
Philip Sherburne / Pitchfork

Mongo Santamaria ‎– Afro Roots (1989)

Style: Afro-Cuban
Format: CD
Label: Prestige

Tracklist:
01.   Afro Blue
02.   Che-Que-Re-Que-Che-Que
03.   Rezo
04.   Ayenye
05.   Onyae
06.   Bata
07.   Meta Rumba
08.   Chano Pozo
09.   Los Conguitos
10.   Monte Adentro
11.   Imaribayo
12.   Mazacote
13.   Yeye
14.   Congobel
15.   Macunsere
16.   Timbales Y Bongo
17.   Yambu
18.   Bricamo
19.   Longoito
20.   Conga Pa Gozar
21.   Columbia

A CD reissue of a mid-'70s repackaging of Mongo Santamaria's first two Fantasy albums, 1958's Yambu and 1959's Mongo, Afro-Roots is superb Latin jazz. Although these were Santamaria's first albums as a leader, the conga player had already worked with Pérez Prado, Tito Puente, and Cal Tjader, giving him absolutely impeccable Latin jazz credentials to go along with his obviously amazing chops. Considering that these albums were recorded for a general jazz audience and the tight, concise arrangements don't allow Santamaria room to stretch out as he did in concert (most of the songs are in the two- to three-minute range), Afro-Roots is still an impressively genuine album; although the '50s were the age of Martin Denny-style exotica kitsch, most of these tracks are extremely traditional Cuban music. Some, like "Bata" and "Timbales y Bongo," are simply hypnotic solos on the titular instruments, while others are traditional Afro-Cuban folk songs and chants. The delightful original "Afro Blue," which quickly became a Latin jazz standard, almost sounds out of place in this setting. 
Stewart Mason / AllMusic