Monday, 13 May 2019

Minoru Muraoka ‎– Bamboo (1970)

Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: United Artists Records

Tracklist:
1.   Take Five
2.   Nogamigawa Funauta
3.   The Positive And The Negative
4.   And I Love Her
5.   The House Of The Rising Sun
6.   Do You Know The Way To San Jose
7.   Soul Bamboo
8.   Call Me
9.   Scarborouge Fair

Credits:
Arranged By – 山木幸三郎, 池田孝
Shakuhachi – 村岡実
Bass – 鈴木淳
Biwa – 平山万佐子
Koto – 山内喜美子
Percussion – 堅田啓光
Percussion [鼓] – 堅田喜三久
Performer [演奏] – ニュー・ディメンション・グループ, ザ・ニュー・エモーションズ

Depois disto, é bom que qualquer pessoa pense muito bem, antes de dizer que ouviu um disco que o surpreendeu. Ainda que em 'theremin' e 'jews harp' pudesse soar mais estranho, ninguém deverá ficar desiludido quando ouvir "Take Five" em flauta de bambu e harpa. Sobretudo porque essa é, apenas, a porta de entrada para o mundo deste virtuoso japonês, ocupado que estava em trazer até si a música 'radio-friendly' de 1970. Qualquer coisa que, na altura, o melómano-no-seu-perfeito-juízo teria ignorado pelo que os originais já lhe davam que fazer -o mesmo que tropeçar na música do "White Album", por Ramsey Lewis, numa adaptação que só hoje adquire sentido. Outro tanto sucede com esta simbiose perfeita de instrumentos da tradição nipónica e célebres 'peças de artilharia' ocidentais (órgão Hammond, sintetizadores e percussão), de cujas manobras sobressaem formas inovadoras de expressão e, sobretudo, um sentido do groove de tal modo apurado que chega a sugerir um disco de hip-hop-jazz nascido antes daqueles que lhe deram expressão. Inventivo e brilhante.  
                                                                Ricardo Saló / Em Busca Do Acorde Perdido

Hiroshi Yoshimura ‎– Music For Nine Post Cards (1982)

Style: Experimental, Minimal, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl, Digital
Label: Sound Process

Tracklist:
A1.   Water Copy
A2.   Clouds
A3.   Blink
A4.   Dance PM
B1.   Ice Copy
B2.   Soto Wa Ame
B3.   View From My Window
B4.   Urban Snow
B5.   Dream

Credits:
Electric Organ – Hiroshi Yoshimura
Engineer – Michinori Yamazaki
Producer – Satoshi Ashikawa

Sometime in the middle of composing the songs that would become 1982’s Music for Nine Postcards, the late Japanese ambient pioneer Hiroshi Yoshimura visited the then-new Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in the Shinagawa ward of Tokyo. He was taken with its pristine architecture, with its view of the trees in its courtyard from the interior. Yoshimura imagined his nascent work in relationship to that space, and inquired about having the finished piece played there; the museum agreed. The titular nine postcards, nodding back to that view from the Hara Museum, refer to a series of window views. In the songs’ titles, and in the few translated texts surrounding the release, he links them to broadly-drawn images of the natural world: clouds, rain, a tree’s shade. 
Ambient music is often linked to a kind of psychic interiority, but Yoshimura—who overlapped with the post-Fluxus contemporary art scene of 1960s and 1970s Tokyo—made music responding to and designed to exist in physical places: for train stations, runway shows, and so on. In 1982, a version of Music for Nine Postcards was the first release in Satoshi Ashikawa’s Wave Notation series; Ashikawa and Yoshimura defined and advocated for what they termed “environmental music,” “music which by overlapping and shifting changes the character and the meaning of space, things, and people,” wrote Ashikawa. “Music,” he argues, “is not only meant to be something which exists alone.” Influenced by figures like Erik Satie and Brian Eno, this developing sound also progressed with a specificity and gentle sense of intent, responding to urban sonic overload (and, perhaps, to developing ideas about media: an awareness that culture doesn’t just reflect reality, but actively produces it). 
Music for Nine Postcards, then, is an intervention conducted through near-stillness. Composed with a minimal setup including a Fender Rhodes piano, the songs collected here are built around simple melodies that Yoshimura modulates in small, affecting ways. In a 1999 text reprinted in this reissue’s liner notes, he likens his process to planting a “seed” as a means of seeking “a prime number.” There’s little texture in them beyond the keyboard’s warm finish: a phrase will move alongside a complementary droning tone, and perhaps a harmony will wander in, but Yoshimura’s pieces rarely build. Despite this lack of sonic density, however, they have a disarming presence, cutting sweetly into the listener’s reality. 
The effect is multidimensional: melancholy, wistful, invigorating, consoling. In a sense, though these sounds are conversational in their way, Yoshimura leaves quite a bit of room for the listener’s mood and memories. The record’s effects are, like the nature iconography he invokes, delivered with broad, almost neutral strokes. But space—even, or especially, the crowded and overwhelming urban kind—is necessarily emotional. It is loaded with memory, or whatever abstract something floats in the air when humans have been feeling their way through a place—and he taps into this characteristic of our every-day beautifully. Yoshimura’s practice shines light onto corners of feeling that might otherwise go unnoticed. 
Yoshimura and Ashikawa’s ideas about sound and space remain relevant, especially as public space becomes ever-more fraught with anxiety and the infrastructural and social fractures that result from austerity. The mediations proposed on this album are intimate in scale but effective and timeless, unadorned such that they maintain a universality. Yoshimura’s output extends far beyond what’s captured on this release, and a resurgence of interest—and the promise of further reissues—hopefully means more documentation around his work will be available in English. But these Postcards alone have a solidity, the kind of sounds you want to carry throughout your life.
Thea Ballard / Pitchfork

Midori Takada ‎– Through The Looking Glass (1983)

Style: Minimal, Contemporary, Experimental, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: RCA Red Seal

Tracklist:
A1.   Mr. Henri Rousseau's Dream
A2.   Crossing
B1.   Trompe-LŒil
B2.   Catastrophe Σ

Credits:
Composed By, Performer, Producer – Midori Takada
Cowbell, Marimba, Harmonium – Midori Takada
Directed By – Masahiko AraoSugimoto
Engineer, Mixed By – Masaki Ohno
Executive-Producer – Masamitsu Kurokawa
Marimba, Gong, Cowbell, Recorder, Bells, Ocarina, Tam-tam – Midori Takada
Other (Cola Bottle), Harmonium, Bells – Midori Takada
Tom Tom, Bongos, Cowbell, Cymbal, Vibraphone, Harmonium, Piano – Midori Takada

The Japanese composer Midori Takada's newly reissued album is an assimilation of musical modes from around the world. It belongs in the pantheon alongside Steve Reich's most notable works. 
In a perfect world, Japanese composer Midori Takada and her works for percussion would be as revered and renowned as that of Steve Reich. Much like that world-renowned American composer, Takada drew influence from a study of African drumming and Asian music, and surmised how these sensibilities dovetailed with that of minimalism, serving as means to break with the Western classical tradition (she originally was a percussionist in the Berlin RIAS Symphonie Orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonic). But with only a handful of works to her name and all of it long out of print—be it with her groundbreaking percussion trio Mkwaju Ensemble, the group Ton-Klami or the three solo albums she released across nearly two decades—her music has been impossible to hear since the early 1990s. 
Only last year did two pieces from Takada’s Mkwaju Ensemble appear on last year’s crucial More Better Days compilation, revealing Takada’s singular approach to spartan yet euphoric percussion pieces. Touching on gamelan, kodo, and American minimalism (Takada founded the trio in part to perform the works of Reich, Terry Riley, and other 20th-century percussion pieces), each one built carefully to sublime effect. When Visible Cloaks’ member Spencer Doran released his influential mixes of Japanese music, selections from both Mkwaju and Takada’s solo percussion pieces appeared at crucial junctures. 
The rarest of all of Takada’s works though was her 1983 solo effort, Through the Looking Glass, never released on CD and fetching ludicrous sums online for an original vinyl copy. Unable to financially sustain Mkwaju, Takada disbanded the ensemble and entered the studio by herself to realize this music. Over the course of two days, she put to analog tape all four of the extended performances here as well as laying down the overdubs, producing and mixing (with help from an engineer) the album on her own. An astonishing feat in and of itself, Looking Glass is one of the most dazzling works of minimalism, be it from the East or West.

“Mr. Henri Rousseau's Dream” is an assured opening, one that moves at its own slow, hushed pace. Takada astutely layers marimba, gongs, rattles and other ambient bits of chimes, recorder, tam-tam and mimics bird calls with an ocarina. In its understated pulsing of marimba, it brings to mind Gavin Bryars’ work from the same era, most notably Hommages on the Les Disques Du Crépuscule imprint. There appears to be little in the way of linear development as Takada instead crafts and sustains an entire landscape of these small sounds, letting them all levitate in mid-air for twelve heavenly minutes. 
With “Crossing,” a bit of momentum builds up from a single struck cowbell. Takada goes back over the original clonk and starts to layer interweaving lines on marimba, each successive line increasing the complexity of the lines. More cowbell comes in and suddenly Takada begins to simulate the ornate polyrhythms of Reich’s Drumming all by herself in the studio. And with the introduction of a crossing marimba pattern and the drone of a harmonium some five-and-a-half minutes into the piece, it moves into its own rarefied space. 
“Trompe-L’oeil” moves at a more relaxed pace, with Takada’s harmonium lines swaying like an accordion and her use of a Coke bottle as both reed and percussion giving the piece a playful air about it. It’s a breather before the finale of the album, the fifteen-minute pressure cooker of percussion, “Catastrophe Σ.” Using the harmonium to create a darker mood, Takada focuses on tom-tom, bongos, cymbal and a bit of piano to ratchet up and sustain tension over the course of the piece. There’s a breathlessness to the piece as it gathers momentum that makes it one of the most thrilling percussion pieces of its kind. 
While her American influences always had an exploratory aspect to their most famous works, there’s never a moment on, say, “Music for 18 Musicians” where you feel like Reich lets loose his rein even a millimeter. There’s something about Takada and the joy of creating this album that fully emerges in this last quarter-hour, as she builds energy up with her drums, her harmonium and that ever-present cowbell. In the liner notes to this reissue, Takada explained just what she learned in her studies of African and Asian music that led her to abandoned Western classical music as a pursuit way back when. “As a performer, this music asked you to personally examine your own physical transformation and to confirm and share this transformation with your counterpart, group or tribe,” she said. “The music stops short of imposing sovereignty or nationality.” And even as the finale builds to a glorious climax, it too stops short. Takada pulls it all away at the last possible moment, a thrill that allows her listeners—nearly thirty-five years on—to soar to a space well within themselves. It’s a space well worth rediscovery.
Andy Beta / Pitchfork

Rosalía ‎– Los Ángeles (2017)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Universal

Tracklist:
01.   Si Tú Supieras Compañero
02.   De Plata
03.   Nos Quedamos Solitos
04.   Catalina
05.   Día 14 De Abril
06.   Que Se Muere Que Se Muere
07.   Por Mi Puerta No Lo Pasen
08.   Te Venero
09.   Por Castigarme Tan Fuerte
10.   La Hija De Juan Simón
11.   El Redentor
12.   I See A Darkness

Credits:
Producer, Arranged By – Raül Refree

Quiet Village ‎– Silent Movie (2008)

Style: Leftfield, Downtempo, Disco
Format: CD, Digital
Label: Studio !K7

Tracklist:
01.   Victoria's Secret
02.   Circus Of Horror
03.   Free Rider
04.   Too High To Move
05.   Pacific Rhythm
06.   Broken Promises
07.   Pillow Talk
08.   Can't Be Beat
09.   Gold Rush
10.   Singing Sand
11.   Utopia
12.   Keep On Rolling

Credits:
Design – Studio Oscar
Written-By, Producer – Joel Martin, Matt Edwards

Notes:
Recorded at Studio 56 Brighton, 2004-2007.
All tracks published by !K7 Publishing.

The thin line between schmaltz and beauty is something musicians have had to grapple with for a while, especially during a generation of pop where recontextualization is something we tend to take for granted. Right now I'm listening to "Victoria's Secret," the first track from Quiet Village's Silent Movie, and I'm imagining other people in a similar situation squinching up their faces at how cheesily doe-eyed it must sound to them: beachside surf sounds and seagull keening, weepy strings, a sedate, molasses-flow rhythm section that consists of an almost inaudible feather-tapped drum and a snore-pace bass. It sounds like some long-forgotten slab of incidental music from a pay-for-use soundtrack library, composed in the hopes that some TV movie pulls it from the stacks to score a chaste falling-in-love scene. 
Except that most of this song's structure actually comes from a hauntingly lovelorn and classic Chi-Lites ballad, 1972's "The Coldest Days of My Life"-- and once you know that, it gets harder to hear "Victoria's Secret" as strictly cheese, especially once you recognize Eugene Record's voice echoing through the tides. Silent Movie has a field day with this tweaking of the margins between extravagant easy listening and the more "proper" strains of pop and r&b, the result being a record that betrays the frequently subjective notion of what "kitsch" consists of. Quiet Village is a project of Matt Edwards, best known as tech-house auteur Radio Slave, and collaborator Joel Martin, whose pre-Quiet Village activity consists most significantly of his hand in compiling Bite Hard, a cult-classic compilation of 1970s library music from Britain's De Wolfe Studio. What they've come up with has frequently been lumped in with the Balearic revival movement, which relies in part on a sort of sun-baked, slow-moving codeine-disco vibe that (despite my best efforts) largely defies easy classification. 
Most of the prime examples of this are found in the tracks that originated as 12" single sides back in 2005 and 2006, which also comprise most of Silent Movie's rhythmic pulse. The leisurely, palm-lined slow cruise of "Pillow Talk" lifts from select bits of the 1978 Alan Parsons Project album Pyramid and then blows out its guitar-driven downtempo AOR slickness into an even heavier, thicker sheen of ambient coke-prog. It leads cleanly into the single it was originally the 2005 B-side to, the coming-down funk of "Can't Be Beat", and by slowing Trade Mark's Franco-disco "Days of Pearly Spencer" (also from 1978) to a woozy crawl they create a particularly tense and bleary brand of late-nite post-club slow jam, an atmosphere shared by the electric piano-driven, Captain and Tenille-monologue-appropriating dope haze of second single "Too High to Move". The notable exception to all this blissful dancefloor torpor is a bit of bikers-versus-zombies drive-in-movie fare called "Circus of Horror", the most uncharacteristic (and maybe the best) song on the record: in the simplest terms, it's blatant Tarantino bait that sounds like Hendrix's Band of Gypsys after developing some kind of Italian soundtrack fetish, and it's the one moment on the record where the drums not only really come alive but threaten to tumble down directly on top of you.
The funny (and problematic) thing is, a lot of these songs, especially the newer tracks, aren't that heavily altered in comparison to its subjectively tacky source material. "Utopia" is essentially Andreas Vollenweider's "Steam Forest" with some bits switched here and there to disguise its new age origins; the tribal spaghetti Western rumble of "Gold Rush" draws liberally from late-60s psych band Writing on the Wall's "Buffalo"; "Pacific Rhythm" basically is Ryuichi Sakamoto's version of Sister Sledge's Chic-gone-reggae deep cut "You're A Friend to Me". Think of Silent Movie more as an edits and remixes record-- or even a reproduced DJ set-- than a sample pastiche, and maybe it'll feel less larcenous, though I can't imagine that the people left disillusioned by the revelation that Daft Punk didn't write the riff to "Digital Love" will be all that thrilled. Maybe there's a different divide to worry about here: it's not a matter of whether the music is cheesy, but whether the appropriation is. Strange how an album that invites scenesters to overcome their aversion to AOR slickness trips them up by playing against moral codes concerning authenticity and proper credit. At worst, this just makes Silent Movie a kind of stealth mix CD (see also Rub-n-Tug's 2006 Balearic progenitor mix Better With a Spoonful of Leather). At best, they've just compiled the soundtrack to the finest 3 a.m. trip home you'll have all year.
Nate Patrin / Pitchfork 

Ruby Rushton ‎– Trudi's Songbook: Volume Two (2017)

Style: Contemporary Jazz, Funk, Latin Jazz
Format: CD, VinylDigital
Label: 22a ‎– 22a 019

Tracklist:
1.   Tisbury Truckin
2.   Song For Christopher
3.   Trudi's Mood (Part II)
4.   Charlotte Emma Victoria
5.   Together At Last
6.   Butterfly

Credits:
Bass – Fergus Ireland
Drums – Eddie Hick
Flute, Saxophone – Edward Cawthorne
Keyboards – Aidan Shepherd
Percussion – Joseph Deenmamode
Trumpet – Nick Walters
After the success of ‘Trudi’s Songbook: Volume One,’ Ruby Rushton are back with their highly anticipated follow up, ‘Trudi’s Songbook: Volume Two.’ Comprised of a further six cuts, ‘Trudi’s Songbook: Volume Two’ is a welcome succession to its predecessor. Stand out tracks include ‘Tisbury Truckin,’ which is a stunning opener! Starting with an atmospheric soundscape it unexpectedly drops into a neck-snapping hip-hop groove with a punchy melodic line before effortlessly sliding into an up-tempo, afro-beat inspired rhythm with strong solos from trumpet and keys in tow. ‘Song For Christopher’ is a heartfelt ballad, which begins with a touching flute solo and continues to take the listener on a journey through the emotions, ending in a crescendo of optimism – a fitting tribute to the late Christopher Rushton. ‘Charlotte Emma Victoria’ is another strong track and includes some tasteful sousaphone and trombone parts to add extra oomph to its bounce, accompanied by a soaring saxophone solo by band leader Edward Cawthorne (aka Tenderlonious). The album ends with a classic Herbie Hancock jazz-fusion standard, ‘Butterfly,’ which the band handle with finesse. A fitting cover that I have no doubt would impress its original writers.  
‘Trudi’s Songbook: Volume Two’ is a fantastic album, which further solidifies Ruby Rushton’s place on the modern jazz scene. This is a must have album that would hold its own in any jazz enthusiasts record collection - make sure you check it out!  
Words by Rodriguez Guido 

Ruby Rushton ‎– Trudi's Songbook: Volume One (2017)

Style: Contemporary Jazz, Funk, Latin Jazz
Format: CD. Vinyl. Digital
Label: 22a ?

Tracklist:
1.   Moonlight Woman
2.   Elephant & Castle
3.   Trudi's Mood
4.   Prayer For Yusef
5.   Where Are You Now?
6.   The Camel's Back

Credits:
Bass – Fergus Ireland
Drums – Eddie Hick
Flute, Saxophone, Songwriter, Arranged By – Ed Cawthorne
Percussion – Joseph Deenmamode
Synth – Aidan Shepherd
Trumpet – Nick Walters
I first came across Ruby Rushton in 2011 when I saw them play live at a pub in south London. I was mesmerised by their performance that night. The music they were playing was fresh and exciting; it was unlike anything I had heard before! Soon after that night I happened to pass the sax player in the street, I stopped and asked what plans he had for the band, to which he replied "album soon come..." 

It was four years before I heard that album. Recorded in 2011, 'Two For Joy' finally got its much-anticipated release via the 22a imprint in 2015 and it did not disappoint! Since then the band have had a number of gigs around London and Europe, including their celebrated Boiler Room appearance and a number of headline shows at London's Jazz Cafe. 

Now into 2017 the band are preparing to release their second studio album, 'Trudi's Songbook.' Compromising of two parts, volume one will be released in May and volume two later in the year. I was given an exclusive preview of volume one and I can say with certainty that it is their finest work to date and one of the greatest recordings I have heard in a long while. 

The album starts with 'Moonlight Woman,' a song that harks back to the Headhunters era, but with a contemporary twist - close your eyes and your transported to 70s Harlem, walking shoulder to shoulder with Richard Roundtree! 'Elephant & Castle' follows, a clear reference to south Londons Latin quarter, the tune has a distinct hustle and bustle quality. With a strong flute solo and upbeat rhythm section this tune is sure to have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet. The first side draws to a close with a tasteful Dilla inspired skit, 'Trudi's Mood,' which demonstrates the bands wealth of influences and leaves the listener eager to continue their sonic voyage, with Ruby Rushton at the helm. 

Side two opens with a haunting ballad, 'Prayer For Yusef,' a song written in memory of the late Yusef Lateef. It starts softly with a bowed double bass and bamboo flute, accompanied by ghostly percussive noises and slowly rises to a large crescendo, with drums and piano in tow. It's a strong tune and a fitting dedication to the late, great Yusef Lateef. No sooner has Lateef's ballad gently faded away then 'Where Are You Now?' kicks in. Starting with a cool, neck-popping 3/4 beat, and utilising a four-piece horn section, the rhythm section struts its stuff whilst flute and trumpet carve out a playful melodic line. Just as you settle into its hypnotic bounce the tune falls through a Monk inspired chromatic bridge and without warning reappears as a solid Latin groove, leading to strong solos from both sax and keys. The rhythm section charges through to the end, never lagging, and are rejoined by the four-piece horn section, which stabs its way to a tight finish. The album comes to a close as 'The Camel's Back' fades in with an eerie sax solo and free form drums, before settling into a catchy bass motif and quickly fading away, leaving listeners on the edge of their seats and wanting more. It’s a great ending to an intoxicating joy ride through a multitude of genre defying styles! 

Simply put, this album is a must have for any listener yearning for exciting and fresh contemporary music. Essential listening for fans of Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal and GoGo Penguin. 
Words by Rodriguez Guido 

Brian Eno & David Byrne ‎– My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (2005 Remastered) (1981)

Style: Art Rock, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: EG, Nonesuch, Sire, Polydor

Tracklist:
01.   America Is Waiting
02.   Mea Culpa
03.   Regiment
04.   Help Me Somebody
05.   The Jezebel Spirit
06.   Qu'ran
07.   Very, Very Hungry
08.   Moonlight In Glory
09.   The Carrier
10.   A Secret Life
11.   Come With Us
12.   Mountain Of Needles
13.   Pitch To Voltage
14.   Two Against Three
15.   Vocal Outtakes
16.   New Feet
17.   Defiant
18.   Number 8 Mix
19.   Solo Guitar With Tin Foil

Credits:
Guitars, Basses, Synthesizers, Drums, Percussion, Performer – Brian Eno, David Byrne
Mastered By – Greg Calbi
Producer – Brian Eno, David Byrne
Written-By – Eno, Byrne

As David Byrne describes in his liner notes, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts placed its bets on serendipity: "It is assumed that I write lyrics (and the accompanying music) for songs because I have something I need to 'express.'," he writes. "I find that more often, on the contrary, it is the music and the lyric that trigger the emotion within me rather than the other way around." Maybe because it's so obviously the product of trial-and-error experimentation, Bush of Ghosts sounded like a quirky side project on its release in 1981; heck, it didn't even have any "songs." But today, Nonesuch has repackaged it as a near-masterpiece, a milestone of sampled music, and a peace summit in the continual West-meets-rest struggle. So we're supposed to see Bush of Ghosts as a tick on the timeline of important transgressive records. 
It mostly holds up to that scrutiny. An album that's built on serendipity-- on Brian Eno fooling around with a new type of drum machine, on syncing the hook in a tape loop to a chorus, on finding the right horrors on the radio-- can't score 100%. But even if you cut it some slack, crucial parts of the album don't sound as intriguing today as they once did-- namely, all of the voices. 
The sampled speech from various, mainly religious, sources ties the album into a long and prestigious history of artists who used found sound, which David Toop capably outlines in the liner notes. It's still the secret sauce that provokes a reaction from the listener. But what reaction you have lies outside of Byrne's, Eno's, or your control. On the first half, where the voices are least chopped up, it's difficult to divorce them from their origins. A couple of tracks read as satire-- "America Is Waiting" sounds like Negativland with a way better rhythm section-- and others as kitsch. "Help Me Somebody" pulls a neat trick by turning a preacher into an r&b; singer, but the exorcist on "The Jezebel Spirit" doesn't raise as many hairs on the back of my neck now that taping a crazy evangelist has become the art music equivalent of broadcasting crank phone calls. We can't just hear them for their sound or cadences without digging into the meanings, and not everyone will find the meanings profound.

On the other hand, the rhythm tracks still kick ass 10 ways to Sunday, thanks both to the fly-by apperances of Bill Laswell, Chris Frantz, Prairie Prince, and a half dozen others, and to the inspired messing about of Eno and Byrne as they turned boxes and food tins into percussion. Tape loops are funkier than laptops, and the modern ear is so aware of the digital "noodging" of a sample to a beat that the refreshingly knocked-together arrangements of Bush of Ghosts are a vast improvement. At one stage of the project, they dreamed about documenting the music of a fake foreign culture. They largely pulled it off, and you can tell a lot about this far-off place from its music: It's a futuristic yet tribal town made of resonant sheets of metal and amplified plastic containers, that the populace has to bang constantly in perfect time to make the traffic move, and the stoves heat up, and the lights flicker on at night, and to coax mismatched couples into making love and breeding new percussionists. 
The seven bonus tracks will provoke more arguments than they settle. The setlist of Bush of Ghosts has changed several times over the years, and the diehard fans will still have to swap left-out cuts that aren't resurrected here; most famously, "Qu'ran", an apparently sacreligious recording of Koran verses set to music, doesn't get anywhere near this reissue. The songs that are here include a few that sound almost finished, including "Pitch to Voltage", and others that would fit almost as well as anything in the second half of the disc. The last cut, "Solo Guitar with Tin Foil", features someone, presumably Byrne, playing a haunting tune on a guitar with an impossibly clean tone-- a fitting end to an album that, for all its transcontinental fingerprints, sounds strikingly free of impurities. 
Though Bush of Ghosts was a link in the chain between Steve Reich and the Bomb Squad, I'm not convinced that this talking point helps us enjoy the album. However, Nonesuch made an interesting move that could help Bush of Ghosts make history all over again: they launched a "remix" website, at www.bush-of-ghosts.com, where any of us can download multitracked versions of two songs, load them up in the editor of our choice, and under a Creative Commons license, do whatever we want with them. 
As I write this, the site hasn't launched, and even if it were up, I can't tell how lively its community will be, how edgy the remixers can get, and how many rules will pen them in. Nonesuch copped out by posting only part of the album, instead of every piece of tape they owned, and I suspect that the bush-of-ghosts.com site may just be a corporate sandbox for wannabe remixers. But I could be wrong; I haven't tried to submit my mash-up of "Qu'ran" and Denmark's National Anthem yet. What matters is that they started the site and released these tracks, and by doing so, they put a stake in the ground-- not the first one, but an important one-- for Creative Commons licensing, Web 2.0 album releases ("this is an album where you participate!"), and the culture of remixing. 
And by handing over their multitracks, Byrne and Eno also make a powerful acknowledgement of their own helplessness. It is a basic but real fact of our time that sampling can work both ways. In the 80s, you could fairly make an argument that Byrne and Eno were the Western white men appropriating all kinds of Others, be they domestic and primitive, or foreign and exotic. Now the world can return the favor: Anyone can rip this work apart and use it any way they please, and you can bet that if some kid in the Third World sends a killer remix to the right blogger, it'll travel faster and farther than this carefully curated reissue. Byrne and Eno counted on a certain amount of serendipity in their studio; today, they can witness the serendipity of what happens to their killer rhythm tracks-- the ones they released, and all the others that people will use anyway. And the strongest message they could send is not only that they've relinquished control, but that they admit they already lost it-- whether they like it or not. 
Chris Dahlen / Pitchfork

Love T.K.O. ‎– Headturner (1994)

Style: Acid Jazz, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mo Wax, Major Force

Tracklist:
01.   Sista Sunshine
02.   Stay (The Eagle's Eye)
03.   Desert Song (Fire From Within)
04.   Watcha Gonna Do ?
05.   For What It's Worth
06.   Tongue In Your Ear
07.   Heat In The City
08.   Lost In The Amazon
09.   Travellin' Light
10.   Fall Of Ignorance
Credits: Co-producer – Howie B. Producer – Kudo, Tosh


A mescla de culturas da capa é um prenúncio para a mistura eclética que paira sobre a única obra dos Love T.K.O. sob essa designação – é a banda afinal Tosh e Kudo. Uma preciosidade editada pela Mo Wax que tive o privilégio de comprar mal chegou a Portugal. Corria o ano de 1994 e a euforia Acid Jazz dava sinais de se querer movimentar para outras paisagens.  A faixa 2 Stay (The Eagle’s Eye) ainda me causa arrepios. O disco é como uma viagem electrónica e ambiental por vários territórios físicos e da mente. A beleza das guitarras, a pureza das percursões, a qualidade das vocalizações, tudo é bom neste disco sexy – de fazer girar a cabeça. 
hugovcosta 

System Planning Korporation ‎– Information Overload Unit (1981)

Style: Industrial, Noise
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: The Grey Area, Mute

Tracklist:
1.   Emanation Machine R. Gie 1916
2.   Suture Obsession
3.   Macht Schrecken
4.   Berufsverbot
5.   Ground Zero: Infinity Dose
6.   Stammheim Torturkammer
7.   Retard
8.   Epilept: Convulse
9.   Kaltbruchig Acideath

Credits:
Guitar, Bass, Tape, Vocals – Mike Wilkins
Synthesizer, Effects – Tone Generator
Synthesizer, Performer, Effects, Vocals – Operator

Meridian brothers ‎– ¿Dónde Estás María? (2017)

Style: Experimental, Cumbia
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Soundway

Tracklist:
01.   ¿Dónde Estás María?
02.   Canto Me Levantó (Pesadumbre)
03.   Yo Soy Tu Padre, Yo Te Fabriqué
04.   Entra El Ritmo Antillano
05.   Hablame Amigo, Citadino
06.   Cumbia, Eres La Cumbia
07.   Como Estoy En Los Sesenta
08.   Estaré Alegre, No Estaré Triste
09.   Él No Está Muerto
10.   No Me Traiciones

Credits:
Producer, Recorded By, Composed By – Eblis Álvarez

Colombian musical mistfits Meridian Brothers will release their fourth album on Soundway Records this September, taking their tropical heritage to a new dimension. 
Just as the group's background can be traced back to 1998 under the direction of Elbis Alvarez (this is actually his seventh album under the Meridian Brothers alias), so can their music be pursued back to it's provocative roots. 
¿Dónde estás María? is a fickle record, in which the arrangements manage to spark a soothing yet swinging mood that depicts the conflicted history of Cumbia music. Cumbia is basically the musical backbone of Latin America that grew throughout the 20th century into a cultural phenomenon that was appropriated and subjectively managed from the Atlantic and the Pacific coast, to the Latin communities in North America. 
Cumbia's complicated but fruitful history serves as a liant on which Alvarez has constantly built new musical ideas without wondering off. Rather than orientating towards imported sounds (as it has been the case with South American musicians in the ´50s), he implements nuances outside of Cumbia in a way that develops the music organically. This makes Meridian Brothers a constant experiment that takes the dynamic rhythm and plays with it on all sides, laying a pattern for a new type of openly-traditional music. 
I find this to be arguably a true form of psychedelic Cumbia, the guitar fuzz from the 1970s that it is usually associated with it being eclipsed by more imaginative approaches, which include Alvarez's long history as a cello player. From the title track of the album, throughout the whole ten piece record the cello has many instances, setting themes, stressing Colombian inspired synthesizer melodies, and even pushing poly-rhythmic.
¿Dónde estás María? ingeniously tackles an array of socially influenced lyrical and musical themes. Mixed within a broad framework of influences, it gives each track a unique zest.
Alexandru Mustață / the ATTIC

 
When they play live, Meridian Brothers are a five-piece. But in the studio, just one man creates their distinctive sound. Based in Bogotá, Colombia, Eblis Álvarez is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer with a highly personal take on the Latin music scene. He describes this easy-going, quirky set as “a kind of journey from Argentina through to Mexico”, and he uses the varied rhythms of Latin America as a starting point. There’s everything here from cumbia to reggaeton and Andean huaynos, in an ever-changing fusion in which the insistent percussion is matched against electronica, guitars and the unlikely addition of strings, with prominent use of cello. His vocal work may be nothing remarkable, but from the slinky opening title track to the driving Cumbia, Eres La Cumbia, this is an album that succeeds because it’s tuneful, clever and enormous fun. 
Robin Denselow / The Guardian