Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Jessica Lauren ‎– Almería (2018)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Freestyle Records

1.   Kofi Nomad
2.   Teck et Bambou
3.   Amalfi
4.   Simba Like
5.   Chichourlette
6.   Bells Ring For Esmeralda
7.   Beija Flor
8.   Chocolate con Churros
9.   Argentina

Bass – 'Level' Neville Malcolm
Drums – Cosimo Keita Cadore
Flugelhorn – Yazz Ahmed
Keyboards, Vocals, Percussion – Jessica Lauren
Marimba – Mally Harpaz
Percussion – Phillip Harper, Richard Olatunde Baker
Vocals – Khadijatou Doyneh
Woodwind – Tamar Osborn
Written-By, Producer – Jessica Lauren

From Freestyle Records we have Jessica Lauren’s new album, ‘Almería’. The reference to the Spanish city gives you an idea of the cultural location of the this music but it doesn’t stop at Mediterranean influences. Each track explores a different aspect of world music and latin jazz and can easily switch from Brazil to Turkey and anywhere in between. 
The album opens with a lusciously recorded grand piano playing a deceptive introduction giving nothing more than movements of fifths. It’s not until the drums and vocals start that you get a sense of what is about to come. The piece slowly unravels to introduce double bass, baritone sax and rich percussion. Introductions have been made and we now experience the true sound of this collective. It’s a fun sound and although there’s a lot going on rhythmically, Jessica manages to keep her minimalist approach to composition with floating lines and hypnotic grooves. There’s some simple, emotive playing from Jessica here and great use of space. The vocals are sweet and soulful in a Angélique Kidjo kind of way. 
I enjoyed the extended technique of baritone saxophonist Tamar ‘Collocutor’ Osborn. The use of harmonics and micro tones on the bari sends the music further East and changes the geography from Afro Jazz to a more worldly sound. The solos tend to stay relatively diatonic which along with mostly common time rhythms, helps with the accessibility of the album. I would personally like to hear more harmonic contrast but then my ear likes to be taken on journeys in that way. 
Percussion has a big part to play on this album and the task is taken on successfully by Richard Ọlátúndé Baker, Phillip Harper and drummer Cosimo Keita Cadore. There’s a great mix of ethnic instruments, pitched percussion and polyrhythmic interplay. 
A stand out player is bassist Neville Malcoms. His tone and stability ground the group and adds bags of groove. 
There’s a nice 7 in a bar feel in the third track ‘Amalfi’ and the overall feel is reminiscent to the laid back latin jazz of the 1960’s and Henry Mancini’s film scores. 
The music spins between club like grooves (which are crying out for some inventive remixes), lesser known Blue Note albums of the sixties and the cultural melting pot of inner city London. Whilst not ‘staying put’ in any one genre, the mix of world music is refreshing and nicely produced. The fusion of styles mixed with a smattering of jazz and the keyboard led harmony is pleasant and conjures feelings of summer vibes which I think is the aim. 
Leaving the introduction to ‘Chocolate Con Churros’ allows us a more intimate introduction to the group. The ‘live’ sound and organic nature of this tune is a great addition to the album but perhaps feels more like a bonus track. Especially when followed by the atmospheric and structured last track, ‘Argentina’. This is a beautiful melody and the subtlety in Jessica’s touch is exquisite. Slightly let down by the recording quality compared to the rest of the tracks but its a nice closure to a fun and thoughtful album.
Jack Riley / UK Vibe

Herbie Hancock & Foday Musa Suso ‎– Village Life (1985)

Style: Fusion, Future Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Columbia, CBS

1.   Moon / Light
2.   Ndan Ndan Nyaria
3.   Early Warning
4.   Kanatente

Kora, Talking Drum – Foday Musa Suso
Synthesizer – Herbie Hancock
Producer – Bill Laswell, Herbie Hancock
Recorded By – Dave Jerden, Tomoo Suzuki

This quiet, lovely record, in which the Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso is given equal billing, was generally ignored when it came out, probably because it fit no one's preconceived idioms -- be they jazz, funk, MTV, or even world music. The only performers are Hancock on a detunable Yamaha DX-1 synthesizer and drum machine and Suso spinning his webs of delicate sound on the zither-like kora, vocalizing a bit and playing a talking drum -- all in real time in a Tokyo studio. The results are absolutely mesmerizing, with Herbie aligning himself perfectly within Suso's unusual, complex rhythmic conceptions and folk-like harmonies. On the 20-minute "Kanatente," Hancock does introduce some of his own advanced harmonic ideas, and he contrasts and interweaves them with Suso's deceptively simple lines in a splendid jam session that eventually ends in a dance that can only be described as Gambian funk. This music generates the same feeling of ecstatic well-being as an Indian raga -- and even hardcore jazz fans may find themselves seduced against their will.
Richard S. Ginell / AllMusic

The Tiger Lillies ‎– Devil's Fairground (2019)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Misery Guts Music

01.   Devil's Fairground
02.   Lucky To Get Out Of Here Alive
03.   Dead Souls' Day
04.   Gypsies
05.   Free
06.   Destruction
07.   Tombstones
08.   Lillies Are Her Home
09.   Cut
10.   Kiss You Quick
11.   Don't See The Sun
12.   King Of The Gutter
13.   Drugs
14.   Golden Brown
15.   Summertime In Prague
16.   Is That All There Is?

Double Bass, Saw, Acoustic Guitar – Adrian Stout
Drums – Jonas Golland
Arranged By – Michal Nejtek
Conductor – Peter Vrábel
Written By, Producer, Vocals, Accordion, Piano, Ukulele – Martyn Jacques

Midlake ‎– Bamnan And Slivercork (2004)

Style: Folk Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Sinnamon Records, V2, Bella Union

01.   They Cannot Let It Expand
02.   Balloon Maker
03.   Kingfish Pies
04.   I Guess I'll Take Care
05.   Some Of Them Were Superstitious
06.   The Reprimand
07.   The Jungler
08.   He Tried To Escape
09.   Mopper's Medley
10.   No One Knew Where We Were
11.   Anabel
12.   Mr. Amateur

Performer – Eric Nichelson, Eric Pulido, Mckenzie Smith, Paul Alexander, Tim Smith
Recorded By, Mixed By – Midlake

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Meridian Brothers ‎– Devoción (Works 2005 - 2011) (2013)

Style: Cumbia, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CDVinyl
Label: Staubgold

01.   Los Falsos Reyes Magos
02.   El Enamorado
03.   Te Odio (Te Amo)
04.   Sostengan Al Ángel Entusiasta
05.   Canción Del Moderno Templario
06.   Escuchen El Grito Del Tigrillo
07.   Canción De Invierno
08.   El Jazz Del Chupasangres
09.   El Ganadero Del Futuro
10.   Devoción
11.   Sigan Al Minero Hasta La Escala (Amirbar)
12.   Coplas Para Cantar Al Atardecer

María Valencia (sax, clarinet and percussion)
Eblis Alvarez (vocals, guitar and direction)
Damian Ponce (drums)
Alejandro Forero (keyboards)
Cesar Quevedo (bass)

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Meridian Brothers ‎– Meridian Brothers VI (2009)

Style: Cumbia, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, FLAC
Label: La Distritofonica

01.   La Escopa Del Hombre Plebeyo
02.   Escuchen El Grito Del Tigrillo
03.   Vigilen Al Jinete Fantasma Que Decidió Nuestro Futuro
04.   Canten Las Canciones Del Nuevo Trovador
05.   Sigan Al Minero Hasta "La Escala" (Amirbar)
06.   Las Princesitas De Colombia
07.   Este Es El Corcel Heroico Que Nos Salvará De La Hambruna Y Corrupción
08.   Sostegan Y Alimenten Al Ángel Entusiasta
09.   Este Es El Canto Del Ángel Entusiasta
10.   Yo Soy La Caravana De Los Vaqueros
11.   Ya Vienen Los Escuadrones
12.   La Mano Del Muerto / (Pequeños Animales En)

María Valencia (sax, clarinet and percussion)
Eblis Alvarez (vocals, guitar and direction)
Damian Ponce (drums)
Alejandro Forero (keyboards)
Cesar Quevedo (bass)

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Meridian Brothers ‎– Meridian Brothers VII (2011)

Style: Cumbia, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, FLAC
Label: La Distritofonica

01.   Los Falsos Reyes Magos
02.   Devoción
03.   Te Amo ¿Te Odio?
04.   Soy El Pinchadiscos Del Amor
05.   Queremos Subir Al Cielo A Saludar A Dios, Luego Bajar Y Contárselo A Todos Nuestros Amigos Y Vecino
06.   El Ganadero Del Futuro
07.   Errante- Doncella Rimbombante
08.   Bailador Fantasma
09.   El Jazz Del Chupasangres
10.   Tendré Que Luchar Contra Los 98 Carniceros Que Pretenden Tu Amor?

María Valencia (sax, clarinet and percussion)
Eblis Alvarez (vocals, guitar and direction)
Damian Ponce (drums)
Alejandro Forero (keyboards)
Cesar Quevedo (bass)

If I’m perfectly honest the first time I heard VII (which was also the first time I had heard Meridian Brothers) I was slightly taken back. This wasn’t because it was difficult (there’s a real playfulness to this music) but was more down to the fact I’d never quite heard anything like that. The detached vocals, preaching over twisted sub-tropical grooves and the use of repetition all spoke of a group clearly playing by it’s own rules. As I listened further, picking up on the satire of many of the songs and the subtle ways in which they build, growing to love the peculiarities of the groups within, I realised that Meridian Brothers are one of Colombia’s – if not Latin America’s – most interesting groups. 
Meridian Brothers however are not a group, though the name would make you think otherwise. This is the work of producer/guitarist Eblis Álvarez. Anyone who has listened to Frente Cumbiero or Los Pirañas will be aware of his guitar-playing and the unique sounds that he pulls from the instrument, but on Meridian Brothers it’s his songwriting and voice that take centerstage (there are songs here – “Devoción” for example – that barely feature guitar at all). It’s certainly a brave artist who would begin an album with “Los Falsos Reyes Magos”, a bouncy, disorientating groove with down-tuned vocals, and follow-it up with the 12-minute “Devoción”, a gothic ballad in the vein of Nick Cave if ever there was one. It’s also a beautiful showcase of Meridian Brothers at their best with raw lyrics unafraid of causing offence, and synth and guitar textures helping the song build towards it’s death knoll ending. 
It’s not really an album about doom and gloom though, with songs like “El Jazz del Chupasangres” and “Soy el Pinchadiscos del Amor” uniting jubilant riffs with ridiculous situations; the second of these songs translating as “I Am The DJ of Love” with lyrics that could easily spout from a late night DJ playing the big romantic hits. It also happens to have one of the best grooves on the album, a simple guitar motif that has the same effect on you as when you hear the ice cream van outside your house. 
There is a sense sometimes with Meridian Brothers that they are somehow playing with you. “Tendré Que Luchar Contra Los 98 Carniceros Que Pretenden Tu Amor?” is a great example. It’s repetitive, the vocals are tuned down untul they sound like they’re falling asleep, and yet somehow with every listen you become more and more attached to it, struck by it’s sublime charms. 
It’s no wonder that Meridian Brothers are a band that divide people in Colombia, with many claiming them to be their favourite band in the country while others are completely dismissive, dismayed by the music’s irreverence. Which completely misses the point, because the whole point of music is to make a connection and sometimes that means taking risks. Sometimes they work and sometimes they fail. On Meridian Brothers VII those successes far outweigh the failures, resulting in a hugely inventive, provocative and unpredictable album that will keep you coming back for more. 
Russ Slater / Sound and Colours

Monday, 29 July 2019

Orange Juice ‎– Coals To Newcastle (2010)

Style: New Wave, Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Format: Box Set / CD
Label: Domino
The Glasgow School

CD1-01.   Falling And Laughing
CD1-02.   Moscow
CD1-03.   Moscow Olympics
CD1-04.   Felicity (Live)
CD1-05.   Blue Boy
CD1-06.   Love Sick
CD1-07.   Simply Thrilled Honey
CD1-08.   Breakfast Time
CD1-09.   Poor Old Soul, Pt. 1
CD1-10.   Poor Old Soul, Pt. 2
CD1-11.   Louise Louise
CD1-12.   Three Cheers For Our Side
CD1-13.   (To Put It In A) Nutshell
CD1-14.   Satellite City
CD1-15.   Consolation Prize
CD1-16.   Holiday Hymn
CD1-17.   Intuition Told Me, Pt. 1
CD1-18.   Intuition Told Me, Pt. 2
CD1-19.   Wan Light
CD1-20.   Dying Day
CD1-21.   Texas Fever
CD1-22.   Tender Object
CD1-23.   Poor Old Soul (French Version)
CD1-24.   Poor Old Soul (Instrumental Version)
CD1-25.   Simply Thrilled Honey (Live)
CD1-26.   Botswana (Live)
CD1-27.   Time To Develop (Live)
CD1-28.   Blue Boy (Live)

You Can't Hide Your Love Forever

CD2-01.   Falling And Laughing
CD2-02.   Untitled Melody
CD2-03.   Wan Light
CD2-04.   Tender Object
CD2-05.   Dying Day
CD2-06.   L.O.V.E. Love
CD2-07.   Intuition Told Me, Pt. 1
CD2-08.   Upwards And Onwards
CD2-09.   Satellite City
CD2-10.   Three Cheers For Our Side
CD2-11.   Consolation Prize
CD2-12.   Felicity
CD2-13.   In A Nutshell
CD2-14.   Intuition Told Me, Pt. 2
CD2-15.   Moscow
CD2-16.   You Old Eccentric
CD2-17.   Two Hearts Together (10" Version)
CD2-18.   I Can't Help Myself (7" Version)
CD2-19.   Tongues Begin To Wag
CD2-20.   Barbeque

Rip It Up

CD3-01.   Rip It Up
CD3-02.   A Million Pleading Faces
CD3-03.   Mud In Your Eye
CD3-04.   Turn Away
CD3-05.   Breakfast Time
CD3-06.   I Can't Help Myself
CD3-07.   Flesh Of My Flesh
CD3-08.   Louise Louise
CD3-09.   Hokoyo
CD3-10.   Tenterhook
CD3-11.   Rip It Up (12" Version)
CD3-12.   Snake Charmer
CD3-13.   Lovesick (Re-recording)
CD3-14.   Flesh Of My Flesh (7" Version)
CD3-15.   Lord John White And The Bottleneck Train (12" Version)
CD3-16.   Flesh Of My Flesh (12" Version)
CD3-17.   All That Ever Mattered

Texas Fever

CD4-01.   Bridge
CD4-02.   Craziest Feeling
CD4-03.   Punch Drunk
CD4-04.   The Day I Went Down To Texas
CD4-05.   A Place In My Heart
CD4-06.   A Sad Lament
CD4-07.   Out For The Count
CD4-08.   Bridge (Summer '83 Version)
CD4-09.   Poor Old Soul (Re-recording)
CD4-10.   Leaner Period
CD4-11.   Move Yourself
CD4-12.   The Day I Went Down To Texas (Flexi Version)
CD4-13.   Craziest Feeling
CD4-14.   Bridge
CD4-15.   The Day I Went Down To Texas
CD4-16.   A Place In My Heart
CD4-17.   Out For The Count
CD4-18.   Punch Drunk

The Orange Juice

CD5-01.   Lean Period
CD5-02.   I Guess I'm Just A Little Too Sensitive
CD5-03.   Burning Desire
CD5-04.   Scaremonger
CD5-05.   The Artisans
CD5-06.   What Presence?!
CD5-07.   Out For The Count
CD5-08.   Get While The Gettings Good
CD5-09.   All That Ever Mattered
CD5-10.   Salmon Fishing In New York
CD5-11.   What Presence?! (12" Version)
CD5-12.   A Place In My Heart (12" Dub Version)
CD5-13.   In A Nutshell (Live)
CD5-14.   Simply Thrilled Honey (Live)
CD5-15.   Dying Day (Live)
CD5-16.   Bury My Head In My Hands
CD5-17.   Lean Period (12" Dub Version)
CD5-18.   Rip It Up (Live)
CD5-19.   What Presence?! (Live)
CD5-20.   Burning Desire (''Alexis'' Mix)
CD5-21.   All That Ever Mattered (Alternative Version)

BBC Sessions

CD6-01.   Poor Old Soul (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 30/10/80)
CD6-02.   You Old Eccentric (BBC Radio 1 John Peeln, 30/10/80)
CD6-03.   Falling And Laughing (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 30/10/80)
CD6-04.   Lovesick (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 30/10/80)
CD6-05.   Upwards And Onwards (BBC Radio 1 Richard Skinner, 19/1/81
CD6-06.   Wan Light (BBC Radio 1 Richard Skinner, 19/1/81)
CD6-07.   Felicity (BBC Radio 1 Richard Skinner, 19/1/81)
CD6-08.   Dying Day (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 10/8/81)
CD6-09.   Holiday Hymn (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 10/8/81)
CD6-10.   Three Cheers For Our Side (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 10/8/81
CD6-11.   Blokes On 45 (BBC Radio 1 John Peel, 10/8/81)
CD6-12.   Mud In Your Eye (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 4/5/82)
CD6-13.   I Can't Help Myself (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 4/5/82)
CD6-14.   In Spite Of It All (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 4/5/82)
CD6-15.   Turn Away (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 4/5/82)
CD6-16.   What Presence?! (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 22/2/84)
CD6-17.   Salmon Fishing In New York (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 22/2/84)
CD6-18.   Bridge (BBC Radio 1 Kid Jensen, 22/2/84)
CD6-19.   BBC Interview (Part One) (With Richard Skinner, 1983)
CD6-20.   BBC Interview (Part Two) (With Richard Skinner, 1983)

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Scritti Politti ‎– Cupid & Psyche 85 (1985)

Genre: Electronic, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Warner Bros. Records, Virgin, WEA

1.   The Word Girl
2.   Small Talk
3.   Absolute
4.   A Little Knowledge
5.   Don't Work That Hard
6.   Perfect Way
7.   Lover To Fall
8.   Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
9.   Hypnotize

Backing Vocals – B.J. Nelson
Drum Programming – Fred Maher
Drums – Fred Maher
Guitar – Nick Moroch, Paul Jackson Jr.
Keyboards – David Frank, David Gamson, Robbie Buchanan
Programmed By – EBN
Vocals – Green
Written-By – Gamson
Producer – Arif Mardin, Gamson, Maher, Green

Monday, 22 July 2019

Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares – Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares (1986)

Style: Folk
Format: CD Vinyl
Label: 4AD, Disques Cellier, Nonesuch

01.   Pilentze Pee (Pilentze Sings)
02.   Svatba (The Wedding)
03.   Kalimankou Denkou (The Evening Gathering)
04.   Strati Na Angelaki Doumasche (Haiduk Chant)
05.   Polegnala E Pschenitza (Harvest Chant From Thrace)
06.   Messetschinko Lio Greilivko (Love Chant From The Rhodopes)
07.   Breii Yvane (Dancing Song)
08.   Erghen Diado (Song Of Schopsko With Tapan And Spoons)
09.   Sableyalo Mi Agontze (The Bleating Lamb)
10.   Pritouritze Planinata (Chant From The Thracian Plain With Orchestra)
11.   Mir Stanke Le (Harvest Chant From Thrace)
12.   Schopska Pesen (Diaphonic Chant)
13.   Polegnala E Todora (Love Chant)

Choir – The Bulgarian State Radio And Television Female Vocal Choir
Directed By – Philip Koutev, Krasimir Kyurkchiyski
Mastered By – Robert C. Ludwig
Recorded By – Marcel Cellier

In the late 1980s, the cult record label home to spiky guitar bands like Bauhaus and Pixies suddenly signed a choir of Bulgarian women in traditional national costume. 4AD boss Ivo Watts-Russell had become entranced by the former Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir (est. 1952). Now, over 20 years after their albums were bought by bemused Cocteau Twins fans, Le Mystère's international following includes Abba and Kate Bush. 
The fascination concerns one of the most unique sounds in music: multi-part a capella arrangements delivered by up to 19 women. The "mystery" is in just how they combine diaphonic singing and dissonant harmonies to produce a breathtaking, otherworldly sound somewhere between the Muslim call to prayer and the Beach Boys. With any two voices sounding like 20 and another lady "conducting", they are an orchestra of voice. 
Their renditions of old Bulgarian folk songs about harvests, illness and God are tear-jerking, emotional and profound, but delivered with smiling faces and unexpected humour. Their costumes and headgear are so knowingly over the top, you half-expect Borat to tumble on stage clutching a hen. It's somehow reassuring to discover that the supernatural voices occasionally tackle such ethereal concerns as Galabi Goukat ("Pigeons are cooing"). Occasionally, they break off into titters or end a song with an exaggerated "Yeeeeeeeee!" 
Returning in the sort of gowns worn by Celine Dion, with big hair, they push their voices even further. A section titled "Comic songs" sounds like a giant barbershop quartet. Listni Se Goro, with an astonishing soloist, is particularly jawdropping. Then they take a collective bow and each gives a little wave goodbye, having provided an aural experience that, once heard, will never be forgotten. 
Dave Simpson / The Guardian