Thursday, 29 August 2019

Khruangbin ‎– Hasta El Cielo (2019)

Genre: Reggae, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Night Time Stories, Dead Oceans

01.   With All The World
02.   Sisters & Brothers
03.   Mary Always
04.   Four Of Five
05.   How I Love
06.   Sunny's Vision
07.   A La Sala
08.   The Red Book
09.   Order Of Operations
10.   Hasta El Cielo
11.   Rules (Scientist Dub Mix)
12.   Como Te Quiero (Scientist Dub Mix)

Mixed By – Vuelo
Written-By, Performer, Producer – Khruangbin

Khruangbin are one of those groups that defy labels. With Laura Lee's drawn-out funk basslines, the outlaw twang to Mark Speer's guitar work, and DJ Johnson's masterfully subtle percussion, it was no surprise that the Houston-based group exploded after last year's release of addictive sophomore album Con Todo El Mundo. The band's name is the Thai word for "airplane", and Lee and Speer first bonded over music and art from Afghanistan and West Asia. With music drawing on psychedelia, soul, and surf from around the globe, there's no real benefit to wasting time trying to describe the group's music with narrow genres. There's only one real question worth contemplating: could Khruangbin get any cooler? 
The definitive answer to that question is a resounding yes, as they prove with their newest release. For those of us who spent most of last year listening to Con Todo El Mundo on repeat, Hasta El Cielo will sound familiar as the latter is primarily dub versions of the former. And if Con Todo El Mundo was a sweltering Texas night drive, then Hasta El Cielo is a beachfront sunset. No longer on the attack, Khruangbin relax at last, stretching out tight, red-hot stings into loose, meandering waves - powered by embers, not full flames.

That chill factor is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, inherently, but it makes for an interesting next step for the group. Conceptually, it's risky to take an album as exciting as Con Todo El Mundo, wring the adrenaline from it, and then send it back into the world. In practice, breezy suits Khruangbin's music, and the sonic palette is just different enough for a subtle atmospheric shift. There's nothing lazy about its execution, either; low-level tension simmers beneath the surface. On "Sisters & Brothers", it's more smoky and sensual (as opposed to original radiant take "Lady and Man"); on "Mary Always", playful (as opposed to ferocious "Maria También"). Khruangbin is a chameleon of a band, but one with enough consistency to always be just recognizable enough. 
It can be easy to write off a remix album as less worthy of a concerted listen than its source material, but the changes here are delectable from track to track. "Sunny's Vision" is a particular highlight, adding wavering organs to the dub mix of "Shades of Man" that take it straight to 1970s Bangkok. "Order of Operations" has the strongest bassline on an album riddled with strong basslines. "Hasta El Cielo" is a soft-spoken dream that picks up momentum a minute and a half in and continues to coast between tempos until it touches down for a satisfying end. A couple of bonus Scientist mixes at the end - of "Rules" and "Cómo Te Quiero" - bring percussion to the forefront as a finishing flourish. 
Essentially, if you loved Con Todo El Mundo, you'll like Hasta El Cielo for a lazier day. If you hoped for another groundbreaking record, though, you'll need to be patient for a little longer. Luckily, you now have the perfect soundtrack to make any wait a little more bearable. 
Adriane Pontecorvo / popMATTERS

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Jóhann Jóhannsson ‎– Arrival (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016)

Style: Soundtrack, Score, Modern, Minimal, Modern Classical
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Deutsche Grammophon

01.   Arrival
02.   Heptapod B
03.   Sapir-Whorf
04.   Hydraulic Lift
05.   First Encounter
06.   Transmutation At A Distance
07.   Around-The-Clock News
08.   Xenolinguistics
09.   Ultimatum
10.   Principle Of Least Time
11.   Hazmat
12.   Hammers And Nails
13.   Xenoanthropology
14.   Non-Zero-Sum Game
15.   Properties Of Explosive Material
16.   Escalation
17.   Decyphering
18.   One Of Twelve
19.   Rise
20.   Kangaru

Cello, Halldorophone, Voice – Hildur Guðnadóttir
Guitar – Adam Wiltzie
Percussion – Ólafur Björn Ólafsson
Keyboards, Programmed By , Loops, Sound Designer – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Saxophone, Lyricon – Colin Stetson
Orchestra – The City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchestrated By – Sam Jones,  Anthony Weeden, Jóhann Jóhannsson
Programmed By (Modular Synthesizer) – Phillip BarthRudger Hoedemaekers
Choir – Theatre Of Voices
Bass Vocals – Jakob Bloch Jespersen, Jakob Soelberg
Soprano Vocals – Else Torp, Signe Asmussen
Tenor Vocals – Chris Watson, Paul Bentley-Angell
Vocals, Synthesizer – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
Music By – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Written-By, Producer, Arranged By – Jóhann Jóhannsson

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

VA – African Pearls - Mali 70 : Electric Mali (2008)

Style: Afro-Cuban, Fusion, Funk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Discograph

        DISC ONE
01.   Orchestre Régional De Kayes - Duga
02.   Orchestre Régional De Sikasso - Labankan
03.   Rail Band - Badialame
07.   Bida De La Capitale - Kenuna
05.   Super Djata Band - Sosso
06.   Kanaga De Mopti - N'do N'do
07.   Sid De Kayes - Moyola
08.   Rail Band - Tamadiara
09.   Le Super Biton National De Ségou - Saajuru
10.   Les Ambassadeurs Du Motel De Bamako - Mbouran Mousso
11.   Rail Band - Nanthan
12.   Le Mystère Jazz De Tombouctou - Wale Tarekk Apolo

        DISC TWO
01.   Idrissa Soumaoro - Djama
02.   Le Kene Star De Sikasso - Hodi Hu Yenyan
03.   Ciwara Band - Noumou Lakouloumba
04.   Orchestre Régional De Mopti - Boro
05.   Le Mystère Jazz De Tombouctou - Leli
06.   National Badema - Ciro
07.   Le Super Biton De Segou - Sisèni
08.   Super Djata Band - Tiefaly
09.   L'Orchestre National "A" Du Mali - Janfa
10.   Orchestre Régional De Sikasso - Tiebaou
11.   National Badema - Guédé
12.   Kanaga De Mopti - Kulukutu

Producer – Ibrahima Sylla

Snarky Puppy ‎– Immigrance (2019)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:  GroundUP Music

1.   Chonks
2.   Bigly Strictness
3.   Coven
4.   Bling Bling
5.   Xavi
6.   While We're Young
7.   Bad Kids To The Back
8.   Even Us

Mastered By – Dave McNair
Mixed By – Justin Berger, Michael League, Nic Hard
Producer – Michael League
Co-producer – Snarky Puppy
Recorded By – Camilo Salazar, Nic Hard

Kanda Bongo Man ‎– Kwassa Kwassa (1989)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Hannibal Records

A1.   Sai
A2.   Cantique
A3.   Naloti
A4.   Lowazo
B1.   Lela-Lela
B2.   Bedy
B3.   Liza
B4.   Lisote

Bass Guitar – Pablo Lubadika Porthos
Drums, Percussion – Ringo Yaya Pezo, Ti Jean
Lead Guitar – Diblo Dibala
Lead Guitar (Twin Lead) – Rigo Star
Rhythm Guitar – Lokassa Ya Mbongo
Vocals – Evelyn Marlin, Gena Mandako
Written-By, Arranged By, Producer – Kanda Bongo Man

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

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)