Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Pale Fountains ‎– ... From Across The Kitchen Table (1985)

Style: Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Virgin

A1.   Shelter
A2.   Stole The Love
A3.   Jean's Not Happening
A4.   Bicycle Thieves
A5.   Limit
A6.   27 Ways To Get Back Home
B1.   Bruised Arcade
B2.   These Are The Things
B3.   It's Only Hard
B4.   ... From Across The Kitchen Table
B5.   Hey
B6.   September Sting

Backing Vocals – Marge
Bass Guitar – Chris
Brass – Andy
Drums – Jock
Engineer – Gil Norton, Ian Caple
Guitar, Lead Vocals – Mick
Lead Guitar – John
Percussion, Berimbau – Geraldo
Composed By – Michael Head
Producer – Ian Broudie

The Pale Fountains' Ian Broudie-produced second record ditches a couple of the scatterbrained influences of the debut, so it makes for a slightly more consistent listen. Not all of the odd wrinkles are abandoned, though; they still sound as if they are trying too hard to distinguish themselves from the rest of the flock. The Fountains' strength lies in folksy pop, but on a few too many occasions, the incessant smoothness and inability to latch onto one style holds them back. Surprisingly, the title track is almost synth-pop, but a smattering of horns makes sure it isn't completely such. On "September Sting," they try their hands at Laurel Canyon country-rock and fall flat on their jumpers. When they want to, they can write finely tuned, sophisticated pop songs that are quite pleasant. Instrumentally, "Stole the Love" doesn't sound a great deal different from the Smiths. "Shelter" and "Jean's Not Happening" are fine strummers. Though a decent record and an improvement over the debut, Kitchen Table frustrates. They were too anxious to zig or zag when they could have stayed the course. After establishing themselves as a cult band, the Pale Fountains eventually broke up, with Michael Head forming the similarly cultish Shack.
Andy Kellman / AllMusic

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

P J Harvey ‎– Dry (1992)

Style: Alternative Rock, Acoustic
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Too Pure, Rough Trade, Mercury

01.   Oh My Lover
02.   O Stella
03.   Dress
04.   Victory
05.   Happy And Bleeding
06.   Sheela-Na-Gig
07.   Hair
08.   Joe
09.   Plants And Rags
10.   Fountain
11.   Water

Bass – Stephen Vaughan
Drums, Vocals, Harmonium – Robert Ellis
Vocals, Guitar, Violin – PJ Harvey
Written-By – Harvey, Ellis
Producer – Head, Harvey, Ellis

If PJ Harvey had her way, she would have made her public debut on Slint’s Spiderland. At age 20 or so, she answered the Kentucky five-piece’s call for a female backing vocalist, but never heard back. In one way, you can imagine it: both subtly violent acts from their respective south, with the accents to prove it. But even at the turn of the 1990s, the idea of Polly Jean Harvey bringing up the rear is hard to fathom—her Westcountry leer would have unleashed the devil incarnate into Slint’s whispered intimations of evil. Instead, Harvey’s debut single, which came nine months after Spiderland, in December ’91, confronted the danger of fulfilling someone else’s ideal. 
Released on indie label Too Pure off the back of a mailed-in demo and John Peel’s enthusiasm, “Dress” is a young woman’s desperate and naive attempt at seduction. Where riot grrrls in the Pacific Northwest were pouring acid on the grotesque mating charade, Harvey, fresh out of her first relationship, intensified the danger by playing the willing ingenue. In the song, she struggles against femininity’s constricting bodice; Eve drowning in apples, “spilling over like a heavy loaded fruit tree.” For all her efforts, it’s the wrong outfit: “‘You purdy thang,’ my man says, ‘But I bought you beautiful dresses,’” she mimics, sneering like the creep in a western. Her “clean and sparkling” dress instantly becomes a filthy rag, her identity abject: “Better get it out of this room/A falling woman in dancing costume.” Harvey’s identity, though, was immediately forged: Funny, furious, and capable of writing hooks—the taunted “If you put it on, if you put it on”—that burned like lit fuses. 
Two months later, in February 1992, Harvey followed “Dress” with second single “Sheela-Na-Gig,” a vocal tour-de-force: wheedling as she implores a man to gaze upon her “ruby-red ruby lips,” puffed up on revulsion—or is it awe?—as he dismisses her with a comparison to the titular Celtic fertility carving that depicts deranged women spreading their engorged vulvas: Her shout of “You exhibitionist!” sounds at once like a Puritan splutter and a belly laugh__.__ She vamps through a line from South Pacific (“Gonna wash that man right outta my hair”) and has her paramor recoil at her “dirty pillows,” like the mother in Stephen King’s Carrie, reinforcing her portrayal of a young woman doomed to humiliation through mimicking the candied sexuality of films and magazines. Capable only of seeing her as virgin or whore, this guy’s dismissal is horrifying, but Harvey’s extremes make it funny, and she channels her beloved Pixies’ loud-quiet dynamic into thunderous slapstick.

After just two singles, it was obvious that Harvey didn’t fit anyone’s pre-existing rock ideals. Marrying brutal heft and deft melodies, she became Britain’s first viable answer to grunge’s iconoclasts and their underground ’80s forebears. She matched Patti Smith’s incandescence, Bessie Smith’s lasciviousness, Angela Carter’s grim subversions of feminine archetypes. She outplayed everyone on Britain’s indie circuit—the long-shorted weak piss of Carter USM, Silverfish, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin—and became an instant star. 
Her dark humor seemed to go in tandem with her Dorset upbringing, where she wrung sheep’s testicles on her parents’ farm, cropped her hair, and peed standing up to fit in with the boys. The rest of Britain has a limited understanding of the country’s south-west, perceiving it as a desolate cultural backwater. This daring, skinny thing from the sticks fearlessly singing about sex and subjugation was a media curio. She was from the tiny village of Corscombe, but where she had come from felt like a different matter altogether. 
Her background offers some clues, although nothing can really account for this shy girl’s self-possessed power. Harvey’s stonemason parents had taught her to create her own culture. Her hippy mother was fed up of missing out on live music and invited rock and blues bands down to play in the local village hall—“sixth” Rolling Stone Ian Stewart was a regular visitor to the family home. The artists earned their keep by teaching the young Harvey guitar and saxophone. She had been raised listening to Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica over dinner, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which upset the very young Harvey so much it soon went out of rotation. She briefly rebelled against her parents’ tastes, embracing Duran Duran for a heartbeat in her early teens, before realizing that their record collection was golden: Howlin’ Wolf, Dylan, the Stones. Carnal music fit her extreme surroundings—the sheer Jurassic coast cliff faces and easy familiarity with death on the farm. 
After a brief stint touring Europe with Automatic Dlamini, she quit that band to pursue her own music, planning to pack it in the following year and take up her place studying sculpture at London’s Saint Martins College. The PJ Harvey Trio were undeterred when, at their first gig, the proprietor offered them money to stop playing because everyone was leaving. (They took the cash and split.) Off the back of “Dress,” Too Pure gave her £2000 (then $5000) to make an album, and she went to the Icehouse in nearby Yeovil to record with her core band, bassist Steve Vaughan and drummer Rob Ellis. 
Dry is a volcano and the scorched earth surrounding it, ripped with landsliding guitars, cowpunk mania, twisted blues, profound extremes, and power chords that hit like boulders dropped from on high. She never thought she’d have the opportunity to make a record, “so I felt like I had to get everything on it as well as I possibly could, because it was probably my only chance. It felt very extreme for that reason,” she told Filter in 2004. It was also a reaction against the “lame” music around at that time, she told The Telegraph in 2001. “I’m somebody who looks for something that’s going to shock or excite me; that really shakes me up in some way inside, so you have to stop and really take a look at what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. And nothing was doing that for me. So I had to do it for myself.” 
From Dry’s first line, Harvey relishes in that ambiguity, forcing the listener to figure out what they’re feeling and why. “Ohhh myyy loverrr,” she rasps in her thick accent, as if seducing someone with her dying breath. She’s assuring her man that it’s fine for him to see another woman simultaneously, promising she’ll soak up his troubles while he can take whatever he likes: Her character understands that his time is limited, his satisfaction paramount, and that compromise is the fate of all women. The bass thuds like a domino line of falling oak trees, while a harmonium’s eerie whine makes the song feel like a dark, lost folk standard. 
She follows the streak of subjugation: A frenzied prayer to the Virgin Mary on “O Stella,” to guide her through the night on “Dress.” Then comes “Victory,” where she’s a post-punk Vera Lynn lustily imploring the boys to “sweat, dig—I’ll mop it right off your brow.” On the earthy lurch of “Happy and Bleeding” she loses her virginity and turns from fresh fruit to rotten peach both “long overdue” and “too early,” her “idle hole” then rejected on “Sheela-Na-Gig.” That’s the first half of Dry: blitzing the rigged path young women must walk from innocence to sullied castoff. It’s rife with disappointment and violence, but Harvey treats the double standard for the absurd cabaret it is, making perfect sense of it through her formative blues vocabulary. She plays victim in her words and aggressor with her guitar, adopting a libidinous swagger that’s as nasty and thrilling as the abuser who keeps her coming back for more. Nobody sings like PJ Harvey sings on Dry, veering perilously (but exactingly) between wheedling, raging, vamping, always with a sly wink. 
These extreme contrasts confused critics at the time: Dry played like a feminist statement but she refused the label, wondering why anyone remarked on her sexual lyrics when plenty of rock and blues bands had gone further before her. Mostly dressed in black, her hair scraped back severely, she seemed to eschew image, but then posed topless on the cover of NME. She insisted that there was no depth to the lyrics, and professed to being baffled by people’s attempts to interpret them, but her considered use of female archetypes to depict a woman’s fall and subsequent vengeance told a different story. All of these things were true at once, part of her distancing push-and-pull. As she told Spin in ’93, “The biggest protection you can have is if people think they’ve got you and they haven’t got you at all.” 
She pulls the same trick on Dry’s scumbag subject, going into the record's vengeful second half. She’s Delilah to his Samson on “Hair,” flattering him into submission and cutting off his mane. “I’ll keep it safe,” she sings, sounding emboldened by power, before flipping on a knife edge, realizing: “You’re mine.” The bass zooms as if mapping the swift transfer of power; the rhythm section pounds like Samson’s impotent rage. “Joe” is the record’s most manic moment. There’s no quiet-loud shift, just pure piledriver dynamics as she spits nails at the treachery she’s experienced: “Always thought you’d come rushing in to clear the shit out of my eye/Joe, ain’t you my buddy, thee?” 
But rather than commit bloody murder as you might expect, she retreats on “Plants and Rags,” “[easing] myself into a body bag,” and finding solace at home: “Who thought they could take away that place?” she asks as the violin swirls to a deranged squall. Her love of Slint comes through on the menacing fretboard harmonics of “Fountain,” where she washes herself clean and a Jesus-like figure shrouds her modesty in leaves. On “Water,” her first utterance of the word sounds like she’s dying of thirst. By the chorus, when she’s walked into the sea, invoking Mary and Jesus again, she sounds as though the crashing waves are emanating from her own throat. 
Critics have theorized that she drowns herself at the end of the album, to rid the shame from her body. But it sounds more like a rebirth; the cure to her dryness, finding satisfaction on her own terms and eradicating the need she had looked to someone else to fill. Dry is an exciting, scary joyride through the dawning realization that learning to please yourself yields far greater pleasure than relying on others to do it for you: These gory myths are her lover’s discourse, an apocalypse—in the revelatory sense—that she would push even further on 1993’s Rid of Me (after her immediate fame resulted in a nervous breakdown). Following the NYC gloss of 2000’s Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, she attempted to tap back into this sound on 2004’s Uh Huh Her, but the lack of her debut’s extreme urgency limited its success. On Dry, Harvey’s character may appear to subjugate her gratification, but it’s all there, bursting out in the zeal of her playing. 
“It’s the same kind of excitement, playing music, as in a sexual relationship, and the two go hand-in-hand,” she told a French TV show in ’93. “And I think I find music physically exciting as well—actually playing loud music and standing in front of a bass amplifier is quite a sexual experience, I think.” She tells a story about playing in Chicago, and how every time Steve Vaughan hit an A, she got vibrations right up to her middle. “Wonderful,” she muses. “We play a lot of songs in A as well, so it was a good night.” The French journalist gurgles like a stunned baby, unable to process this frank, feral waif who’s got it all figured out.
Laura Snapes / Pitchfork

De La Soul ‎– And The Anonymous Nobody (2016)

Genre: Hip Hop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: AOI Records

01.   Genesis
02.   Royalty Capes
03.   Pain
04.   Property of
05.   Memory of... (Us)
06.   CBGB's
07.   Lord Intended
08.   Snoopies
09.   Greyhounds
10.   Sexy Bitch
11.   Trainwreck
12.   Drawn
13.   Whoodeeni
14.   Nosed Up
15.   You Go Dave (A Goldblatt Presentation)
16.   Unfold
17.   Here In After
18.   Exodus

When D.A.I.S.Y. Age survivors De La Soul announced that they were returning to the studio after a decade’s hiatus — and that, instead of pushing the project through a traditional record label, they were looking to fund the album via Kickstarter — fans were understandably excited about the implications for one of hip-hop’s most famously creative acts. And true to form, the Long Island rap legends decided to forego heavy sampling and studio synth shortcuts on the resulting LP, and the Anonymous Nobody…, instead putting the money towards session musicians and orchestral production. As a result of that approach and the group’s singular vision, De La Soul have delivered one of their most ambitious and consistently rewarding albums.

And the Anonymous Nobody… isn’t just an album that proves hip-hop elders are still capable of great work; it’s an LP that reaffirms De La Soul as standard-bearers for Gen-X rap artistry. There’s a lot to say about hip-hop artists “aging well,” but compared to rock and R&B, there isn’t the major bias against decades-deep MCs that there used to be. Of the rap game’s first wave of legendary album-driven artists that emerged in the late-’80s (up to the late-’90s), quite a few have recorded strong records deep into the 2010s: Ghostface Killah, Big Boi, the Roots, and mainstays like Nas and Jay Z are all still viable album artists in a genre inarguably driven by rhymers a generation younger. These seasoned rappers may not be consistently making hits, but they are delivering well-received LPs as evidence of a still-burning creativity: The album has become the refuge of the veteran rap great. 
Which is great news for De La Soul — the trio has always been about making great albums, first and foremost. Over the 15 years between their 1989 debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, and 2004’s The Grind Date, Pos, Dave, and Maseo crafted long players that were intended for extended listening. Faux-conceptualism drove all of those albums to varying degrees, while immaculate and inventive production — dating back to Prince Paul’s standard-setting, outside-the-box sampling on 3 Feet High — has been a hallmark for every entry in the shape-shifting outfit’s discography.

On Nobody, De La prove that even after a 12-year layover between albums, their creativity has only sharpened. The optimistic resilience anthem “Pain” is giddily infectious, with a great hook, sly groove, and a winning guest spot from fellow rap pillar Snoop Dogg. The group beautifully balances the somber and the sentimental on the Pete Rock-produced, Estelle-assisted “In Memory Of…,” a bittersweet look at the rose-colored glasses through which we oftentimes view past relationships. 
The next troika of tracks dabble in a variety of rock styles: The garage-rock thump of “CBGBS” gives way to the “hardest rock s**t you gon’ hear” on “Lord Intended,” a hard-rock opus that features Justin Hawkins and begins as a riff-driven stomp à la Funkadelic, and suddenly morphs into an operatic guitar orgy worthy of Queen. David Byrne makes an appearance on the quirky and inspired “Snoopies,” dropping references to Pan-Am trips in ’76 and the long-lost sitcom Gimme A Break!, over ghostly production that seamlessly segues from Talking Heads to Soulquarians.

“Greyhounds” boasts another inspired guest spot in the form of Usher’s melancholy hook, as De La rhymes in a  “Plug Tunin’” style, but with abstract instrumentation giving way to sober reality — the group offering anecdotes about wide-eyed hopefuls coming to New York City on buses, not knowing how much the city can and will change who they are. It’s one of the album’s best tracks, but there’s an embarrassment of riches here: the finger-wagging of the laidback “Trainwreck” is another wholly infectious, classic De La moment that, along with the dreamy Damon Albarn collaboration “Here In After,” should whet fans’ appetite for the trio’s work on the next Gorillaz album. 
The album’s guest list is indeed a long one, with occasionally unnecessary plus-ones, and sometimes the group’s commitment to eclecticism — Little Dragon shows up on the stellar “Drawn,” and 2 Chainz guests on “Whoodeeni,” the very next track — feels a bit too calculated. But the results are never rote: Every note of Nobody feels driven by the ingenuity of three artists for whom creative spirit is the highest currency.  Even with all of the highlights mentioned (many of which deserve all-time catalog consideration), the strength of and the Anonymous Nobody… remains how it holds together as a complete, cohesive listen. De La is still De La, only now they’re working more in the vein of a subtle and intricate ’70s ensemble film, and less like they’re anchoring a comfort-food ’80s sitcom.
Stereo Williams / Spin

Monday, 27 July 2020

The Tiger Lillies ‎– Covid-19 (2020)

Style: Avantgarde, Cabaret, Punk, Alternative
Format: FLAC
Label: Misery Guts Music Ltd.

01.   Covid-19
02.   Cough
03.   Keep Washing Your Hands
04.   Off To The Park
05.   Sanitizer Survivor
06.   Step Up
07.   Corona Was A Beer Once
08.   Cancellation Blues
09.   Spitter
10.   Toilet Rolls Mummy
11.   When You Die Alone
12.   Supermarket Shelves
13.   Social Distancing
14.   Gasping
15.   Testing
16.   It's Not Easy
17.   Will We Ever Play Again?

Producer – The Tiger Lillies
Written By – Martyn Jacques
Acoustic Guitar, Saw, Theremin, Backing Vocals, Jew's Harp, Double Bass – Adrian Stout
Vocals, Accordion, Piano, Classical Guitar, Slide Guitar, Ukulele, Drums, Organ – Martyn Jacques

Here is our new album full of songs written in self isolation - Covid 19. 
Martyn Jacques says: 
'Covid-19 came out of the blue and left me unable to do the thing which I’ve always done for the last 30 years - perform! The thing which has kept me alive materially, occupied my time and kept me sane. For me the act of singing to an audience has been my emotional and artistic release. Covid-19 stopped all that and for the last 3 weeks I’ve felt like a goldfish in a bowl. My only way of staying relatively sane has been to sing songs about the madness of this . Here’s the album we’ve recorded, me isolating in my studio in Berlin, my band member Adrian isolating in his studio in Athens. Covid-19’. 
The album includes songs such as Sanitizer Survivor; Toilet Rolls Mummy; Cancellation Blues and Keep Washing Your Hands. 
It features exclusive artwork by Lebanese artist Eugene Cavill. The album is available to download exclusively on Bandcamp. 
The Tiger Lillies, along with most independent artists, have lost all live bookings for an indefinite period so anything fans can do to help support us during these uncertain times would be greatly appreciated.

Niagara ‎– Pais & Filhos (2020)

Genre: Electronic
Format: FLAC
Label: Príncipediscos

1.   21:44
2.   Herdeiros
3.   Tília
4.   Ano-B
5.   46 x 92m
6.   Ano-C
7.   Ano-A

Written and Produced by Niagara
Mastered by Tó Pinheiro Da Silva

Lançado ontem – para já apenas em formatos digitais no Bandcamp da Príncipe, mas com planos para distribuição noutras plataformas de streaming a curto prazo e, como é apanágio da etiqueta, em vinil “mais tarde no ano” – o novo álbum dos Niagara é um breve (cerca de 30 minutos…), mas fascinante exercício de intensa exploração e descoberta que marca o regresso do trio ao catálogo lisboeta dois anos depois de Apologia. 
É verdade que o espírito inquisitivo e verdadeiramente exploratório de Alberto e António Arruda e de Sara Eckerson não lhes permite o “luxo” da imobilidade instigando-os a percorrerem vastos territórios musicais em busca de estímulos que lhes alimentem as ideias e as realizações musicais abundantes que lhes têm expandido a discografia a um ritmo assinalável (cinco álbuns e dezena e meia de EPs desde que se estrearam em 2011, com mais de metade dos títulos concentrados nos últimos 4 anos). 
Neste novo álbum, não há um “centro” evidente. Nas notas de lançamento, explica-se que as “faixas resultam de horas infindas de improvisos ao vivo” em que o grupo implementa diferentes processos criativos esperando assim obter igualmente diferentes resultados musicais. Pode concluir-se que a nossa surpresa ao escutar uma nova guinada no caminho dos Niagara seja tão genuinamente franca quanto a dos próprios membros que, claramente, não estabelecem planos que lhes guiem os passos antes de encetarem cada uma das suas jornadas. 
Afastados do por eles já bem mapeado terreno da pista de dança, os Niagara propõem aqui uma cartografia mais emocional, ensaiando, logo num primeiro momento, um intrigante cruzamento entre um plano melódico quase new-age e o que soa a uma implosão rítmica que nos dá uma camada de propulsão fragmentada, altamente abstracta. O momento seguinte funciona, de certa maneira, como o inverso, com a percussão que soa orgânica e tradicional (no sentido Giacometti do termo…) a assumir a dianteira e a traduzir movimento, enquanto em segundo plano e em contraponto há um drone em loop que parece traduzir imobilidade. “Tília”, sugerem os próprios Niagara nas notas de lançamento, “remete os ouvintes para o território de Forbidden Planet, não apenas por causa do tom sci-fi vintage, mas também porque se enreda no mesmo tumulto psicológico que o filme de 1956 explora”. De facto, o filme de culto de Fred M. Wilcox, em parte baseado no clássico drama The Tempest de William Shakespeare, teve no pioneiro score electrónico a cargo de Louis e Bebe Barron, o perfeito equivalente “musical”: um conjunto de pulsares e ruídos de absoluta novidade analógica que há quase 65 anos traduziam uma ideia de incerto futuro que então se começava a impor na geração dos baby boomers. 
O tríptico “Ano-B”, “Ano-C” e “Ano-A” (por esta ordem, mas entrecortado ainda por um tema de título “46 x 92m”), esclarecem-nos ainda as já referidas notas, “florescem da mesma raiz e usam todos percussão acústica para acrescentarem uma vida mais orgânica à natureza líquida da música”. São três passagens de crescente abstracção em que os elementos percussivos são usados para pintarem a difusa paisagem em que rapidamente somos mergulhados, uma espécie de música exótica para o século XXII, plena de mistério e de ecos de estranhas formas de vida. Como se acabássemos de chegar a um planeta distante e ousássemos os primeiros passos fora da cápsula em terreno perfeitamente desconhecido. 
“46 x 92m”, o tal tema que interrompe o fluxo do já mencionado “tríptico”, é um exercício de “quarto-mundismo” que nos sugere uma actualização de algumas ideias que se produziam no Japão digital dos anos 80, quando o DX-7 da Yamaha tanto servia para traduzir novas ideias de espaço como para evocar orquestras de gamelão. É uma vívida tela de tropicalismo pintada em cores de VHS que apetece deixar em repeat do nascer ao por do sol. 
“Há algo a acontecer”, dizem-nos, em jeito de conclusão, os Niagara. Há, de facto. E não temos que perceber exactamente o que é para nos deixarmos ainda assim arrebatar.
Rui Miguel Abreu / Rimas E Batidas

Moses Sumney ‎– Aromanticism (2017)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Jagjaguwar

01.   Man On The Moon (Reprise)
02.   Don't Bother Calling
03.   Plastic
04.   Quarrel
05.   Stoicism
06.   Lonely World
07.   Make Out In My Car
08.   The Cocoon-Eyed Baby
09.   Doomed
10.   Indulge Me
11.   Self-Help Tape
12.   Untitled (Bonus Track)

Bass – Thundercat
Harp – Brandee Younger
Guitar – Tosin Abasi
Horns – Mike Rocha
Flute – Nicole Miglis
Flute, Clarinet – Tracy Wannomae
Producer, Synth – Matt Otto
Drums – Jamire Williams, Ian Chang
Electric Upright Bass – Rashaan Carter
Piano, Synth, Arranged By – Paris Strother
Guitar, Mixed By – Joshua Willing Halpern
Producer, Guitar, Bass, Synth – Ludwig Goransson
Vocals, Guitar, Written By, Producer, Bass, Synth – Moses Sydney

Loneliness is a recurrent ache in pop music; the diagnosis is normally heartbreak, unrequited love or loss. Moses Sumney has a slightly different take on what is drily termed “aromanticism” – an imperviousness to coupling up. Born of exacting self-scrutiny, it is bolstered by 70s soul, Greek myth and what sounds like a personal phalanx of angels that routinely dive bombs this gorgeously crafted album. 
We’re not all destined to be completed by some special someone, the LA musician seems to conclude. That the swooning, layered backing vocals on many of these 11 tracks turn out to be just Sumney, multi-tracked, underscore his exquisite isolation. 
Having reached a wider audience thanks to his guest spot on Solange’s A Seat at the Table album, Sumney is now taking his own stool at music’s countertop with a genre-resistant debut that juxtaposes guitars with harp sounds and electronic production. It recalls the delicacy of Anohni’s first album while sounding like little else – our own Sampha covering Tim Buckley’s Song to the Siren, maybe. 
Of course, the boy has some company. Jazz outlier Thundercat guests on bass, as does Paris Strother from King; Matt Otto, previously half of Majical Cloudz, helps out with production.

And Sumney has had sleepovers. “All my old lovers have found others,” he notes on the spare, guitar-driven folk-soul of Indulge Me. Another fantasia finds a finger-clicking Sumney declaring: “I’m not trying to go to bed with ya/I just wanna make out in my car.” Discreet panting, a jazz flute and fruity strings mark the tryst (Make Out in My Car). 
Sometimes, Sumney considers, love founders on circumstance, or worse. A key track, the expansive Quarrel, is all low-key shimmies and pops, harps and muted horns – and prejudice. “Don’t call it a lovers’ quarrel,” demands Sumney. “We cannot be lovers/Cos I am the other.” As though to underline the point, the final two minutes unfurl into spacey soul and restless jazz. 
Sometimes, in our culture, being resistant to happily-ever-after seems akin to blasphemy. The pivotal track, Doomed, finds Sumney wondering: “If lovelessness is godlessness/Will you cast me to the wayside?” This time, the cavalry of angels doesn’t arrive; it’s just Sumney’s quaver and a little thrumming synth in the background. A riveting moment later, he is excommunicating himself. “Well, I feel the peeling/Of half-painted ceilings/Reveal the covering of a blank sky.” 
Sumney has described the album as “a sonic dreamscape” and if Aromanticism has a tiny drawback, it is an over-reliance on beauty. This former choirboy has a truly celestial falsetto, but he underuses his lower register. Plastic – included here, but originally released in 2014 – finds Sumney sliding assuredly down the octaves on a single vocal line. This album packs so much succour; only once – on Lonely World – are the virtuoso musicians he has assembled allowed to express any tension. The unexpected percussion hammers down like rain.
Kitty Empire / The Guardian

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Irreversible Entanglements ‎– Who Sent You? (2020)

Style: Free Jazz, Poetry
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: International Anthem Recording Company

1.   The Code Noir / Amina
2.   Who Sent You - Ritual
3.   No Más
4.   Blues Ideology
5.   Breed Out of Stone

Double Bass, Percussion – Luke Stewart
Drums, Congas – Tcheser Holmes
Saxophone, Percussion – Keir Neuringer
Trumpet, Percussion – Aquiles Navarro
Voice, Text By – Camae Ayewa
Composed By – Aquiles Navarro, Keir Neuringer, Luke Stewart, Tcheser Holmes
Producer – Aquiles Navarro, Camae Ayewa, Keir Neuringer,Luke Stewart, Tcheser Holme

Working as Moor Mother, the Philadelphia poet and musician Camae Ayewa styles her music for sensory overload. Compressing hip-hop, punk, industrial, electronic, and noise music into a siren blare, she thrusts hundreds of years of brutal injustices in our faces, as if hoping to cram as much information through as small an opening as possible. The brevity of her songs often reflects this exigency: In discussing the throttling 83 seconds of “Deadbeat Protest” (from her 2016 album Fetish Bones) during a Red Bull Music Academy lecture, Ayewa said such brevity was “to get all the information in a short amount of time.” 
As a member of the jazz ensemble Irreversible Entanglements, Ayewa’s approach to time has shifted. Within the expanse of the form, she knows she can convey the same urgent information at a much slower pace, allowing the group—horn players Keir Neuringer and Aquiles Navarro, bassist Luke Stewart, drummer Tcheser Holmes—to elevate her into new places. She picks her spots within the music accordingly, punctuating each of the album’s five expansive compositions. 
Space defines the album, the band evoking our American topography, both physically and psychologically, capturing what’s in the news and what’s been repressed underneath that surface. At times, their 2017 debut album felt like a travelogue, and “The Code Noir/ Amina” continues that trajectory, with Ayewa evoking the Deep South, Holy Hill, and South Carolina. Whereas a Moor Mother song would typically clock out well before the two-minute mark, here she’s only just getting started by then, conveying a stunning image of scorched earth: “A mountain ain’t nothin but a tombstone for fire.” Stewart’s bass and Holmes’ drums keep everything at a rolling boil as the horn lines rove, expand, and Ayewa’s focus widens. She speaks of the void, the African ancestors who actually built America and died nameless, then asks: “At what point do we give a shit, do we stand up and say something?”

That’s not the only question she asks. The 15-minute title track begins by interrogating a beat cop, then expands to “stop and frisk” policies in general, and ultimately encompasses the sense that for most communities of color, the local police department is an occupying force at best. Ayewa, Neuringer, and Stewart first played together at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event, organized after the NYPD shot and killed Caribbean immigrant Akai Gurley, and as the band roars toward a furious climax, they even invoke Gurley’s name. Yet right at the peak, Ayewa’s voice vanishes and everything drops away to near-silence. Spare horn lines rise and evoke the eerie space of electric Miles, the mood changed entirely. Five minutes pass before she’s heard again, her voice contemplative now, speaking of a brief feeling of freedom that “tasted so good,” a joy measured in gasps. 
Perhaps the group’s most remarkable attribute is that while anger is ever-present, the fury is tempered, the music focused and controlled. As Ayewa’s inquisitive gaze turns inward on the sinewy Latin-tinged groove of “No Mas,” she remains resolved “to love ourselves fully.” Built from a walking bassline and clanging hand percussion, “Bread Out of Stone” never rises above a simmer to convey the message of resilience in the face of oppression. The shrieking, flailing properties of free jazz are often interpreted as unbridled anger, rising as it did during the heights of the Civil Rights era and inner-city unrest. And while Irreversible Entanglements draws on that tradition, they aren’t merely mimicking an older version of jazz. They are making it resonate now, emphasizing it as a music of ritual, much like Ayewa’s other loves, like gospel and blues. It conveys all of the urgency of her raw, earlier work now across a greater vista, untethered by time yet wholly in the present.
Andy Beta / Pitchfork

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Irreversible Entanglements ‎– Irreversible Entanglements (2017)

Style: Free Jazz, Poetry
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: International Anthem Recording Company

1.   Chicago To Texas
2.   Fireworks
3.   Enough
4.   Projects

Alto Saxophone, Producer – Keir Neuringer
Double Bass – Luke Stewart
Drums – Tcheser Holmes
Trumpet – Aquiles Navarro
Voice, Words By – Camae Ayewa
Engineer – Jason LaFarge
Mastered By – Helge Sten
Mixed By – David Allen

Sometimes you can get lost in the rhythm of oppression.  
The collective eye-roll/sigh (or “sigh roll”) at protest music might be so loud that listeners miss the messages. The plainspoken and vaguely connected dots of protest pop generally fall short of the problems the country sees on a day-to-day basis. Of course asking pop musicians to relax their collective stranglehold on money and societal privilege proves difficult. No one really wants to give up fame or money to help their fellow humans. 
Irreversible Entanglements’ self-titled EP offers a different set of protest songs. Instead of arguing with the liberal bourgeoisie to create more clatter, they offer the poems of the downtrodden set to freak-out jazz. Instead of recalling personal debts or aggressors, they offer a self-titled EP wracked with the wails of humans that have been mad longer than social media clapback can track. 
Of course, recited facts can be boring like so many recent protest songs -- reading 280-word twitter nonsense over a repeated beat does not a revolution make. Culling from the progressive binaries makes for a lot of public head-nodding and fist-pumping, but the 4 songs on Irreversible Entanglements tackle tougher dilemmas. The first recited line from vocalist/activist/rapper/artist Moor Mother: 
Not only do we disappear/ we hang ourselves and come up with other ways to find ourselves murdered./ Since the Southern flag came down ain’t nothing left but jails and burning churches/ and all them cotton fields picked bare… 
This is not just an EP or a record or a jazz odyssey or any of the easy-way-out disarmaments of colloquial writer-speak, it is a call to arms with less than 1,000 Spotify spins on each incredible song. It is a long-form description of prison life on “Chicago to Texas” which doubles as an anthem for those disenfranchised and disembodied in the United States. The rattling bassline & intermittent squalls of saxophone progress the ultimate complaint: we are compliant with the system’s aberrance. They’ve passed the point of wading into the water or dropping to their knees to cry out for the creator. Irreversible Entanglements serves as moment of truth for the helpless, helping and helped alike. 
The last thing we saw was fireworks symbolizing something./ Can’t tell the difference/ between America and the unknown and forever expanding and reshaping the landscape/ collapsing the poor far away/ far from any dream and wishes you had been planning on or hoping for yourself. 
Symbols mean nothing if the symbols represent nothingness. In all the clamor about flags and protests, humans rarely seem to understand that arguing produces little result. Properly defined arguments seem to attract smaller audiences – the meat of contentedness is less grist than laziness. It’s more fun to scream into a void than to speak to power. Progressivism has mishandled the message while losing the audience. This record speaks directly to the uncomfortable and very quiet gap between progress and racist perpetuity; the continual and disgusting lack of left-wing movements in American movements. 
When Moor Mother moves from watching fireworks to fighting World War III from mobile computers, they do not leap far. Symbols do not equal summation, sports figures do not equalize humanity. Irreversible Entanglements lay themselves threadbare upon the arguing, upon the classism, racism and privilege of the horde of derelicts enjoying manufactured ease. All the while, intricate rhythms guide Moor Mother’s particularly bleak view of humanity’s current struggle.  
Momma say she gonna get her check in two weeks if we can just hang on./ Momma say she gonna try to get an advance on her paycheck/ we waiting outside./ Eviction day is here. 
Why shouldn’t that view be bleak? Of all the times art has called out struggle, how can we still have the starving class? How can we still refuse unity’s beckon? How have we ignored humans this long based on man-created rivalry? When Irreversible Entanglements move to crescendo on the irrepressibly powerful, 16-minute closer “Gorgeous,” they list the names of so many African-American lives cut down by government-sanctioned violence. Why in the living hell would we argue that any lives are more important than those lost? 
Funny thing, those are the questions IE leave out. That’s on us. When we hear EVICTION DAY IS HERE amidst clatter and heavenly horns – it should be a call to action. Grim as it may be to do so, questions can be answered. Humans can hear these struggles. We can see them and understand them. That we choose not to is the crime of the current century.  
In a time where the truth has never been so easily accessible, ignoring the urge to help mankind should not be the focus of protest. Irreversible Entanglements does not present us with a simple problem. The songs do not quote history. This brilliant record does not preach from text or hold over the listener some gleaming answer. 
Instead, we are shown the truth: we are watching people die and not doing a goddamned thing to help. Tough to reconcile any other understanding than that one. And as the music ebbs and darts alongside Moor Mother’s vocal interplay, the questions keep flooding.  
Must be all them dead bodies/ babies clinging to their bloated mommas/ frozen/ human glaciers of a time when a choice was made/ to escape a hell coming. 
So what are we gonna do about it? Sigh rolls ain’t good enough anymore. The noise of our ignorance rings louder than our inaction. 
Jeff Laughlin / post-trash

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Błoto ‎– Erozje (2020)

Style: Free Improvisation, Fusion, Avant-garde Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Astigmatic Records

01.   Kałuże
02.   Mady
03.   Czarnoziemy
04.   Bagna
05.   Czarne Ziemie
06.   Rędziny
07.   Bielice
08.   Ziemie Zdegradowane Przez Człowiek
09.   Glina
10.   Gleby Brunatne

Bass Guitar, Percussion – Wuja HZG
Drums – Cancer G
Piano, Synthesizer, Percussion – Latarnik
Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – Książę Saxonii
Mastered By – Kwazar
Mixed By – Kwazar, Wojtek Perczyński

Look closely and the sleeve art resembles a painting by Ghariokwu Lemi for one of Fela Kuti's 1970s albums with Afrika 70. In the foreground, policemen beat citizens to the ground. In the background, another policeman leads someone off to a paddy wagon. Only the policemen's mobile phones locate the scenario in more recent times. Could it be Minneapolis, June 2020? 
Anyway, once you are past the dreamy soundscape of opening track "Kaluze," with its suggestion of Miles Davis' In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969), Erozje enters the dystopian present of the cover art. For the next forty-plus minutes you are in for a bumpy but stimulating ride which takes in skronk, free improv and hip hop beats, and where mellifluous Davis references make way for grittier ones such as Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970) or On The Corner (Columbia, 1972). 
Polish quartet Bloto (The Mire) is a side project by musicians from the country's larger jazz meets hip hop collective EABS, and Erozje is the group's debut album. In English, the title means erosion—erosion of the earth but also of erosion of civil liberties, free speech, evidence-based policy making and consensual policing. Western Europe and the US are in the 2010/20s experiencing this erosion for the first time in around sixty years. In Poland and Eastern Europe it is more familiar. 
All this comes through in the music, in which the electric keyboards and synths of Marek Pedziwiatr figure large. The album was recorded on a last minute impulse in a studio near Gdansk on a rest day during EABS' summer 2018 tour. It is an in-the-moment affair with motifs rather than tunes and only the most basic head arrangements. It is a vibe familiar to jazz audiences in Britain and the US, but apparently a new phenomenon on the Polish scene, where Erozje is creating something of a storm.
Chris May / All About Jazz

Monday, 20 July 2020

Jaki Liebezeit & Burnt Friedman / Burnt Friedman & João Pais ‎– Eurydike (Spilt EP) (2020)

Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country
Format: Vinyl
Label: Nonplace

         Burnt Friedman & João Pais
A1.   Out Of Ape
A2.   Fibres Of P
         Jaki Liebezeit & Burnt Friedman
B1.   Eurydike
B2.   Star Wars

Drums, Cymbal – Jaki Liebezeit
Drums, Gong, Bells – João Pais
Electronics – Burnt Friedman
Engineer – B. Friedman, Brendan Hemsworth
Mixed By – B. Friedman

There can few more seismic instances in modern history than the moments Jaki Liebezeit auditioned for Can. He got the job, obviously, but when the band suggested he “drum more monotonously” they spawned the attitude that gave borth to Krautrock and much of the dance and rock music alike that followed. 
Liebezeit’s hard hitting but irresistibly funky drumming style influenced everyone from The Fall and Happy Mondays to Primal Scream – they sampled his beats on their ‘Kowalski’ single – but like many artists he had moved on long before his reputation reached its peak. “People keep saying my drumming is so reduced, but there’s nothing minimalist about the way I play,” he is quoted as saying in the press release for this EP, “I just leave out the superfluous stuff.” He also discusses abandoning the standard ‘American’ drumkit in the latter part of his career, adding:: “I looked around for something different, and now I just play drums.” 
Liebezeit, who passed away in January 2017 at the age of 78, followed his stint with Can with guest appearances with everyone from Michael Rother to Brian Eno and Depeche Mode. But one of his longest musical relationships was with fellow German musician Burnt Friedman, once part of early Ninja-affiliated outfit Drome and a respected producer under a number of different aliases. This four track EP features two previously unreleased tracks recorded by the pair, along with two that Friedman created with another maverick percussion wizard, 
João Pais Filipe from Porto in Portugal. Although one drummer – Liebezeit – is effectively twice the age of the other, there are remarkable similarities, Both have a freeform style that eschews the usual backbeat conventions in favour of head-nodding polyrhythmic hypnotism that owes something to the traditions of experimental jazz as well as what feels like the ancient codes and codas of African culture. 
The two contributions recorded (in 2016) with Liebezeit are part of the pair’s Secret Rhythms concept, a project drawing on the idea of mother nature (or Eurydike) to inform its beats. ‘Eurydike’ is the more fluid of the two recordings, his drums flowing and flaring over pulsating electronic beats and a feedback-style drone which waxes and wanes throughout. ‘Star Wars’, on the other hand, is more of a stop/start affair, driven around a stuttering, sideways groove but with plenty of personality and human, idiosyncratic quirks. 
The former Can drummer might be the big name, but Friedman’s electronic flourishes match his percussive thrills both in exuberance and accomplishment. ‘Eurydike’, especially, is graced by a some wonderfully delicate, gradually uncoiling synth parts that bubble away moistly. 
This carefully honed and understated style carries over into the pair of Burnt Friedman & João Pais tracks. ‘Out Of Ape’ is probably the most instantly addictive thing here, a bit like listening to The Black Dog jamming live with Fela Kuti;’s rhythm section. Pais is known for building his own gongs and cymbals, and their flavour splashes itself all over both tracks. ‘Fibres Of P’ meanwhile, has a clockwork nature to its atmosphere, quirkier and more off kilter, Friedman’s analogue trimmings glowing like absorbing embers in the fire. 
This EP obviously stands as a testament not only Jaki Liebezeit’s talent but also to how far he had developed and evolved as a drummer since his days with Can. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the other two talents on show here, who more than hold their own in such exalted company. Highly recommended.
Ben Wilmmott / God Is In The TV

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Isayahh Wuddha ‎– Urban Brew (2020)

Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul, Pop
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label: WotNot Music

A1.   Feel
A2.   Elephant Wave
A3.   More
B1.   Something In Blue
B2.   Emerald
B3.   Shipping Love Beat
B4.   Ever

Producer – Isayahh Wuddha

Everything feels really serious at the moment. The news is the bleakest it’s ever been. If you concentrate on it for too long everything begins to start to feel a bit too much. We all need an escape. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. Luckily, the antidote to all this doom and gloom is at hand in the form of ‘Urban Brew’, the debut album by Isayahh Wuddha. 
The album opens with ‘Feel’. Cascading Casio keyboards welcome us before Wuddha’s diaphanous vocals wash over us. The beat is static and retro-sounding. Looking at the cover: it sounds exactly like you’d imagine. The artwork features a painting of Wuddha. He has massive hair, retro sunglasses, a blue shirt and green skinned. Next to him, but upside down, is another version of him. This depiction is slightly darker and more menacing. It seems to suggest that there are not only two sides to the record, but to Wuddha. One is easy going, fun loving; the other is slightly darker and has demons. 
As the album progresses there is a distinction between these contrary aspects. ‘Elephant Wave’ and ‘More’ are more upbeat, but ‘Something Blue’ slows things down with its tender, scratchy, guitars and half sung/half spoken lyrics. ‘Ever’ closes the album with gossamer finger plucked guitars. It lies somewhere between traditional Japanese playing and Western folk traditions. And this is what the album really is. A mixture of Eastern melodies and Western production. As ‘Ever’ progresses the music gets more skewed and wonkier. 
After a first listen it’s hard to fathom what is going on, other than a love in between Albert Ayler, Damo Suzuki, Western pop, and James Brown. But what is evident is that ‘Urban Brew’ is a lot of fun. After a few more listens, its outsider art charm begins to disappear, and you are left with delicate ballads dancing over intricate lo-fi indie soul. 
‘Urban Brew’ is a glorious album that is offers many earworms. At times there are flourishes of Connan Mockasin and Pop Levis’ skewed pop, but this isn’t pastiche. Where Mockasin and Levi sometimes went too far, which could be detrimental to the listening experience, Wuddha is totally measured and in control. Wuddha has his own distinctive sound and voice. He understands his strengths and pushes them for all their worth. 
Throughout the recording Wuddha claims he was laughing. This definitely comes across in the music. Unabashed joy permeates from the songs. The keyboards are whimsical, but not annoying. The melodies light, but captivating. The album was created as something Isayahh Wuddha could to sing to while dancing.
Nick Roseblade / Clash Magazine

Thursday, 16 July 2020

dumama + kechou ‎– buffering juju (2020)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mushroom Hour Half Hour

1.   leaving prison
2.   wessi walking mama
3.   for madala
4.   intaka
5.   uveni
6.   umzi
7.   khala zome
8.   mother time

Synthesizer – Dion Monti
Bass – Shane Cooper
Vibraphone – Dylan Greene
Clarinet – Angel Bat Dawid
Piano – Nobuhle Ashanti
Trombone – Siya Makuzeni
Vocals – Odwa Bongo
Co-producer, Executive Producer – Andrew Curnow
Executive Producer, Co-producer – dumama

The sounds of survival loom large at the start of Buffering Juju, a new concept album from Johannesburg-based duo Dumama (Gugulethu Duma) and Kechou (Kerim Melik Becker). Opening track "Leaving Prison" joins Dumama and Kechou's typically spacious sense of arrangement with the powerful harmonies of a South African struggle song, the slightest pitch distortions hinting at strange unknowns ahead for the album's main character, a woman just released from incarceration and ready to find a new place in the outside world. 
Her journey is long, stakes raised by the baby on her back, and the shapeshifting beings she meets along the way, drawing her into new realms. But as important as the story itself is the sound of it. Buffering Juju is an album that, like its protagonist, takes a heretofore uncharted route and starts walking, until, by the end, Dumama and Kechou have carved a new path and marked it with a wholly unique musical experience. With roots at opposite poles of the continent -- Duma is local to Pretoria, while Becker was born in raised in Germany with some Algerian ancestry; the two met in Cape Town -- both members of the duo have much to offer the whole. That's clear even in simply examining the list of instruments used: vocoders, synths, darbuka, calabash, talking drum, chitende, found sounds, kashaka, and still more.

Also key to Buffering Juju is a careful selection of guest artists. "Wessi Walking Mama", which finds the album's central character walking with her baby beneath a hot sun toward no end, brings in Shane Cooper on formidable upright bass and Siya Makuzeni on trombone. Each of them underscores an existential need for resilience in the lives of women who have suffered beneath colonial and postcolonial burdens. Odwa Bongo's vocals and Nobuhle Ashanti's piano make "For Madala" particularly poignant. Starry "Uveni", a lament about that oppression of women within their households, features vibraphonist Dylan Greene and brilliant jazz multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid, whose achingly impassioned clarinet playing conveys a stunning sense of both longing and urgency. 
Underpinning the sounds themselves are aural leanings toward the avant-garde, but not for its own sake. Every choice Duma and Becker make is in service of the story, and to that end, the duo draws on the sounds of acoustic folk, free jazz, and stripped-down dub, stylistic diversity joined together in narrative unity. A crucial common factor is Duma's exceptional voice, smooth, expressive, and as capable of soothing as it is of soaring. She bookends the album with the aforementioned interpretation of an older struggle song and closing track "Mother Time", a lyrical meditation on order and cycles in which Duma glides from verse to chant to spoken word over an entrancing instrumental line. 
Buffering Juju is unquestionably modern in its viewpoint, perhaps even more so for the generational trauma it invokes in its subject matter, and the plethora of folk instruments and styles Dumama and Kechou employ in their storytelling. This is a duo that does not shy away from suffering - or, for that matter, from anything. They confront the past and the present, taking on not only legacies of pain, but legacies of thriving through it. On Buffering Juju, Dumama and Kechou use histories to envision a new way forward, and they tell us all about it in ways only they can.
Adriane Pontecorvo / popMATERS

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Guts ‎– Philantropiques (2019)

Genre: Hip Hop, Latin, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Heavenly Sweetness

01.   Voyaging Bird Feat. Jowee Omicil
02.   Mucagiami Feat. Vum Vum
03.   Já Não Há Mais Paz Feat. Catia Werneck
04.   Groove ma poule Feat. Djeudjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson
05.   Daddy Sweet Feat. Pat Kalla
06.   Li Dous Konsa
07.   Sa Ce Kado Feat. Black Sage
08.   Kenke Corner
09.   Shake It and Rise Up
10.   Nosso Carimbó é do Mundo Feat. Pinduca & Nazaré Pereira
11.   Matadou
12.   Sé Nou Menm
13.   Bougé Bagay La
14.   Penda Feat. Emma Lamadji & Kandy Guira

Recorded, Mixed By – Mathieu Gibert
Keyboards – Florian Pellissier
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone – Ben Abarbanel-Wolff

Guts was first known for being one of France’s cornerstone beatmakers, laying the soundtrack for artists such as Alliance Ethnik, Big Red or Svinkels before releasing “Le Bienheureux” in 2007, his first solo album under the Guts alias. 
Driven by a constant will of reinventing himself, he comes back with a new live band. Irremediably drawn to world vibrations, he mainly focused of those coming from Africa and the Caribbeans in this new project. A new shift embodied by “Mucagiami”, a percussive Angolan Semba track featuring forgotten singer Manuel Rosário das Neves alias Vum Vum.

This album is in line with his Beach Digging series he has been working on since 2013 with his partner Mambo. Five editions that gathers smooth and sunny tracks from around the world, constituting the ideal soundtrack for a day at the beach. 
This new album is a true musical journey with stopovers in Haiti, the Caribbean, Africa and the Amazon. It features several collaborations with artists from all around the world, each track telling the story of these musical encounters.
Pan African Music

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Império Pacífico ‎– Exílio (2020)

Genre: Electronic
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Variz

1.   Terraquipasa
2.   Camada A Ferver feat. Maria Reis
3.   Villa
4.   Nitsusada feat. Maria Reis
5.   Exílio
6.   Bonfim (Cheat Codes & Pedras)
7.   Semente
8.   Acid Sycamore

Mastered By – Tó Pinheiro Da Silva
Mixed By – Benjamim Castanheira
Music By – Luan Belussi, Pedro Tavares
Produced By – Império Pacífico
Vocals – Maria Reis

Dois anos depois do último lançamento, os Império Pacífico fogem “do conforto que um determinado sub-género pode oferecer” neste álbum de estreia. Aqui, a dupla de Luan Bellussi (trash CAN) e Pedro Tavares (funcionário) recorre a “sintetizadores cortantes” e a “samples com o som da cidade como quem está a ouvi-la de fora”, lê-se em comunicado. 
Ao longo de seis faixas, o duo sadino explora sonoridades mais leftfield, caminhando por lugares IDM ou techno, e conta com a participação de Maria Reis, metade das Pega Monstro que anda a fazer música a solo, e de Cheat Codes & Pedras em três temas. 
Na discografia da dupla, “Exílio” sucede o EP “Racing Team”, editado de forma independente em 2018. Antes disso, os membros do Coletivo Colinas, que já atuaram com este projeto colaborativo em espaços como o Lounge ou o festival OUT.FEST, assinaram EPs pelas lisboetas Alienação e Rotten \\ Fresh, nomeadamente “180º” (2016) e “Império Pacífico” (2017), respetivamente. 
À hora de publicação, o trabalho, misturado por Benjamim Castanheira e masterizado por Tó Pinheiro da Silva, ainda não está disponível na íntegra no Bandcamp, mas não deve tardar até a Variz o disponibilizar.
a cabine

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Serge Gainsbourg ‎– Histoire De Melody Nelson (1971)

Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Philips, Universal Music, Mercury

1.   Melody
2.   Ballade De Melody Nelson
3.   Valse De Melody
4.   Ah! Melody
5.   L'Hotel Particulier
6.   En Melody
7.   Cargo Culte

Vocals – Jane Birkin
Producer, Arranged By, Conductor – Jean-Claude Vannier
Recorded By – Jean-Claude Charvier, Rémy Aucharles

Serge Gainsbourg had no great attachment to genre. By the time he came to rock music, in his early 40s, the French star had traced his oblique, provocative course through chanson (French vocal music), jazz, and light pop. He'd made percussive café jams about suicide and given Eurovision popstrels France Gall and Françoise Hardy songs full of blowjob puns. Later on he'd make a rock'n'roll album about the Nazis and a reggae take on the French national anthem. A pattern emerges: Gainsbourg hops from style to style, but with a terrific instinct for finding the most startling content for any given form. 
So it's no surprise his rock work-- the early 1970s albums, of which Histoire de Melody Nelson is the first and finest-- was so original. Melody Nelson is a collaboration with composer and arranger Jean-Claude Vannier, who assembled a bunch of top sessionmen for the album. But Gainsbourg and Vannier had little interest in the conventions that had accreted around early 70s rock. Like a lot of 1971 records, Histoire de Melody Nelson is a concept album: Unlike most, it's only 28 minutes long. The songs are lavishly orchestrated, yet the dominant instrument isn't guitar or organ but rather Herbie Flowers' lascivious, treacly bass, playing a seedy, rambling take on funk. 
That bass is the first sound you hear on Melody Nelson, quietly tracking up and down in a windscreen-wiper rhythm: Gainsbourg starts talking in French 30 seconds later, describing a night drive in a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The album is routinely described as "cinematic," but the music is more of a mindtrack than a soundtrack-- a tar pit of introspection when Gainsbourg's brooding narrator is alone at the record's beginning and end, then giddy and savage by turns as he conducts his affair with the 15-year-old Melody across the short tracks in the album's middle. One of these-- "Ballade de Melody Nelson"-- is, even at two minutes, one of Gainsbourg's most assured and alluring pop songs.

A lot of Gainsbourg's records are hard sells for Anglophone ears-- the music is there to illuminate and pace the man's riotous, sensual wordplay. But Gainsbourg's alliance with Vannier produced a true collaboration: The arrangements seem to respond almost intuitively to the twists in Gainsbourg's language and narrative, to the point where they're carrying as much storytelling weight as the words. Even if your French stops at "bonjour", the music lets you know that this is a record about a dark, obsessional love. On "L'hôtel Particulier", for instance-- describing the sleazy grandeur of the rented rooms where the narrator and Melody make love-- Gainsbourg's voice shudders with lust and dread, and the music responds, flares of piano and string breaking into the song over an impatient bassline. 
The actual story of Histoire de Melody Nelson is pretty negligible in any case-- man meets girl, man seduces girl, girl dies in freak plane crash. Melody herself (played by Jane Birkin, Gainsbourg's then-lover) is a cipher-- a breathed name, a ticklish squeal or two, and red hair. The album is all about its narrator: A natural obsessive just looking for an object; introspective before he meets Melody, more so after her death. First and final tracks "Melody" and "Cargo Culte" are musical siblings, with only the wordless chorales on "Cargo Culte" really distinguishing them. 
Together these songs take up more than half the record, and when people claim Melody Nelson as an influence, it's almost certainly with this pair in mind. The soundworld they create is like nothing else in rock-- orchestra, bass, and voice circling one another, blending slow funk, intimate mumbling, and widescreen scope. One precedent is the epic soul Isaac Hayes had been pioneering, but where Hot Buttered Soul is full of warmth and engagement, the bookend tracks of Melody Nelson are a trip through far more hostile territories, the black spaces of a man's interior. 
Gainsbourg realized he'd made something special-- he named his publishing company Melody Nelson after his fictional muse-- but, restless as ever, he didn't follow it up: His next album was a sequence of pretty acoustic songs, mostly about shit. Herbie Flowers, whose bass is the undertow pulling the album together, surfaced a year later playing on Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side", whose bassline is the first ripple of Melody Nelson's wider pop culture influence. Since then it's been left to others-- Jarvis Cocker, Beck, Tricky, Air, Broadcast-- to pick up this record's breadcrumb trail. But Gainsbourg's dark focus, and Vannier's responsiveness, aren't easily equalled. This reissue on luxuriously hefty vinyl is the first time the album's been released in the U.S.-- a superb opportunity to hear a record that's been occasionally imitated but never matched.
Tom Ewing / Pitchfork