Monday, 23 March 2020

Tommaso Cappellato ‎– Aforemention (2016)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Avant-garde
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mental Groove Records, Mashibeats

1.   Team Ball
2.   R'n'Free
3.   Pastlife Flashbacks
4.   Fly (feat. Nia Andrews)
5.   Get Set Free (feat. Dulcinea Detwah)
6.   Gentle Glide
7.   Solitary Orbiter
8.   Melting Spheres
9.   Two Ends of the Spectrum

Victor Lewis - Spoken word on "Team Ball"
Nia Andrews - Vocals on "Fly"
Dulcinea Detwah - Vocals on "Get Set Free"
Tommaso Cappellato - Drums, Percussion, Synths, Electronics, Vocals
Produced by Tommaso Cappellato

Eclectic italian drummer, band leader, dj and composer whose work runs the gamut from freeform techno to hip-hop production and jazz improvisation. 
Italian musician, producer, DJ and composer Tommaso Cappellato is a musical maverick ‐ running the gamut from free‐form techno to hip‐ hop production and jazz improvisation. Mentored by jazz visionaries Harry Whitaker (Black Renaissance), Michael Carvin (Pharoah Sanders) and collaborator with techno master Donato Dozzy, Tommaso’s seemingly unorthodox breadth of style and vision gives us a truly unique new school artist. 
From building his jazz chops as a resident drummer in NYC, to hip hop excursions alongside Brooklyn MC Yah Supreme; traveling to Senegal to meld with local world music masters, to leading his own award‐ winning spiritual jazz project Astral Travels; collaborating with experimental electronica and techno artist Rabih Beaini and visionary Egyptian producer Maurice Louca to now presenting his solo artist project ‘Aforemention’ ‐ Tommaso is the modern renaissance man, bringing together his lifetime of artistic exploration and exposure to create his own concept of a jazz‐informed experimental electronic soundscape. 
Tommaso’s fascination for sounds outside the jazz realm led him to this new project ‐ asking himself what would happen if he created alone, embracing everything from inspirations to moments of randomness and finding his own musical identity in that process. Using drums, analog synths and his own voice, Tommaso has created a body of work that evokes inner spaces, outer realms and new ideas. 
‘Aforemention’ takes in all of Tommaso’s past experiences and sees him creating a one‐man journey through sound. He is joined on the album by three guests ‐ legendary drummer Victor Lewis provides spoken word on ‘Team Ball’ to introduce the album; Inglewood, CA native and Solange‐collaborator Nia Andrews vocals the ode to freedom ‘Fly’ and Detroit/NYC vocalist Dulcinea Detwah brings freeform hip hop verse to ‘Get Set Free’. Everything else you hear is performed solo by Tommaso Cappellato.
Resident Advisor 

Dead Can Dance ‎– Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (1987)

Style: Modern Classical, Dark Ambient, Neo-Classical
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: 4AD, Rough Trade, Megadisc

1.   Anywhere Out Of The World
2.   Windfall
3.   In The Wake Of Adversity
4.   Xavier
5.   Dawn Of The Iconoclast
6.   Cantara
7.   Summoning Of The Muse
8.   Persephone (The Gathering Of Flowers)

Cello – Gus Ferguson, Tony Gamage
Instruments, Voice, Performer – Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard
Oboe – Ruth Watson
Timpani, Snare [Military] – Peter Ulrich
Trombone – John Singleton, Richard Avison
Trumpet – Mark Gerrard
Tuba, Bass Trombone – Andrew Claxton
Viola – Piero Gasparini
Violin – Alison Harling, Emlyn Singleton
Written-By – Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard
Producer – Dead Can Dance, John A. Rivers

If there ever was a band to help define the 4AD label and the Goth movement, it would be Dead Can Dance.  I didn’t get into this band until the late 90s, as a lot of Americans didn’t because this is an Aussie band that started in 1981 and didn’t hit the States until the early 90s.  Consisting of primarily two people, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, this is as brilliant an alternative-Goth band as you will ever experience. 
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, while being their 3rd album, is a great place to start and don’t start with the first song, start with the 6th song, ‘Cantara’.  Then have at it.  Yes, the music is dark, weird, spiritual, classical, and goth-eclectic but, the reason I find their music so brilliant is it has the same effect on a listener as Goat does today.  It’s just so fucking majestic when played loud and you have to experience it.  No, Goat’s psych guitars are replaced by cellos and harps, but the percussion and the lovely voices of both Lisa and Brendan, take these alt-classical compositions into the stratosphere. 
Lisa, who chants, shouts, exhales on the flip-side of this vinyl re-release, has one incredibly inspirational voice.  Brendan, on the other hand, on many of his vocal compositions, sounds like a subdued Eddie Vedder, if he were to do a soundtrack to a 60s Hitchcock Thriller (‘Anywhere Out of the World’). 
But give 4AD credit, the label that made the Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses, Lush, and later bands such as Blonde Redhead famous is because no matter how eclectic the sound, the quality and brilliance is always there. 
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun has been re-released on vinyl by 4AD and if there was ever a better reason to bring out the turntable, it would be to flip this incredible album over, ease the needle onto the platter, listen to those first couple of subdued pops and crackles and experience ‘Cantara’.  Then, guaranteed the rest will follow.
Jim Harris / Soundblab

Nonkeen ‎– The Gamble (2016)

Style: Future Jazz, Downtempo, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: R & S Records

1.   The Invention Mother
2.   Saddest Continent On Earth
3.   Ceramic People
4.   Animal Farm
5.   This Beautiful Mess
6.   Capstan
7.   Chasing God Through Palmyra
8.   Pink Flirt
9.   Re : turn!

Drums, Percussion – Andrea Belfi
Mixed By, Mastered By, Performer – Nils Frahm
Performer – Sepp Singwald
Written-By, Performer – Nonkeen

German keyboardist and composer Nils Frahm's music has always been, at its heart, instinctive—sometimes, to a degree where it seems like he's trying to get a rise out of people. He's been bold enough to release albums of spare, fully improvised solo piano material; last year, he decided to flout both copyright and John Cage-ian practice by performing a version of the notorious avant-garde composer's silent work, 4:33, with plenty of sound. Rules and guidelines have never been hard and fast things for Frahm, and his latest album with his childhood trio nonkeen highlights that Frahm is best when he's having fun: proposing limitations but then pushing back against them when the musical moment seems to call for it. 
The Gamble loosely explores and repurposes old informal recordings Frahm made with fellow bandmates Frederic Gmeiner and Sebastian Singwald in Germany in the early '90s. The recently reunited nonkeen recorded over and sampled mixdowns from the original, often degenerated '90s 4-track tapes, and used the same type of primitive recorders to record their new parts. The complex and troubleshooting-filled process gives the record both a welcome warmth and oddly brittle quality. The drums sound hollow and far off, occasionally like toy models of themselves. However, there is a richness to the analog-plus-digital method which easily transcends the characterization of "lo-fi." 
The short record's unusual production style is essential because it helps shape and enhance its raw musical building blocks. Some of these pieces might sound a touch too non-descript if they had been realized in a more polished way. It's the cleaner, more straighforward pieces which feel the most aimless. But when the band restricts themselves to dense, blurry rhythms and unidentifiable timbres, the album shines. On hyperactive jams like "Ceramic People," the source of sound becomes uncertain and dizzying, giving the music a constantly destabilized feel.

The use of bottom-shelf, my-first-recorder-type equipment isn't just an aesthetic choice. It's also a huge source of the music's elements of chance or spontaneity. The finicky materials result in feedback and odd bursts of incidentally rhythmic noise which often become the highlights of the songs. On "Pink Flirt"—featuring Frahm's electric piano and organ—the tape slows down suddenly to create a majestic sweep. It's the album's central, disruptive climax. It's no accident that rather than listing the instruments they played on their Bandcamp credits, nonkeen chose to list the various dated recording devices used in their album credits; these machines are The Gamble's most important soloists. 
Despite all the preoccupation with recording technique, the album mainly succeeds because it sounds like the work of a small group of musicians, jamming and building off of one another's cues in real time. This is not "serious," process music, and it doesn't sound like it. The classical reference points of Frahm's work as a soloist are evident in the music—Cage, the minimalism of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, the humor and plaintiveness of French turn-of-the-century composers like Erik Satie and Gabriel Fauré, and dignified, semi-New Agers like Keith Jarrett and George Winston. But in the context of the propulsive ensemble, points of inspiration are never pulled out and highlighted one by one; each of the three players seems to be culling from different places at once. 
Influences that are new to Frahm's catalog crop up here to provide welcome reference points. Frahm's seething Rhodes piano, which recalls Joe Zawinul or Herbie Hancock, is a necessary arbiter of tension throughout the album, a playful element which helps to distinguish nonkeen from your average krautrock-indebted, experimental rock band. Centerpiece "This Beautiful Mess"—dominated by electric piano scare cues—sounds like something between Cluster, Mulatu Astake's noir world-jazz, and exotic slow-wax fusion that could have been pressed on ECM. Like all the best tracks on The Gamble, the live band sounds more and more unreal as the track builds. 
Nonkeen's vocabulary is very familiar, sometimes verging on lackluster. But the band knows its own limitations, and charms across the record's duration. They quickly establish moods—appealing, slightly disparate shades of pensiveness, rueful theme music for some hypothetical arthouse drama—and then cut straight into the next well-realized idea. We aren't forced to listen to long pieces that are hoping to introduce hypnosis, as in the minimalist music or traditional krautrock that comes to bear on nonkeen's vocabulary; each song is simply a quick burst of energy. The Gamble sounds like the peek into a group of friends' private rituals that it is—as charmingly patched together and messy as it is well-paced and dynamic.
Winston Cook-Wilson / Pitchfork

Barry Adamson ‎– Moss Side Story (1989)

Style: Modern Classical, Acid Jazz, Industrial
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mute, Restless Records, ArsNova

        Act One: The Ring's The Thing
01.   On The Wrong Side Of Relaxation (Voice – Diamanda Galas)
02.   Under Wraps
03.    Central Control
04.   Round Up The Usual Suspects
        Act Two: Real Deep Cool
05.   Sounds From The Big House
06.   Suck On The Honey Of Love
07.   Everything Happens To Me
08.   The Swinging Detective
        Act Three: The Final Irony
09.   Autodestruction
10.   Intensive Care
11.   The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
12.   Free At Last
        For Your Ears Only
13.   Alfred Hitchcock Presents
14.   Chocolate Milk Shake
15.   The Man With The Golden Arm

Strings Arranged By – Barry Adamson, Bill McGee
Cello – Audrey Riley
Orchestrated By – Bill McGe
Hammond Organ – Seamus Beaghen
Piano – Seamus Beaghen
Violin – Chris Tombling, Philippa Holland, Sonya Slany
Producer, Performer, Sampler, Sequenced By – Barry Adamson