Monday, 11 May 2020

Melon ‎– Do You Like Japan? (1982)

Genre: Electronic, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: GT Music, Alfa

1.   Do You Like Japan?
2.   O.D. (Optimistic Depression)
3.   Honey Dew
4.   Song Of Apollo
5.   I Will Call You (& Other Famous Last Words)
6.   Million Years Picnic
7.   Don't Worry About After Death (Shaka Shaka Nippon)
8.   Neutron Nevada Never Say Die
9.   Final Newsar

Bass – Haruomi Hosono
Saxophone – Ralph Carney
Trumpet – David Buck
Cabasa – Masami Tsuchiya
Congas, Percussion, Cowbell – Steven Scales
Drums – Yukihiro Takahashi
Fretless Bass – Percy Jones
Guitar – Masami Tsuchiya
Piano – Bruce Brody
Tape – Butch Jones
Prophet 5 Synthesizer, Clavinet – Bernie Worrell
Backing Vocals – Dolette McDonald, Michelle Cobbs
Songwriter – Toshio Nakanishi
Mixed By – Butch Jones, Toshio Nakanishi
Producer – Moichi Kuwahara, Toshio Nakanishi
Band – Chica Sato, Moichi Kuwahara, Toshio Nakanishi

Massively influenced by American R&B, Do You Like Japan? holds that rare thing for us as listeners: it’s a question posed in the title. Was ex-Plastics frontman Toshio Nakanishi asking us if we liked Japan or was he asking himself that same question? The answer would be hard to tell after you listen to the album. Created after his breakup with the Plastics and while living in NYC, Melon’s Do You Like Japan? was his first attempt to mix Japanese techno-pop with harder-nosed American funk, disco, and R&B. We already know what another ex-Plastic, Masahide Sakuma, did after its demise. In his own way, Toshio was following a similar path, trying to create his own blend of future-thinking Japanese music. Before he became this massive force as a pioneer of Japanese hip-hop, Toshio had to discover this other rung of American music that would send him there. Once he heard “Planet Rock” on the radio Toshio discovered that this cut-up style could help him achieve a “certain funk-ness” he was after.

The debut release from Melon was the rare (for its time) polyglot group of Japanese and American musicians digging for both answers to the Do You Like Japan? question. Joined by members from the Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Bernie Worrell (on keys), Bruce Brody from the Patti Smith Group (on piano), and Percy Jones from Brand X (on bass) , all of them would form the American side of the Melon equation. From Japan, Toshio was joined by the likes of Haruomi Hosono (on bass), Chica Sato (another ex-Plastic on background vocals), Yukihiro Takahashi (on drums), and Masami Tsuchiya from Ippu-Do (on guitar). Trading on both sides’ strengths, Toshio made them go for a third form of music that was equally indebted to the new, urban sound of underground America and a fascinating, distinctly modern, Japanese electro sound. 
“Do You Like Japan?” the opener, kicks off with that unique mix they were going for. Led by a twisted groove laid down by Yukihiro and Percy Jones, Toshio intones the feeling of displacement he feels while trying to live/make it in America. Do people like him just because of his exoticism? Does he feel truly welcome here? Thsoe are the dark themes underlied by Percy’s rubbery bass lines. A quicksilver song, it changes moods with Japanese-style piano melodies and percussion that work in tandem with this mutant funk propelling the song forward. Six minutes long, its exploratory funk is far removed from the B-52-pastiche of The Plastics. Some of you may even hear shades of Caetano Veloso’s “You Don’t Know Me” in it, if you pay attention.

The first side of this album rolls on with similar dark, muscular R&B. “OD (Optimistic Depression)” distills the Factory Records sound (early A Certain Ratio and OMD specifically) through a brilliant technicolor sheen performed on the guitar of Masami Tsuchiya, that the rest of the crew use to once again lay into a very echo-laced, dubby groove with perfect abandon. “Honey Dew” more overtly skates on the side of Japan, with a beautiful ballad that reminds me of those big hearted, ambient ballads Brian Eno would sneak into his early solo records. The first half then draws to a close with a moonlit torch song called “Song of Apollo” that Tom Verlaine surely would have killed to write for Television. 
When you flip to the other side, “I Will Call You” gives you a glimpse of the even funkier, more hip-hop indebted sound that would spark Melon’s sophomore release. Here we get a match made in funk heaven with Bernie Worrell and Percy Jones taking percolating go-go grooves to another level. Panned to your left Bernie’s there (but not quite there) synth squeals meet Percy’s jelly roll-like bass plucks, while Toshio, Masami, and Yukihiro create something akin to the GAP band meeting Kid Creole in Osaka. Do You Like Japan?‘s first light-hearted track also presents a brilliant change of pace to lift the album further. When the album threatens to fall off its course with the slight “Million Years Picnic”, “Don’t Worry About After Death” picks up the pace again, with another fantastic angular bit of Japanese funk – definitely stick around for buildup after the bridge. 
Competing for my place of favorite songs from the album are the two final songs. “Neutron Nevada Never Say Die” treats American music like David Byrne treated African music in Fear of Music, both as source of inspiration and source to pull you into a hypnagogic state. Kicking off with what sounds like television samples, seagull recordings, and a spiraling bass groove, the song goes into a rarefied sonic stratosphere when Toshio twitches his vocals through a snake charmer-like guitar section played by Masami. “Final News” ends the album with what sounds a like disco song pulling itself into disintegration. Opulent disco strings and pianos, transform to denser things when those drum and bass groove aim for the breakbeat rhythms of hip-hop, Toshio can only contort his vocals to fit into the much more weightier emotions being performed here. Ghostly Japanese recordings then form as a bridge to an even more dubby, darker section where Toshio raps his way to an ending. Those rapped lines: “You got to use what you want/to get what you want” are seriously quite a way to end to Toshio’s transformational album. He’d go harder next, but here was a good start to that sound.
Diego Olivas / FOND/SOUND

Africaine 808 ‎– Basar (2016)

Style: African, House, Nu-Disco
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Golf Channel Recordings

10.   The Awakening
02.   Ngoni
03.   Language Of The Bass
04.   Nation
05.   Ready For Something New
06.   Basar
07.   Rhythm Is All You Can Dance (Album Mix)
08.   Crawfish Got Soul
09.   Balla Balla
10.   Yes, We Can't
11.   Fallen From The Stars
12.   The Lord Is A Woman
13.   Tummy Tummy (Esa's Afro Synth Remix)
14.   Tummy Tummy (Auntie Flo Remix)

On their debut album, the German duo Africaine 808 reinvent the entire concept of "world music" from the ground up. Although they sample styles ranging from Nigerian funk to spiritual jazz to cumbia, what unifies their work is its deep sense of musicality. The songs evolve as inscrutably and as naturally as the movements of a crowd.

Three songs into Africaine 808's debut album, over rippling drum machine and hand percussion, a British DJ named Alex Voice declares, "Sound systems—that's where it began." He's talking about the enormous stacks of speakers that have rocked the UK ever since they were imported from Jamaica in the 1950s, and his voiceover is part history lesson, part autobiography and part sermon. The title of the song, "Language of the bass," comes from a refrain that he intones with the gravitas usually reserved for scripture, and true to form, the song's synthesized bassline writhes like a thing alive, its portamento glide and nimble syncopations as expressive as glyphs.

But Basar isn't really a sound-system album; with the exception of "Language of the Bass," UK dance culture barely figures. Instead, it's an album about hybridity, about the way that far-flung styles and sounds can make excellent dance partners. Refreshingly, there is nothing didactic about the German duo's approach. Rather than reprising established histories, Africaine 808 seem determined to devise their own narrative, one that reinvents the entire concept of "world music" from the ground up.

This has been their way since the beginning. One of Africaine 808's early singles, "Lagos, New York," built a bridge between Nigerian rhythms and New York disco, while "Cosmicumbia" linked cumbia, cosmic disco, and Afrobeat. Basar incorporates a host of disparate musical styles and conventions, but never in a tokenistic way: Instead, it's a joyful mélange of sounds and rhythms, all underpinned by intricately programmed TR-808 patterns. In "Ngoni," a West African string instrument provides the center of gravity for a rich, evolving array of rolling hand percussion, marimba, and fat, throbbing synthesizers. "Crawfish Got Soul" begins with the kind of jokey sample you might expect to find on 3 Feet High and Rising—a barking seal, a vintage recording of an MC exhorting people to loosen up and dance—and quickly launches into a sprightly, Southern-fried mix of upright bass, blues guitar, horns, vibraphone, and Farfisa organs.

Their hybrid approach is an extension of the DJ-friendly edits of African and Latin music that the duo's members, Dirk Leyers and DJ Nomad, have been making for their Vulkandance parties for years. But Basar doesn't limit its perspective to the dancefloor: "The Awakening," the album's opening track, deploys airy horns and strings in a way that's reminiscent of spiritual jazz, and the 808 doesn't even enter until halfway through the track. All of the album's songs tend to follow similarly serpentine arrangements, evolving as inscrutably and as naturally as the movements of a crowd. When they want to, they can also write flat-out beautiful songs: "Ready for Something New" is a tender tune featuring the vocals of the Israeli singer Ofri Brin, while "Fallen From the Stars" sounds like a melancholy response to Beanfield's great broken-beat ballad "The Season."

What really unifies the album is its deep sense of musicality. The album wouldn't be the same without the contributions of the Congolese/German percussionist Dodo N'Kishi, a longtime collaborator of Mouse on Mars, and the Ghanian percussionist Eric Owusu, who has played with Ebo Taylor. On "Language of the Bass," the interplay between bassline, squeaky synth lead, hi-hats, and myriad other accenting sounds amounts to a dazzling feat of syncopation. Despite that song's title and voiceover, what ultimately makes it sing isn't just its bassline, but how the pieces conjure the whole. With Basar, they have assembled a vast glossary of fresh sounds, considerably enriching the language of contemporary dance music in the process.
Philip Sherburne / Pitchfork

Kiko Dinucci ‎– Rastilho (2020)

Style: Afrobeat, MPB, Instrumental
Format: FLAC
Label: Not On Label

01.   Exu Odara
02.   Olodé
03.   Marquito
04.   Vida Mansa
05.   Foi Batendo O Pé Na Terra
06.   Febre Do Rato
07.   Dadá
08.   Veneno
09.   Tambú E Candongueiro
10.   Gaba
11.   Rastilho

Chorus – Dulce Monteiro, Gracinha Menezes, Juçara Marçal, Maraísa
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Producer, Music By, Lyrics By – Kiko Dinucci

1966, guitarist Baden Powell along with poet and diplomat Vinicius de Moraes meet for the first time in a nightclub in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. For the next three months they drank consistently and composed one of the canonical MPB albums of the sixties, Os Afro-sambas, a rich and inspirational mixture of Baden Powell’s samba and bossa nova guitar pickings, Afro-Brazilian percussion using atabaques and afoxés from candomblé rituals, candomblé choral chants from Quarteto em Cy, and lead vocals in the poetry of de Moraes, exalting the Afro-Brazilian gods of the north-east of Brazil. Second track on the album, the hypnotic “Canto de Xangô” celebrates the Yoruba god, Xangô, the god of lightning, thunder and fire. 
2020, a year has passed with the newly elected President in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. The far-right candidate (at the moment of writing, currently unaligned with any political party) was elected in a landslide victory, promising to free the country from scandal and the recession brought on by nearly four terms of the Workers Party and their involvement in alleged slush schemes, bribery and fiscal mismanagement. However, this past year has revealed a near daily onslaught featuring a revolving door of incompetent ministers, money laundering, involvement with paramilitary gangs, and a loathing for the traditional media who are intent on reporting the governments every misstep. Whatever was supposed to happen, it’s just not working. How can any artist respond to these events in any sane manner when even art itself is under attack? 
Rastilho, a piece of bone that supports the strings of an acoustic guitar or a fuse to ignite a keg of gunpowder waiting to explode. We are first confronted by the repellent cover art by Pablo Saborido, something is putrid and rotten in the tropics, and an urgent response is needed, fresh fruit for rotting vegetables.

Kiko Dinucci, best known to readers of this site through his work with Metá Metá, has produced what must be an early contender for Brazilian album of the year, tossing into the mix samba, choro, música caipira and candomblé, creating a fully produced piece of art, resulting from just acoustic guitar and voice. 
The album opens with “Exu Odara”, a traditional candomblé song, that Dinucci absorbed while sitting amongst the beating atabaques of Ilê Leuiwyato during the rituals in the house of Ketu. This sets the tone for where we will be for the next half hour, engulfed by Afro-Brazilian culture

“Olodé” features guitar so shockingly percussive that it resembles a one-man samba school, its female-led chorus pushing the player on, the jagged attacking guitar stemming from Dinucci’s past playing with São Paulo hardcore bands in the 90s, a meeting of punk aggression and candomblé. The chorus of singers includes Juçara Marçal, Dinucci’s bandmate in Metá Metá, whose otherworldly voice is so in demand that she appeared on Moor Mother’s highly acclaimed album from last year.

Sonically, the album looks back to the Afro sounds of Baden Powell, the guitars of Dorival Caymmi, João Bosco, Jorge Ben, Rosinha de Valença and Gilberto Gil. Inspired by these recordings, the album was recorded and mixed totally analog, noting the effects of echo, delay and reverb of the great albums of the 60s by Geraldo Vandré and Edu Lobo. The ambience and space of the songs demonstrates a textural nuance that resounds on good headphones, the reverb swimming around your skull. 
“Marquito” is influenced by Kleber Mendonça Filho’s latest film, Bacarau, an astonishingly brutal acid western, and another work of art that uses an (not so subtle) allegory to comment on current times in Brazil. Here Ennio Morricone is channelled to pay respects to Marco Antônio Brás de Carvalho, O Marquito, who was assassinated by the military dictatorship in the centre of São Paulo.

“Febre do Rato” (Rat fever) is Pernambucan slang for a situation out of control, and the title of a delirious film by Claudio Assis. But in this scenario Dinucci gets off the bus in the chaotic centre of São Paulo and is confronted by the noise and pandemonium of late capitalism commerce. He finds himself in front of the architectural abomination that is the Templo de Salomão of the Universal Church, a symbol of the money and power that can be derived from faith. 
Further western references abound in “Dadá”, the name of a cangaceira rebel bandit from the north0east, and also a character from leftist New Wave film-maker Glauber Rocha’s revolutionary film, “Deus e o Diabo Na Terra do Sol”. So, who else could accompany this track but Ava Rocha, Glauber’s own daughter, who improvises one-take guttural, stuttering moans. 
The album finishes with the title track, an apocalyptic samba, vamos explodir (let’s explode) the choir invites us, as the guitar thrashes in final desperate throes, but all eventually calms, the instrument drops away and we are led to the end in a serene candomblé chant. All will end well, after all carnival is just around the corner. 
This work is a natural reaction to what is happening in right now, loaded with references, but it is also a love letter to Afro-Brazilian culture, samba (always), the interior of the country, the cities, Brazilian cinema and the work of the great guitar masters of Brazil, the innovators like Jorge Ben with his rhythmic attack, and the sambas of Baden Powell. For such a short album the density is claustrophobic. As the cover tells us, something sick is happening in the tropics and those who participate and listen to this album are invited to light their own fuses.
Andy Cumming / Sounds and Colours

Resolution 88 ‎– Revolutions (2019)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Légère Recordings

1.   Pitching Up
2.   Out Of Sync
3.   Revolutions
4.   Runout Groove
5.   Sample Hunter
6.   Dig Deep
7.   Matrix
8.   Tracking Force
9.   Warped Memories

UK jazz outfit Resolution 88 release their latest studio album, Revolutions, combining a passion for the classic jazz-funk of the 70s with the ultra modern. Having supported the likes of Snarky Puppy and Roy Ayers, their presence on the UK jazz scene is increasing rapidly, and with good reason. 
Keys player Tom O’Grady composed and arranged the entire album, apart from the lyrics on the sixth track Dig Deep, which are written and performed by vocalist Marcus Tenney. O’Grady uses a host of classic instruments such as Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Clavinet D6, which adds the classic, vintage warmth that came to define jazz funk through the work of musicians like George Duke and Herbie Hancock, and the band even thank the latter in the liner notes. Alex Hitchcock’s woodwind playing brings a great melodic element, particularly to the opener, Pitching Up, and the winding, bebop inspired riff on the title track. 
The rhythm section is exceptionally tight, with Tiago Coimbra on bass, Ric Elsworth on drums, and percussionist Oli Blake in grooving synchronicity throughout, with Blake also adding samples and effects. The five piece enlist a number of musicians through the album, including a string section that features intermittently. Horns are used on the fourth track Runout Groove, contributing bright, funky stabs. The production is excellent, and throughout Revolutions luscious electronic effects are blended with crisp, warm acoustics. Matrix is a personal highlight, with a thundering bass underpinning shimmering synths. 
Revolutions is fantastic, setting a high standard for current UK jazz. Resolution 88 are playing a selection of dates in Europe over February, and the album is available on CD, digital download, and vinyl.
Elliot Marlow-Stevens  / Jazz Journal

Kevin Ayers / John Cale / Eno / Nico ‎– June 1, 1974 (1974)

Style: Experimental, Prog Rock, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records

1.   Driving Me Backwards
2.   Baby's On Fire
3.   Heartbreak Hotel
4.   The End
5.   May I?
6.   Shouting In A Bucket Blues
7.   Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes
8.   Everybody's Sometime And Some People's All The Time Blues
9.   Two Goes Into Four

Bass – Archie Leggatt
Drums – Eddie Sparrow
Grand Piano, Organ, Electric Piano – Rabbit
Guitar – Kevin Ayers, Ollie Halsall
Lead Guitar – Ollie Halsall
Percussion – Robert Wyatt
Synthesizer – Eno
Vocals – Kevin Ayers
Written-By – K. Ayers
Producer – Richard Williams

It isn't just that the four credited lead players are together, it's also that Robert Wyatt and (if one is excited by such a thing) Mike Oldfield are helping out as well. The whole result should have been a mind-blowing example of one moment of twisted brilliance after another, captured for the ages. And is it? Well, close enough. The week's rehearsal mentioned in the liner notes seems to have gotten everyone more or less on the same wavelength for the chosen songs, but Ayers, who was the headliner, just sounded too laid-back in the end to match the chilling brilliance of his guests, even with old Soft Machine mate Wyatt along for the ride. The first half of the album is the real winner as a result, not least for the sharp song choices. Eno's two selections are inspired; "Driving Me Backwards" gets even more freaked out than the studio version, turning into a lacerating death crawl thanks to Cale's violin, while "Baby's on Fire" in contrast almost turns friendlier at the end. Both Cale and Nico make strong marks with two of their most notable and notorious cover versions. The former's "Heartbreak Hotel" keeps much of the spaced-out paranoia familiar from the studio cut, just ominous enough. Meanwhile, Nico's take on "The End" easily equals her own studio take, the song creeping with dread and fear. Ayers' selections take up the remainder of the album and they're, well, nice. But after the earlier shadows and psychosis, there's a little too much guitar mellowness and bongwater lounge grooves in contrast, aside from a wonderful, dramatic take on "Two Goes into Four." His between-song asides are fun, though, while his voice is in fine shape, even if the French part on "May I?" just makes him sound like a dirty old man instead of Serge Gainsbourg.
Ned Raggett / AllMusic

Paus ‎– Madeira (2018)

Genre: Electronic, Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Sony Music

1.   Blusão De Ganza I
2.   Madeira
3.   L123
4.   Sebo Na Estrada
5.   970 Espadas
6.   Blusão De Ganza II
7.   A Mutante
8.   Faca Cega
9.   Olhar De Rojo

O som é tudo menos tropical mas o disco é sobre a Madeira, ou como cada homem é uma ilha. Isto dito por uma banda tão colectiva que tem por coração uma bateria partilhada.

No tema que dá título ao álbum, canta-se que “sou mais do que já fui”. Frase abrangente, que não deixará de nos vir à mente em muitas circunstâncias, enquanto as vivemos, por descrever o que vivemos. Para já, aplica-se bem ao disco em si e ao progresso que significa na discografia dos PAUS. Avanço na difícil arte do paradoxo, porque ao mesmo tempo que é um disco mais coeso do que os seus predecessores, com direito a lado A e lado B, cada um com a sua overture, nunca as canções foram tão únicas e carismáticas, facilmente isoláveis entre si enquanto fluem, sem solavancos, umas nas outras.

Parte deste sucesso das canções de Madeira deve-se a um maior domínio do único instrumento que sempre ofereceu dificuldades à banda. Os discos anteriores assistiram à progressiva tentativa dos PAUS de encontrar a sua voz, desde o puro instrumental, que os isolava em demasia da tradição portuguesa com que tanto se identificam, às harmonias, difíceis quer de se ouvir numa sonoridade agressiva, quer de cantar ao vivo enquanto se presta atenção ao domínio do próprio instrumento e ao diálogo com os restantes. A solução apresentada em Madeira assinala a descoberta do caminho certo a seguir.

O uníssono gritado em melodias minimalistas gera uma coerência tanto interna, com a voz a moldar-se ao instrumental enquanto lhe aumenta a fúria, quanto externa, ao ligar a banda às raízes do melhor punk português. Mas não só. As letras, como outros elementos na sonoridade dos PAUS, acusam influências mais sincrónicas. Veja-se o verso que, embora grafado como “rodeado a mar, sem condição”, é cantado repetindo o “a mar”. A repetição traz consigo um jogo de palavras típico da tradição lírica do hip-hop, com o segundo “a mar” a ouvir-se inevitavelmente como “amar”, dada a proximidade com o “sem condição” e a temática da canção.

As imagens aéreas que enchem o vídeo de “Madeira” remetem para a erupção vulcânica com que se descreve na canção a experiência amorosa, aludindo ao seu poder gerador do indivíduo, da ilha que emerge do oceano e passa a existir em virtude do magma expulso das entranhas da terra. O amor “tem forma”, “tem norma” e dá substância ao eu, permitindo-lhe aquela liberdade de que tudo flui. Por isso, a ilha nasce sempre já ligada a todo o cosmos. Estas ligações são o assunto do outro grande tema do disco, “L123”, cujo título remete para a inevitável relação entre Lisboa e as mais longínquas periferias, que assegura a sobrevivência de uma e outras. Todas as ilhas pertencem a um arquipélago, qualquer ponto é o lugar de cruzamento de infinitas linhas, cada homem depende.

E de que depende a sonoridade dos PAUS, particularmente neste disco? Os vários membros resistiram sempre às tentativas de categorização do seu trabalho artístico, pensando-se a si como “uma ilha no meio de tudo o que nos rodeia”. Ao recusar géneros a banda não está a fazer género. De facto, o único rótulo que normalmente se lhes atribui é o de pós-rock, mas este não é senão outro nome para rock sui generis, para a exploração de fronteiras tão diversas quanto as bandas sob as quais normalmente recai o rótulo.

A sonoridade dos PAUS não nasce de pôr em prática um conjunto pré-existente de regras, habituais dentro de um género, mas é fruto das contingências e de um orgânico desenvolvimento histórico. Nasce das pessoas que se quiseram juntar para tocar, com as influências específicas que cada um e todos juntos foram absorvendo, os instrumentos que ocorre tocarem, através dos quais são si mesmos, e da dinâmica comunitária que cultivam no método de tocar, compor e gravar. Sem ser projectada, não é porém instintiva ou espontânea, mas resulta do diálogo consciente com o que acontece, enquanto acontece. Numa história particular que gerou e transfigura continuamente um género do qual as únicas instâncias são os discos que dela saem e da qual Madeira é, até mais ver, o culminar.

Madeira não soa, por isso, particularmente tropical. É verdade que o espectro da ilha da Madeira assombrou, desde o início, a produção do disco, com a banda a gravar no seu estúdio HAUS sabendo já que participaria no Festival Aleste, no Funchal. Há sugestões do ambiente que se imagina que a ilha tenha, através de alguns ritmos, dos timbres de certas linhas dos sintetizadores e, acima de tudo, das letras, que giram em torno da grande metáfora da insularidade. Desta sonoridade entre o africano e o sul-americano, o maior exemplo talvez seja o instrumental de “970 Espadas”. Mas, mesmo aqui, depressa a agressividade da secção rítmica e a distorção industrial das linhas de teclados assumem o controlo e emerge a origem urbana desta ex-centricidade.

O som será multi-cultural, mas de um multi-culturalismo originado e proliferado nas fronteiras de Lisboa. As alusões tropicais apenas pontuam o que é, no coração, uma experiência de música ambiente experimental, cheia de ritmo e violenta aspereza punk. A grande marca, em Madeira, permanece a personalidade inconfundível de uma certa sonoridade colectiva, gerada toda a partir do centro que a bateria siamesa de Quim Albergaria e Hélio Morais ocupa.  No caso deste disco, porém, todas as periferias são, como nunca antes, sintetizadas numa única e imparável torrente, cuja propulsão visceral atira o ouvinte sempre para diante até que já só tenha tempo de se surpreender chegado ao fim. De uma jornada, essa sim, do mesmo calibre que uma viagem à Madeira.

Madeira é o melhor disco que os PAUS compuseram e produziram até agora. Coeso, mas cheio de canções. Atmosférico, mas sempre propulsivo. Pontuado de alusões a lugares exóticos, mas numa base urbana e industrial, que avança sem parar, como uma torrente de lava. E agora, finalmente, com uma voz clara e forte, à qual não resistimos juntar a nossa, tanto nos fascinam estas canções. Porque quando se ama, é "sem condição".
Maria Pacheco de Amorim / Magazine-HD

Lucia Cadotsch With Otis Sandsjö And Petter Eldh ‎– Speak Low (2016)

Style: Vocal, Contemporary Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Yellowbird

01.   Slow Hot Wind
02.   Speal Low
03.   Strange Fruit
04.   Ain't Got No, I Got Life
05.   Don't Explain
06.   Deep Song
07.   Some Other Spring
08.   Willow Weep For Me
09.   Gloomy Sunday
10.   Moon River

Double Bass, Arranged By – Petter Eldh
Tenor Saxophone, Arranged By – Otis Sandsjö
Voice, Arranged By – Lucia Cadotsch
Recorded By, Mixed By, Mastered By – Klaus Scheuermann

It happens that an artist, whether he is a musician, writer, painter or sculptor, feels the urge to take refuge in expressive simplicity, to look at essential forms with a primitive and ancestral flavor, and then to dialogue with the contemporary. "Acoustic retro-futurism." So Lucia Cadotsch defines Speak Low in the cover notes, his latest musical effort. The noun explains his "looking from behind" modernity, wanting to do it quietly, with elegance and humility, respecting what came before and interacting to go further; instead the adjective suggests the chosen sound line: no electronics, a delicate sound, barely a whisper, on which the warm and enveloping voice of Cadotsch is embedded like a jewel; a voice warm as rain in a summer dawn, when the colors become even more sparkling, perfectly at ease in interpreting pieces with a fascinating conceptual kaleidoscopicity, halfway between an invocation to the elements of nature and sentimental and existential reflection. 
"Slow Hot Wind" is a solemn opening, which develops the warm colors of the Northern Lights, with a magnetic sax flanked by a plucked double bass. A captivating blend, which is also found in "Don't Explain," "Gloomy Sunday" and "Moon River." Authentic sound poems to listen by closing your eyes and letting yourself be transported into those sidereal depths (metaphor of the human soul), also evoked in the cover image. Eldh's double bass moves discreetly, like a winter dawn stealthily insinuating itself into the darkness of the night; and the use of the bow widens the scope of the instrument in the drone of a distant organ, almost priestly. An analogous minimalism characterizes Sandsjö's tenor sax, whose notes lie alongside Cadotsch's voice like rock carvings; here and there there are harsh, fascinating virtuosity, which embellish the songs. 
"Speak Low" and "Some Other Spring" shine instead of a hint of swing, a short flash with a worldly flavor that creates a pleasant surprise effect before being absorbed by the sacred and introspective atmosphere that characterizes the album. 
Eldh on the double bass and Sandsjö on the tenor sax form sound backdrops which in their essentiality can make one think of the accompaniments with the flute and the lyre to the declamation of the poems of Ancient Greece. And indeed, the same passages interpreted by Cadotsch recall the delicacy of the verses of Nosside di Locri, authentic songs to life, female beauty and the sweetness of love. "Speak Low" is also steeped in poetry, in the lyrics as well as in the melodies that accompany them. The maturity of the sound is demonstrated by the instrumental essentiality: tenor sax and double bass, like saying sanguine and charcoal for Felice Casorati or Paul Klee, whose artistic expressiveness reaches its peak precisely in the minimalism of the stroke. Similarly, Cadotsch made a "naked" album like a Casorati sculpture, 
A whispered and non-screamed album, as any artistic work should be, both musical and pictorial and literary; in fact, the talent of an artist lies in knowing how to express his creativity with discretion, speaking and not screaming, establishing a dialogue with the public or listeners. Also for this reason Lucia Cadotsch reveals a sense of measure and a remarkable compositional maturity; its essentiality manages to touch completeness, involving and never boring the listener, leading him along paths between trees and rocks, semi-dark corridors, dreamlike places where to rediscover his own imagination, and reflect on that poetic part of existence made of colors, of affections, wind in your hair, cheerful laughter, gloomy Sundays and moments of nostalgia.
Niccolò Lucarelli / All About Jazz

Mandy More ‎– But That Is Me (1972)

Genre: Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Philips, Sunbeam Records

1-01.   But That Is Me
1-02.   Listen Babe
1-03.   For To Find The Daffodil
1-04.   Fine
1-05.   Harvey Muscletoe
1-06.   Come With Me To Jesus
1-07.   If Not By Fire
1-08.   Alone In My Yellow
1-09.   Matthew Brought Me Flowers
1-10.   If I Smile On Saturday
1-11.   I'm Too Tall To Cry
1-12.   God Only Knows
1-13.   San Francisco Sam
1-14.   Coffee Cups
1-15.   Every Mother's Child
1-16.   Blue Seasons
1-17.   Rose-Coloured Window
2-01.   The Camera Man (Demo)
2-02.   Kind Girl (Demo)
2-03.   But That Is Me (Alt. Take)
2-04.   Listen Babe (Demo)
2-05.   Harvey Muscletoe (Alt. Take)
2-06.   Come With Me To Jesus (Alt. Take)
2-07.   If Not By Fire (Demo)
2-08.   If Not By Fire (Alt. Take 1)
2-09.   If Not By Fire (Alt. Take 2)
2-10.   Alone In My Yellow (Demo)
2-11.   God Only Knows (Alt. Take)
2-12.   Share The Secrets Of My Songs (Demo)
2-13.   Give Me Your Time (Demo)
2-14.   To Find You Blue (Demo)
2-15.   I Promice I Love You (Demo)
2-16.   San Francisco Sam (Demo)
2-17.   Coffee Cups (Demo)
2-18.   Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (Demo)

Written-By – Mandy More

Is it a blessing or a curse for an artist to share a name (give or take a vowel) with a more famous artist? Even iTunes thinks Mandy More, the English singer-songwriter of the 1970s, is Mandy Moore, the erstwhile tween pop princess, adding that pesky extra "O" when I put on More's 1972 underground gem, But That Is Me. Available for the first time on CD, the vinyl version has long commanded top dollar for its rarity and cult status among the pop cognoscenti, like Saint Etienne, who included More's song "f Not By Fire" on its 2004 contribution to the series The Trip. To confuse matters further, both Moore and More have done covers of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", and not surprisingly, the latter's version proves to be the more inventive and satisfying of the two. 
More was a star of the British stage, and the musical theater undercurrent is palpable on But That Is Me. Tracks like "For to Find the Daffodil" and "Harvey Muscletoe" would do well alongside songs from Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris or Stone Poneys-era Linda Ronstadt. Fans will appreciate the wealth of rarities this two-disc set offers, including the single "Every Mother's Child", produced by the Yardbirds' Keith Relf. More''s earnest, simple pop is full of boho-barmy lyrics like "Love is daffodils and steak", sung in a bell-clear contralto that makes it obvious why her greater success was found treading the boards of the West End.
Jennifer Cooke / popMATTERS