Sunday, 17 May 2020

Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis ‎– Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis (1969)

Style: Chanson, Prog Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Disques Festival, Select

A1.   Lumière Écarlate
A2.   Sœur De Race
A3.   Les Fées Carabosse
A4.   Voyage 1
B1.   La Solitude
B2.   Un Sourire, Un Rire, Des Éclats
B3.   Le Crime De L'Enfant Dieu
B4.   Le Point Qui Scintille

Guitar, Music By – Patrice Moullet
Organ, Percussion – Alain Haldag
Trompette Marine Electrifiée – Bernard Pinon
Vocals, Lyrics By – Catherine Ribeiro

 As the 60s marched closer towards the 70s, musicians became braver and more daring with each year finding ever stranger forms of music evolving and splintering off into distinct new sub genres of rock and folk music. 1969 was one of those years where the floodgates opened and it seemed that any old experimental approach and musical development were fair game. In addition to the mainstream pop and rock of the day were a whole array of discursive bands that created new music for a new era. Bands like East of Eden and King Crimson sparked a new complexity in the evolving world of progressive rock, Black Sabbath formed and took darkness and heaviness in music to new levels and folk music was ever furthering itself from its roots with artists like Tim Buckley taking the music of the people into far more turgid arenas. Unbeknownst to the mainly English speaking world where these developments originated were many other musical entities around the world catching the wave and creating their own new music for a new era only in their native tongues and lands. CATHERINE RIBEIRO was one such artist who has been called the French version of Nico, the successor to Edith Piaf and also as a prog rock sorceress who cast enchanting spells to summon revolution. 
The unique style of CATHERINE RIBEIRO was a product of her traumatic upbringing. Born in Lyon, France in 1941, not only did she suffer from the early traumas of WW2 with a constant barrage of bombings as the daughter of newly established immigrants from Portugal, but she also experienced such traumas as her baby brother dying at a young age as well as mental instability which landed her into psychiatric wards where she was subjected to intense sessions of electro shock therapy. The culmination of these incidents would be expressed through her various artistic endeavors. Although she started out as an actor, by the mid-60s she began to take interest in music and once she met Patrice Moullet, the chemistry immediately clicked and together they would synergize their talents to create a totally new kind of freaky psychotomimetic musical creation that even to the present day stands out as quite unique. Despite members coming and going throughout their eleven year run, RIBEIRO and Moullet would remain together for the entire run. The band better known as CATHERINE RIBEIRO + ALPES starting on album "No. 2" initially began under the CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2BIS moniker which on their eponymous debut album cover proudly presents the "Pop Free" stamp of approval.

From the very first sounds experienced, it's obvious that this was out of left field for the time and to this day remains so. With RIBEIRO blasting out her declamatory style of semi-sung, semi-spoken lyrical content completely in the French language we are instantly transported to another musical world where pain and disdain of the injustices of the world are suddenly transmogrified into musical majesty. "Lumiere Écarlate" (Scarlet Light) begins with the avant-garde instrumental sounds of Moullet's hypnotic self-invented cosmophone along with tribal drumming and RIBEIRO's spectral passion-fueled chants that sound as if they are supplicating the universe for some kind of healing ritual or some other occult scene. While "S?ur De Race" (Pedigree Sister) is less haunting it continues the lugubriousness as RIBEIRO seduces the listener with her soft sensual vocal style that belies the following track "Les Fées Carabosses" (The Wicked Fairies) where shows how versatile RIBEIRO is and displays her full bravado in bombastic rants and moody guffaws where she can create intricate melodies only to shatter them in a fit of rage in a full-voiced madwoman ebullition followed by screams, hysterical laughs and other vocal madness.

It's not only RIBEIRO's vocal antics that stand out and demand the listener's attention. The otherworldly sounds of Patrice Moullet's homemade instruments are equally wild. While RIBEIRO handles all lyrics and vocals throughout the band's existence, it was Moullet who wrote all the music and invented several instruments such as the percuphone, cosmophone and orgolia that give this music the most unique and unparalleled sound in the progressive music scene. This one / two punch guarantees the listener will be taken somewhere they never knew existed: a strange new world where the psychedelic and avant-folk meet in the lysergic renegade poetic wilderness. Along with the experimental instrumentation and larger than life vocal contributions, the album is also filled with all kinds of psychedelic techniques much used by other acts of the era including backmasking, tribal drumming and hypnotic folk guitar sequences. Some of the tracks are sweet and sensual and others come completely unhinged however the music always remains in a rhythmic harmony of some sort while RIBEIRO herself is the one who dishes out the bouts with chaos and mental instability. CATHERINE RIBEIRO + 2 BIS is a very interesting late 60s release that showed all of the band's strengths from the beginning, however they were just getting started and as good as this debut album is, it's not as well accomplished as some of the albums to come. Album number one is certainly an entertaining musical trip that not only delivered ample amounts of originality but managed to boil the avant-garde ingredients into a digestible stew that sounds like a completely mature product.
siLLy puPPy / Prog Archives

Greg Foat ‎– The Dreaming Jewels (2019)

Style: Contemporary Jazz, Fusion, Jazz-Funk
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Athens Of The North

1.   Sapphire Dreams
2.   Eric's Breakdown
3.   The Door Into Summer
4.   Not That It Makes Any Difference
5.   Lake Kussharo
6.   Kushiro River
7.   This Is Not Necessarily My Answer, But
8.   The Dreaming Jewels

Bass – Philip Achille
Congas, Triangle – Eric Young
Drums – Clark Tracey, Malcom Catto
Guitar – Hugh Harris
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Rob Mach
Tenor Saxophone – Binker Golding
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Trevor Walker
Electric Piano, Producer, Arranged By – Greg Foat

In what has turned into quite a productive year for Greg Foat, the London-based pianist follows up a number of incredible releases for Edinburgh’s Athens of The North label, including the one of the year’s best albums in The Mage, and released another brilliant full-length to close out the year, titled The Dreaming Jewels.

For this recording, Foat teams up with an all-star cast of musicians including drummer and recording engineer Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics, tenor saxophonist Binker Golding (notably of Binker & Moses), and guitarist Hugh Harris of The Kooks. Recorded in Catto’s fully analog basement studio, known now as the mythical Quatermass Sound Lab, the eight song album features a heavy dose of warm-toned jazz-funk, library, and fusion grooves.

Even though this album is only a total of around thirty-seven minutes, The Dreaming Jewels LP is pure quality from start to finish, the kind of recording that you find yourself playing on constant repeat. Overall, another remarkable and undeniably well-recorded albums from one of today’s most forward-thinking musicians and composers.
TJ Gorton / beat cafeine
London-based musician Greg Foat comes through with a brand new album titled The Dreaming Jewels. The talented artist has been able to create interesting and eclectic bodies of work such as The Mage, and this new release titled The Dreaming Jewels comes as a pleasant surprise to me.

It’s an 8 track album with soothing and soulful compositions. The keys on the opener “Sapphire Dreams” are gorgeous, as they are backed by rhythmic drumming, basslines and gorgeous horns that add a jazzy, cool touch to the record. Throughout the album, you get tracks like “The Door into Summer,” “Lake Kussharo” and “This Is Not Necessarily My Answer, But,” which all feature stunning Rhodes keys, beautiful and harmonious melodies that are reflective and almost introspective. It’s a subdued and moody album, just like his previous work. The ethereal and atmospheric quality of the closing track “The Dreaming Jewels” is absolutely stunning, as the album really ends on a soft and beautiful note. Overall, Greg Foat brings together some beautifully composed records in a cohesive and free-flowing album. The Dreaming Jewels is a gorgeous release that perfectly captures the essence and aura of his music.
Martin Boev / In Search of Media 

Harold Budd / Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois ‎– The Pearl (1984)

Style: Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Editions EG, Polydor, Virgin

A1.   Late October
A2.   A Stream With Bright Fish
A3.   The Silver Ball
A4.   Against The Sky
A5.   Lost In The Humming Air
B1.   Dark-Eyed Sister
B2.   Their Memories
B3.   The Pearl
B4.   Foreshadowed
B5.   An Echo Of Night
B6.   Still Retur

Composed By – Eno, Budd
Producer – Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois

Hearing Budd's piano slowly fade in with the start of "Late October" is just one of those perfect moments -- it's something very distinctly him, made even more so with Eno's touches and slight echo, and it signals the start of a fine album indeed. Acting in some respects as the understandable counterpart to Ambient 2, with the same sense of hushed, ethereal beauty the partnership brought forth on that album, The Pearl is so ridiculously good it instantly shows up much of the mainstream new age as the gloopy schlock that it often is. Eno himself is sensed as a performer on the album, if not by his absence then by his very understated presence. The merest hints of synth and whisper play around Budd's performances, ensuring the latter takes center stage. Eno and Daniel Lanois handle the production side of things, their teamwork once again overseeing a winner. When they bring themselves a little more to the fore, it still always is in the subtlest of ways, as with the artificially higher-pitched notes from Budd on "Lost in the Humming Air." Part of the distinct charm of the album is how the song titles perfectly capture what the music sounds like -- "A Stream With Bright Fish" is almost self-defining. Another key point is how Budd truly captures what ambience in general can and does mean. "Against the Sky" is a strong example -- it can be totally concentrated upon or left to play as atmospherics and is also at once both truly beautiful and not a little haunting in a disturbing sense. Other highlight tracks include the deceptively simple title track, as serene a piece of music as was ever recorded, and the closing "Still Return," bringing The Pearl to a last peak of beauty.
Ned Raggett / AllMusic

Salto! ‎– Férias em Família (2018)

Genre: Pop, Rock
Format: CD
Label: Sony Music Entertainment

1.   Cantar Até Cair
2.   Teorias
3.   Rio Seco
4.   Ninguém Te Viu
5.   Só Agora Cresci
6.   Coração Aberto
7.   Memória de Elefante
8.   Casa de Campo
9.   Lentamente Pago Casa

Quando o homónimo Salto, primeiro lançamento da banda do Porto, foi lançado, representou uma das mais sólidas propostas de indie-pop português até ao momento. Nascido de uma linguagem que cruzava rock com electrónica e RnB, os êxitos Deixar Cair e Por Ti Demais (incluído na colectânea FNAC Novos Talentos de 2010), catapultaram a banda para o circuito de festivais nacional (o autor ainda guarda a nostálgica memória da enérgica actuação de 2012 em Paredes de Coura, em plena antecedência do imparável dilúvio que se abateu sobre o festival nas 72 horas seguintes). A então dupla dos primos Guilherme Tomé Ribeiro e Luís Montenegro cresce para quatro com a entrada de Tito Romão e Filipe Louro em 2015. ainda antes do segundo álbum, Passeio das Virtudes, em 2016 — lançamento que vê a fórmula mais pop e funky da banda em transformação. A sonoridade divide-se: um envelope rock e um núcleo sonhador, a voz de Guilherme prolongada em mais lentas composições; o núcleo do que é uma canção escrita pelo grupo adensa-se: para trás ficam as drum machines e sequências de dança, substituídas por um som mais orgânico e texturado, guiado porém pelas mesmas melodias fortes e identificáveis. Pelo meio, o grupo multiplica-se em identidades: Guilherme Tomé Ribeiro toca na banda de Moullinex e parte com o seu projecto a solo de electrónica experimental, GPU Panic; Luís Montenegro toca com Capicua e responde também por Lewis M; Tito Romão toca com Best Youth.

Férias em Família, dois anos após o seu antecessor, pega no nostálgico tema rico nas memórias de tempos mais simples, e acaba por se tornar na derradeira conclusão desta transformação. Ouvidos lado a lado e sem o devido contexto, é hoje um exercício surpreendente comparar o terceiro álbum do quarteto com o seu primeiro lançamento. Tomando a banda controlo total de todos os elementos da sua produção, praticamente cada faixa é repleta de instrumentação acústica e de brilhantes melodias — elementos que sobressaem na faixa mais característica do álbum, Rio Seco; uma viagem atmosférica banhada na combinação de sintetizadores por entre acordes de guitarra clássica e crescendos vocais. É a voz um dos elementos que mais sobressai no álbum, quer solitária ou acompanhada de outras camadas de coros, a colocação é lenta e sonhadora, acompanhando as progressões, cujas tendências vão sendo intercaladas ao longo do álbum. Cantar até Cair e Teorias, faixas iniciais, soam a um mergulho da face mais rock da banda no véu da quente calma e melancolia que envolve Férias em Família, ainda com um pé no trabalho anterior. Outras faixas surpreendem-nos tendo mais em comum ora com tendências clássicas orquestrais — como em Ninguém te Viu, uma das faixas mais tranquilas e belas do álbum, repleta de pastorais arranjos de cordas, ou até com o prog-folk e post-rock, em especial destaque na Casa de Campo — possivelmente o momento mais intenso do álbum — e na final Lentamente Pago Casa. Outras faixas apresentam características mais típicas da sonoridade da banda, e, apesar de sempre presente o tom morno, fluem com as suas distinções próprias: destaque para o momento psych em Só Agora Cresci ou para o refrão orelhudo e subtil trecho electrónico de Coração Aberto. Memória de Elefante, momento mais calmo das nove canções, serve como outro na transição para o quarto final e mais progressivo.

Em termos líricos, reúnem-se também, a par do álbum anterior, alguns dos melhores trabalhos da banda. Em letras honestas cantadas sem pretensão, Salto apostam na metáfora e desdobram os significados: numa primeira vista é fácil de imaginar os tons dourados dos acordes que pintam o álbum a contar a história do nostálgico misticismo juvenil das “férias em família”, mas é um pano que cobre também a viagem e crescimento do grupo enquanto músicos. Por detrás dos campos de tons pastorais (ou a extensão campestre presente no vídeo de Rio Seco) estão presentes nas letras as introspecções acerca dos inúmeros palcos, desafios e tendências que Salto enfrentaram desde que começaram a tocar ao vivo. Há um respeito pelo formato, e a franqueza das palavras funde-se com a estética das canções: seria difícil imaginar estas letras com outros arranjos, o que confere a cada música uma personalidade e visual vincados, por muita que seja a leveza e tranquilidade sonoras que transparecem no resultado final.

Férias em Família é construído com cuidado e muita atenção ao detalhe. Apesar de fácil de ouvir em background, desfrutar de uma audição atenta recompensa sempre com algum pequeno trecho ou subtil mudança musical — seja nas introduções, transições, refrões ou finais. Encarado como um todo, é um álbum irrepreensível que se localiza algures entre a melancolia de um pôr-do-sol e a esperança vivida durante o seu nascimento. É esta, simultaneamente, a sua maior força e também a sua maior falha: a primeira, trivial o suficiente, pode ser encontrada na maior parte das linhas acima. A segunda, mais traiçoeira, está relacionada com a fórmula e originalidade do formato: apesar de tecnicamente virtuoso, não estamos perante um momento de excepcional inovação ou de viragem do estado-da-arte — Salto fizeram um álbum de rock inteiramente sólido, mas sem grandes desvios estilísticos ou líricos que se destaquem em relação às raízes do seu género ou artistas similares. É um lançamento de grande maturidade para a banda e provavelmente o seu trabalho mais coeso e de maior complexidade de composição até ao momento (uma das comparações mais fiéis que recordo seria Goldfrapp com o seu Seventh Tree, um álbum num registo semelhante que se destaca também em relação aos demais da artista). Estes elementos entram em contraste, no entanto, com a energia adolescente e com as tendências mais pop que marcaram o início do seu sucesso. Pisando palcos juntos desde 2006, é fácil de admirar o progresso e destreza técnica de Salto, mas também de desejar que mantenham a identidade de fazer jus ao seu nome. E é em Férias em Família, precisamente, que deram o seu maior salto.
João Rosa / Comunidade Cultura e Arte

Einstürzende Neubauten ‎– Kollaps (1981)

Style: Industrial, Noise, Experimental, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Potomak, Spalax Music, Indigo

01.   Tanz Debil
02.   Steh Auf Berlin
03.   Negativ Nein
04.   U-Haft-Muzak
05.   Draußen Ist Feindlich
06.   Schmerzen Hören
07.   Jet'm
08.   Kollaps
09.   Sehnsucht
10.   Vorm Krieg
11.   Hirnsäge
12.   Abstieg & Zerfall
13.   Helga
14.  Schieß Euch Ins Blut
15.   Rohrbombe
16.   Futuristischer Dub
17.   Sado-Masodub
18.   Liebesdub
19.   Spionagedub
20.   Mikrobendub
21.   Gastarbeiterdub
22.   Rivieradub
23.   Lünebest

Performer – Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit, N. U. Unruh
Written-By – Einstürzende Neubauten

Einstürzende Neubauten's first album, as one might imagine, is their most primitive and radical effort, the purest expression of their original aesthetic. This makes the album both historically significant and conceptually intriguing, of course, but what's most interesting about this album is that it still sounds surprising decades after its release. Often, albums that are considered extreme art statements upon their debut sound almost quaint a few years later, but while Kollaps perhaps sounds less extreme to ears that heard industrial music turned into disco pabulum by the likes of Nine Inch Nails than it did before, songs like the eight-minute title track and the rumbling live closer, "Negativ Nein," are still a fascinating blend of rhythm and random bashing, tonality and atonality, with anguished vocals by Blixa Bargeld that often seem to have little connection with anything else in the piece. The brief tracks, like the 80-second "Sehnsucht," are even more extreme explorations of pure noise. Starting as early as the next album, Einstürzende Neubauten would begin slowly introducing more mainstream musical concepts into their aesthetic, making Kollaps as undiluted a listening experience as there is in the entire catalog.
Stewart Mason / AllMusic

Change ‎– The Glow Of Love (1980)

Style: Disco/Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Warner Bros. Records, WEA, RFC Records

1.   A Lover's Holiday (A Jim Burgess Mix)
2.   It's A Girl's Affair
3.   Angel In My Pocket
4.   The Glow Of Love
5.   Searching
6.   The End
7.   Seaching (Parkside Remix)

Arranged By, Conductor – Davide Romani, Paolo Gianolio
Orchestra– The Goody Music Orchestra
Producer – Jacques Fred Petrus

For many people, Change’s six-track debut album, The Glow of Love, was the first time they encountered Luther Vandross’ gossamer vocals. His performance, so perfect and commanding on the title-track, Searching and, to a lesser extent, A Lover’s Holiday, was what finally gave the New York-based session singer the exposure he needed that led to his successful solo career. 
Change was masterminded by Italian producers and writers Jacques Fred Petrus and Mario Malavasi. They initially approached Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic to produce the debut album of their dance collective. Although the duo declined, The Glow of Love is one of the most notable, affectionately slavish copies of the Chic sound ever released. 
Recorded in Change’s native Italy with vocals added by Vandross and Jocelyn Shaw/Brown in New York’s Power Station Studios, it is the sound of Studio 54 through a Euro-disco filter. A Lover’s Holiday – one of the standout dance tracks of 1980 – is probably the best of the then-contemporaneous Chic tributes, with its neat, interlocking guitar and bass figure, gang vocals and ex-Chic singer Vandross adding his magic to the chorus. A vivid, female-sung lyric about a disco, a party and making your own entertainment: with its superb bass breakdown three and a half minutes in, it still sounds like tremendous fun 30 years later. 
Other standout tracks, Searching and The Glow of Love, provided a perfect showcase for Vandross. Searching is still divine, fading in as if it playing forever in some celestial loop, the tale of a stranger finding love in a strange town. It reached number 11 in the UK in 1980, while The Glow of Love, with its overly sentimental lyrics, established Vandross as the love man of choice for millions around the world. 
The rest of the album is somewhat makeweight. It’s a Girl’s Affair is a simple celebration of going out on the town, Angel in My Pocket is forgettable, yet the pulsing beats of The End reveal Petrus and Malavasi’s hi-energy roots. Let’s be frank, that’s neither here nor there when you consider the strength of the three main tracks on The Glow of Love, some of the greatest disco ever captured on album.
Daryl Aeslea / BBC

Leo's Sunshipp ‎– We Need Each Other (1978)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Lyon's Record Co., Inc., Expansion

1.   Give Me The Sunshine (Vocal)
2.   I'm Back For More (Vocal)
3.   Get Down People (Vocal)
4.   Madame Butterfly (Mini-Tro)
5.   Madame Butterfly (Vocal)
6.   I'm Back For More (Mini-Tro)
7.   Give Me The Sunshine (Mini-Tro)
8.   Get Down People (Mini-Tro)

Bass – Anthony Holmes, Harvey Brook
Congas – Harvey "Waii" Whitehead
Flute – Fostina Dixon
Guitar – Carlos Glover, David Pruitt, David Miles, Victor Vick
Synthesizer – Clerance Bell
Vocals – Leo's Sunshipp
Producer, Arranged By – Johnny Simone, Kenny Stover

Leo's Sunshipp is one of those remarkable one-offs that pepper R&B history. The group’s name sounds far more cosmic than it is. Those expecting a P-Funk rollercoaster ride will be sorely disappointed, as this is more a glide down the jazzy, soulful byways of mid-70s Leon Ware or Marvin Gaye. The group was so named because all three of its main protagonists – Kenny Stover, Johnny Simone and Alvin Few – were born between 22 July and 22 August, in the star sign of Leo. It was the 70s, after all. 
The group’s Marvin Gaye feel ran deeper than mere admiration; Stover and Simone had been backing vocalists for Gaye, for whom Stover’s brother, Elgie, had a long-standing working relationship. 
Hooking up with Few, Leo’s Sunshipp began to record an album, of which four tracks were completed before, tragically, lead vocalist Simone fell ill and died. Stover blocked the album’s release and moved on to sing with Finished Touch. And that could have been it, until Lyons Records took the four tracks, added four instrumental/alternate mixes and We Need Each Other, the group’s only release, came into being. 
Of the handful of finished tracks, I’m Back for More has had the biggest afterlife, being covered by Marlena Shaw, Al Johnson and Tavares; it is the epitome of a smooth groove. The Simone-written Give Me the Sunshine was the album’s lead track and clear standout. Owing a rather large debt to Roy Ayers Ubiquity’s then-two year-old Everybody Loves the Sunshine, it is perfect summer day soul, with Clarence Bell’s synthesiser finding the sweet spot over veteran arranger David Blumberg’s string arrangement. 
Madame Butterfly features the vocal skills of Wonderlove backing vocalist Shirley Brewer and late-period Supreme Susaye Green; Get the People is infectious, bongo-driven R&B with more impressive arrangements. 
The material’s vibrancy is, of course, bittersweet because the listener knows what was to happen next. Leo’s Sunshipp may have been huge, or they may have churned out a welter of albums to an increasingly uninterested audience. We will never know. Because of its circumstance and its unfinished nature, We Need Each Other remains an underground classic.
Daryl Easlea / BBC