Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Lucrecia Dalt ‎– No Era Solida (2020)

Genre: Electronic
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Rvng Intl., Plancha

01.   Disuelta
02.   Seca
03.   Caotlicue S.
04.   Ser Boca
05.   Espesa
06.   Di
07.   Suprema
08.   Revuelta
09.   Endiendo
10.   No Era Solida
11.   Ná (Bonus Track)

Written, recorded, and mixed by ‎– Lucrecia Dalt

Creative practice is a form of mediumship. Artists pull from the ether, from the great cultural unconscious, pawing at the veiled ideas found there until they begin to reveal form and structure. Colombian musician Lucrecia Dalt’s new album No era sólida (She Wasn’t Solid) is set in this liminal space, using arrhythmic loops of electronic sound to conjure a mysterious, ruminative atmosphere. The album’s protagonist is a character named Lia who is stretching her metaphysical legs for the first time, speaking through Dalt largely in strings of nonsensical syllables as she cycles through initial reactions to different emotions and sensations. An uneasy album of twisted innocence, it centers on the discomforting process of moving between a space of pure imagination and the reality shared by conscious human beings.

This type of ponderous, character-driven concept is increasingly common in experimental-leaning electronic music (Oneohtrix Point Never’s imaginary alien Ezra, or Oracle, the disembodied voice on Amnesia Scanner’s Another Life), but Dalt’s rendering of Lia resists cliché by letting the caricature frame, rather than dominate, the sounds themselves. Dalt’s use of glossolalia, the invented quasi-language in which she gives voice to Lia, points to religious adherents speaking in tongues, but does so with great subtlety. Her vocals are largely enmeshed with eerie synthesized sounds and further abstracted by delay. The pleasures of No era sólida come not so much from following Lia’s perspective as she goes through the process of becoming as from experiencing the complicated feelings the music evokes as Dalt explores this persona: her tender curiosity, her tentative antagonism, the delicious nausea of high-pitched tones swinging back and forth.

Spacious and quiet, No era sólida’s songs sometimes lock into a kind of stilted groove, but more often they forward with two left feet. Dalt uses loops in a similar way as her collaborator Aaron Dilloway, formerly of Wolf Eyes; both apply repetition as a way to build tension rather than hypnotize, employing a minimal palette that mimics incidental sounds from everyday life and blending them with alien electronics to make the familiar seem inscrutable. The effect is thoroughly psychedelic, and can be experienced as a kind of disorienting naiveté, recasting the commonplace as the unknown. The uneven gait of the electronics, like the perpetually surprising pop of synthesizer on “Di” and the mismatched gulping and clattering sounds on “Espesa,” divorces her sounds from any obviously mechanical process. It isn’t a leap to imagine these soundworlds as representations of a mind just beginning to bring its surroundings into focus, reveling in both glory and grit.
Jonathan Williger / Pitchfork

Robert Wyatt ‎– Shleep (1997)

Style: Avantgarde, Art Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Rykodisc, Hannibal Records

01.   Heaps Of Sheeps
02.   The Duchess
03.   Maryan
04.   Was A Friend
05.   Free Will And Testament
06.   September The Ninth
07.   Alien
08.   Out Of Season
09.   A Sunday In Madrid
10.   Blues In Bob Minor
11.   The Whole Point Of No Return

Gary Azukx - Djembe
Philip Catherine - Composer, Guitar
Jamie Johnson - Choir/Chorus, Engineer, Guitar, Mixing
Phil Manzanera - Guitarssion
Evan Parker - Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Saxophone
Charles Rees - Choir/Chorus, Mixing
Chikako Sato - Violin
Paul Weller - Composer, Guitar, Mixing, Vocal Harmony
Paul John Weller - Guitar, Vocal Harmony
Annie Whitehead - Trombone
Chucho Merchán - Double Bass, Drums (Bass), Guitar (Bass), Percu
Alfreda Benge - Choir/Chorus, Composer, Producer, Vocals, Voices
Brian Eno - Arranger, Guest Artist, Producer, Synthesizer, Synthesizer Bass, Vocals
Robert Wyatt - Choir/Chorus, Composer, Guitar (Bass), Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Trumpet, Vocals, Voices

By the end of the 90's, Wyatt had left rough Trade to join 60's legend Joe Boyd's label Hannibal records and this was good news for Wyatt, as he would produce some much more inventive records than OR or Dondestan. Recorded in Manzanera's studios with a batch of usual suspects, a few unknown newcomers, plus some surprising appearances such as Belgian JR/F guitarist Philip Catherine and The Jam's Paul Weller. With an Alfie booklet illustration throughout, the Sleep happens to be a delightful walk through the event of Wyatt's life at that moment.

And to say that Shleep had not started well, beginning with the album's weakest song, a Gabriel-esque tune, where Eno adds pop touches not really fitting Robert's personae. Much Wyatt-er is Duchess, filled with gurgling/bubbling/seesawing noises (courtesy of Eno), with Parker's (not Bird, you wisearse) difficult sax and Robert's unsettling piano. The album really starts with the mesmerizing Maryan, a superb Catherine-Wyatt composition, where Wyatt gives a Spanish twist with his trumpet, while Sato's violin is jerking tears from you. Emotions ala Rock Bottom; and it's not about to change with the poignant Was A Friend (Hopper co-writes with Robert). Past the strange intro, Wyatt's voice directly takes you to lands abandoned over two decades ago, with Robert playing all instruments. Last Straw is just around the bend, here!!! Awesome. The power of evocation is overwhelming, as you cannot help but thinking of RB in the lengthy sustained finale...The following Free Will & Testament didn't stand a chance matching the predecessor's dramatic greatness, but Paul Weller pulls a good Gilmour-ian guitar, while Wyatt contributes piano, organ and emotions.

Sept 9th is a mostly instrumental song with the returning Whitehead (remember RISTR?) and Parker adding dramatic horns to an already emotion-filled track. Again we are nearing the sublime of RB, with Whitehead's trombone wracking your guts out. Alien is again striking n the same area of your brains, Manzanera pulling a superb guitar solo over impeccable percussions and Merchan's fabulous bass. Wyatt's emotional voice again reminds of the poignant album resulting of that accident that put him a quarter a century ago in a wheelchair. The short Out Of Season has rob doing the whole instruments, except for Whitehead's trombone drones and is again aiming directly into your soul. Based on an Alfie visit to her parents in Spain, Sunday In Madrid has some stunning moments, with Eno's quiet synth underlines giving some excellent background tension (a bit reminiscent of Van Morroson's St Dominic's Preview), while Wyatt's constant wordy vocals is amazing. But nothing compared with his rap (that's right Robert raps superbly!!!!!) in the awesome Blues In Bob Minor. With Weller pulling some splendid guitar lines, if progheads ever had a problem with rap, BIBM might just be the key to open that door. A phenomenal bet successfully achieved, the album can only lets itself die out with the short Weller-penned instrumental Whole Point Of No Return, a dreamy drone where a trumpet evades to heaven.

Yes, Robert was on a creative high at this point, further help by the movie Little Red Robin Hood, produced by Italian enthusiasts DiLoretto and Bevilacqua, doing a documentary on Robert's activities. Shleep is definitely one of Wyatt's high point, the highest since Rock Bottom for sure and it'll take a complete miracle for him to top Shleep in terms of pure inventiveness. Sleep is just missing on the fifth star, because of a weak bonus track and a shaky start, but outside that, it's really a wonderful trip into Robert's brains.
Sean Trane / Jazz Music Archives

Peggy Lee ‎– Black Coffee (1953)

Genre: Jazz, Pop
Format: CD Vinyl
Label: Decca, MCA Records

A1.   Black Coffee
A2.   I've Got You Under My Skin
A3.   Easy Living
A4.   My Heart Belongs To Daddy
A5.   It Ain't Necessarily So
A6.   Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You
B1.   A Woman Alone With The Blues
B2.   I Didn't Know What Time It Was
B3.   (Ah, The Apple Trees) When The World Was Young
B4.   Love Me Or Leave Me
B5.   You're My Thrill
B6.   There's A Small Hotel

Bass – Max Wayne
Drums – Ed Shaughnessy
Piano – Jimmy Rowles
Trumpet – Cootie Chesterfield
There were many great albums by singers in the 1950s as the era of the long playing record began: Billie Holiday Lady in Satin, Mel Torme with the Marty Paich Dek-tette, Frank Sinatra Songs for Swingin’ Lovers. One very special album now almost forgotten is Black Coffee.

In 1953 Peggy Lee seized the LP opportunity to create a carefully planned 10 inch album which would show the variety of her repertoire and include a selection of great songs. The album was much admired at the time both for its conception and the superb quality of Lee’s singing. She was accompanied by an excellent small group which featured on several titles the powerful trumpet of Pete Candoli, Conti’s brother. Her version of Easy Living is matched only by Holiday, while her sultry You’re My Thrill is very special indeed. This is an album of real class with Lee at her very best.
Peter Batten / Sussex Jazz Magazine