Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine (Deluxe Edition) (2020)

Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul, Pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Skint

01.   Simulation
02.   Kingdom Of Ends
03.   Something More
04.   Shellfish Mademoiselle
05.   Incapable
06.   We Got Together
07.   Murphy's Law
08.   Game Changer
09.   Narcissus
10.   Jealousy
11.   Incapable (Extended Mix)
12.   Narcissus (Extended Mix)
13.   Murphy's Law (Extended Mix)
14.   Something More (Extended Mix)
15.   Simulation (Extended Mix)
16.   Jealousy (Extended Mix)

Engineer – David Lewin
Mastered By – Randy Merrill
Producer – The Crooked Man

Over the course of the last 30 years, Róisín Murphy has made enough classics to fill up the Top 40 of a more fabulous world. To paraphrase the one-time announcer of this awful world’s pop countdown, Murphy has kept her couture-shod feet on the ground and kept reaching for the stars—though her idea of a star is more Cosey Fanni Tutti dancing to Sylvester than your average pop idol. The Irish singer-songwriter’s fifth solo album, Róisín Machine, might seem in some ways like the same old song and dance. But it’s done with such impeccable elan that she has turned the old nightlife songbook into a book of revelations.

In Moloko, Murphy’s turn-of-the-century duo of bedroom fiddlers who ended up filling arenas, Murphy distilled awkward hedonism into intoxicants like “Sing It Back” and “Forever More.” Her subsequent solo albums, brilliant as they often were, sometimes felt more like mere representations of charisma, or deployments of charm, than, say, a confession on a dancefloor or finding love in a hopeless place or something you can’t get out of your head. In proper dance-music style, her best tracks often existed only on 12"s, like her 2014 collaboration with Freeform Five, “Leviathan,” a fierce and forthright anthem which should be played instead whenever someone requests “Titanium.” Or the series she made with boompty savant Maurice Fulton, which often sounded like house classics overheard while trapped in an adjacent rubber room.

Machine fills out a recent clutch of 12"s with new tracks, all made with Sheffield legend Parrot, whose work as Sweet Exorcist (with Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk) helped form the character of early Warp records. Here, he raises the electro-industrial psychedelia of Throbbing Gristle and the deeply considered thump of Larrys Levan and Heard into impeccable feats of sonic engineering that wisely never dare to upstage the star of the show.

After a brief prologue to set the stakes—“I will make my own happy ending,” she announces over an opening curtain of strings—the album moves psychogeographically through various dance terrains. It begins, with “Simulation,” at the beginning: the breath (layers of Murphy’s exhalations, pluming like a fog machine) and the beat. (For club kids, a heartbeat isn’t a double thump, it’s a kick and a hi-hat.) “This is a simulation,” she lilts. “This is a lonely illusion/This is my only delusion.” Disco, invented by people whose existence was uncertain, was a way to turn fantasy into fact. Here, Murphy is part Oscar Wilde, praising the artificial as a mask that tells the truth, and part Willy Wonka, all conflicted beckoning. Part riot grrrl, too: “If it’s all on my veins/It’s all in my mind/You don’t get to be unkind!” she declares, like a clarion cry of “Girls to the front!” The dancefloor is a body, Murphy’s own, and she’s too busy blissing to entertain male notions of authenticity, or the dangers their egos might engender.

“Simulation” ends with one of the album’s great builds, which on a good pair of headphones sounds like liftoff and on a behemoth of a soundsystem—at, let’s say, a busy moment of a particularly adult’s-only corner of a queer dancefloor—feels like poppers. Murphy has talked about sequencing Machine as a kind of DJ mix; a traditional one would take off even further from here. Perversely, “Kingdom of Ends” follows, a beatless heater with stacked funk-operatic vocals calling back to The ArchAndroid and P-Funk before it. The chants amass above an ooze of trance, putting to shame the thousands of so-called “deconstructed club” blobs currently clogging up Bandcamp. “This is easier than I expected,” Murphy sneers.

Only then, with an absolute stormer of a disco strut called “Something More,” is the Machine up and running at full steam. “Maybe this could be the last time I feel the strain/Of what it’s like to own everyone and everything/Life just keeps me wanting,” she announces, as if reading out loud, for the first time, a diagnosis of her own condition. The song is a masterclass of ambivalence, with a yearning bridge that settles into the chorus, once aching and now resigned.

The baggy “We Got Together” ricochets Murphy’s hoots and hollers across booming fields, a simple celebration of how tough it can be to maintain a connection. With “Game Changer,” she loosens her grip. It’s a humid pulse, that moment in a DJ set designed for a quick trip to the bar. This is Roísín Murphy, though, so it’s not that easy. The track is somehow in freefall and motionless. Her voice flashes through the air like tableaus caught in mid-strobe: “I thought I knew the way…”; “This is about to get realer….” Words smear. Just as with a slightly inappropriate outfit, or a too-intimate (or intoxicated) conversation, what holds it all together is wit.

“Incapable” is brittle, its Eurodisco rhythm sharpened into snaps and claps. Murphy unloads a history of emotional distance. She knows all about that warm Moroder/Summer swoon: “I get that there’s a sensation/Though I don’t know what it means.” She can’t feel love. “I should try and play my part,” she reproves herself, but alas, all she’s ever felt is a feverish chill. And this is what it sounds like, percussion prickling like goosebumps, when your damage hardens into a visage. She falls through a trapdoor into full disco fever. “Narcissus” marries Greek myth and a dance beat better than Xanadu ever did: Its pools of rippling strings evaporate into prance music for chatterbox Echo and selfie-obsessed Narcissus, characters familiar to anyone who’s ever waited in line for a nightclub powder room.

Disco fuels another gem: “Murphy’s Law,” a shimmering ode to a lack of self-control that she sings in a register as deep as the groove. The song is not a cover of Cheri’s insouciant 1982 boogie standard of the same name, and it is also not “Bad Girls,” though it definitely shares some DNA, but it is as good as either of them. The nerve! And one more: “Jealousy,” shorn of more than half its original 12" length, starts in thrall to that destructive emotion and stays there. “Jealousy!” she chants, as if demanding her own humanity, while the track surmounts a second great buildup, bookending “Simulation” as if to say the real drama is always human. After all the triumphs and tragedies of trying to connect to herself and other people in the dark, she finds a role she was born to play: succinct dancefloor truth-teller, a character smart enough to see the worst about herself and clever enough to make it irresistible. Róisín Murphy aims her tracks at the stars. With Róisín Machine, she’s become one.
Jesse Dorris / Pitchfork

Stray Cats ‎– Stray Cats (1981)

Style: Rockabilly
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Arista, BMG

01.   Runaway Boys
02.   Fishnet Stockings
03.   Ubangi Stomp
04.   Jeanie,Jeanie,Jeanie
05.   Storm The Embassy
06.   Rock This Town
07.   Rumble In Brighton
08.   Stray Cat Strut
09.   Crawl Up And Die
10.   Double Talkin Baby
11.   My One Desire
12.   Wild Saxaphone

Saxophone – Gary Barnacle
Performer – Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, Slim Jim Phantom
Producer – Brian Setzer, Dave Edmunds, Stray Cats

Stray Cats debut album came hot on the heels of the two hit singles "Runaway Boys" and "Rock This Town," both energy filled rockabilly songs that hearkened back to the 1950s era of pure rock & roll with an updated, clean '80s sound highlighted by the prominent double bass playing of Lee Rocker and drumming of Slim Jim Phantom. The Stray Cats had more depth than pure rockabilly, as shown on the out and out rock & roll tracks "Fishnet Stockings," "Double Talkin Baby," and "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie" (a facsimile of "Summertime Blues"), and the sleazy third single "Stray Cat Strut," perfectly evocative of a night out on the tiles. "Storm the Embassy," a song about the Iranian hostage situation than ran throughout 1980, would not have sounded out of place performed by the Clash, and "Ubangi Stomp" bore more than a passing resemblance to another musical craze of the early '80s: ska as performed by Madness or any of the 2 Tone stable of acts. This album was by far their most successful, hitting number six in the charts and their only entry into the Top 40. It was never released in the U.S., but five tracks, the three singles, plus "Rumble in Brighton" and "Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie" were amalgamated with tracks from the follow-up, Gonna Ball and appeared on the U.S. compilation Built for Speed.
Sharon Mawer / AllMusic

Amália Rodrigues ‎– Amália Na Broadway (1984)

Genre: Pop, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Celluloid, Columbia

1.   Who Will Buy
2.   Long Ago And Far Away
3.   All The Things You Are
4.   Blue Moon
5.   Summertime
6.   The Nearness Of You
7.   I Can´t Begin To Tell You
8.   I Can't Help Loving That Man
9.   Half As Much

Arranged By, Directed By – Norrie Paramor
Executive-Producer – Jean-Jacques Lafaye

A fadista estreou-se num palco nova-iorquino em 1952. A partir de então foi frequente visita para o público norte-americano.

E chegou mesmo a gravar um álbum com um músico de jazz e um outro, de versões de 'standards' da Broadway

Amália Rodrigues teve presença regular em palcos norte- -americanos desde os anos 50

Quando Amália Rodrigues subiu, pela primeira vez, a um palco nova-iorquino era já uma estrela com estatuto internacional. Por essa altura tinha actuado em Madrid (onde fez a sua estreia internacional em 1943), no Rio de Janeiro, em Londres, em Paris, em Dublim. Já havia passado por palcos em África, de Angola e Moçambique ao então Congo Belga.

Em Setembro de 1952 a sua estreia em Nova Iorque fez- -se no palco do La Vie en Rose, onde ficou 14 semanas em cartaz.

No ano seguinte a estreia na televi- são norte-americana acontece no programa de Eddie Fischer, na NBC. Pouco depois, já em 1954, Hollywood escuta-a pela primeira vez, no Mocambo.

Amália Rodrigues semeou assim, em diversas viagens aos Estados Unidos, uma relação profunda com o público, os palcos e mesmo a indústria do disco norte-americana. Não foi por acaso que, apesar de ter uma carreira discográfica encetada nos anos 40 (ainda em discos de 78 rotações), foi nos EUA que editou o seu primeiro LP.

Amalia Rodrigues Sings Fado From Portugal and Flamenco From Spain, lançado em 1954 pela Angel Records, assinala a sua estreia no formato do long-play, a 33 rotações, criado apenas seis anos antes e, na época, ainda longe de conhecer a expressão de mercado que depois viria a conquistar.O álbum, que seria editado em 1957 em Inglaterra e, um ano depois, em França, nunca teve prensagem portuguesa.

Ao longo da sua carreira, Amália regressou por diversas vezes aos Estados Unidos, frequentemente acolhida em triunfo. Em 1966 apresentou-se no Lincoln Center, em Nova Iorque, com o maestro Andre Kostelanetz frente a uma orquestra, num programa essencialmente feito de canções do folclore português numa das noites e num outro, feito de fados (também com orquestra), na seguinte.

Amália trabalhou o espectáculo directamente com o maestro, na casa deste, em Nova Iorque. Ele ao piano, ela cantando, juntos encontrando o registo a levar ao palco. O mesmo espectáculo foi encenado, dias depois, no Hollywood Bowl. Estes concertos estão na base de três EP's, de folclore acompanhado por uma orquestra, que Amália edita simultaneamente, em Abril de 1967. A parceria com o maestro foi tão bem acolhida pelo público, crítica e pela própria Amália, que nova actuação, no mesmo Lincoln Center, aconteceu em 1968.

A relação com a América acabaria por marcar depois presença na própria música de Amália. Primeiro, numa colaboração com o saxofonista Don Byas no álbum Encontro - Amália e Don Byas (1974) e, mais tarde num disco de versões de clássicos populares da Broadway, Amália na Broadway (editado em 1984 usando gravações registadas em 1965 e nunca até então reveladas publicamente).

Nuno Galopim / Portal do Fado