Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Romeo Void ‎– Benefactor (1982)

Style: New Wave, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Columbia, 415 Records, CBS

Tracklist:
01.   Never Say Never
02.   Wrap It Up
03.   Flashflood
04.   Undercover Kept
05.   Ventilation
06.   Chinatown
07.   Orange
08.   Shake The Hands Of Time
09.   S.O.S.
Bonus Tracks
10.   Never Say Never (12" Single Version)
11.   In The Dark (12" Single Version)
12.   Present Tense (12" Single Version)
13.   Not Safe (12" Single Version)

Credits:
Vocals – Debora Iyall
Bass – Frank Zincavage
Drums, Percussion – Larry Carter
Backing Vocals – Mary Beth O'Hara
Saxophone – Norman Salant, Benjamin Bossi
Guitar – Walter Turbitt, Peter Wood
Music By, Written-By – Frank Zincavage, Peter Woods
Producer – Ian Taylor, Ric Ocasek

Those danceable beats, that tough-girl stance -- maybe somebody at Columbia thought the label was getting its own Blondie by buying up 415 Records and its principal asset, Romeo Void. Certainly, Benefactor was a more commercial-sounding effort than their debut album, with the band even agreeing to eviscerate the four-letter word in "Never Say Never," and elsewhere playing up-tempo dance-rock that almost, but not quite, overcame the disaffection of Debora Iyall's lyrics. But Romeo Void still was less a Blondie clone than an heir to X-Ray Spex or the Bush Tetras, playing bass-heavy, minimalist rock behind a pissed-off singer who, unlike Debroah Harry, wasn't kidding. "You don't get it?" asked Iyall. "Rain on you. And the world disappears."
William Ruhlmann / AllMusic

Romeo Void ‎– Its A Condition (1981)

Style: New Wave, Indie Rock
Format: Vinyl
Label: CBS, Epic

Tracklist:
A1.   Myself To Myself
A2.   Nothing For Me
A3.   Talk Dirty (To Me)
A4.  Love Is An Illness
A5.   White Sweater
B1.   Charred Remains
B2.   Confrontation
B3.   Drop Your Eyes
B4.   Fear To Fear
B5.   I Mean It

Credits:
Bass – Frank Zincavage
Drums – John Stench
Guitar – Peter Woods
Saxophone – Benjamin Bossi
Vocals – Debora Iyall
Written-By – Iyall, Zincavage, Woods
Producer, Engineer – David Kahne

Romeo Void ably represented the post-punk zeitgeist. Their simple, relentless beat and repetitive riffs complemented singer Debora Iyall's huffy posturing, in which the denial of emotion became an emotional statement in itself. In "White Sweater," Iyall obsessed on the clothing in which her sister committed suicide; she might demand "Talk Dirty (To Me)," but never forgot that "Love Is an Illness," and one is best off keeping "Myself to Myself." Meanwhile, the band maintained a minimalist backing in which every note counted. If punk spoke of unmitigated rage, Romeo Void's music was no less angry, but far more resigned.
William Ruhlmann / AllMusic

Ishmael Ensemble ‎– A State Of Flow (2019)

Style: House, Ambient, Contemporary Jazz
Format: CD, FLAC
Label: Severn Songs

Tracklist:
01.   The Chapel
02.   Full Circle
03.   Siren!
04.   Lapwing
05.   Yellow House
06.   The River
07.   First Light
08.   Waterfall
09.   Surge
Bonus Tracks
10.   Tunnels
11.   Yellow Dub
12.   The River (Reprise)

Credits:
Drums – Rory O'Gorman
Guitar – Stephen Mullins
Saxophone, Synth, Keyboards – Pete Cunningham
Synth, Keyboards, Sarod – Jake Spurgeon
Written By, Producer – Pete Cunningham

Ishmael is a saxophonist, DJ, producer and bandleader, known to his friends as Pete Cunningham. Over the past few years, he’s conducted some madly varied DJ sets, created stately remixes of tracks by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig and performed a whole album’s worth of songs by the Yellow Magic Orchestra. He’s also brought his studio-bound inventions to life with the help of a band, the Ishmael Ensemble, making music that’s pitched somewhere between astral jazz, burbling electronica, trippy minimalism, psychedelic dub and 20 years of club culture.

A key influence on the band has been the musical heritage of Cunningham’s native Bristol, something very evident throughout this latest release. The double bass riff on the jerky drum’n’bass track Siren! recalls Roni Size’s Brown Paper Bag; the doomy bass on Lapwing owes much to Massive Attack and there are numerous nods to the twitchy industrial rhythms of Mark Stewart and the Pop Group. But A State of Flow’s appeal is to invoke varied source material without ever sounding like empty pastiche. The River sees trumpeter Yazz Ahmed playing Arabic-themed improvisations over a bed of aqueous synth arpeggios and postpunk beats. Yellow House has Yoshino Shigihara (from Bristol-based band Yama Warashi) singing in Japanese over a quiet riot of kotos, harps and drones. Most effective of all are tracks such as First Light and The Chapel, where the drums drop out, leaving just the warm burble of analogue synths and soft woodwind harmonies.
John Lewis / The Guardian