Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Rocky Marsiano ‎– Gingando Na MPC (7" edition) (2020)

Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Not On Label ‎

01.   Noite 
02.   Subi
03.   Corrido
04.   Pensamento
05.   Moleza 
06.   Máquina 
07.   Flecha 
08.   Gostoso
09.   Momento
10.   Apagou

At the start of 2020 a fellow DJ/vinyl collector, Tom B, invited me to come and spin at the March edition of legendary Avenida Brasil, one of the longest running BR-themed parties in Paris. He also challenged me to perform a live set on my MPC, specifically made for that night. Unfortunately a few weeks later everything was cancelled. But I kept on making beats, while sampling my Brazilian records. Weeks later this

album was born… It is the most personal album yet, it is an homage to my family’s Brazilian heritage and a dedication to my mother.

When I was still a small child, some of my very first music memories were the many faces of MPB artists “smiling” at me from the covers of my mother’s vinyl collection. I was born in Zagreb to a Portuguese mother (who was raised in Rio de Janeiro) and a Croatian father and grew up listening to Chico Buarque, Elis Regina, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento but also to other, less worldly known but very important artists whose brilliant music my mother collected in the early 70s. This collection of 10” records called “História da Música Popular Brasileira - MPB” was at the time released by Edições Abril and was distributed and sold at many newspaper stands all over Brazil. My mom, being a true music lover, bought the whole collection. Not long after, when her family was moving back from Brazil to Portugal, all the records travelled by ship with her. The same year after marrying my dad, she moved to Zagreb taking again the collection with her. Another journey the records madewas when our family moved to Lisbon in 1992, with a one year stop in Rome.

Now, I am very happy to have the collection with me here in Amsterdam. They are part of my family's multi- cultural heritage and a living proof that great music can stand the test of time.  

Wolf Alice ‎– Visions Of A Life (2017)

Style: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: RCA, Dirty Hit

01.   Heavenward
02.   Yuk Foo
03.   Beautifully Unconventional
04.   Don't Delete The Kisses
05.   Planet Hunter
06.   Sky Musings
07.   Formidable Cool
08.   Space & Time
09.   Sadboy
10.   St. Purple & Green
11.   After The Zero Hour
12.   Visions Of A Life

Backing Vocals – Charlie Ellis
Bass, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Backing Vocals – Theo Ellis
Additiona Percussion – Carlos De La Garza
Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Omnichord, Synthesizer – Ellie Rowsell
Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Keyboards, Programmed By, Omnichord – Joel Amey
Guitar, Keyboards, Programmed By, Backing Vocals, Synthesizer – Joff Oddie
Keyboards, Programmed, Synthesizer, Producer – Justin Meldal-Johnse
Written-By – Ellie Rowsell, Joel Amey, Joff Oddie, Theo Ellis

“If we had an inkling of an idea, even if it seemed a bit silly, we’d try it out and see what happened,” Ellie Rowsell said earlier this year about the making of Wolf Alice’s second album, ‘Visions Of A Life’. Spoiler alert: what happened was the London band making a record so bold, brave and jaw-droppingly advanced it should sound out a secret “album of the year” message when played backwards.

In some ways, Wolf Alice’s second album is an extension of their 2015 debut, ‘My Love Is Cool’. That excellent record was restless, too, flitting from hypnotic, electronic folk to teeth-baring rock. Some of the little ideas buried in its songs are blown up life-sized here – the thundering guitars of the doom-y, shape-shifting title track are reminiscent of ‘Giant Peach”s hefty finale, while the mid-air meltdown of ‘Sky Musings’ takes ‘The Wonderwhy”s spoken word and laces it through the whole ominous track.

More than that, though, ‘Visions Of A Life’ is a vast improvement on an already supreme foundation. Bassist Theo Ellis and Joel Amey’s rhythm section propels each song with just the right combination of intricacy and immediacy. ‘Formidable Cool’ is Wolf Al at their nastiest – guitarist Joff Oddie’s riff is tumbling and sleazy, while its savage breaking point has Ellie howling “That’s all he fucking did when he fucked you on the floor!” Far softer, ‘After The Zero Hour’ is a choral beauty more fit for churches than the sticky-floored arenas the Londoners are headed for.

It’s ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ that lifts things to astronomical new heights, though. With whirring guitars straight from Blur‘s ‘Essex Dogs’ and a glittering, swirling melody, it’s a cinematic glory that has the potential to become a modern classic. Ellie said she wanted to write “one of those head-out-the-window driving tunes”, but it feels more like soaring light years above Earth with enough butterflies in your stomach to carry you all the way home.

With ‘Visions Of A Life’ Wolf Alice are removing any doubt about their status in the UK music scene. Best band in Britain? 100 per cent.
Rhian Daly / NME

GQ ‎– Disco Nights (1979)

Style: Disco, Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Arista, Big Break Records

01.   Disco Nights (Rock Freak)
02.   Make My Dream A Reality
03.   It's Your Love
04.   Spirit
05.   This Happy Feeling
06.   Wonderful
07.   Boogie Oogie Oogie
08.   I Do Love You
Bonus Tracks
09.   Disco Nights (Rock Freak) (12" Disco Remix)
10.   Make My Dreams A Reality (12" Promo Version)
11.   Boogie Oogie Oogie (12" Disco Remix)
12.   I Do Love You (Single Version)
13.   Disco Nights (Rock Freak) (Single Remix)
14.   Make My Dreams A Reality (Single Version)
15.   Boogie Oogie Oogie (12" Promo Version)

Arranged By – GQ
Horns Arranged By – Ray Chew
Bass – Keith "Sabu" Crier
Drums – Paul Service
Keyboards – Herb Lane
Vocals – Herb Lane, Keith "Sabu" Crier, Paul Service
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Vocals – Emmanuel Rahiem LeBlancr.
GQ Is – Emmanuel Rahiem LeBlanc, Herb Lane, Keith "Sabu" Crier, Paul Service
Producer – Beau Ray Fleming, Jimmy Simpson

The other day I was digging through piles of albums I’ve picked up over the years at garage sales and thrift stores and I see GQ’s “Disco Nights” and I was kind of surprised that I had picked this one up in the first place. My memory of this short lived band was that they came on at the very tail end of the dying disco scene with some rather generic fodder in a vain attempt to grasp the last few dollars left in this quickly drying up former bottomless money well. I’m glad I gave this band one more chance as they are much better than I remember and are actually a fairly hot jazz influenced funky RnB dance band. Like most 70s RnB bands, the members of GQ were basically jazz and gospel musicians who took on RnB because that was where the party was at. The interplay between guitarist Emanuel Raheim LeBlanc and bassist Keith “Sabu” Crier is super hot as they push these songs with driving funk and fusion riffs. All four band members sing, but once again, LeBlanc takes the lead spot with his soaring EW&F style melodies. EW&F makes for a good reference for the GQ sound, also The Brothers Johnson, but GQ’s songs are a little more stripped down for the dance floor.

Every track is a dance floor burner, “Disco Nights” was definitely meant to be a high energy party album. The only thing close to a ballad is the album closer, “I Do Love You”, which hits a medium groove for the one slow dance number. Do you remember this band, do you remember how bad RnB radio got in the late 70s ("Ring My Bell")? Give GQ another chance, you may be as surprised as I was, these guys can groove and rock your party.

VA ‎– Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4 (Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83) (2020)

Style: Krautrock, Electro
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Soul Jazz Records

01.   Alex - Patella Black
02.   Klauss Weiss - Driving Sequences
03.   Can - I'm So Green
04.   Agitation Free - Laila, Part II
05.   Deutsche Wertarbeit - Guten Abend, Leute
06.   Amon Düül II - Wolf City
07.   Michael Rother - Flammende Herzen
08.   Klauss Weiss - Pink Sails
09.   Virus - My Strand-Eyed Girl
10.   Conrad Schnitzler - Ballet Statique
11.   Kalacakra - Naerby Shiras
12.   EMAK - Tanz In Den Himmel
13.   Et Cetera - Mellodrama 2a
14.   Gruppe Between - Triumphzug Kaiser Maximillian
15.   Roedelius - Halmharfe
16.   Dzyan - Dragonson
17.   Harmonia - Deluxe (Immer Wieder)
18.   Günter Schickert - Suleika
19.   Witthüser & Westrupp - Schöpfung (1. Mose 1)

Nowadays, the period between 1968 and the early eighties is regarded as a golden period for German music, and saw groundbreaking artists and groups like Amon Düül, Can, Cluster, Deuter, Faust, Harmonia, Neu!, Popul Vuh and Tangerine Dream released innovative albums that would influence and inspire future generations of musicians. This music ranged from Krautrock to the

Berlin and Düsseldorf Schools of Electronic Music which nowadays, are regarded as the holy trinity of modern German music.

Despite the importance of Krautrock and the Berlin and Düsseldorf Schools of Electronic Music, many of the leading lights of these scenes didn’t enjoy the critical acclaim and commercial success that their innovative music deserved. It was only much later, that a new generation of musicians and record buyers discovered the wealth of groundbreaking music that had been recorded between 1968 and the early eighties and realised its importance. Here were albums that were innovative and way ahead of the musical curve, but sadly, in many cases had failed to find an audience. However, this was about to change.

Belatedly, a new generation of musicians, record collectors and journalists, began to fly the flag for Krautrock and also the Berlin and Düsseldorf Schools of Electronic Music. Suddenly, the music started to influence a new generation of musicians and was growing in popularity.

Before long, the music was receiving the recognition it deserved and eventually few record companies released compilations of music from Germany’s golden era.  This included Soul Jazz Records will released Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83 as a two CD set on the ‘16th’ of October 2020 and features nineteen tracks.

Opening Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83 is Patella Black by Alex. It’s taken from his 1973 eponymous debut which was released on the Pan label. However, Alex Wiska’s career began in 1964 when he joined The Famous Four and then later, became a member of The Playboys. Then in 1967 he formed his own band Ombächli who released their debut single later that year. The following year, Alex Wiska was studying classical guitar at Köln Musik Konservatorium when he met Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit. They would later go on to found Can and in 1973 co-produced Alex’s debut album. By then, he was one of the pioneers of electric Baglama which features on his debut album. It can be heard on Patella Black which is captivating and inventive fusion of Anatolian rock, progressive rock and psychedelia.

Nowadays, Can are regarded as one of the most important, innovative and influential of the Krautrock bands. By 1972, they were signed to United Artists and released I’m So Green as a single. It features a vocal from inimitable Damo Suzuki and is a tantalising taste of one of Can’s classic albums Ege Bamyasi which belongs in every record collection.

One of the oft-overlooked Krautrock groups is Agitation Free. They were formed in 1967 and were the house band at he legendary Zodiac Arts Centre, in Berlin. By 1973, they were signed to Vertigo ad released their sophomore album 2nd. It featured Laila, Part II a breathtaking track where elements of Krautrock, progressive rock and even fusion melt magically into one.

Amon Düül II roots can be traced to a Munich commune where the group was born and became part of the city’s underground music scene. Their music was a mixture of free-form improvisation and psychedelic rock and in 1969 they released their groundbreaking debut album Phallus Dei and followed this up in 1970 with the seminal classic Yeti. Two years later in 1972, the group had signed to United Artists and released Wolf City which brought to an end what was the classic period for Amon Düül II. A reminder of this is the genre-melting title-track Wolf City where they seamlessly combine Krautrock and psychedelic rock to create what was one of the album’s highlights.

Michael Rother came to prominence as a member of Kraftwerk before joining Neu! and then Harmonia. He then embarked upon a long and successful solo career and nowadays is regarded as one of the greatest German guitarists of his generation. His playing is inventive and imaginative.  That’s the case on Flammende Herzen which is the title-track to his 1977 debut album as he plays slowly and carefully leaving space while a Motorik beat accompanies him. Flammende Herzen and the followup Sterntaler are the perfect introduction to Michael Rother. 

In 1978, pioneering avant-garde musician Conrad Schnitzler was signed to the Egg label when he released his experimental electronic album Ballet Statique. The title-track features on the compilation and sounds way ahead it’s time. So much so, that it’s hard to believe that is was released in 1978.

Kalacakra’s contribution to the compilation is Nearby Shiras which is a track from their incredibly rare private press Crawling To Lhasa. It was released in 1972 and is fusion of Kraut-folk and psychedelic rock with a spiritual sound. The highlight of the album is Nearby Shiras which is a welcome addition to the compilation.

Et Cetera was founded in 1971 and later that year, released their eponymous debut album on Global Records. The album featured Mellodrama 2a which was an experimental and innovative fusion of avant-garde, jazz, rock and world music.

By 1979, Roedelius was still signed to Sky Records when he released his new album Selbstportrait (Teil 1 Sanfte Musik). It featured Halmharfe which was a quite beautiful but understated and almost mesmeric soundscape.

Cluster’s Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius joined forces with Michael Rother of Neu! to create the German supergroup Harmonia. Their sophomore album was Deluxe which was released on Brain in 1975. It features Deluxe (Immer Wieder) one of the album’s highlights and a reminder of Harmonica at the peak of their powers on a Krautrock classic.

Witthüser and Westrupp released their debut album Der Jesuspilz/Musik Vom Evangelium on the Pilz label in 1971. The album featured Schöpfung (1. Mose 1) and finds the duo combining folk rock and psychedelic rock on this beautiful track that closes Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83.

Just like the three previous instalments in the series, Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83 features talented, innovative and influential bands and musicians who played their part in what was a musical revolution in Germany. In the late-sixties, a group of musicians set out to rewrite musical history in Germany and create new, exciting and innovative  music for a new generation. They succeeded in doing so, and the proof of that is the music on Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83.

It includes  Krautrock and tracks from the Berlin and Düsseldorf Schools of Electronic Music and further afield. There’s also elements of acid folk, ambient, avant-garde, electronica, experimental, industrial, modern classical, progressive rock, psychedelia and rock. All these influences can be heard on Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83, which is the latest instalment in this occasional series.

Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83 is the perfect introduction to the golden age of modern German music, especially when added to the three previous volumes. This could be the start of a lifelong love affair with  Krautrock or the Berlin and Düsseldorf Schools of Electronic Music.

However, Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83 will also be of interest to anyone who is interested in the golden age of German modern music.

Hopefully, Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83 won’t be the last in this occasional series, as there’s plenty more material awaiting discovery. This could be a compilation series that runs and runs, and it won’t be long until Volume 5.

This critically acclaimed and lovingly curated compilation series combines tracks from familiar faces with contributions from new names and a selection of hidden gems. That is the case on Deutsche Elektronische Musik 4: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1971-83. It’s the latest instalment in a series that looks back at what was the most important period in modern German music, and showcases some of the most important, innovative and influential German artists and bands from this golden  era.
Derek Anderson / Dereksmusicblog