The latest Scottish wunderkind producer, Sam Gellaitry carves out a 2nd volume of crisp, warm hip hop instrumentals for XL with Escapism II.
Cooly following in the footsteps of Rustie, Hud Mo Offshore or Inkke, he’s the latest in a fine line of Scots who’ve taken the modern hip hop template into distinctively unique new zones whilst never losing sight of its original function; nodding heads and dancing bodies.
These five are just as colourful, inventive and soulful as the last batch, dancing between the hiccuping crunk of The Gateway to a sort of giddy gospel trap in Desert Mirage and a strong sitar lick woven into the Timbaland-esque Jacket Weather, whereas Static Sleep beams out into futurist, techier bumps and Odyssey cuts loose with 3am buckie funk hugs.
So, who knew that Basil Kirchin - the ‘father of ambient music’ and a big influence on Eno and NWW - also recorded some freaky electro and disco zingers?! Patently Trunk did, and now cough up these tiny wonders from the pioneering artist behind seminal slabs such as Abstractions Of The Industrial North and Quantum.
Far as we can tell, with thanks to Google and YouTube user Bernie Dolman, who claims to play bass on the track, Silicon Chip was written and produced by Kirchin, and recorded at the Fairview Recording Studio in Willerby, Hull c.1979-80, engineered by Roy Nieve.
It’s terrifically funky lil’ number, sounding far more like it came from Paris or New York than ‘ull in the late ‘70s when TG were probably still booting around, harassing pigeons and such. We’re not sure what market he was aiming for, then - library or disco? - but the results stand out as one of the slickest, spaced out dance trax we’ve heard from UK during that era. We could say the same about Silicon Sessions, but it’s not really a full track, per se, more like a collection of half-finished stems, which, if they were combined into track, would be one of the maddest of its time. Somebody really needs to get their razor and tape out on this!
Ekambi Brillant was born in the village of Dibombari in Cameroon in 1948. In 1962 he attended school in Yaounde and learned his musical craft. In 1971 he heads off to the big city lights of Douala. Here he finds himself in a French TV, music competition hosted at "Le Domino" nightclub. It is here where he brushes shoulders with other Cameroonian music legends such Manu Dibango and Francis Bebey.
"The music contest win gives him the break he needs and in 1972 and with the support of fellow troubadour JK Mandengue he finds himself with a record deal with Phonogram and his first hits in France.
Its in 1975 where we pick up this merry tale. Because it is in 1975 when things start to get a bit funky. Which is just how we like it here at Africa Seven. In partnership with French producer, guitarist and all around hero, Slim Pezin he creates the "Africa Oumba" album. He goes on in the two subsequent years to record the Soul Castle and Djambo's Djambo's ?albums also with Slim.
Our compilation focuses on the funkier end of Ekambi's music drawn mainly from the 1975 to 1978 period. Things open up with our theme tune "Africa Africa" (of course). It's tribal twisted psych funk is the perfect start to any album. We then move to "Aboki" possibly Ekambi's finest dance floor filler. Next it's the choppy disco strings and slap bass of "Nyambe" and the swirling African swing of "N'Kondo" and the pulsing chop-funk "Ekila".
The flip side starts off with "Soul Castle" an ordinary day tale for our hero. "Massoma" and its funk boogie get things bopping next up before "Machine Ma Bwindea" gives us some punchy brass and low slung funk grooves. "Mother Africa" shows us the songwriting power of Ekambi while also managing to have one of the funkiest flange basslines we have heard in a good while. Things close off with swing-time of "Lambo Lena".
Ekambi Brillant would go on to become one of the big name legends of Cameroonian music with nearly 20 albums to his name. He has contributed to the emergence of several Cameroonian artists such as Marthe Zambo, Valery Lobe, Aladji Toure and Africans. He now spends his time in Cameroon and Washington DC. Ekambi, we salute you sir."
Captivating slab of cyborganic techno sensations by northern Italy’s Riccardo Mazza (from the Lettera 22 duo), making his full solo vinyl debut for iDEAL Recording on the heels of their outstanding John Duncan release. A huge recommendation if you're into the likes of Raime/Blackest Ever Black, Preserved Instincts etc.
Mazza is a veteran of the same, Treviso-based punk scene that spawned Ninos Du Brasil, and he’s made a probing transition from noisy rock music thru to more abstract, rhythm-based and electronic realms over the years, landing at the coruscating industrial tones of UNFIT via freeform, bad-vibing releases for the Second Sleep label, among other, prime Italian imprints such as Hundebiss and Holidays Records.
Operating on the liminal edge of minimal techno, post-industrial and concrète ambience, his productions are ripe for darker-minded dancefloors, sustaining a momentum and gloomy pallor that doesn’t shift from start to finish, coursing thru from the coiled title track, thru the Kenji Kawai-sampling, panic-inducing stepper Height, to the muddied trample of Come Back and the Raime-like Loss, to buckle and wretch with the bloody-nosed electro of Edge and a slow stygian punt entitled Unplaced.
Seriosuly, it’s a must-check if yr into Hospital Productions, Preserved Instincts, Blackest Ever Black…
Spellbinding recordings of new Baudouin De Jaer compositions from the “impeccable” and award-winning contemporary string quartet, Quatuor Tana; also including their take on Igor Stravinsky’s Elegie, composed for the 100th anniversary of the Pro Arte Quartet.
Baudouin De Jaer is the Belgian composer and violinist who notably cracked the idiosyncratic music system of Swiss outsider artist Adolf Wöfli - as heard on Analysis Of The Musical Cryptograms / The Heavenly Ladder (2010) - and who has previously appeared on these pages with his striking original Compositions For Geomungo And Gayageum modelled on Korean folk and Classical Court music - which, for reference, is also a strong influence on the work of Rashad Becker.
The Tana String Quartet are a multi-award winning ensemble recognised for their willingness to push the conventions of contemporary composition, notably using iPads instead of the usual paper-printed scores, which they also use for educational work, and also for incorporating hybrid instruments and electronics into their classical and contemporary music vocabulary.
Quatuor Tana prove a fine match for the technical intricacies and demands of Eclerectic Attracta, whose complex dynamic range is beautifully captured and rendered by Jarek Frankowski’s Acoustic Recordings mixing and mastering solutions using high-end, boutique grade equipment to capture everything from the finest spectral essence to shock-out passages of white hot string flashes.
They’re not necessarily “difficult” to listen pieces, though: taking inspiration from the mountainous province of South Korea which lends its title, Kangwondo (2011) mirrors the stately, pointillist elegance of De Jaer’s favoured Korean Classical Court music to beautiful effect, while NV (2009) written for 4 violins and four non-violinists instrumentalists, is a thrillingly dramatic and compact demonstration of the Quatuor’s ability to translate the highly demanding instructions of De Jaer’s composition, and likewise the durational, dramaturgical turns and tension of Eclerctic Attracta (1987) which requires a lot of directed movement from the players on stage.
If you’ve found yourself rapt by Mica Levi’s incredible soundtracks or solo work, or beguiled by the narrative dynamics of Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species and ever asked yourself; where to next? This album requires your attention forthwith.
Composed and performed in its entirety by Eluvium (aka Mathew Cooper) and seemingly intent on not giving the listener even a glimpse of recognisable instrumentation.
But, just as vocals in a foreign language give you opportunity to admire the voice as an instrument, uncluttered by the need to process the actual message being relayed, similarly 'Talk Amongst the Trees' removes the distraction of its composite parts freeing you up to enjoy the soundscapes for what they are.
The record opens with the fuzzy hearted 'New Animals From the Air', where an effortless fog of aural balm is evoked through organic elements coalescing around a gently chiming heart that brings to mind the spirit, if not the sound, of Markus Popp's Oval. Similarly, 'One' is almost monastical in its sound but again lacks any firm auditory fragments that would draw your attention away from the piece as a whole, whilst only 'Taken', with its guitar led mantra, could be considered conventional in its approach to incorporating identifiable instrumentation.
Like lint from your speakers, it may at first seem insubstantial but once it snags you'll find yourself dragged in ever deeper. Recommended.
Dan Snaith has emerged from the legal cocoon as Caribou - leaving his Manitoba mantle to rot and re-releasing all his past work under the new appellation.
Adding an extra disc for your listening pleasure, 2001's 'Stop Breaking Your Heart' was the first time most of us crossed paths with Snaith, and this debut burst of Canadian electronica has aged surprisingly well. Unafraid to mix his instruments and electronics, the likes of 'Dundas Ontario' even display some early signs of grime - a situation that is particularly evident on the remix included here on the bonus disc, whilst other corners of his oeuvre include hip-hop, calypso and minimal tech.
Seemingly willing to give anything a go, 'Start Breaking My Heart' was a relatively muted release compared to his vitamin C later work - yet whilst this can often indicate an artist unsure of their footing, with Caribou it suggests a genuine evolution of sound that didn't stem from creative moribund.
Raime deliver one of thee baddest dancehall mixtapes you’ll hear for time. Already well known for their selection skills, this one's a proper, heavyweight education...
Give man a mixtape brief, they’ll inevitably take ages. Ply ‘em with vanilla kush and it’s yours - as happened with Raime’s knockout dancehall mix Our Versions of Their Versions: relinquishing an all killer/no filler, seamlessly-licked selek that’s been slow cooking for the last ten years in their warehouse laboratory.
Bubbling up after the duo’s achingly tight 2nd LP, Tooth (2016), the selection cannily asserts the key, if overlooked, influence of late ‘80s and ‘90s dancehall over Raime’s stripped down templates, rugged torque and rooted sense of futurism just as strongly as their now-classic jungle mix for Fact or their garage/grime rinse-out for RA.
Running 28 riddims - all listed alphabetically on the insert, just to frustrate the spotters - with vox by Papa San, Sister P, Supercat, Supervisor, and Terror Fabulous popping off across the mix, the play-it-again factor is ratchet high on this one.
We can detect Rambo’s chopper blades at the intro, and a bit of Slam Productions and Lenky in there, too, but what the fuck is that one with the rave stabs toward the start? Or the one with screeching car tyres, or that Timba-sounding belter at the end? We hardly need to stress it, but this tape is a lot.
Endless bless-ups to Raime. Summer just came very early.
Garbs meets grooves on Best of DKMNTL X Patta
Widely praised DJ/producer Young Marco pushes up the dreamy acid house romance of The Best I Could Do (With What I Had) on the A-side; Tom Trago measures the B-side side with his wavy roller, Brutal Romance (TT’s Love Fix) and Fatima Yamaha glides out on the EP highlight, a 108bpm blisschugger named The Creature From Culture Creation.
Includes previously unreleased session outtake of “Cold Hard Times” plus never before heard Hazlewood compositions “Drums” & “Susie”
"Pimps… whores… pushers… dopers… gangsters… and bottom of the human chain shit-heels. Now you’re probably thinking I'm writing about major record companies and their unscrupulous executives… and lawyers. You could be right… but this time… YOU'RE WRONG! I'm describing the characters in my album "13"…some I knew… some I invented … some are true… some are false… some i liked… some i didn't. But they all had a story to tell and I told it…none of 'em seem to care… and I don't either… have fun…" - Lee Hazlewood
"13 was never supposed to be a Lee Hazlewood album. It is perhaps the strangest record in one of the most varied discographies in music. The bombastic brass heavy funk, deep blues and soul paired with Hazlewood's subterranean baritone would be best enjoyed with a tall Chivas in an off-strip seedy Vegas lounge. It also features one of Hazlewood’s greatest lines ever “One week in San Francisco, existing on Nabisco, cookies and bad dreams, sad scenes and dodging paranoia.” - Larry Marks
13 was never supposed to be a Lee Hazlewood album. It is perhaps the strangest record in one of the most varied discographies in music. The bombastic brass-heavy funk, deep blues and soul paired with Hazlewood’s subterranean baritone would be best enjoyed with a tall Chivas in an off-strip seedy Vegas lounge. It also features one of Hazlewood’s greatest lines ever “One week in San Francisco, existing on Nabisco, cookies and bad dreams, sad scenes and dodging paranoia.”
By 1972 Lee Hazlewood had settled in his new homeland of Sweden. His days were spent carousing, making movies with Torbjörn Axelman and releasing albums. To keep up his prolific recorded output, Lee began to mine the recently defunct LHI Records archives for material. One such gem, was an unreleased album by Larry Marks.
In what became the final days of LHI, staff producer Larry Marks’ sonic fingerprints were on nearly everything; songwriting, producing, arranging, and singing. His most profound contribution was steering the creative direction of the label towards soul and R&B, arranging the downright funky LHI singles by Barbara Randolph and Jon Christian. Larry’s concept was to take Hazlewood’s strongest compositions and arrange them in a soul vibe. An album was completed, but with no distribution in America and no funding, Lee had no vehicle to release Larry’s record. The tapes were taken to Sweden, Larry’s voice was wiped and Hazlewood’s was dubbed….13 was born."
At last, all three Britxotica! LPs now available as a three CD box set! That’s 48 super rare and extraordinary exotic British masterpieces over three genre-defining albums...
"Britxotica! (pronounced “Britzotica”) neatly describes an odd and yet undocumented pre-Beatles British musical scene where famed UK composers as well as unknown singers and bandleaders threw convention on holiday and went wild wild wild! For this very special box set we have gathered the first three groundbreaking and sold out Britxotica! albums…
…thought up and put together by legendary “Smashing” DJ and co creator of The Sound Gallery Martin Green and maverick collector Jonny Trunk, here are 48 incredible, unusual, inspiring and super rare British tracks set across these three magical and very different albums:
Album 1: Britxotica! Primitive Pop And Savage Jazz
Album 2: Britxotica! Goes East! Persian Pop And Casbah Jazz
Album 3: Tropical Britxotica! Polynesian Pop And Placid jazz
Each CD is in a slipcase – a mini replica of the original vinyl LPs. And as well as these three genre-defining albums, you will find an eight page booklet with comprehensive notes about the artists, bandleaders and all our forgotten Britxotica! stars.
So sit back, relax and let Britxotica! take you to musical places you have only ever dreamed of."
The master of shifty, kinky slow-motion dance music deposits his 2nd volume of lean and eerie joints with Antinote.
Hardly ever getting out of first gear, but totally making a virtue of it, Decades, Vol.2 stalks four discreet lines across the ‘floor, hovering into view with lethargic lope and haunting chorales of Calirough, and swanging from the hip into the Muslimgauze-like maze of Hyroglyph, before Wooden wands cranks into 2nd gear, accentuating the strut with swooping subs, for the shadowy Monia to fall back into a dark, heads-down wind-tunnel chug ripe for soundtracking a dream montage in some carmine-stained Italian horror classic.
And all it takes is an MPC, a small synthesiser set up and some effects to get you going. Or “Limitations offer lots of liberties” as Detlef Weinrich a.k.a. Toulouse Low Trax puts it himself. A lesson many could learn from…
Frighteningly fxcked-up and compelling slab from Schimpfluch-Gruppe participant Dave Phillips, whom with Rise arguably establishes a crucial bridge between the continuum of radical European outsider art and NON or Halcyon Veil’s politically-charged, hyperreal soundscapes.
Accompanied by some of the most fascinating sleeve notes we’ve read since, ooh, Pauline Oliveros’ Primordial/Lift, Dave Phillips’ Rise conveys a starkly impending warning about human greed and the tendency toward anthropocentric worldviews and “extractivism”, as opposed to stewardship, all rendered thru seven scenes scrolling from convulsive hyperviolence to detached, abyssal drone and clawing cacophony.
We really couldn’t say whether Phillips, a tireless “purveyor of radical sound since the mid ‘80s” has heard or is even aware of the NON phenomena or Halcyon Veil’s abrasive aesthetics, but the textural and political similarities between those vital new labels and Phillips’ cranky ass are just too striking to ignore.
Face first, he sucks us into the peristaltic paroxysms of We Know Enough To Know How Much We Will Never Know with a sense of arrhythmic chaos and trepidation that feels like Rabit and John Wiese imagining a world where feral populations fight over the last food and goods on the shelves, before Rise steps outside into a bombed out scape strafed with buzzing flies, and Culture Of Ethical Failure sinks into a fetid mire of soggy textures and deeply unpleasant torture chamber wretches dappled with minor key piano motifs.
The Construct farther gnaws at the simulacra’s shaky resolution with visceral, unsettling white noise distortion, and Solastalgia / Ohnmacht feels like the infinite intro to a Venetian Snares calamity which never manifests, instead serving up grindcore rage in Only The Cockroaches Shall Survive To Rule The Earth, and leaving us petrified at what may come with the primordial orgy, A Grain of Salt (Goes a Long Way).
OK, there’s definitely a distinction to be made between Phillips’ extreme angled weltanschauung and the hypermodern consciousness of NON and their affiliates, but it’s surely better to hear their relative similarities and, if you’re a DJ or listener who likes to mess around with their records, to crash and layer ‘em together in the mix where we’d imagine they’ll really come alive together.