Sharply contoured, inventive electro mutations from Maelstrom, a french producer with previous form for Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax, BNR, and Zone.
Again, CPU get the best out of their guy here, turning up some strong highlights with his fresh spin on Braindance tunings and ghettofunk pneumatics in the exquisite Lost Echoes, some filigree acid pirouettes on ALPH4, and pure electro/techno pressure on VZNIETIT and Praxis.
DJs, dancers - it’s yours.
Anthony J Hart (Imaginary Forces, Basic Rhythm) adopts the Hi Tek moniker as producer for East Man’s Red, White & Zero; a grime/dancehall/ project inspired by London’s vital relationship between mixed, working class cultures, inspired by conversations with theorist and academic Paul Gilroy - alumni of the late, great Stuart Hall. Features bars by Saint P, Darkos Strife, Killa P, Eklipse, Lyrical Strally, Kwan. RIYL The Bug, Blackdown, Alex Deamonds.
“London’s young people have been seen as a problem by governments for many generations now. Their distinctive street cultures stretch back into the nineteenth century when, just like today, a stylish public presence signified danger to respectable people. At that time, Britain’s class conflicts were being re-made amidst all the glorious fruits of a global empire. Divisions like class and sex had different shapes and tempos that hardly resemble the machinery of our increasingly networked and unequal world. Religion, racism and nationalism were all important, but work, exploitation and poverty supplied the fiery core of politricks.
These days, Britain’s imperial wealth and prestige are long gone. Today’s young people are excluded and marginalized, confined and criminalized, yet they remain at the heart of the vital, energetic best of our city. Their energy and imagination drive London’s convivial culture. They duck and dive just like their predecessors. They hustle, they suffer and they survive. Even where knives are common, most of the problems that come up get resolved without murderous violence. The defining experience of their precarious situation is more likely to be fear or anxiety than warfare between gangs. Their violence is more likely to turn inwards on to their loved ones and family members. There are many forms of self harm and self medication.
Yet the space in which those youthful lives unfold has contracted. The scale on which life is lived has shrunk. Moving around can be expensive. Surveillance is constant. Dignity and certainty are difficult to find and hold on to. It can be hard to feel comfortable outside the spaces and places you know best. Those familiar circuits are marked out by the roadside shrines of dead flowers that show just how vulnerable you can quickly become.
We have been losing London to Babylon but we are busy making a new place. The edges of the city have become fertile. The weeds grow up explosively between palisaded concrete boxes and the litter-strewn greenery. This is not zones 1 and 2 where houses and flats are capital rather than buildings to live in. The music that comes out of that edgy world isn’t what it was a generation ago, but it’s still fundamental--necessary for life.
These shocking sounds can be a part of healing and repair while staying faithful to the pressures that forged them. Musicians can’t make a living from their creativity, but their listeners can’t understand this historical moment unless they get to grips with its local rules, meanings and poetry. This is not America. Even without words, this music speaks for itself and tells a story. It calls out to be understood while seeking ways to escape interpretation.
We are always more than either this or that. We are more than either black or white."
Paul Gilroy 2017.
Tetine’s Bruno Verner revives Slum Dunk with a set of Film Tapes 1991 - 1995, written in São Paulo a long time before he was making mutant baile funk for Soul Jazz. Shares something of a strange, other or 4th worldly nature with experimental material written by Mitar Subotić aka Rex Ilusivii and recently issued by Offen Music, or even playful elements of that ace ‘Jan Zonder Vrees’ OST on STROOM 〰
“Film Tapes [1991-1995] is a collection of eight experimental pieces composed for film and video works. Written by Bruno Verner of Brazilian duo Tetine as he lived in São Paulo in the early 1990, these pieces were produced in an old four-channel Tascan tape-recorder in an improvised home studio, set in the living room of flat-share in downtown São Paulo.
Extracted from cassete tapes, these tracks were inspired by the humid climate and the concrete dystopian architecture of São Paulo's city centre. They are mostly tense, discordant and melodic (ambient) soundscapes, developed around rhythm & repetition structures and building orchestral and epic sonorities in conjunction with impressionistic, chromatic and atonal motives.
These pieces were also autobiographical impressions of the city's social architecture and its space (and time). In other words, an attempt to sonically 'translate' its viaducts and overpasses, street vendors, register offices, sex saunas, bars and clubs, bus terminals, modernist buildings, parks and old departments stores. This is made by a combination of electronics, cello, trumpets, saxophones, piano, flute and organ.”
Four track EP made up of new songs ‘Keep It Surreal’, ‘Cold Water People’ and apocalyptic closer ‘Catch You Dreaming’.
"A defiantly reflective, blissed out, yet wistful six minute zero gravity swirl, the track showcases yet another side to the reborn and rejuvenated Ride, who last Summer returned with their first new music in twenty years.
Catch You Dreaming’ was originally written during the ‘Weather Diaries’ sessions in Autumn 2016, and sees the continuation of their working relationship with Moulder and Alkan, the same combination who helped shape their richly layered and multi-faceted comeback album."
Onra secretes his 6th LP on Dublin’s All City with Nobody Has To Know, blushing 13 tracks of romantic soul and R&B downstrokes straddling classic ’80s and ’90s vibes with up-to-the-second production. Furtively tucking the vibe away for the lovers, the Parisian producer licks choice samples into slick original arrangements of sticky boogie bass and snares drenched in gated reverb, all chain compressed for that pendulous pressure and a lip-biting sense of tension and release.
“On “Nobody Has To Know”, his fifth album for All City Records, the versatile French producer created music that reflects on the various aspects of a secret relationship pulling from R&B,New Jack Swing and Funk to soundtrack the passions of attraction.
Stylistically “Nobody Has To Know” picks up from the Future Funk style Onra originated on his 2010's “Long Distance” (and its 2012 companion EP “Deep In The Night” for Fool's Gold). Where those two releases mined the early and mid parts of the 1980s for ideas and references, the new album digs into late '80s and early '90s jams for smoother and richer sounds. Bolstering the record are two talented multi-instrumentalists, New Zealand's Lewis McCallum and Belgium's Pomrad, who bring touches of virtuosity to Onra's trademark smooth arrangements. The result is a record that, like its theme, oscillates between tender, torrid and tumultuous.
Over its 13 tracks “Nobody Has To Know” details the ups and downs of a secret relationship, from the excitement of doing something forbidden to the aftermath of living out fantasies. On "Let Me Fantasize" a rolling bassline and sparkling melodies capture the excitement of what is possible, the mind wandering into the forbidden. "No Question" taps into New Jack Swing to act out desires that can't be suppressed, exuberant solos echoing dangerous feelings. With its hard drums and smooth horn solos, and chorus of "Freak" takes you to that place where you can do things you only dreamed about. Balancing this intensity are more introspective moments. "Not Long Ago" rolls out gentle synth solos and nostalgic samples to reflect on past relationships and the very human desire to have what you had or can no longer reach. Rich textures and a languid rhythm underpin the reflective mood of "Nothing To Lose," as you wonder what could go wrong – it's a fine line after all.
The fantasizing, excitement and danger of fatal attraction are all reflected through the prism of the music. With “Nobody Has To Know” Onra deftly evolves the style he first began to explore a decade ago with his unique touch, re-affirming a unique sound rooted in warmth and setting the mood for some late-night escapades.”
Obscure, sought-after French free jazz session led by François Tusque. Make sure to check the brooding title track for a dark, blue and funk-dusted hustle
“10 December 1974. 200 conscripts exit the casern of Draguignan in order to demonstrate in the streets of the city. They make part of those clandestine soldier committees multiplying themselves all over France with a view to unite the young activists of the extreme left with the anti-militarists. This dispute is a backwash of the student manifestations in spring 1973 against the Debré law reforming the military service.
The "Collectif du Temps des Cerises" founded by François Tusques, one of the pioneers of the French free jazz, decides to support the insubordinates. Denis Levaillant, 22 years old at the time, becomes the driving force of this discographical project. It’s with another big name in jazz, Jef Gilson in his studio Palm, the group records the compositions of Levaillant, appearing under the pseudonym Serge Igor, as well as cover versions of traditional Spanish music, among others the mythic "El paso del Ebro".
The young French jazz avantgarde scene of the early 70s participates in that session which brings together musicians like Jean-Jacques Avenel, Pierre Rigaud, Jean Méreu, Antoine Cuvelier, Gérard Tamestit, Guy Oulchen, Christian Ville, Robert Lucien, Carlos Andréou et Kirjuhel. The graphic designer collective Atarpop 73 creates the sleeve of the album which was released in an edition of 3000 copies and sold during the student manifestations.
This radical report of a rebellious youth raising from the still glowing ashes of May 1968 brings to our ears a jazz as spiritual as revolutionary. Attention, disc is burning!”
Will Toledo always knew he would return to Twin Fantasy. He never did complete the work. Not really. Never could square his grand ambitions against his mechanical limitations.
"Listen to his first attempt, recorded at nineteen on a cheap laptop and you’ll hear what Brian Eno fondly calls “the sound of failure” - thrilling, extraordinary and singularly compelling failure. Will’s first love, rendered in the vivid teenage viscera of stolen gin, bruised shins and weird sex, was an event too momentous for the medium assigned to record it.
On the heels of the smashing success of ‘Teens Of Denial’, Car Seat Headrest release a new version of ‘Twin Fantasy’. “It was never a finished work,” Will says, “and it wasn’t until last year that I figured out how to finish it.” He has, now, the benefit of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form and endless time to tinker. According to him, it took eight months of mixing just to get the drums right. However, this is no shallow second take, sanitized in studio and scrubbed of feeling. This is the album he always wanted to make. It sounds the way he always wanted it to sound.
It’s been hard, stepping into the shoes of his teenage self, walking back to painful places. There are lyrics he wouldn’t write again, an especially sad song he regards as an albatrossbut as he carries the weight of that younger, wounded Will, he moves forward. He grows. He revises, gently, the songs we love so much. In the album’s final moments, in those apologies to future me and yous, there is more forgiveness than fury.
This, Will says, is the most vital difference between the old and the new: he no longer sees his own story as a tragedy."
Super infectious Forró from Northeastern Brazil - celebratory folk music for dance and drinking Cachaça
“In 1960 we received an invitation to play in Recife, a wonderful, exciting and dangerous place, often described as a “social jungle”.
The Forró party took place on the first floor of Caxangá´s neighbourhood theatre. With its high ceilings, wooden floors and balconies, the place was perfect for these kinds of events. When all the windows were wide open, there would be a wonderful breeze during the hot tropical evenings.
Since everyone was looking for amusement, the place was packed on weekends. People from all corners of society would arrive nicely dressed, animated and chatting loudly over the sound of clinking glasses.
Pernambuco´s Cachaça, considered by many, especially by the locals, to be the best in the country, had started flowing generously and the popular sugar cane based alcohol lives up to its reputation. We always had a few shots to warm up before performing and by the time the place was packed we were already in a very good mood.
Our local cachaça had loosened the bodies and minds of everyone in the room, people started to pair off and twirl around to the sound of forró music, smiling and sliding their feet off the floor - a reflex picked up from dancing in rural villages to avoid kicking up the dust”.
The people at Antinote are always excited to introduce new names to its roster and Sign Libra, its latest addition, makes no exception to the rule.
"Released under the moniker Sign Libra, Closer to the Equator is the work of Latvian artist and composer Agata Melnikova. Composed for a contemporary ballet at Latvian National Opera in Riga, the music on this record strongly relies on Melnikova’s appreciation of BBC-produced nature documentaries. Projecting the life of each creature that inhabits the British TV-program into her very personal and highly synthetized world, Sign Libra lends these microscopic beings her own voice. Each song works like a musical “tableau” in which the main protagonists – plants and animals – come on stage to play their part in a ballet carefully choreographed by the Latvian artist.
Sign Libra’s mental and musical incarnations of the microcosm of the rainforest have something to do with Software’s album populated by exotic insects and crawling plants, a “Carnaval des Animaux” released on Sky by a MIDI-addicted Hector Berlioz. These microscopic beings incarnate themselves in resonated melodies that echo through a technicolour rainforest, while winds blow through holographic ferns, vines and palms.
Closer To The Equator synthesizes visions panning treetops as the sun’s rays pierce through clouds nearby. Sign Libra takes you into a harmonic world that shines brightly wherever you stand, and offers a genuine synesthetic experience.”
Living Chicago house legend Steve Poindexter and Swiss newcomer Xzavier Stone give sharply contrasting spins on Martyn Bootyspoon’s deviant future funk session for Fractal Fantasy.
The weightless ballroom dynamics of Spread The Kat are retooled as a slamming ghetto jack track by Poindexter, who clearly has no time for Bootyspoon’s more playful characteristics, resulting something that’s only 50bpm shy of Monta Musica.
Meanwhile Xzavier Stone helms a bit closer to the original Steam, craftily resetting it with fluoro synth leads and a wildly processed and chopped-up vocal for peak time pressure.
With the quietly nimble ambient-cumbia-avant-pop of Tar, the all too seldom-heard but always-fucking-great Lucrecia Dalt preps the ground for Anticlines, her highly promising début album for RVNG Intl
It should finally afford her music the wider attention it deserves, cos without PR, yr invisible?