It’s appropriate to term Henrik Lindstrand’s creative output as prolific completing albums, concerts, soundtracks and more over the course of recent years. Now landing at the release of this series of reworked episodes his striking music sees a number of likeminded musicians provide fresh interpretations as Reimagined. Part of what is exciting here is the sense that the Classical format has been reignited (yet again) with the pulse of electronic energy and contemporary production techniques allowing for the shock of the new to take firm hold. At times the passage of time feels dreamy, at others shades darker dancing with intensity such as on Christina Vantzou’s take of Havet or via the grainy treatments by Benoit Pioulard of Loranga. Then comes the Anne Müller version and single Søndermarken which of course takes you into the realms heavenly climbs as emotions are reached for, then dissipated into an ether of silence. At moments like these music can feel truly plugged in and very much alive, pointing forwards the future rather than too stuck in the past. The way composition shouldproudly be….
Before the week ends I wanted to point you in the direction of New Eden which was released at the end of last. Given the title we know precisely where the journey begins (give or take a few genes, molecules and organic process) but where does it end. I sometimes wonder whether the ambient – if that’s even the appropriate word – landscapes, which an increasing number of artists evolve around A-Z, are in fact never-ending looping throughout an eternity of existence like an omnipresent Eno. It can be hard to pull apart and separate your emotional reaction from one set piece to another given your response can be similar to each passing undulation of synthesized sound. But of course you could say exactly the same of the Blues or The Ramones – both of which I almost equally love. I guess in the end it’s the depth of how you react to the music that denotes its validity and importance in comparison to every other mood-enhancing, melancholic chord on offer suggestively evoking happy/ sad. However, Andrew Heath’s journey feels more deeply personal than that and you do feel at times like you are stepping into someone’s dream as uncomplicated yet poignant notes float unhindered across the stereo in search of meaning. Not always a smiling experience but certainly an involving, rewarding one. And like all valuable music should do it reaches out to touch the soul.
Part of the reason this is all so exciting is that I have very little idea of what it actually is. Described neatly as, ‘exotica, space age bachelor pad music and the weird side of easy listening’, is quite frankly about as tempting as it can get. Transporting you to somewhere else entirely like a magical dance these sounds feel that they might have a secret to revel. Lost in the heat of a celluloid dream located sometime in the 50’s or 60’s this whirlwind of shimmering exuberance is nothing short of a joy to behold. In many ways this is simply a beautiful compilation of heart-warming music as it is occasionally, very slightly odd. Some of artists involved will may be familiar with such as Martin Denny and Henry Mancini but in ways this fusion of playful Latin, Jazz and cinema is all about experiencing the journey, crisscrossing the wonder of sight and sound, rhythm and sassy slink. Any track on here could be a personal favourite but I’m easily drawn towards Ahmed Abdul Malik – African Bossa Nova, plus Martin Denny’s 1958 masterpiece Primitiva. Selected by The Cramps’ Lux & Ivy so you can of course expect the unexpected all wrapped up in a sea of mildly camp, technicolour hysteria. Yes Please.
Release: September 17
Starting a series celebrating the music based around the word Disco this first compilation from 1975 spreads its wings across three discs, plus sleeve notes written by Bob Fisher further highlighting the story. Of course the music’s roots can be readily traced a decade back but the sounds, styles and songs which congregate here feel like a melting pot in the making. As with all collections (they are subjective by default) it’s down to the sounds in the end and as far as I’m concerned the full length version of Harold Melvin & Bluenotes – Bad Luck is worth the price of admission alone. Add to that Pick Up The Pieces and lesser known gems such as Rhythm Makers – Zone and you’re a third of the way there.
The second disc feels more soulful in terms of De-Lite-Ful, Chuck Jackson and Pat Lundi’s sublime Party Music and you can still hear the echo of classic Motown float across the melodies, though equally the welcome evolution of Crown Heights Affair – Dreaming A Dream and sheer exuberance of MFSB – Sexy, Peoples Choice – Do It Any Way You Wanna plus The Glitter Band – Makes You Blind are still hard to beat in any decade.
The final CD again takes steps forward with its amalgamation of sounds like the James Brown referencing Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – I Am Somebody, The Salsoul Orchestra’s supremely funky Chicago Bus Stop, capped off by the soaring harmonies of Archie Bell & The Drells – Let’s Groove. It’s exciting to hear how all in one given year the record releases progressed the genre capturing influences far and wide alongside the subsequent development of invigorating rhythms as well as production values. Consequently this somehow seems more like an adventure rather than an exercise in plain nostalgia.
You could write a wealth of words to celebrate Rheji Burrell’s contribution to music as part of The Burrell Brothers. Equally you could press play and listen. In ways this is exactly what I expected to hear. Maybe exactly what I wanted to hear from him. Four pieces of House Music plain and simple, just as god intended. Each highlights the rhythmic purpose of drums and bass, each excites notation with deft, soulful intent as vocals dance alongside a selection of uncomplicated yet purely focused elements. Perpetuity 1, works best for me because those organ chords ignite a series of memories not easily forgotten and a feeling that this music is important beyond a simple succession of notes.
Listening to Midori Hirano’s latest expanse of sounds and vision feels all at once sublime yet at times almost unnerving, with much to say about the movement of motion as it does about the humanity of emotions and their time and place, centred and off-centre like a series of dots….
Performed around the inescapable joy of notable piano these sketches of light and shade colour beautiful, time honoured sequences via the self-assured boast of excellence. Fuelling both imagination and memory the way moods are lifted then dissipated into contrasting thoughts is quite something to behold. It sometimes occurs to me if how you react to sonic atmospheres and how certain types of music function is to do with the light outside, the warmth inside and expectations you place upon moments as they unfold.
I wasn’t expecting to hear Soniscope today, or the Robot Koch aka Foam And Sand reworking of Patterns, but I’m quickly drawn to the conclusion that it is an exceptional release as the inspiration of classical ideas are combined with the fizz of contemporary electronics. The end result is provocative and evocative. A celebration in the end….
Artwork by Jelle Martens
More Than You Thought captures the essence of human compassion quite nicely, feeling gently musical and yet poignant to the point of being rather beautiful. Its got guitars, keys and a wealth of emotion all topped off by punctuating drums, swirling pads and a yearning voice which all feel blissfully lost after eight plus minutes. Next, Nothing Left To Say gets a touch darker journeying into more introspective territory via probing synths and an almost haunting refrain. Compelling.
Retracing the steps of history DJ Minx dives headfirst into a renaissance of House Music with three fiery cuts, each taking their cues from different aspects and decades. Opening with the explosive percussion fuelled Queendom which gathers pace via its punctuating stabs plus whirring synth lines, the pulse of Chicago styled drum machines then course throughout the proceeding and notable Just Before Dawn as deeper moods are reached for. Leaving the tasty Vegan Royale with Cheese to finish in a blaze of Tribal beats, bass and tech keys all making their indelible presence powerfully felt.
This book is your friend. If you plan to start or are running a record label then the information contained within provides all the necessary advice required, but more than that you actually get to understand the inner workings right down to the accompanying illustrations simplifying all to the point of ease. Likewise your rights and income collection as an artist/ producer are highlighted so obviously another vital resource is captured. I don’t say any of that lightly as someone who gets lost in the sea of information overload this companion piece proves invaluable. Nick Sadler’s helping hand dares to reach out a compassionate grasp across four hundred pages and if even that sounds daunting then the best way to describe using this book is much like a reference book you can dig into as needed. Let’s not make too fine a point of it but comprehending the ins and outs of the label industry can be complex, perhaps even laborious at many times so the help and lived-in experience of the author is not to be overlooked.
Maybe your mind-set seeks to reject the very notion of words such as industry or quite simply the thought of business causes revulsion but it’s worth noting that this read is as much about nurturing independent spirit as it is about achieving the word success in all its capitalist glory. Is failure an option? I guess according to Nick there’s only one way to find out: No matter what stage you are at in your music career, simply reading this book will enable you to become more successful in all the music industry’s essential business elements. Quite the boast, maybe it is that simple after all. Much like life there are also a wealth of quotable instances on offer to enhance personal ambition within the pages, which feels useful if the philosophy of self-help works for you by helping to escort your progress throughout the printed journey. If not, it may start to seem a little aggravating.
Overall, unless you’re prone to a legal mind chances are most artists will be plugged into creation rather than accounting which is precisely where the importance of The Label Machine comes into play. By looking after if’s and maybe’s, what should I be doing about this and that, the course of conversation exposes every conceivable pitfall and possibility so that you can get on with the music itself. Safe in the knowledge that everything you need to concern yourself with afterwards can be referred to and taken care off in the way deemed appropriate to your own individual approach. The website below also contains lots of resources for the adventure, some of which are free, so what’s stopping you?
Pressing play at first seems like a perfectly natural thing to do but as you are drawn deeper into the mind-set of Flow 01 things start to feel strange and uneven. Like floating in space or in the depths of an ocean the sounds surround your psyche, feeding back, supporting and reassuring you like a long lost friend, albeit a slightly odd one. The unconventional is course to be celebrated as Simon McCorry’s breathless story telling across Flow, spanning the numbers from 01 to 05, criss-crosses senses and sensualities in an ever increasingly wondrous nature. Blissful, serene and yet broken at the edges to reveal something unseen, blending codes and coda the final realisation is that time slips away from grasp, sometimes gently while at others not so. It is the quick succession of emotions turning upside down, perhaps even inside out that provides the key to it all. In other words it’s kind of like breathing….