I love this combination of joyous, celebratory music that isn’t afraid of either melody or indeed music itself. Released on her own imprint Philippa delivers four tracks of equal merit which sit comfortably with the initial assertion. Opening with the beautifully resolute piano which drives Let Me Know you get the very definite feeling that something wonderful is happening right here and now. The feverish intent follows on the excellent I Deserve A Break Today again featuring life-affirming keys while a slinky selection of funky grooves ignite the airwaves, all positive and shiny. The generous pulses of electric piano which compel you to love the final number and title track, Pronoia complete this selection that has sunshine written hot and loud all over it.
It’s records like this that get you refreshed and excited all over again as Dance Music’s electronic soul gets revitalised, injecting fresh sound and ideas into the equation. Believe, twists grainy synthesized sounds through a subtle Acid mangle while pulsating drums leaving you in little doubt. The keys then take centre stage via an excellent No Drums version, leaving remaining numbers: Memories and You’re All I Need to explore deeper themes with indelible impressions always and forever present.
Proving there is still life Disco serves up suggestion for the Metamorphic Recordings label boss Dan Curtin to creatively twist into something else. The original version blends jazzy inflections together with a whirlwind of breathy voices and blissfully aware, finely-tuned rhythms which feel spaced out, cosmically charged. Remixes come from the excellent Ron Bacardi who delivers hot basslines and furious funk like no other, alongside his explorations in breakbeats which form the Barrow Boy version. Remaining tracks: Phased Embrace sees fizzy Acid ignite, while the brutal drums of Warehouse Indiscretion sizzle and sting with intensity. Bliss.
Tangerine Dream produced some of the craziest, most concise music ever created touching upon sublimity just as it does exhilaration. As far as musical experiences go immerse worlds of sound overlap with a weird sense of dishevelled time. In other words, the intensity delivered can be electrifying in the extreme, reaching beyond what others were achieving in similar fields as electronic music continued apace. Suitably then comes this huge undertaking as the albums they recorded for Virgin Records between 1973 and 1979 are neatly packaged into this remarkable box set. ‘Phaedra’, ‘Rubycon’, ‘Ricochet’, ‘Stratosfear’, ‘Encore’, ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Force Majeure’ are all present, with some tracks being newly remastered in stereo by Steven Wilson breathing a spark of fresh life. Opening via the 1974 release of the blistering, sequencer-driven sounds of Phaedra filling seventeen plus minutes of sheer brutal reality like no other – it was incidentally recorded during November 1973 at The Manor in Shipton-on-Cherwell, England featuring the line-up of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christopher Franke. Resolving on the same album into the haunting beauty of Sequent ‘C’ is quite spectacular achieving an otherworldliness unique to synthesized sound. Again you can hear the echoes of influence transcend time. Perhaps one of the most arresting things about all this is the contrast with what else was occurring in the world of music throughout the timeframe as the albums were released. All sorts of tempting extras are also added to the experience with concert, documentary and more only compounding the bliss. But purely in terms of what transmits from the speaker to your soul a good proportion of the music contained is simply to be located somewhere else and out there.
As the decade gathered pace emphasis was placed upon more melodic reflections as motifs figured in amongst the sweeping landscapes of atmospherically rich notation. You may, like me, prefer the earlier years escaping the more rigid structures of rhythm as they explored the atmospheric expanse, predating and subsequently influencing what came after. Some of the new from their live performances from that era still sound as tantalisingly bizarre and exciting now as then.
Music is about feeling. Right? The bottom line is where the depths of emotion reach out to. It may cause you to feel a, b, or c (maybe all three at once). Some music you listen to, you nod your head, and it passes by. Neither really here nor there. Functional cause and effect. Then there exists music like this. So, on that very note: Afterlife.
Steve Miller’s production guise will doubtless suggest certain things to certain people but what he has achieved with this new album is quite breath-taking. In certain part that is down to the sheer wealth of ideas which have been incorporated into this freshly imagined musical equation, defying, then defining expectation. There’s a sense of play here which doesn’t get tied down to any particular notion, or indeed feel tired after the longevity of creating music of quality for decades. There is also a sense of joy as the sounds play on. Take the second track, Back To Mine for example which contains the sort of beautifully executed chord sequence that sends shivers rushing all over the spine – the true indication of bliss. Or even the tougher dancefloor pulses sparking Berimbau to life, follow that by the deep string intensity that sees Celluloid resonate across the horizon. All of this is music exploring everything. Which then brings us right back to the title of the album – a statement in itself. But not before tasting the fragrant African flourishes of Kora, Kora, Kora and the broken rhythms of Shelter, via the Mashti remix of keynote Afterlife number: Speck of Gold, which again retells a story from the artists rich history of reference (another avenue to explore). Back to the beginning. Music is indeed all about reflecting what you feel about life, love and everything.
Shouldn’t music seek to reach beyond what is easily accessible? Whether that is the cause of la-de-da melodies or the over-used words that shape them. In which case you will find as much pleasure in Deeply Essential as I do. Two tracks adorn this latest release from the ever excellent Atjazz and while House Dancer may not win prizes for title subtlety it does for sheer intensity, which isn’t brutal but an intricate, fine mesh of emotive keys and shuffling drums pinpointing the magic. Tribute To Cielo, then adds extra punch to the production in celebration of the New York club via a series of heavy chords infused with deeply spirited appreciation.
I have to say there’s something about Rowee’s production that I love. Creatively inspired, forward-thinking sounds which engage much more than just the dancefloor (although of course that’s an important factor too in all this) but which exists in a class of elevated music just like any other. This release, which appears on Lee Burridge’s TRYBESof imprint, has an abundance of those qualities on display opening with the tempting title track, Your Eyes appearing here in two versions. As with all the tracks they are driven by a compelling, rhythmic arrangement of ideas that sequence passion and in this particular case by KnowControl’s perfectly pitched, resolutely emotive vocals. The remaining numbers satisfy a range of possibilities from late night adventures, or an accompaniment to the morning sunshine, with titles such as Days Of Future Past and Sea Whisper. Either way try for yourself.
Its unsettling nature also forms part of the addictive charm formulated via the cacophony of fizzy, riotous electronics which fuse the title track together. VELOCET has that dangerous ability to excite and energise the space in-between what you hear and how you react. Brighton-based producer Matthew Hodson’s debut is never less than devastating, defiantly anti-melodic and most definitely does not reference bloody disco (ad infinitum). It feels like something has changed after you listen to it. If I’m not making much sense then you try it. And see. Flipped by the easier experience generated by the chiming repetitions of Loop this is inescapably a highly impressive beginning.
Let’s think of some words to describe this debut: Strange, haunting, spell-binding, alluring, wonderful. All of which are true as junk-E-cat’s brilliant concoction of sights and sounds illuminates the landscape with smoky horizons. Each of the five tracks feels like a story in itself, each offering different duration, each adding unique angles to the given situation. Occasionally jazzy, defiantly individual slices of music which come in a class all of their own. From the horn blasts and insistent voice of Levitation through to the tougher tones of the opening title track I can’t wait to hear all of this and more expanded across an albums worth of material.
Vesy launches Morbidyne with the instantly addictive Barca Route engaging both mind alongside body via drums and bass driving beautiful syncopation all the way home. But more than that it is the creative sense of anticipation informing the production which also compels you here, as an array of subtle, and not so subtle, sounds keep the imagination ignited. You Saved Me, follows with a deeper selection of rhythms moving throughout the stereo, leaving the brisker tones of Disappearing Hours to finalise this impressive label debut.