Calibre & Chelou – Dissolve In The Rain – Signature Recordings

I listen to a lot of electronic music which more often than not configured around the movement of dance. Then I listen to Dissolve In The Rain and wonder why the leap of faith expands way beyond words, why you would produce club music to exist as being simply functional rather than seeking out true longevity and excellence. That is not just with regards to the qualities of modern song writing, though that certainly raises some doubt whenever you feel the brutal impact of modular instrumentation at its most radically creative.

This piece of music however talks directly to your heart in ways that are intensely personal, arousing an authentic sense of empathy if you’ve ever found yourself hanging around in such as lonely position. Words drift in and out plotting a course over the uncomplicated yet devastatingly emotional musicianship that touches upon the spirit of Jazz and Blues alongside a contemporary electronic impulse. Maybe that in itself is one of the answers as these sounds have nourished our collective souls for what seems like an eternity. Stunning melancholy redefining what is called beautiful.

Smartlink https://ffm.to/calibre-chelou
https://www.instagram.com/calibresignature/
https://www.instagram.com/cheloumusic/

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Pierre Boulez – Composer Conductor Enigma – Él Records

Where does one note begin and another end. Think about Pierre Boulez when he greets you with Sonatine for Flute and Piano, Op. 1 (1946; revised 1949) as danger dances in the air mere moments after the end of the Second World War. Why should music remain the same. The safety of nostalgia never seemed so tempting. The intensity is almost terrifying, yet completely engaging and thrilling.

The accompanying booklet contains a number of quotes from the composer whose defiance is both parts refreshing and informative. Likewise the notes expand and inform on the story of this iconic, disruptive figure in full. In ways the music spanning his early works feels found somewhere in-between the expression of black and white and the explosion of technicolour. While each story is being told it is constantly caught off-guard. His experiments with magnetic tape conjure up a whole other abstraction that is as timeless as it remains radical: Deux études de musique concréte For Magnetic Tape (1951-2). However these words do little justice to the sheer exhilaration of pieces like La Symphonie mécanique musique concrète, for a film by Jean Mitry (1955) as his involvement with France’s Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète testifies.

As an addition this brilliant four disc compilation includes music from other composers who occupied a similar orbit, as well as his work as a Conductor – a word that perhaps best describes Pierre Boulez.

Release: May 6
https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/pierre-boulez-composer-conductor-enigma-4cd

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NETHERWORLD – Vanishing Lands – Glacial Movements

Thinking can be a dangerous business demanding a definitive response without thought for consequences. I sometimes wonder whether the radical nature of music that seeks to engage the mind rather than a response to the rhythm of movement suggests one is more important than the other. I do know the imagination is limitless whereas the structures of dance music are often not…

Vanishing Lands as the title indicates proposes alternative questions about the nature of our continued existence, given the destruction all around us, as everything we consider is stripped bare. This is a soundtrack to accompany that series of enquiries created by the labels own Alessandro Tedeschi. The opening title Last Sunset captures that revolution perfectly as hints of heavenly melody get twisted out of shape and yet you can’t help but fall in love with the idea. The album proceeds in the same vein combining cosmic wonder with hints of the eternal, while contrasted by darker replies. Each counterbalancing the other. Each beautiful in their own right. A magnificent album that finally stretches out the possible.

Release: May 6
Buy http://www.glacialmovements.com/music-news/netherworld-vanishing-lands

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Phil Kieran – Nightride (soundtrack) – Phil Kieran Recordings

Turning the key in the ignition may seem like an everyday occurrence but in the hands of this ingenious noir suspense is the critical starting point. Unlike most cinema the horizon closes in, rather than opens out, as night proceeds to provide cover for illicit activities following the twists and turns of Belfast tarmac revealing as much of the characters as they do about the intrinsic history driven into collective consciousness. Written by Ben Conway and Directed by Stephen Fingleton.

Like all modern moving pictures the accompanying soundtrack can make or break the tension which in Phil Kieran’s case isn’t even in question. Feeling suitable edgy throughout an underlying unanswered question fuels the nervous storyline with tales of explosive electronic energy never finding time to capture breath. There are standalone tracks such as Last Train To Drums, powerful enough to drive any dancefloor in one direction, while more reflective moments like It’s All Gone Wrong and the opening Nightride Theme capture your attention in more introspective ways. Completing the picture is Le Carousel – It’s All About The Balance, Phil’s live act, who feature a contrasting uplift to the soundtrack while ending on a white line high.

Release: May 6
Buy the soundtrack https://philkieran.bandcamp.com
Watch Nightride https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81553860
https://www.philkieranmusic.com

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Phil Kieran Q&A

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Phil. Let’s start with the soundtrack you have created for the Netflix film Nightride (due out on PKR). How would you describe the film? How did you create the accompanying score: to go with individual scenes, or to match the overall atmosphere? Was there a particular synthesizer which lent itself to the feel of the film?

It’s a thriller all shot in one take around the streets of Belfast, quite tense and grimy, it has a hyper real feel to it. The music was inspired by thinking about what would Budge (the main character), a drug dealer in Belfast, maybe be listening to.

As a one-shot, mostly one character movie, there is less visual imagery than most films. We knew it would rely heavily on music to tell the story and set the tone. There was a long period of trial and error. Originally, we thought all the music should sound like it was coming from the car’s stereo system or from background nightlife but a strictly diagetic approach wasn’t working out. I took a break, listened to a lot of Tangerine Dream, watched a lot of 80s films especially anything with an electronic feel to the score. An early Michael Mann picture called Thief is even referenced in Nightride’s script. I decided to start afresh and at that point things fell into place quite quickly. At that point I was really starting to enjoy myself, along with all the other classic 80’s influences I tried for a motif or a recurring “theme” influenced from the music of John Carpenter films but I tried to do it in a contemporary techno sounding way.

To my delight everyone went for it, the “Nightride Theme” that’ appears first on the album is taken from the actual opening scene in the movie and the “original” version later in my album is the version I first made in the studio. I took a less is more approach to synchronisation, putting in just what’s needed to serve the atmosphere and give impact, but I also wanted to create a coherent body of music, not just a series of musical accompaniments to a cue sheet. I want listeners to be able to listen to it with their eyes closed, almost imagine the story and climb inside the emotions involved.  Apparently, the script writer Ben Conway had me in mind when he was writing the script, so it made sense to use a few tracks that I’d already released but the rest were created to go with particular scenes.

Your studio is currently housed at The Strand Arts Centre which originally opened in 1935. How did that come about? Does making music in such a historic building add any qualities to your music? And what are feelings about Art Deco architecture as opposed to the more modern buildings currently being built in Belfast?

I wrote the music for a play called “East Belfast Boy” that was shown in the MAC Belfast about 5 years ago, written by Fintan Brady, produced by Prime Cut and directed by my friend Emma Jordan. After the play finished in the MAC there was an opportunity for it to be shown in The Strand Arts Centre about six months later when we were looking around the building to find a rehearsal space I noticed a disused room that was originally a studio which wasn’t being used.

To cut a long story short I was asked to be the artist in residence there for one year and now I have been there nearly four years. It’s been the best time of my life creatively and I’ve been the most prolific I’ve ever been while I’ve been there. During the pandemic, the studio was the one place I had any sense of control over the world around me. I was being told to DJ on live-streams and podcasts but for me, this was the perfect time to follow a passion that has been bubbling for a really long time, to make music for film and visual media. I guess being in a cinema everyday helps me stay focused on that dream. During lockdown I was practically the only person in the building but now it’s open to the public again,  I love hearing the bass booming from screen one as I walk up the stairs and it just fills me with excitement every time. 

Outside of music what provides your main motivation?

My family are my main focus outside music, I have a very patient wife and two lovely children.  I’m motivated by everything in life and constantly trying to work out why we exist and what meaning music and art has within that. I believe the two things that make you happy are love and creativity.  

Talk us through where your love of cars came from and their restoration? Has there been a favourite to date?

 I’m obsessed with old VWs, in particular pre-79 VW Beetles. I’m not sure where it all started but I know that from very early childhood I was just obsessed; aged 10 or 11 I was buying any magazines I could get my hands on reading every single page again and again. I bought a really cool one when I was about 15 and started to restore it. I almost got it finished but then I discovered techno music and the Beetle was neglected for years until my early 30’s. Nowadays I have a green one and a turquoise one. Neither of them are on the road at present but will hopefully be driving again very soon. 

As time goes by would you say your tastes in music have changed at all? Have you discovered anything that has surprised you liking?

 A lot of the time I’m digging into the past to find things I’ve never heard. I love trying to go back as far as possible and hear where ideas first started and where they started to influence other music. I like music that gives me escapism, I don’t want reminded of what’s going on around me now, I want to be transported to another world or parallel universe. I tend to get obsessed with one band or one artist for a while as well and try to listen to everything they’ve ever done until I move on to the next discovery. I try not to repeat listening to things, I can’t see how you can learn anything by listening to the same album all the time. I do have my faves that I revisit like KLF’s Chill Out or Brian Eno/ David Byrnes My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, but they are few and far between.

What are your thoughts on Techno, how its history has been perceived and where its future lies?

I’ve watched techno go in and out of fashion so many times, currently it seems to be in fashion and a popular term to label yourself with. It’s hard to figure out what’s real or fake. Tech advances have made it easier for people to have a go at making music but they’re not all in it for pure reasons.  I think we have to learn how to drown out the noise around us and just find the interesting stuff, which is maybe a little harder to find but has an honest passionate sound to it. I hope the future will see more people focussed on being an artist and less about trying to be popular.

Are DJ’s still as important as they once were given the easy access to music online?

I think most of what being a good DJ is about is just having good music taste and instinctively knowing how to curate a night, give it a thread and bring the crowd on a journey with you. It’s not exactly very difficult to mix two tracks on CDJ’s these days. The tune selection is everything. 

You are creating an archive of the rise of club culture in Belfast and NI at the minute. Did you discover anything that surprised you about that history? Can you tell us about any further plans for the project?

I began interviewing friends who’d been involved in music since the late 1980s just as a way to record memories and put them on record for future generations to use. It snowballed and I’ve been surprised by just how many want to share their stories. I now hope to work with Queens University in creating a fuller archive over the coming years. My friend Sara Gunn’s film production company is interested in creating a feature film using the archive. It’s all very early stages but everyone’s getting older and there are people whose memories I’d love to have captured who are sadly no longer with us. What’s surprised me is just how early the first signs of what we’d call dance music were creeping into nightclubs in NI, often being played side by side with punk or rock music.

Belfast is thought of as a very conservative city, but I’m finding that young people and music lovers will always find a way to create their own scenes and tribes, express themselves and have fun. One thing that might surprise people is how risqué the aesthetic and outfits were. I’ve got photos from Jules Nightclub in 1980s Belfast that’d make Berghain clientele look demure.

What was your pivotal moment in a club or a life altering record that you heard?

Hearing Dave Clarke’s Red one for the first time, David Holmes playing House Nation in the Art College, hearing Nitzer Ebb for the first time, Richie Hawtin playing in the Rotterdam Bar in Belfast. All in the 90’s. 

And finally. What advice would you give to someone starting out in music or as a DJ?

Be yourself

https://www.philkieranmusic.com

Watch Nightride www.netflix.com/gb/title/81553860
Buy the soundtrack https://philkieran.bandcamp.com

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Local Suicide with Curses – Whispering – Iptamenos Discos

Get excited about Local Suicide’s forthcoming album, Eros Anikate if this single release is anything to go by. It’s got sexy, syncopated bass coupled with tempting vocals, hot staccato guitar plus a whole bunch of sassy attitude. A lot like life.

Release: May 3
https://www.instagram.com/localsuicide/
https://iptamenosdiscos.com
www.cursesforever.com

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Bill Evans Trio: The Legendary Bill Evans Trio – él Records

It’s easy to talk Jazz. That free flow of emotion dancing across the keys, the particular notes struck with quiet intensity by the bass player, the timely accentuating shuffle of drums speak of life in times past and present like no other language. As you listen to Bill Evans play the piano time flies like the sound of yesterday. Like tomorrow is yet to happen. Committing some of the finest music (and that’s period) to vinyl the Trio’s output is neatly captured here on this latest release from the excellent él Records.

You can hear the echo of Bill Evans all over Miles Davis, Kind of Blue as his signature motif embarked on the journey that led to this unparalleled collection of five albums including, for me, the masterful Sunday Night At The Village Vanguard recorded in 1961. Featuring the exquisite bass playing of Scott LaFaro alongside drummer Paul Motion there is both an intensity and lyricism in the playing that is unparalleled to some degree. You can feel minds ticking anticipating the next notes to be executed but always in tight synchronicity as sounds collide elevating rhythm, mood and the expression of what it is to be human. It’s a brilliant live recording that captures every brush, pulse and run on the strings as if, only you had been there. When you think of what was happening elsewhere in popular music Jazz then seems all the more rebellious like the untold story. No wonder the Beats where inspired by the very sound of it all.

Release: May 6
buy https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/bill-evans-trio-the-legendary-bill-evans-trio-3cd

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boycalledcrow – Wizard’s Castle – Waxing Crescent Records

Another remarkable record of our times despite being released digitally and on its polar opposite cassette from the Chester based artist boycalledcrow. Some seventeen compositions occupy the space between intrigue and wonder where you start to think just how did he came up with that idea for creating this piece of music. Inspired by Leeham’s Spellbook, who is also the artist in residence for the label, one of the various reasons I love this in particular is that you have no idea what is going to happen next. An excellent proposition in these days of boring, predictable nostalgia and clockwork timescales. I’m not going to bother you with in depth descriptions of each track because they are hard to pin down, let alone put into coherent words, as each lives a life of its own. Again like music should be. A conversation with yourself donated by the mind of sonic inspiration. Thrilling.

Release: May 6
https://boycalledcrow.bandcamp.com
https://waxingcrescentrecords.bandcamp.com

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Vinny Villbass – Trust – badabing diskos

Vinny Villbass – Trust – badabing diskos

Anyone who names their record label badabing diskos is fine by me. I guess the implicit implication of Trust here is what you’re listening too as this tastefully crafted piece of music proudly testifies. You can tell where Vinny Villbass’s heart is by the telling influences which inform the production, although this is driven by an obvious desire to push music forwards as this heady combination of voice, melodic touches and sheer dancefloor punch prove. Complimented by a charming Instrumental highlighting all the chiming energy too you will find the repeat button comes in handy.

Release: May 6
https://vinnyvillbass.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/vinnyvillbass
https://www.instagram.com/vinnyvillbass/
https://badabingdiskos.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/badabingoslo

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Rosanne Erskine – Fading Away EP – Ramrock Red Records

Sunshine brings out the most colourful memories. Connecting the dots of imagination with all the best bits life has to offer. Songs do that too and this soulfully charged number has all that to give. Combining an emotional rollercoaster of happy/ sad this collection of drifting melodies feels perfect for the warmer weather accompanied by a stroll of poignant piano and rousing strings. Remixes come from North Street West who channel primetime Frankie Knuckles into a riot of emotion lifting thoughts to heavenly climes. Go listen.

Release: April 29
Buy https://ramrock.bandcamp.com/album/rrr028-rosanne-erskine-fading-away-ep
https://www.facebook.com/RosanneErskineMusic

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