It’s a numbers game or in this case digits and letters as the launch of this brand new imprint bursts with a bang of energised, electronic rhythms, inviting moods and forward-thinking sounds. Beginning with the tempting Mind Tonic which plays out all of the above its charm is also down to the uncomplicated yet deeply absorbing nature of the arrangement alongside its rich atmospheres plus crisp production. Harry Will’s On The Rocks Mix adds extra punch by driving up the tempo next, complementing the edge of the original with more soulful chords. Second number, Adjust and Proceed then sees Bernard inject the beats and bass with a more urgent funkiness, breaking up the drums while punctuating moments with breathy voices. Contrasted briskly by Silverlining’s rapid attack of four on the floor of the same. By way of an introduction this is explosive.
If words like dark, smouldering and Jazz tick your box then this is most definitely for you. German producers Morgen Wurde & Tis join sensibilities alongside jazz trumpeter Tetsuroh Konishi to create an exotic experience, dripping in late-night tales of excess and intrigue. Voices drift across the horizon as do the heavy atmospheric blasts forming a series of compelling moments on Richtet. Next the excellent title track explores even moodier territory via haunting, hot-wired synth lines plus an abundance of otherworldly sounds leaving the Trumpet to flow freely across unnerving terrain. An expanded and highly recommended Deep Edit compliments the original version, likewise a beat less Synthese mix which also highlights the divergent and edgy sound treatments perfectly.
Release: September 24
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 should proudly 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 someones 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’s 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 â€“ Bad Luck is worth the price of admission alone. Add to that Pick Up The Pieces and lesser known gems such as Rhythm Makers â€“ 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 â€“ Dreaming A Dream and sheer exuberance of MFSB â€“ Sexy, Peoples Choice â€“ Do It Any Way You Wanna plus The Glitter Band â€“ 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 â€“ I Am Somebody, The Salsoul Orchestra’s supremely funky Chicago Bus Stop, capped off by the soaring harmonies of Archie Bell & The Drells â€“ 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.