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Category Archives: World

The dull and the downright dazzling

In the past week, I have been on somewhat of an album splurge. Here is what I’ve accumulated.

Yes! What an opener to an equally exceptional album. Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra really need no introduction, producing the bass heavy and brass looping ditty I’m Thankful (Part 1), with delicate guitar and THAT voice.

The subject of my first ever blog, Field Music released their latest offering, Music For Drifters, only yesterday. Having had the pleasure of witnessing the album in its entirety live at the Islington Town Hall back in 2013, the Brewis brothers have laid down on record their instrumental soundtrack to the seminal silent documentary Drifters. As ever, it serves to demonstrate the breadth and intelligence the duo possess when composing.

Also officially released yesterday, Creation (East L.A.) from Quantic presents The Western Transient is a world feast. I have been told by a chap who I hold in very high esteem that the track is a ‘bit dull’…………I would argue otherwise.

There seem to be a few versions kicking around of this fantastic tune (the Planet Records Archive, Vol 1 cut I cannot seem to find), but this slower version of Perpetual Langley’s Surrender packs just as much punch. The vocal is simply wonderful.

And finally, also the subject of one of my previous blogs, Quopern by Sax Ruins has undeniable and unbridled joy in its main motif. Typically of the duo, it veers off into mind melting territory, perhaps not one for the soothing of a headache. Still, it’s bloody good.

Enjoy!

I’m feeling lucky

The ‘Shuffle Songs’ option on an iPod: a feat of genius or annoying in its predictably random choices? An essential tool or a pointless addition? Either way, it has highlighted songs I own but might never listen have listened to in my lifetime, and for that I thank it.

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How have I not heard this song until now!? As I sat in my chair, I could not help but lie further and further back as the music went on……and then the strings came in at 1.11. Then 2.45 happens. Thank you Cut Chemist for The Garden (taken from album The Audience’s Listening).

From soothing to boisterous, Hungarian fraudster Sarolta Zalatnay’s Oh Ha Millimos Lennek is a bollocking rollicker. Belting vocals drenched in reverb? Please.

Having had a troubled relationship with this outfit previously, it was nice for the tiny hard drive’s brain to pull out a corking Animal Collective track.  What Would I Want? Sky, taken from EP Fall Be Kind, draws you in with a lengthy, hypnotic introduction; the layered vocal melodies dropping in at 3.10 swirling round your head. ‘Tis lovely.

Getting your head around this one takes some going, but that’s the very nature of The Books. Tricky fret work, inventive sampling and bizarre speech excerpts marry into one unique musical mesh – Tokyo is taken from album The Lemon of Pink.

And finally, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing when my iPod plumped this on. The layering and note choice of the backing track is so detailed and brilliantly laid out, a completely dark and freaky beat, fittingly backed up by a mad lyrical story………A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre (Incomplete) by Outkast, taken from the album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Enjoy!

The beauty of music all around you

The pub and the television – two of the greatest inventions of all time? Perhaps. Aside from the obvious drinking and watching capabilities they respectively possess, they also usually provide a wealth of music I have yet to hear, filling me with glee and childish excitement.

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First up is the glorious track Everyone Is Guilty by Akron/Family, the opening track from their 2009 album Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free.

I chanced upon this track at my local watering hole, The Lamb, not too long ago, and have constantly had the album on the burner ever since. The band’s music is mainly rooted in harmonized math folk, but there is so much more to explore throughout the album. This track has it all however – the brilliant, jarring funk riff which opens proceedings; the contrasting vocal lines that skit between tuneful yelling and soothing harmonies; the heavy breakdown with Rolling Stones-esque ‘woo wooos’. I love this track and I owe it all to my thirst for delicious porter.

And as for my other example? Breaking Bad is the show which I have to thank for introducing me to Vince Guaraldi.

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I am going to rashly assume that most people have watched Breaking Bad and therefore will have heard this tune, but that can only be a good thing. Taken from the album From All Sides, recorded with guitarist Bola Sete, Ginza Samba has a piano melody which will not leave your brain at any point in the near future. Extremely tidy and tasteful playing combined with a feeling of pure bliss marks this track out, with the rest of the album providing similar joys.

As if we needed any more excuses to go to the pub or sit in front of the box………enjoy!

It should not be this cold in May, jesus.

The scourge of the Christmas pinch, how I detest thee. As the pulling of the purse strings is diverted to the matter of gifts, food and booze, my outgoings toward music have rather shrivelled some what. Not that I am a regular old Scrooge about it. No siree.

Boris Gacquere - the man's finger do not bow to the cold.

Boris Gacquere – the man’s fingers do not bow to the cold.

In light of this, I thought I would draw upon a band I witnessed last year at the Festival Django Reinhardt in Liberchies, Belgium. Cacamba are not the kind of group you would necessarily expect to see at a strictly gypsy jazz event, but they turned out to be one of the main highlights of the festival.

To set the scene – it was May, though it was inexplicably freezing cold and dreary. Liberchies is a tiny town with one main street, which the festival took up entirely. Laura and myself were struggling to deal with the chill in all the layers that we had brought with us, my toes were numb and the strong Belgian beer had yet to make me stop caring (good God it was delicious though).

The music so far had been fairly standard, upon which Cacamba hit the stage and captivated my attention. Their music was happy, warm and layered, with flowing melodies that were performed with panache. The mix of Brazilian, Mexican and European influences is clear and thus creates a weird hybrid of world music that has an almost homely feel to it. The below track, Cabra da Peste, captures them perfectly – it’s simply nice and comfortable music excellently executed, with strong jazz and samba overtones.

Cacamba’s album Dito Cujo can be purchased here. Enjoy.

Looney Tunes geeeeeeeetar…………………….groovy.

Louis Theroux has made a good documentary or two, it must be said. Apart from the game hunting one in South Africa, when he didn’t shoot an animal after the rather tepid build up. That was weak.

However, upon watching the ‘Gangsta Rap’ episode again the other night, I could not help but Shazam some of the fine tunes used to accentuate the narrative interludes. I’m glad I did, otherwise I might never have chanced upon Esquivel.

Aside from the above track, Mini Skirt, which is used as the theme tune for Weird Weekends, Esquivel has a whole host of other quirky Latin aribas. Below is one such example, El Cable, which is directly lifted from the ‘Gangsta Rap’ episode.

Finally, also from the same episode, this catchy little number by Brooklyn’s Cocktail Angst. Feisty.

And with that exceptional vocal performance, I bid you adieu!