MAGIC MIX

Balearic . Yacht Rock . New Age . Downbeat

WEEK STARTING 18 Oct

Genre pick of the week Cover of Tanger by Dwight Druick.
Dwight Druick was born in Montreal to a professional gambler and an ex-Radio City Rockette. One of five children, he grew up in a family buoyed by music and beleaguered by the vagaries of miscalculated risk. After attaining a McGill University bachelor’s degree in Art History, Dwight fully embraced both music and risk by traveling to London, where he signed a contract with Pye Records and Joe Cocker’s management company. The ensuing record, "Druick & Lorange" was released to critical acclaim and relative success. After returning to Canada, Dwight recorded two albums with Phil Vyvial: "Midnight" and "Minuit". Recorded with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section in Alabama, the duo’s work achieved airplay success in Quebec and across Canada. Dwight subsequently released his first French language solo album, "Tanger", released in 1980 by the Canadian label, Bobinason.

Today quite hard to find in its original version, "Tanger" is first of all an incredibly solid album, clearly underrated and deserving more credit. Mostly known by collectors and DJs for the stunning cover of Toto’s classic hit, “Georgy Porgy”, which was produced and arranged with the help of George Thurston (Boule Noire), it includes many other tasty titles, with amongst them another fine rendition of “Open Your Eyes” by The Doobie Brothers. In fact, with its brilliant mix of Modern-Soul, Disco and AOR styles, the whole album is already considered by many connoisseurs as a classic, and clearly a must have for anyone enjoying this musical blend.

Never reissued on vinyl until now, here's a chance for blue eyed soulboys, yacht rock obsessives and the Balearic crowd to grab their copy.

A Produce

The Clearing

    The Clearing is the debut album by the late Los Angeles-based musician Barry Craig aka A Produce. As co-founder of the underground cassette imprint Trance Port Tapes, Craig managed to assemble local artists who were working within the realms of DIY electronics and rhythmic, spacious sound. Incubated over a three year period, '88 release The Clearing draws on the roster of TPT associates such as Scott Fraser (Kronos Quartet), Daniel Voznick (Afterimage) and guitarist Scott Marc Becker resulting an 'an album of conceptual space', owing equally to the guitar-based new-wave releases of the imprint prior as to the later, and deeper ambient trance sound that would follow. Coming at this intersection of styles, there are moments of deep introspection and sulking, minimal drum machines followed by pieces of more outward expression only to be plunged back into tense, oppressive atmospheres. Yet despite these shifts in style, the sense of mood and cohesion throughout is ever-present, giving a true sense of inhabiting a unique space - or 'The Clearing'. Stockport-based store All Night Flight Records is proud to present this official reissue, with the blessing of Craig's estate and artwork replicated by the original artist - renown designer Bruce Licher of Independent Project Recordings. Distributed by Low Company.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Microdosing man Tom Houghton launches the label arm of his vinyl empire All Night Flight this week, with a meticulous reissue of esoteric LA rarity "The Clearing" by A Produce. Fusing post punk, tribal, minimalist and ambient into a surprisingly accessible LP, Trance Port boss Barry Craig came up with a sublime LP, which we now get the chance to enjoy!

    Alex Albrecht returns to the Analogue Attic imprint under his Melquiades guise; delivering a five-track package in the shape of "Lanterns".

    Albrecht explains 'The concept is a continuation of my last release with AAR and aims to take the listener on a journey to a strange place - falling asleep, it leads one down a rainy, lantern-lit path and into another world. At the end of the record, the listener is finally awoken by a familiar voice.'

    All of the compositions are improvised explorations with field recordings at their core as the framework. "Lanterns Pt. 1 & Pt. 2" lead, easing you into the project with swirling, hazy atmospherics and ethereal piano melodies floating atop rounded subs and soft percussion.

    "Neon Canal" follows, bringing the rhythm to the forefront whilst bubbling bell chimes, warm chords and expansive delays ebb and flow within.

    Up next is "Cockatoo Horizon", a Balearic tinged cut employing off-kilter organic percussion, soft guitar licks and airy atmospherics before 'Embers ft. James Harbard' strips things back to floaty chords, bumpy drums and jazzy guitar melodies subtly unfolding throughout.

    "Federation Bells" then rounds out the release on a beatless tip, laid out over six minutes with otherworldly tones, melancholic piano chords and textural intimacy. Excellent!



    STAFF COMMENTS

    Sil says: No hard edges on this one. As polished as they come. Subtle, melodic, hypnotic. A standout among the dross.

    We've come an awful long way since Floating Points' first utterances entered our stratosphere. That opening trio of twelves ("J&W Beat", "Love Me Like This" and "Vacuum Boogie") immediately caught the attention of us and our customers and we've been hooked on this cat throughout the last ten years.

    Whereas the incredible "Elaenia" (2015) was a five-year process, "Crush" was made during an intense five-week period, inspired by the invigorating improvisation of his shows supporting The xx in 2017. He had just finished touring with his own live ensemble, culminating in a Coachella appearance, when he suddenly became a one-man band, just him and his trusty Buchla opening up for half an hour every night. He thought what he’d come out with would 'be really melodic and slow-building' to suit the mood of the headliners, but what he ended up playing was 'some of the most obtuse and aggressive music I've ever made, in front of 20,000 people every night,' he says. 'It was liberating.'

    Fundamentally, this is still stylistically a Floating Points record. Classically informed pieces drift into focus without beats, only to dissolve into a mist of modular-generated textures. There's some speaker-tested mainroom techno moments, namely the lead single "LesAlpx" which concludes side A's meticulously programmed schedule with a moment of undiluted dancefloor energy. Fans of his jazz-flecked house will find tracks like "Last Bloom" and "Anasickmodular" a joy to behold; possessing that idiosyncratic shuffle and swing that instantly characterize an FP production. "Bias" opens side B with a unfathomably futuristic, attitude-ridden bass monster until Sam unexpectedly flips into his patented, cerebral jazz-house hybrid. Don't get me wrong though, he's not resting on his laurels in any way. His New Sounds bite and spit, as he seems to harness extraordinary levels of intricacy and power from his trusty Buchla synthesizer and his much lusted-after Arp Odyssey. More refined, more evolved, deeper, richer - but the same Floating Points - sound up your tree? It should be. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: The Chetham's graduate has been a permanent fixture on our shelves for the last decade. 'Crush' embodies everything we love about him across a succinct and direct two sides. Drifting through a highly mellifluous sanctum, we get expressions on modular and synth informed, and indeed elevated, by Sam's well documented and rich musical education. Floating Points is a great ambassador for modern dance music which often gets berated by the older lot for its lack of musicality.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: 140g black vinyl housed in a glossy sleeve with exclusive cover art, artwork printed inside and out, 4 page A4 booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’.

    Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    LP Info: 140g black vinyl housed in a glossy sleeve with artwork printed inside and out, 4 page A4 booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’.

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    CD Info: CD in digipak with fold-out booklet featuring a score of album track ‘Birth’.

    Ground is an Osaka native, but his soul is truly that of a nomad, traversing the planet, befriending kindred spirits found in humans, animals and plants. He is exceptionally receptive to the beauty in everything that surrounds him - the incidental music of a city street, the orchestral chaos of a scrambling radio, the syncopated grace of migrating birds, the simplicity of an isolated hand clap - and as his roadmap continuously unfolds, he accumulates a vast catalogue of visceral tools to musically recount his experiences. 'Sunizm' is a cross section of the artist’s process - an array of complex microcosms overlapping to comprise a thematic whole - gathering field recordings, found instruments, jagged electronics, synthesized chanting, and weaving all into a dense narrative that appears obsessively constructed yet divinely improvised. 'Follow Me', the second of two singles surrounding the album, is complimented with a pseudo drum’n’bass treatment by enigmatic Greek artist Jay Glass Dubs, as well as a massively triumphant b-side entitled 'Ozone House', which is exclusive to this single release. Attention all humans, animals and plants, Ground and the ESP Institute present, 'Sunizm'.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: If you've heard me play out lately then chances are you've heard a whole lot of Ground, whether in solo mode or alongside Mori or Bartellow. Here we get a killer cut from his LP, brand new cosmic excursion "Ozone House", and a brutalist breaks mix from Jay Glass.

    Produced in coordination between Be With, Efficient Space and the artist, this definitive reissue is restored from original masters with vivid reproductions of the Down On The Road By The Beach exhibition catalogue, intended to accompany its original release, and extensive liner notes penned by fellow Steve Hiett obsessive Mikey IQ Jones.

    Near-ambient arrangements that float in a space between The Durutti Column, Steve Cropper and Ashra, Down On The Road By The Beach also crowns Hiett the master of recontextualization with his zero-gravity blues visions of Roll Over Beethoven, Santo & Johnny’s Sleep Walk and the 1967 Eddie Floyd soul hit Never Found A Girl.

    For the first time since its inception 36 years ago, Steve Hiett’s elusive Down On The Road By The Beach is finally made available outside of Japan. Most recognized in the fashion sphere as an English photographer and graphic designer, Hiett‘s transportive audio portraits amplify his serpentine guitar to the infinite blue, recorded across Paris, Tokyo and New York with no coastline in sight. Now widely celebrated as a desert island disc, very little is actually known of its unfathomable genesis.

    A career devotee of Brian Wilson’s ground breaking harmonies, Hiett shot The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone - as well as The Doors, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix (in one of his final performances at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival) - while establishing himself as a fashion photographer. Decamping to Paris in 1972, he began what would become 20-year collaborations with Vogue Paris and Marie Claire, printing his signature warm, saturated and vibrantly hued snapshots.

    In 1982, representatives from Tokyo’s Galerie Watari visited him to propose a solo exhibition. Asking if he could insert a 7” of original music into the back of the exhibition catalogue, Hiett laid down ‘Blue Beach - Welcome To Your Beach’ in a Parisian radio station, playing all of the instruments himself, and two more cuts in New York with Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan hired-gun Elliot Randall. Once dispatched, the phone began ringing off the hook with requests for him to fly to Tokyo. Assuming these long-distance callers were wanting him to check proofs for the book, it wasn’t until he arrived that he discovered CBS/Sony had facilitated an entire album. Heitt hastily gripped some petty cash, bought a guitar and retreated to his hotel room to start writing.

    Entering the studio the following day, he was further surprised by a waiting room of session players known as Moonriders - one of Japan’s most acclaimed rock bands of the 1980s. Intimidated by their indecipherable sheet music, Hiett suggested Randall join them and with money being no object for major labels at the time, his wingman was on the next plane out of New York to finalise the high production indulgence.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: First re-issue since its original release in Japan in 1983, remastered from the original masters, 140g vinyl, gatefold sleeve, 16 page photography book with liner notes.

    CD Info: First time on CD, remastered from the original masters, digipack, 6 page photography book with liner notes.

    Three emotional years in the making, Be With and Efficient Space finally present Steve Hiett’s Girls In The Grass. Pressed alongside the long awaited reissue of his one-shot masterpiece Down On The Road By The Beach, these ten balearic soul instrumentals are of equal necessity; unrivalled beauty rescued from the fashion photographer-guitarist’s Paris Tapes (1986-1997).

    Hiett’s guitar sings with the same clean, crisp tone as Down On The Road, animated by a carefree weekend groove. Unlike his defining album which was boiled under pressure, these subsequent sessions have all the time in the world. The naïve melodies chart a missing link between Vini Reilly’s ventures into electronica and Booker T, sounding like sun-warped takes on wordless, fractured non-hits from his heroes The Beach Boys.

    While recordings unintended for release should often be approached with caution, this is a rare case of unheard material being assembled as an indispensable and coherent piece. Girls In The Grass is something super special. The light and shadow that defines Hiett’s music is arguably more compelling here. It speaks to us in a language that feels profound, yet entirely comforting and familiar.

    Girls In The Grass reintroduces Hiett’s languid electric blues boogie, crafted on Saturday afternoons with fellow art director Simon Kentish. Kentish would cook, pour some wine and then utilise his arsenal of technology. He’d dial up a chugging rhythm, together with some ambient pads or keyboard textures, and anchor the weightless gauze of Hiett’s six-stringed touch.

    Remastered for public pleasure by Simon Francis, these private moments are adorned with Hiett’s singular photography and feature typically idiosyncratic liner notes from Mikey IQ Jones.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: Previously unreleased material from Steve’s private recordings, remastered from the original masters, 140g vinyl, 4 page photography insert with liner notes.

    CD Info: CD is INDIES ONLY with previously unreleased material from Steve’s private recordings, remastered from the original masters, digipack, 6 page photography book with liner notes, 2 bonus tracks not on the vinyl version.

    Masahiro Sugaya

    Horizon Volume 1

      Aside from his brief inclusion on Light in the Attic’s Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 (compiled by Empire of Signs’ Spencer Doran), Horizon presents this work outside of Japan for the first time.

      Remastered from original tapes in cooperation with the artist .

      Almost completely unknown in the west, Masahiro Sugaya has been composing and producing music since the 1980s in an exceptionally wide range of fields and practices. From arrangements for musical acts like the acoustic guitar duo Gontiti to acousmatic diffusion at spaces like Paris’s Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), Sugaya’s reach is almost exhaustive in its breadth, but it was in the 80s bubble-era kankyō ongaku scene that he first found his musical voice. Horizon, Volume 1 presents a window into these works, culled from Sugaya’s early scores for experimental Tokyo theatre group Pappa Tarahumura.

      As a teenager, Sugaya would visit the avant garde hub of record/book shop Art Vivant run by Satoshi Ashikawa of Sound Process, guided by Ashikawa’s recommendations into the worlds of experimental composition, jazz and ethnographic music. It was there he also met musician Yoshio Ojima—the two would become close friends and contemporaries, working within a circle of Tokyo musicians that also included Midori Takada, Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satsuki Shibano. Ojima, an early adopter of new musical technology, would introduce Sugaya to the possibilities of composing with computers, synthesizers and samplers, which would become a trademark in Sugaya’s early works. Surprisingly, the sound sources on Horizon are entirely digital, showcasing Sugaya’s ability to organically recreate complex musicianship approaches via keyboard using hyper-realistic samples. Much like Ojima and Yoshimura’s work, the results eschew electronic music’s usual coldness for something more warm and inviting, the feeling of a human in deep conversation with technology.

      Flourishing within the boom of experimental theatre subsidized by corporations during the bubble economy, Pappa Tarahumura forged a unique dream-like style that merged performance art, modern dance and fantastical installation-like stage sets. Sugaya fashioned multiple soundtracks for their productions in collaboration with director Hiroshi Koike, the first two of which, The Pocket Of Fever_ (熱の風景) and Music From Alejo_ (アレッホ – 風を讃えるために), he self-released in 1987 on cassette, handing them out at Tarahumara performances. The third, The Long Living Things (Zoo Of The Sea) (海の動物園) followed in 1988 as a CD on Yukio Kojima’s ALM records. 


      So far so far out for Stroom, who continue their journey through the lesser thumbed pages of the Belgian underground with this sublime retrospective of art-house hero and ambient music weirdo Jan Van Den Broeke. Famed for his wavy, sample heavy synth compositions as Absent Music, The Misz and June 11, Van Den Broeke made an appearance on Alain Neffe's Insane Music imprint, with the lo-fi tropicalia of "The Desert" (included here folks). Falling somewhere between Spike, Marc Barreca, Eno's poppier moments and the bedsit anxiety of a Flying Nun band, the music collected on "11000 Dreams" beguiles, intrigues and transfixes us with its introverted magic. Working with a minimalist set up of drum machines, guitar, synth and spoken vocal, Van Den Broeke pursues his own unique musical path to create a sound which falls into a flawless musical no man's land - Absent Music indeed! So, if you dig on Balearic, minimal wave or ambient sounds, you NEED this in your life.


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