MAGIC MIX

Balearic . Yacht Rock . New Age . Downbeat

WEEK STARTING 19 Oct

Genre pick of the week Cover of Ready To Die by Bel.
Claremont 56 continues to champion new, previously unheard talent with “Ready To Die”, the stunningly beautiful and catchy debut from Bel AKA Charlie Bell – a young, Liverpool based singer-songwriter, musician and producer who has a huge future ahead of him. “Ready To Die” is an emotion-rich chunk of catchy, loved-up Balearic pop with heart-aching, gut-wrenching lyrics about unrequited love, Bell’s debut is as catchy, infectious and heartfelt as anything the label has released to date – as proved by Lauren Laverne’s decision to champion the record on her BBC 6 Music show.

Such was his love for the song, Murphy decided to remix it for release, completing extended vocal and instrumental versions that enhance the track’s sun-kissed, glassy-eyed appeal. Both mixes are magical, with the vocal version in particular capable of making the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Bell’s impassioned vocal and breezy acoustic guitar playing naturally takes centre stage, with the track’s sweeping synth-strings, toasty bass and a few trademark Murphy flourishes – think well placed delays and fluid electronics – on hand to amplify the song’s bittersweet mood. The beautiful and beguiling quality of Bell’s musicianship and Murphy’s subtle remix comes to the fore on the equally beautiful instrumental version.

Neneh’s new record pointedly asks the question; how do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? It searches for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It’s a record that’s equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent music.

Work on Broken Politics began as touring wound down behind Cherry's previous full-length, 2014's Blank Project, and she felt a drive to continue creating after collaborating on that record with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet). "That last album was much angrier and forceful, whereas this one is quieter and more reflective," she states. "I haven't always been so good at getting things out so quickly, and it still took a while—but that's okay."

Cherry, writing partner Cameron McVey, and Hebden decamped to Woodstock, New York for a week-long recording session at the Creative Music Studio, a recording space founded by jazz pianist Karl Berger—who, in a stroke of providence, was a band member of Neneh's stepfather and Don Cherry as well as being friends with her mother Moki. "Being in a studio with them was like being in a familiar space. It was easy to reach into myself for the feelings I needed to be in tune with a song—and at night, Cameron and I would have dinner with Ingrid and Karl and they'd tell stories about my father. There were deep threads."

"It was one of the best writing periods I've had in a really long time," Cherry continues while discussing the creative process behind Broken Politics. "I got out of the waiting room and into the inner sanctum.”

"I'm very shy about taking on big themes with the airs that I've got a solution—who has the fucking solutions?" Cherry admits while talking about the album's title. "I like writing from a personal perspective, and the time we live in is so much about finding your own voice. People have been left feeling misheard, misunderstood, and disillusioned. What the fuck can I do? Maybe politics starts in your bedroom, or your house—a form of activism, and a responsibility. The album is about all of those things: feeling broken, disappointed, and sad, but having perseverance. It's a fight against the extinction of free thought and spirit."

"I have a name. You have a name. We're not just these faceless mounds you can put in the ground," Cherry proclaims when talking about her worldly vision that seeped into Broken Politics. "We're human beings with lives and stories." Art can often remind us of how it feels to live in the moment, and it can also be instructive in helping understand how to preserve that moment. Broken Politics finds Cherry at her most generous and benevolent towards a world that is often anything but. She puts it best in the chorus of LP track "Fallen Leaves," in her own defiant way: "Just because I'm down/ Don't step all over me.”

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Neneh Cherry's unmistakable vocal style and soulful leanings are harnessed here by the dreamy, otherworldly percussion and electronic momentum of Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) on production duties. His impeccable ear for sonic space only accentuates her flawless songwriting skills, making for a brilliantly listenable and absorbing outing.

Crotocosm (Willie Burns & Jordan GCZ)

Setting The Scene For An Island Battle

The latest instalment of Rush Hour's spectacular 'No 'Label'' series comes from the brilliantly named Crotocosm, who you may remember from their 12" on Second Circle. The occasional live jamming collaboration from renowned hardware mentalists Jordan GCZ and Willie Burns, Crotocosm don't make it onto wax that often, so when they do, you know it's an event. Here we get the wonderfully named "Setting The Scene For An Island Battle", a title which suggests we're in the realm of the shamanic, where waterfalls flow upwards, neon smoke drifts across the plain and froglicking is an every day activity. The evocative and experimental "Krazy Kalimba" introduces the EP with distant timpani, sweeping bleeps and a string of circular mallet patterns, all working their disorienting magic. Things move a little further into the light on the A2 as "Island Life" uses synth vox, soft focus sequences and off kilter bass pulses to find a slightly opiated cross section of Laurie Anderson and Visible Cloaks. "Pitter Patter" goes deeper and darker, all crepuscular movements and stalagmite drippings, a perfect precursor to the foreboding pads and scuzzy rhythm of "Incoming Fire". "Survey The Scene For Survivors" closes the set in ambiguous fashion, never really choosing either hope or despair, as the sprawling synths and subdued rhythms echo into the distance. 


Dreamcast

Outer Space / Up 2 U

DC's Dreamcast continues to effortlessly flow across 7" wax, following his stellar releases last Summer on PPU ("Liquid Deep") . He goes in again for Future Times, with Max D on production. "Outer Space" is a wistful electro cruiser and "Up 2 U" gives off visions of walking home really early in the morning, confused and happy. This second track in particular sees a different side of the producer - downbeat, sampled jazz licks, sincere vocal and brash breaks harking back to the crate-dug, soulful hip-hop of the late nineties. Still mega tho!

Mosaic is a heavy new three tracker from a band whose reputation exploded this spring with the release of debut album Murmuration.

Lead track Mosaic is full of the warmth of this heatwave-summer, syncopation and groove in abundance. Driving melodic lines and keyboard atmospherics suddenly give way to one of James O'Keefe's most powerful guitar solos to date, wild and psychedelic.

Transcoso brings the band to the downtempo magic that they have become much loved for. Heavily inspired by Azimuth, an hypnotic beat from drummer Jonny Drop eventually builds to a euphoric, almost slow disco climax for the final section.

'Mariposa' is a timely tribute. Debuted at their London album launch this take on the Freeez classic (although the live version in particular) explored a little more of the South London, Brit Funk influences that really drive the band.

Huey Morgan (BBC Radio 6 Music)- Beat of the Week, Record Of The Week and one of the records of the year so far (“All Meat" show), Tony Minvielle (Jazz FM), Shy One (Balamii) Thris Tian (Worldwide FM), Patrick Forge (NTS Radio), Dom Servini (Soho Radio/Netil Radio) Murmuration - Release of the week on Vinyl Factory,

It's clear, from how tight and precise tracks like 'Cannonball' sound, that this is a group of music heads doing what they love. We love it too. Lonely Table

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Moody synthesisers one minute and then upbeat rapid tempos the next! Creating this alluring jazz and cold wave focused album. Original and beautifully done. Love this!

Selected by Sky Girl co-conspirer Julien Dechery, Le Raccourci culls 15 tracks from Gandera's extensive cassette discography, discarded DAT recordings, and split CD with Lyon toy music project Klimperei. ...

While Gandera's nostalgic melodies incidentally parallel with the piano key manoeuvres of Pascal Comelade, Robert Haigh and Dominique Lawalrée, Le Raccourci could only stem from the escapist desires of one Eric Morin.

The impressionist landscapes of a sensitive soul self-reflecting, these miniature compositions alternate across a rudimentary set up of piano, field recorder, sampler and four track. Melancholic utterings hastily captured some 100km east of Paris.

Classically trained by the same teacher as his parents, Gandera first began recording in the confines of his university dorm room, inspired by a C60 from friend and future collaborator Bernard Odot (A Gethsémani). Humbly existing without sparing a thought to music industry or career, Gandera's personal effects surfaced via the European and US cassette networks from 1988 to 1994. Impressively accomplished for the DIY scene they orbited, these tapes were issued in scant quantities, rendering his pieces as private secrets shared and duplicated in small concentric circles. Aside from a sole, avowedly traumatic performance, the material was never shared in a live context.

These sentiently charged compositions only hint at his larger catalogue, but act as a compelling cross section of the artist's oeuvre. The identity is further detailed by archival images, Glen Goetze penned liner notes and original artwork from Perks and Mini's Misha Hollenbach.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

Garagen Uwe

Balayage

"Balayage" is Garagen Uwe’s first release on the Berlin-based label Beatbude. It’s a two-hits-single that comes with stickers and a business card and is really quite good!

Landing on some three dimensional, digital landscape the sounds are soothing and languid. "Balayage" sees the ancient rhythms of house music, opiated and re-delivered 66% slower than their original intention as dizzying and exotic synthwork paints a multi-coloured environment onto the sonic canvas.

"Ombre'" re-packages instrumental bedroom boogie into a more beguiling and coastal-leaning idea. Delicate guitar picks jostling against thick analogue synths and twinkly Casio melodies to conjure up that perfect moment of horizontal bliss. Watch you don't get yer towel wet...

Recorded at Miami Nice Studios (GER) and mastered by Kelly Hibbert (CRC) this comes fully endorsed by us here at Picc HQ. 


Compilation of the works by MJ Lallo, weird harmonizing mantras layered with drummachine rhythms.. Very psychedelic compositions where she uses her voice to create all kinds of sound(scapes)

Take Me With You is a revelatory voyage through the captivating universe of voice artist and poet MJ Lallo. The works on this 2LP compilation were all recorded in her home studio between 1982 and 1997, primarily using drum computer, synth and her own voice processed through a Yamaha SPX 90 digital effects unit. They range from wordless harmonizer mantras and primitive drum computer meditations, to psychedelic latin dance-floor anthems and synth-drenched end-of-the-nighters. Lallo has created her own inimitable galaxy of sound where the human voice, liberated from the constraints of language and abstracted using digital technology, is able to explore the outer realms of human expression, like Joan La Barbara with an Eventide and a new-age sensibility. Although Lallo’s flight path is distinctly her own, her journey converges with other travellers as diverse as Jon Hassell, Laraaji, Stereolab, William Aura, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Gertrude Stein and even Terry Gilliam (whose film Brazil was a big influence on Lallo). Like something beamed in from another planet, Lallo’s work is both fascinatingly strange and strangely familiar, and will leave a lasting impression for lightyears to come. Double gatefold LP, remastered DDM pressing.

Piccadilly-approved synth-dub-psych-popsters Peaking Lights drop their first release of 2018, joining the ever expanding ranks of the Dekmantel family. As long terms fans of the Californian duo might expect, it’s a kaleidoscopic melting-pot of dainty dub, experimental and leftfield beats, with wondrous sunny soundscapes that blend together the unconventional home-fashioned electronics, and windswept vocals that have defined Peaking Lights to date. 'Sea of Sand' is the band’s first record in three years not released on their own imprint. With six tracks, exceeding 30 minutes in total, the extended EP is a prelude to a forthcoming LP. With a DIY aesthetic and approach to analogue instrumentalism, Peaking Lights retro-digital sound is one that sits perfectly with Dekmantel.
The record kicks off with the quirky, upbeat pop track 'Blind Corner', followed by slower Italo-like 'Hypnotized'. There’s a wavey-krautrock sound on 'Shift Your Mind'; a glowing romanticism on 'Read your mind'; and a celestial ambience embedded through 'Noise of Life. The record concludes with the sonically divine harmonic piano track 'Sea of Sand', perfectly setting the template for the EP. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: It's been a little while since we heard from Peaking Lights, and it seems they've spent their downtime refining their take on hallucinogenic synthery. Dubby, dreamy and superbly psychedelic, "Sea Of Sand" is another analogue delight from our favourite synth duo.

Gospelhouse from heaven! Yes - this is a very special record: NYC's Phenomenal Handclap Band meets London's Ray Mang - the psychedelic soul disciples meet the disco champ by way of remix.
Ray Mang is a hero to fans of underground disco: remixer, collector, producer, DJ - he is part of that magic circle of London DJ connoisseurs around DJ Harvey. He has the magic disco touch, and has applied it to great effect to PHB's "Judge Not". He did a fresh, new take on house-heavy gospel disco that is sure to fill any dancefloor. Try it!

For those who don't know New York's almost legendary band: The Phenomenal Handclap Band is led by producer Daniel Collás, and consists of some of New York's finest new soul & disco musicians. Some of them used to play in the Amy Winehouse band and others can be heard on some of Mark Ronson's productions. Their biggest moment was when they released their single "15 to 20" some years ago (on Gomma Records) and Paul McCartney wrote them a letter about how much he loved that song when he heard it on BBC Radio 1.

On "Judge Not" they come up with dazzling piano lines, a deep rare funk rhythm section, and a street corner gospel choir that brings you to your feet.

Ray Mang heard the original version of this song and was hyped to become involved in the remix, and the pairing is complementary to say the least.
Many of you know PHB from their collaborations with such luminaries as Peaches or Marcos Valle or Bryan Ferry, a prime appearance at the Glastonbury Festival, and direct support on Bryan Ferry's US tour.
The group is currently finishing a new album.

Third release of Studio Mule’s new project with Miyako Koda aka Dip In The Pool. Following the cover versions of Ohnuki Taeko’s Carnaval & Mariah’s Shinzo No Tobira,we made the new version of japanese pop ambient classic ‘Face To Face’ by Yumi Murata. Extended edit on a side is full of the respect for the original version and ambient version on b side is simply emotional. The first album of Studio Mule is coming in the beg of next year. Stay tuned.

Sprechen sie rhythm? It's time for a new dance...

Welcome to the wonderful weird of Talking Drums - a home for poorly executed dance moves, misjudged vibes and narcotic bravery. Semi-Cosmic, way wonky and oozing grooves, this is music for the fringe class.

The party starts with a tripped out tribute to an Italian inspiration. 'C60 Lato A' sees the crew pluck a couple of killers off a well worn Cosmic tape, leave them out in the sun a little too long then stick them back together with an experimental blend of UHU and fufu. Springy bass, spangled brass and mangled electronics make for a motherload of funk, fried just long enough to make the walls melt. Bendy....

Over on the B-side the crew come through with a little bathsalt boogie, pitched down and loved up for all the slow dancers and romancers out there. Strutting like a stoned fox, 'Get Serious' wraps rubber-limbed bass around propulsive percussion, gets hooky with the horns then slaps you silly with its x-rated synth-smut. Pinched from the pound bin and taped over a CH 5 classic, this disco drooler will loosen up even the stickiest floors.

Freshly dressed and pressed to impress, the Drums are talking....

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: MASSIVE off kilter disco business from a new local firm here. Afro-electronix and space walking boogie twisted into the kind of wobbly cosmic tackle that brings on peak time enlightenment... Get yer orders in!

FORMAT INFORMATION

12" Info: Super limited white label repress imminent.
Hand Stamped - No Messing.

Womack & Womack

MPB - Missin' Persons Bureau

Any Melodies International release causes a certain amount of hullabaloo, but their latest disc has had eager customers beating down our door in anticipation. Dedicating their 11th release to both soul and house royalty, the digging crew have licensed a pair of tough to track down Frankie Knuckles remixes of Womack & Womack soul classic M.P.B. Originally appearing on their late 80s "Conscious" LP, "Missing Persons Bureau" is a beautiful slice of modern soul all about a lover running out on you. Though the Womacks were initially apprehensive about the idea of a rework, Island impressario Chris Blackwell won them over and sent the masters to all time house hero Frankie Knuckles, who turned out a pair of pearls. Working his magic for 9 A-side minutes, Frankie splices the club soul of the original into a slow and soulful house groove, flipping our lids with a wondrous SH101 bassline, subtle percussion, bright vamps and a sparing use of the original instrumentation. Spacious and special, this is up there with the legend's Loose Ends remix. If you're peaking already, I suggest you call to mind the pedestrianisation of Norwich City Centre (something to keep the wolf from the door), because the money shot is over on the B-side. A long time Balearic holy grail, Frankie's Folk Version takes some of the 'Hallucinagenic' sound design he brought to "Ain't Nobody", applies it to the Havens's style guitar and vocals, then gradually introduces synth bass, subtle drums and some very familiar piano to create an absolute masterpiece. As good as any of Frankie's productions, and the best moment in the Womack and Womack catalogue, this is total must have tackle.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Melodies International come through with an ESSENTIAL reissue here, delivering some psychedelic folk splendour courtesy of Frankie Knuckles sublime 'Folk Version' of MPB. Soulful, grooving and folky in a Richie Havens kind of way, this is a must have record for soul fans, house heads and the Balearic crowd.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd 12" Info: REPRESS!


Back to top