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AU.RA

In the summer of 2018 Beachfreaks Records founder and celebrated crate digger Charles Bals threw open the doors of Club Meduse, an imaginary open-air venue on the Cote D’Azure where the obscure but inspired soundtrack is always humid, sun-kissed, synthesizer-heavy and proudly European. The resultant compilation was acclaimed by both music critics and record buyers, so two years on Bals has once more joined forces with Spacetalk to re-open Club Meduse for another imaginary summer season beneath the baking-hot Mediterranean sun. Acting again as in-house DJ, Bals has dipped into his personal stash of obscure, overlooked and little-known gems and selected a soundtrack rich in drowsy chanson vocals, glistening Spanish guitar lines, Latin-tinged drum machine rhythms, rushing Fairlight stabs and sparkling synthesizer sounds. Having gone to great lengths to track down the musicians behind the music, he’s joined in the virtual DJ booth by a wealth of forgotten artists whose magical music he holds so dear.

This time round there’s an undeniable 1980s flavour to proceedings with all but one of the tracks – Claude Miss’s African-influenced 1990 Balearic pop shuffler “Paco Ye Adame” – being produced and released during the decade. As with its predecessor, Meduse (Retour au Club) contains a mixture of off-kilter, barely known dancefloor cuts and the kind of drowsy, slow-motion tracks that are best suited to lazy afternoons by the pool and early evenings spent squinting towards the sunset. In this category you’ll find the ambient-pop bliss of Lili’s fretless bass and Flamenco guitar-sporting “Gitana Morena”, the slow-motion brilliance of Belgian outfit Capco’s “No Vayas Al Sol” (featuring the vocals of future Benelux pop star BeaLuna), the trumpet-laden magic of Nathalie David’s “Coup De Foudre (Instrumental)” – a track written by her songwriter father Jacques Bendavid – and the Mediterranean pop slickness of Jean-Claude Watrin’s “Game City”.

If dancing in your Speedos or swimming costume is your thing, Bals also has you covered. Check, for example, the “Midnight Mix” of Jade 4 U’s Praga Khan produced 1988 gem “Rainbows” – a prize slice of new beat/synth pop fusion powered forward by a bold, headline-grabbing bassline – or De Dion’s “Sexy Cola (Glu Glu Version)”, a jaunty, hard-to-explain mixture of pop cheeriness, Art of Noise experimentation and summer holiday glee. Or for that matter the reggae/zouk/electro fusion of Les 36 15’s effervescent “Zoulous (Remix)” and the boogie-era Gallic jazz-funk of Marc et Frank’s “Cap’tain Coke” – a cut recorded in a Paris studio by two prisoners on day release, jointly funded by the French ministries of justice and culture. When you’re done dancing, there’s plenty to soundtrack those wide-eyed late night romantic moments too, not least the bubbly, 80s-soul influenced chanson delight of Weekend Millionaire’s “Exit”, the gentle reggae/synth-pop fusion of L’s private press delight “La Boite Musique” and Cecilia’s seductive synth-pop shuffler “Chocolat”, the B-side of a seven-inch single that now changes hands for hundreds of pounds online.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Charles Bals reopens his fictitious nightspot on the French Riviera; a place where the sea air meets the smell of incense and the dancing bodies shimmer with Ambre Solaire. The soundtrack ranges from humid Euro-boogie to Balearic bossa as Bals extols his own brand of coastal cool.

François Tusques

La Chasse Au Snark

    Liberated from the personal vaults of François Tusques himself, the previously unreleased recordings from the ‘La Chasse Au Snark’ (The Hunting Of The Snark) sessions.

    Featuring a stellar all-star cast of the crème de la crème for French avant-garde and free jazz musicians, including Bernard Vitet, Beb Guérin, Daniel Laloux, Jean Frenay, Jean Vern, Michel Kurylo, Annick Astier, Lambert Terbrack, Jacques Thollot, Aldo Romano and Noel Mcghie.

    “I know for sure side A is a studio recording carried out in august 1968 by the comité action musique, an activist group of artists and engineers aiming to reclaim the means of production from the ‘record industry’. The lineup is me, Vitet, Guérin, Laloux, Frenay, Vern, Astier, Françoise Tusques, no drums (everyone doubling on percussion), and Michel Portal on bass clarinet and saxophone as guest. Side C is a montage of the surviving bits of the happenings that took place at La Vieille Grille between August 1967 - March 1968 (sometimes on a daily basis in ‘68!), the museum of modern art during the May ‘68 demonstrations, and the Biennale Of Paris in February 1969. Sides B and D are less theatre oriented and may have been recorded either at the American center in October 1968, the international students center in November 1968 (Barre Phillips on bass and Barney Wilen on sax guested on these dates but I’m not able to confirm they are on the tapes), or in the winter and spring of 1969. However, the cassette for side B only read ‘Snark 1969’.” - François Tusques

    To complete the package Finders Keepers have officially licenced a number of illustrations by none other than Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomin Valley and its magical inhabitants, who was commissioned in 1959 to illustrate a Swedish edition of Lewis Carroll’s miniature masterpiece.

    Dirty Songs

    Dirty Songs Plays Dirty Songs

      Directed and produced by David Toop, DIRTY SONGS PLAY DIRTY SONGS reacts against our poisonous present, inspired anti-nostalgically by similarly reactive records and live performances from the 20th century: The Soft Machine and Pink Floyd 1967-68, The MC5’s Kick Out the Jams, The Stooges, Sun Ra’s Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy and The Heat Is On by The Isley Brothers.

      DIRTY SONGS PLAY DIRTY SONGS is the musical offshoot of a project conceived by artist Maxime Rossi, originating in (among other things) speculations on the (then unreleased) legendary Pink Floyd "John Latham” recordings (1967) and FBI investigations (1964) into subversive and obscene messages supposedly buried within the recorded lyrics of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie”.

      Developed through conversations between Maxime Rossi and David Toop and through support from Fondation Fiminco & MRAC, these ideas metamorphosed into the band and recordings known as DIRTY SONGS, existing both as audio recordings and audio-visual elements of Maxime Rossi’s installation Christmas On EarthContinued, exhibited at MRAC in November 2017.

      DIRTY SONGS is David Toop (bass, guitar, digital electronics, VCS3 synth), Phil Minton (voices), Evan Parker (soprano and tenor saxophones), Steve Beresford (Farfisa organ, VCS3 synth), Mark Sanders (drums).


      Au.Ra

      Jane's Lament

      Sydney's Au.Ra, a duo composed of Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles, are set to release their new full length Jane's Lament, a work which carefully envelops the listener in dreamy hues of sound. Made over the course of two years, the LP was birthed from improvised jams the pair play over droning guitars and looped drum beats. Tracks like “Sun,” and “Pyramid” emerge slowly out of interplays between simple melodies and layered, reverbed instrumentation.

      Au.Ra's “emotive soundscapes” perfectly encase their nontraditional pop songwriting, like on highlight “Morning,” where shimmering guitar riffs transport you to a serene, meditative realm. Their repetitive lyrics belie this easy transcendence, sometimes even verging on incantation. These songs evoke a languid drive along a bending highway in autumn, the scenery and light shifting ever so slowly out the windows. As the sun sets earlier, this is an album to savor with the dying light.


      AU are Portland, Oregon-based duo Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka. 'Both Lights' is AU’s third album and first for The Leaf Label, a joint release with US label Hometapes

      'Both Lights' is the closest their recorded incarnation has yet reached to the blissful force of an AU live show, while expanding outward in new directions. Since 2008’s 'Verbs' album, AU have slimmed down to an extraordinarily potent two-piece live band, with Valatka on percussion and Wyland taking care of everything else: vocals, keyboard, sampler, lap steel, banjo and melodica (often two or more at once). Wyland’s rich baritone takes centre stage on 'Both Lights', a one-man tug-of-war with love, loss, pain, anger and desire, while the music behind him flits with gleeful abandon between styles - choral folk, ferocious jazz-punk, wild percussive workouts, sumptuous indie-pop.

      AU contributed a track to the Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers collaboration in 2010, which featured versions of tracks by Konono No.1 and Kasai Allstars. The Congolese bands’ influence is strongly evident on 'Both Lights'.


      The ‘Solid Gold’ 7” is limited to 500 copies for the world (just 150 for Europe), and is a joint release by The Leaf Label and Hometapes. Pressed on transparent yellow-orange vinyl, it’s packaged with full-colour transparent cover art in a heavy PVC sleeve, and includes a free digital download.

      Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka, the Portland, Oregon-based duo known as AU, embody a remarkable, cathartic energy that is immediately apparent on ‘Solid Gold’, the first single to be taken from their forthcoming album. Both Lights will be AU’s first album for The Leaf Label (released by Hometapes outside Europe). Fortifying Valatka’s adrenalised percussion and Wyland’s soaring vocals and multi-tentacled performance on keys / guitar, is man-machine Colin Stetson on alto and bass saxophone. The B-side, ‘Under / Epic’, is a reinterpretation of the album’s opening track, taking Stetson’s wild wind a notch higher and into the brightly lit stratosphere.

      AU reflect that light. ‘Solid Gold’ is the first taste of a sweeping aural experience that captures Wyland and Valatka’s journey through three years of love, loss, and levity. “The back and forth, the tug of war for love,” says Wyland, getting at the root of ‘Solid Gold’, in essence a love song, “exhausting, exhilarating, and so totally not sustainable.” Like the best songs, in some way or another, we can all sing along to that.

      "Jardin Au Fou" is the second solo album by German keyboardist Hans-Joachim Roedelius, best known for his work with Cluster, Harmonia, and Aquarello. Recorded from April through July, 1978 at Paragon Studios in Berlin, it was produced by former Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann and released by the French label Egg in 1979. The original release included 10 tracks but the final short piece, "Final", was left off the tracklisting on the original album cover.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      CD Info: The CD features 6 additional tracks: three of the new tracks are remixes of material from the original recording while three others are newly released.

      Mi And L'Au

      Debut

        Mi and L'au recently put the finishing touches to their beautiful new album in Brooklyn, NY. The music on their self-titled debut is austere yet simultaneously warm, expressing the passion they possess both as human beings and as songwriters. Think of a glacier with a red ember glowing in its centre. Mi was working as a model in paris when he met L'au, then involved in the french music industry. The two intensely focused individuals immediately fell in love, and after apartment-hopping around the city for a time, gave up everything and moved to the woods of Mi's native Finland to spend time discovering each other and their music. They now live in a small cabin in complete isolation with the barest of essentials, spending virtually all their time making music together in solitude. They are pure and gentle souls (indeed, Devendra Banhart's song "Gentle Soul" was written for L'au with whom he'd collaborated in Paris). Their music is bare and delicate, with simple instrumentation and sparse orchestrations.


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