Richard Pinhas ‎– Reverse

bb249_cover_rgbLast months vinyl from ‘That Special Record’ lay un-played for several weeks due to other commitments, which have left me unable to play very much of anything really, until there was a break in the clouds last week and there  was a shower of vinyl, not a downpour, but at least it was something. This was the first album I played, again, I was pretty much in the dark about it but after a bit of interweb research I was enlightened somewhat.

Pinhas was a member of ‘Heldon,’ a French electronic rock band created in 1974. The name of the band having been taken from the 1972 novel, ‘The Iron Dream’, by Norman Spinrad. Prior to that Pinhas was a member of the band ‘Schizo’, but both bands were led for the most part by Pinhas, who also released a host of albums under his own name.

Influenced by the work of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, the music of Richard Pinhas and Heldon is sui generis and innovative and has in its turn greatly influenced the field of electronic rock.

I had to look up sui generis as I had no idea what it meant, apparently this is the definition:

Sui generis (/ˌs ˈɛnərɪs/Latin: [ˈsʊ.iː ˈɡɛnɛrɪs]) is a Latin phrase, meaning “of its (his, her, or their) own kind; in a class by itself; unique”. In the creative arts, where an artistic work goes beyond conventional genre boundaries.

So now I know. If you head over to the Bureau B website, there’s a nice press kit you can download should you be of a mind to, it’s here. Where they also share some snippets of the tracks so you can get an idea what it sounds like.

So what do I think of it? How do I feel my subscription to ‘That Special Record’ performed this month? Well, I think it’s bloody brilliant actually. It is not, as suggested, a series of 4 drones, it is much more than that and it is far too complex and interesting to be just called a drone. It is a fusion of different, interesting ideas into a new whole with elements of prog, kosmiche (Krautrock) and post-rock among the points of reference. It feels, at times, urgent and alive, with the percussion lifting the whole thing from a very interesting noise to something that is more tangible, more easily grasped, and the drums have a great live feel about them. The line up for this album, along with Pinhas is Arthur Narcy (drums), Florian Tatar (bass), Masami Akita (analog synths, recorded in Tokyo), son Duncan Nilson-Pinhas (digital synths), and William Winant (percussion, recorded in Oakland, CA, USA). At times they somehow manage to sound like an Orchestra so full is the sound.

Now this sort of thing, like many of the albums I like to listen to, isn’t for everybody, but there are times when taking a moment to just listen, to lose yourself in a vast landscape of sound, can bring you to a place you weren’t expecting and which you may just like. With this album I find myself at times listening to the intricacies of the performance and at others allowing the whole thing to wash over me, and this is a good thing as, to me, it means that it works on more than one level.

It’s not just me telling you, my two or three regular readers, that this is good stuff, other people are as well:

“Ecstatic psych burnouts from French prog visionary and friends” 8/10, Uncut (UK)

“Maverick French guitarist turns negative headspace into a kosmische positive” ****, Mojo (UK)

“Reverse sounds like rock music echoed out into the stratosphere” 7.2, Pitchfork

“This is music that demands and deserves our attention.” (The Quietus)

ONE DAY – AKIRA KOSEMURA

I was scrolling through my wordpress reader (which I do check quite regularly) avoiding all posts related to the Oscars or Trump, and I scrolled to this post from the ‘Stationary Travels’ blog:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/10648651/posts/1355986215

The post contained a few words that peaked my interest, Tokyo, composer & sound producer for film, stage, and television and Akira, which is an Anime that I really love. I went to my digital music provider of choice and had a listen to the album ‘One Day’.Thanks ‘Stationary Travels’.

oneday

Well, I was instantly captivated by the sparseness of the recording, how gentle it was, wistful even. Keys can be heard being pressed, piano pedals maybe, movement, making this recording of improvisational piano solos seem personal somehow, as though Kosemura is at the piano in the corner of the room playing for you while you gaze out of a window, lost in the moment.

it was recorded in one afternoon, played on an old piano at his family’s home which he has played since childhood. The result is music that is not afraid of space, of silence or needs to raise itself above a whisper, such is the confidence with which it is played, and it does have the feel of improvisation, just a guy playing his family piano, playing it wonderfully, for an audience of one.

The album was mastered by Mandy Parnell, a British engineer who has worked with Bjork, Aphex Twin, Max Richter etc.

Tracks:

1. pale
2. serena
3. foe
4. yuha
5. mizet
6. whit
7. frea
8. famile
9. luna
10. acari

I have a vinyl copy on order from Schole which I plan to listen to while sat in a rocking chair with a nice cup of tea, really, I mean it, Earl Grey.

This discovery feels like the on-line version of crate digging, browsing around, finding something that peaks your interest, listening to it, loving it, buying it. It’s not quite the same as asking the guy in the shop to give a record a spin so you can have a listen, but it’s not a million miles away from that.

I’m on about my sixth digital listen now and I love it a little more each time.

That Special Record: ADELBERT VON DEYEN – Atmosphere

I’m a bit behind at the moment and haven’t played any vinyl for 4 weeks, not a single record has been on the turntable, I’ve been all digital for 4 weeks. The reason for this neglect is that, as a family, we adopted a shit and piss machine. Said machine is the subject of the picture below:

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Don’t be fooled, he’s a menace. He calls himself Orwell and he has made it his mission to to disrupt my life in as many interesting and varied ways as possible. So not many records played, his fault. While he did arrive around Christmas time, please don’t worry, I’m a firm believer in ‘a dog is for Christmas not for life’.

He is why I have not had an opportunity to mention my vinyl subscription to ‘That Special Record’ since the beginning of December. I believe he knows this and finds it all rather amusing.

So, Decembers record from ‘That Special Record’ was ‘Atmosphere’ by Adelbert Von Deyen. As is quite common, I knew nothing about this, literally nothing, I didn’t know either he or the record existed. Bearing in mind that I do like good Tangerine Dream (I emphasise good because not all of it is) and have referred to them positively here several times in the past, this album is a logical choice to send to me, and I do rather like it.

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Tracklist

A1 Time Machine
A2 Silverrain
Atmosphere Part I
A3a Sunrise
A3b Altitude Flight
A3c Astralis
Atmosphere Part II
Ba Skywards
Bb Spaces Of Infinity
Bc Crystal Clouds
Bd Voices Of Infinity
Be Dawn

Further Info:

  • Remixed At – Star Studio Hamburg
  • Mastered At – Star Studio Hamburg
  • Recorded At – Studio Norgaard

Credits

  • Composed By, Performer [Played By], Recorded By, Arranged By, Mixed By, Producer, Liner Notes, Design, Keyboards, Synthesizer – Adelbert Von Deyen
  • Drums – Wolfgang Zabba Lindner (tracks: A1, A2)
  • Mixed By [Remixed], Mastered By – Lars Hidde
  • Painting [Cover] – Urs Amann

Notes

  • Recorded August 1979 to June 1980 at Studio Norgaard.
    Remixed and mastered at Star-Studio, Hamburg.
    Originally released 1980 on sky041
    (P) + (C) 2016 bureau B under exclusive license from sky records

From what I’ve read this is regarded as Von Deyen’s best work by many, and yes, while it is very reminiscent of Tangerine Dream that does not mean it is a second rate copy. It stands up well in it’s own right although, personally, I do think it tails off a little and I prefer side A to Side B.

Here is a classic synths on the beach image of Adelbert which was a requirement back in the late 70’s/early 80’s to have any credibility at all.

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I’m sure that there are people out there who will throw around terms like ‘Classic’ regarding this album, but I think you had to be there listening to it at the time to feel that way, the best I have to offer really is, I like it.

 

Playing 45’s Tonight

Playing some 45’s tonight. 3 are on instagram, and if I have this right, down below:

#banshees #christine #siouxsieandthebanshees #45s #vinyl #vinylrecords #vinylcommunity

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#iandury #blockheads #vinylcommunity #45s #vinyl #vinylrecords #reasonstobecheerful

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Listening to 45's tonight. #45s #vinyl #vinyljunkie #vinylcommunity #xtc

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Gala Drop – II

The Electronic/Dance section of my local record store is probably my favourite.It’s not a big section but every month or so a super cheap album by somebody I’ve never heard of will appear there and decisions will then have to be made. I’ve sometimes just bought them, sometimes streamed a bit of it to see what it is like and sometimes left it there, though sometimes I’ve picked it up weeks later anyway.

With the price of new vinyl releases being in the £15-£30 range one has to be as frugal as possible, of course some releases are must haves and so you have to pay what’s asked if you want it, but one of the great joys for me in music is discovering new things, so when I see an album with a cover I like, by an artist I’ve never heard of in the Dance/Electronic section priced at £4.00, well, I’m probably going to give it a go. This was the case with ‘II’ by ‘Gala Drop’. I had no idea what it sounded like as I couldn’t get any phone reception to stream a bit of it and took a chance on it, and I’m so glad I did.

Before I say any more, why not press play below and have a listen for yourself:

In the couple of weeks since I bought it I must have played this album 20 or more times now, vinyl and streaming combined that is, and hear things in it that were quite possibly not meant to be there but serve as bookmarks to me of what I’m hearing. I’ll explain, while it is classified as Electronic, Rock, Funk / Soul, I hear Dub, Disco, Dance hall and, most oddly perhaps, Prog Rock, the latter being long passages that remind me of King Crimson. There’s also Space Rock, Psyche and Acid Jazz, I know, it’s an odd mish mash but somehow it really works.

Gala Drop are from Lisboa, Portugal, where the album was recorded and mixed. They are:

gala-drop
Afonso Simões: Drums, Percussion and Synthesizers
Guilherme Gonçalves: Electric Guitar and Synthesizer
Jerry the Cat: Congas and Vocals
Nelson Gomes: Drum Machine and Synthesizers
Rui Dâmaso: Electric Bass

Tracklist

A1 You And I
A2 Big City
A3 Sun Gun
A4 Monad
B1 All Things
B2 Slow House
B3 Let It Go
B4 Samba Da Maconha

You may have heard of American ex-pat and veteran of the Detroit music scene Jerry The Cat who has worked everyone from Funkadelic and Parliament to Derrick May and Theo Parrish. He sings on the majority of the tracks and some of the tracks which could have turned out to just being elongated jams have more cohesion to them as a result of his contribution.

I think this album was a bargain for what I paid for it and there’s something I am unable to describe about it that strikes a chord with me, perhaps the nostalgic air of the influences I hear, perhaps not, but I do know that I like it, a lot.

 

Roots Manuva – Slime & Reason

Slime & Reason is the sixth studio album of original material by Roots Manuva. It was released on 1 September 2008 on the Big Dada label. Hip Hop Connection magazine named it Album Of The Year 2008. I picked up a copy at a record fair in Leamington Spa in the summer, which had a slightly damaged cover on the rear, although I didn’t notice it at the time, it’s one of those where the printed section has come away from the card beneath but inside a plastic cover it was barely noticeable, outside the plastic cover it looks a bit crap. The good news is that the vinyl itself is pretty nice and I didn’t pay too much for it.

I have no idea when I started listening to Roots, or why, but I do know that I like the Britishness of it, which is evident from the opening track. ‘Again & Again’ reminds me so much of what was happening in the Midlands back in the late 70’s with the Ska revival, it’s dancehall, reggae and an MC with a British voice and I think that link to the past, that sound, that feeling, is what drew me to it.

[Chorus]
Again and again and again, we come fi improve ya
(Oh hear we, oh hear we!)
Again and again and again, we bust a big groove Manuva
(Lord!)

A lot of people don’t know about Smith
How I came to the scene, and came to uplift!
Eradicatory sanctions of righteousness
Pentecostal son, coming from the heartlands
With every breath and every noun
We dare not stop burning Babylon down
With every penny, every pound
Reflective of the rebel heart and the rebel sound
Dedication to dem life and dem causes
I did dem tours and settled those scores now
I’m back at the drawing board
And I’m sketching out two plans with two crystal balls
I see the future and the culture looks corroded
Lose that chap, man. But them dudes are just posers
I don’t know where to show this
So I’m about to bring that back
Whether we chant, rap or sing that back
It go

[Chorus x2]

Anytime we chant that ting, you know we rap that ting!
We just might clap that ting, but
We ain’t on some boasting about
We gotta make moves, no loafing about!
He ain’t got no clout, she ain’t got no clout
Still they wanna come here, come run up their mouth!
They wanna know what Manuva’s about:
Check my catalogue, you’ll see with no doubt!
We don’t sell out, but we sell a tune or two
Beaten by a wooden spoon or two
But the pain that break me is the pain that make me
And the pain that take me is the pain that help me maintain
Life ting in the frame you know
We’re straight kicking the bin – it go
I don’t know where the soul is
So I’m about to bring that back
Whether we chant, rap or sing that back
It go

[Chorus x2]

Food? Well
And clothes? Well
His style? Well
His skin? well
His shoes? well
Manuv’s? And well
Well, baby, yeah baby
Oh yes, Roots Manuva, the talk of the town
So watch all the people ?sending come fi yuh the run?
Fi anywhere we go, we have the man and control
Roots Manuva is the star of the show
You know-oh

[Chorus x4]

I don’t often include lyrics, but I felt like it today. For me, that’s got hit single written all over it, but I don’t get to decide these things, unfortunately. If I were in charge I would have replaced any of the tracks in the below 2008 chart with ‘Let The Spirit’ from this album, I think it’s a better track than all of them. That’s one of the problems with singles charts in particular, it is not a gauge of quality but of how generically appealing something can be.

chart2008

Here is ‘Let The Spirit’, Am I right?

There are a lot of styles across the tracks on this album, popping up here and there, and there are a lot of catchy numbers, top among them for me being ‘Let the Spirit’ which was a single but didn’t trouble the charts much, in fact, side A & B are chock-a-block with them. C & D are a little darker perhaps, but still really good tracks,

Hip Hop Connection magazine named it Album Of The Year 2008, and they know better than me.

Tracklist
A1 Again & Again
A2 C.R.U.F.F.
A3 Let The Spirit
B1 Do Nah Bodda Mi
B2 Kick Up Ya Foot
B3 A Man’s Talk
B4 Buff Nuff
C1 2 Much 2 Soon
C2 Do 4 Self
C3 The Show Must Go On
D1 It’s Me Oh Lord
D2 I’m A New Man
D3 Well Alright
D4 The Struggle

If you liked either of the tracks above then do seek out more, Roots Manuva is brilliant at what he does.

resize-roots-manuva

 

FSOL – Cambridge

Yesterday I was at the market in Cambridge where there were two stalls selling vinyl. I only managed a cursory glance at one but at the other I was there a little longer and r-97752-1179769362-jpegstumbled across a Future Sound Of London Double LP that I didn’t have. It was in the 12″ section and is called ‘Papua New Guinea Translations’. The album is essentially the same track repeated 8 times but evolving each time into something else. Track 1 is the closest to the original, which was a fairly big hit for FSOL when it was released, and each subsequent track moves further and further away from the original. Track 8 is very different indeed, even down to tempo.

Now I do love FSOL and this was a great surprise for me when I found it in the plastic crate and I bought it, of course, for the princely sum £4, which is an absolute bargain. I had a quick look on Discogs at what it sells for and it goes for between £14 and £35. Obviously this makes me happy.

Vocal samples on these tracks are taken from Dead Can Dance – The Host of Seraphim & Circuit – Shelter Me, the former of which I know but not the latter, so I’ll check that out at some point.

Though the video below contains trandom inages that are unrelated, you can listen to one of the tracks 9Track 2 on the album called “Translation 2: Papsico”, which is closest to the original, but still different enough.

Apart from the vinyl inside the sleeve, there was a piece of paper which asked for feedback on the tracks and ratings, so I guess this may be a promo copy, or pre-release or something like that. I’ll append it to the bottom of this post later for reference.