Staff Picks - November

Staff Picks - November

Written By:

Dragoș Rusu


December 3, 2018

The year is almost over, so check what drew our attention musically during November 2018. What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, if you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

2. From Ali Hassan Kuban to Damily

Cesar Mariano & Cia. ‎- São Paulo • Brasil (Mr Bongo)
Cesar Mariano & Cia. ‎- São Paulo • Brasil (Mr Bongo)

Alan Hawkshaw & Brian Bennett ‎- Full Circle (Be With Records)
Be With Records does an excellent job this month, reissuing ten of the most in demand sound library records from the KPM and Themes International Music catalogue. Some personal favourites between them, and even if we've missed it last month, we'd like to mention this album now, as two of the key artists that helped define the UK scene in every sense, Alan Hawkshaw & Brian Bennett, released the new "Full Circle" album. Done in the most elegant contemporary manner, the 12 songs still have that original soulful approach, all in big-band modes and laid-back jazz-funk. Great stuff! Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu/JB

Ali Hassan Kuban - From Nubia to Cairo (Piranha Records)
From a self-taught musician exploring his Nubian people’s musical roots to a professional, successfully leading his various bands into new, vibrant, international pop territory – Ali Hassan Kuban became an international star when his music finally went global in the 1980s. “From Nubia to Cairo” is the first milestone in urban Nubian Pop. The record is available in glorious audiophile format - remastered from analogue tapes with listening standards updated to contemporary levels. The first batch of Ali’s long-legendary Nubian originals, seductively praising in touching lyrics his native Nubia and Egypt, their people, in particular, their women, and life.

Anthony Naples - Take Me With You (Good Morning Tapes)
Anthony Naples returns with his second full length album, "Take Me With You", arriving first as a ‘Mixed Version’ cassette inspired and commissioned by the Good Morning Tapes series, followed by Digital, Vinyl and even Long Sleeve T-Shirt formats. Originally conceived as a D.J. mixtape dedicated to friends and the time spent with them in the morning hours after the parties over (or beginning) - it quickly morphed into a soft focused meditation on all things warm and intangible.

Antonella Eye Porcelluzzi & Deaf Society - The Velocity Of Velocities
Antonella Eye Porcelluzzi radically rewrote texts by Mina Loy and Theresa of Avila, and interpreted them in accord with the musical language of Deaf Society. Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515 –1582), was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun and author during the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer.

Cesar Mariano & Cia. ‎- São Paulo / Brasil (Mr Bongo)
One of the finest Brazilian jazz funk fusion albums ever recorded; thoroughly deserving of its cult status. First official reissue outside of Brazil. Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu/JB

Damily - Valimbilo (Bongo Joe)
Bilo is a disease which strikes one’s mental health, depression is what western societies call it. When one is diagnosed with « voany bilo », a precise medical treatment is engaged and performed without doctors, nor medicine. To vanquish bilo, one has to use music.

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3. From Giuliano Sorgini to Hans Otte

Dur Dur of Somalia - Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks (Analog Africa)
Dur Dur of Somalia - Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks (Analog Africa)

Dennis Wise - Wize Music (Finders Keepers)
"Imagine a comic book where a Funkenstein monster called “Laraaji-Scratch Perry” invaded your record shelf while Komendarek and Holger Czukay kept lookout... Dr. Dennis might be the only one Wise enough to outsmart all of them with his powerful amorphous anesthetic." A complex musician and a practicing psychologist when not performing, Denis Wise combined a culture of sound system circuitry and radiophonic trickery adding Tea-pot poetry and sci-fidelity future-folk to his magnetic mesh! Having two self-released albums back in the late 70's and early 80's which are basically impossible to find nowadays, his musical approach is something unique and we're thrilled to have some of his best compositions from 1979-1984 carefully selected on this amazing LP from our friends at Finders Keepers Records. Tip! Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu/JB

Dravier - Spirit Channels (Not Not Fun Records)
Prolific proprietor of the Jungle Gym recording empire Caleb Draves aka Dravier has trafficked all manner of hypnotic vapor, emotive drone, and extraterrestrial atmospheres across several dozen micro-edition documents issued the past few years but Spirit Channels spans an even wider, weirder breadth of sound and mood, and feels as close to a definitive collection as he’s yet attempted.

Dur Dur of Somalia - Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks (Analog Africa)
This triple LP / double CD reissue of the band's first two albums – the first installment in a three-part series dedicated to Dur-Dur Band – represents the first fruit of Analog Africa's long labours to bring this extraordinary music to the wider world. Remastered from the best available audio sources, these songs have never sounded better. Some thirty years after they first made such a splash in the Mogadishu scene, they have been freed from the wobble and tape-hiss of second and third generation cassette dubs, to reveal a glorious mix of polychromatic organs, nightclub-ready rhythms and hauntingly soulful vocals. In addition to two previously unreleased tracks, the music is accompanied by extensive liner notes, featuring interviews with original band members, documenting a forgotten chapter of Somalia's cultural history. Before the upheaval in the 1990s that turned Somalia into a war-zone, Mogadishu, the white pearl of the Indian Ocean, had been one of the jewels of eastern Africa, a modern paradise of culture and commerce. In the music of the Dur-Dur band – now widely available outside of Somalia – we can still catch a fleeting glimpse of that golden age.

Giuliano Sorgini - Africa Oscura (Four Flies Records)
What are the most expensive items on Discogs? We don't know for sure, but library music is definitely a genre that keeps the stakes high. And when searching library, the italian scene is one of the most talked about in this particular area. Giuliano Sorgini, a composer, keyboardist and percussionist from Rome, is among the top cats from which you can rarely see an original 60's or 70's album, but when you do, that record will often sell for triple zero by the numbers. Africa Oscura, a sort of concept-album about darkest Africa, is the latest release from Four Flies Records, that specialized in reissuing obscure library albums from Italy. All tracks were recorded between 1974 - 1976 and are entirely played by the composer himself, with drums, percussions and all sorts of analog synths overlaps, to create an afro-ambient soundscape, something halfway between electronic and minimalism, with a vibrant prog flavour. Great to see that these unreleased songs until now, finally made it to a much-needed LP. Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu/JB

Hans Otte - The Book Of Sounds (Das Buch Der Klänge) (Beacon Sound)
Hans Otte (1926-2007) was a multifaceted artist, poet, pianist, composer, and promoter who synthesized the strands of minimalism, Eastern spirituality, and radical art into his own unique and protean vision. Although the compositions and recordings that Otte made over the course of his long career are wide­ranging, The Book Of Sounds is considered to be his masterwork.

4. From Jibóia to Owls Are Not

Praed - Doomsday Survival Kit (Akuphone)
Praed - Doomsday Survival Kit (Akuphone)

Jean-Pierre Boistel / Tony Kenneybrew - Percussions Pour La Danse (Left Ear Records)
If you were searching through the finest record stores worldwide a few years back, chances to see this percussion jazz treasure framed on the wall, were probably big. Fetching up high prices on the second-hand market as one of the most sought-after abstract/jazzdance/african LP's, 'Percussions Pour La Danse' was a collaboration between North American born jazz & contemporary-dance instructor Tony Kennybrew and French musician Jean-Pierre Boistel. Tony, a Washington native who had studied, taught and danced professionally since the age of 12, found himself in France in the late 80’s. It’s here that he linked up with like-minded musician Jean-Pierre; who had recently returned from a 6-month trip to West Africa." Now in 2018 thanks to Melbourne's respectable Left Ear Records, this effective sound construction that emphasizes the vibes of the live percussion as a whole, sees another light of the day. Highly recommended. Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu/JB

Jibóia - 0000 (Discrepant)
Óscar Silva chose his alias Jibóia, he was already thinking of the variations his music would take on in each record. Jibóia is Portuguese for Boa constrictor and at his fourth record we got used to his instincts and ability to change over his sound and search for different collaborators to reach his intentions. After collaborating with the likes of Makoto Yagyu, Sequin, Xinobi, Ricardo Martins and Jonathan Saldanha in his previous records, in OOOO he goes deep into interconnecting his music with other musicians/past collaborators. Joined by Ricardo Martins (Lobster, Pop Dell’Arte, BRUXAS/COBRAS, among other projects) and André Pinto (aka O Morto, Alacrau and Notwan), Óscar intended to create a record that sounded like Jibóia with the direct collaboration of the musicians that accepted the invitation. And what does it means to sound like Jibóia? A fluent and rich dialogue between outer-world sounds mixed with a free jazz approach to rock, living in the limbo between what is fiction and reality. Meaning, it’s music that’s doing soul searching without any space or time barriers.

Koray Kantarcioğlu - Loopworks (Discrepant)
Originally released by Wounded Wolf Press as a limited release (only 100 cassettes were made) back in 2016, “Loopworks” finds Turkish visual and sound artist Koray Kantarcioğlu (Ankara, 1982) exploring the unlimited possibilities of databending. As source material Koray used samples he dug from Turkish records that were released in the 1960s and 1970s, creating this unique sound using various effects, such as reverb, echo and tempo.

Owls Are Not - Radio tree (1000 HZ)
"Radio Tree" is the fourth studio release of Owls Are Not. Like the previous album of the band ("isnot"), it refers to the form of a radio transmission. This time, however, "broadcast" is the result of months of ethnomusicological research of the band's leader in Malawi and Tanzania. Four of the six songs were composed by the band with Eastern African vocalists: Peter Kaunda from Tonga Boys, appearing as soloist Certifyd and Martin Kaphux Kaphukusi, who is the conductor of the small choir Christ Church of Malawi. Masaya Hijikata, known among others from the Sehno project contributed to the other two compositions and in one song you can hear the guitar part performed by Michał Pawłowski (newspaperflyhunting, Vendrae Vendarum).

Praed - Doomsday Survival Kit (Akuphone)
Doomsday Survival Kit is PRAED’s fourth album. The Lebanese duo delivers a raging interpretation of the chaabi – popular Arabic music – using synthesizers, drum Machines, samples and other devices. The result is hypnotic and psychedelic, on the verge of trance. The clarinet of Paed Conca and the soaring lyricism of Raed Yassin sound like distant calls for help emerging from a world that is falling apart and slipping away.

Rainbow Island - Dances Of The Mangroovian Bobblers (EMET Records)
Emet Records follows the 1 single piece of music concept release welcoming italian collective Rainbow Island for their second instalment. Nothing but a pure bassy rhythm and another testimony to the fact that lowering a tempo increases a generally state of a calm mind. Only 100 copies pressed! Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu/JB

5. From Rangers to Voetvolk

Thomas Fehlmann - 1929 - Das Jahr Babylon (Kompakt)
Thomas Fehlmann - 1929 - Das Jahr Babylon (Kompakt)

Rangers - Europe On TV (Not Not Fun Records)
Nearly a decade after their original assembly, two crucial early volumes of Texan ranger Joe Knight’s voyaging kaleidoscope kitchen sink-psych have been dusted off and dressed up for a new generation of suburban tourists. Europe On TV collects the entirety of both 2009 outings on freeform Pittsburgh imprint As Above So Below, totaling 110 twisted minutes of miasmic guitar heroics, sci-fi city surf, face-melt glam, no-fi jangle, art rock squall, and nebulous new wave, pocked with 4-track feedback bramble and cathode-blasted voices.

Ry-co Jazz - Dansons avec le Ry-co Jazz (Radio Martiko)
Ten swirling and euphonic Afro-Latin gems from the Congolose band Ry-co Jazz, recorded between 1961 and 1966 for the Disques Vogue series “Dansons avec…”. Ry-co Jazz was one of the leading combos during the heydays of Afro-Latin music in Central and West Africa. Their rhythmical and amusing play tempted European listeners and soon they recorded in France and toured all over Europe. After the Disques Vogue period in 1966 Ry-co Jazz embarked for Martinique to play one gig and unexpectedly wrote a new chapter in the Caribbean music history. Radio Martiko tracked down the more obscure masterpieces from the pre-Martinique repertoire of this cosmopolitan band.

The Boiler - Body=Death (Cut Surface)
Experimental electronic project The Boiler comprising Vienna-based artist (real name: Kristina Pia Hofer) released their next album "Body=Death" on Cut Surface, an independent record label from Vienna, Austria in both digital and Vinyl formats. BODY=DEATH took shape between January and July 2018, in close collaboration with British experimental/electronic musician Mahk Rumbae (of Codex Empire, Konstruktivists, Mitra Mitra, et al.), who played the key role in the album’s production and recording processes. Dino Spiluttini, Vienna-based experimental musician and producer, was entrusted with the mastering touch.

Thomas Fehlmann - 1929 - Das Jahr Babylon (Kompakt)
“1929 - Das Jahr Babylon" marks Thomas Fehlmann's third full length release of 2018 and presents what appears to be a creative peak in his career that spans beyond his solo career to his early days in Palais Schaumburg, collaborating with Moritz von Oswald as 3MB to his long time work with The Orb. Having left The Orb in late 2017 has set free unforeseen energies in Fehlmann's studio. This is a film soundtrack from the documentary that aired on ARD network on September 30, 2018 and is now available as a podcast series. To compliment the internationally lauded TV series "Berlin Babylon", German director Volker Heise has created a documentary about 1929, the fateful year during Germany's "Weimarer Republik" in which "Berlin Babylon" is settled. Heise's stirring documentary portrays Germany's sizzling capital that is faced with radical changes by the dark forces whom are about to toss the world into the abyss we know as World War II. Fehlmann's composition for "1929" consists of sample material taken from the era and thwarts the exaggerated lust for life with threatening undertones that anticipate the dawn of mankind's darkest chapter so far. Although all the sounds breathe yesterday's atmosphere this soundtrack bursts with modernity. Fehlmann accomplished the daring feat to musically render the unsettling resemblance between the political situation 90 years ago and our current time.

Tonga Boys - Vindodo (1000 HZ)
Tonga Boys is a new African band which presents music combining the traditions of the Tonga people (hence the name of the band) and modern chaotic lives in the slums. The album "Vindodo" is a step further - a mature, more dynamic and more refined effect of the sparkling creativity of Peter Kaunda, Albert Manda, Solomon Nikho, Mylius Minthall, and Guta Manda.

UNKNOWN ME - Astronauts (Not Not Fun Records)
Japanese synthesis squad UNKNOWN ME’s latest sequence of electron blueprints is true to its title, evoking a sense of lunar wonder and stargazer reverie, inspired by notions of “20th century space development.”

Voetvolk - The Sea Within (Rotkat Records)
Composed by Maarten Van Cauwenberghe, Elko Blijweert and Bjorn Eriksson, the Original Music from The Sea Within is a thrilling ménage à trois of acclaimed soundscape artists. As it’s already given away by the title, their first collaboration comprises the original scores to The Sea Within, a contemporary-dance performance by Voetvolk, the company of Van Cauwenberghe and dancer/choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez.

About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.


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