All The Keys Are Here
Quite the coup for Apollo, to have one half of Minilogue gracing the release roster. As you would expect it’s the perfect hybrid between minimalism, analogue warmth and the decorative flourishes of Mullaert’s roaming Rhodes keys. Produced in acres of space with the Reich-ian loops steering the track into areas unknown. Both meditative and purposeful at the same time.
Chris Coco and Peter Green
' Albatross '
Balearic is a much confused and misused term nowadays. Too often it is used by clueless PR folk to peddle their vague, substandard brand of White Isle tat. Needless to say then the cynic in me approached this release with caution. I can’t say I am the biggest fan, but given the names involved it seemed remiss not to give it a mention. So if you like your Balearic classic with a modern twist, then this is for you.
Hot 8 Brass Band
'Bottom Of The Bucket'
As a concept the Hot 8 brass band are great. They have a brilliant USP, a great back-story and they are undoubtedly fantastic musicians. On the plus side with such a distinctive USP you certainly know a Hot 8 track when you hear it, on the flip side however things can wear a bit thin when every song sounds like the last — give or take a bit of tinkering with arrangement melody or tempo. The result is an unfortunate mix of familiarity, contempt and boredom.
'Come Play The Trees'
The Leaf Label
So much great music coming out of the Leaf camp at the moment. But let's be honest that moment has lasted pretty much past 20 years. So no change there then. What now? Proto Newman-esque punk-funk on overdrive. The rest of the EP follows suit. Foot to the bass pedal, cosmic FX and a nod to Mark E Smith. ‘Fukushima’ would be our worldly tinged tip here.
Lifted from his current album ‘Mister Mellow’; which draws together an intriguing mix of jazz, hip-hop, soul, house and general musical oddities, this single on first impressions is a breezy slice of laid back four-four. Further listens however reveal a dynamic bit of shape-shifting, percussive, blue-eyed soul. Not necessarily the first thing you’d associate with Stones Throw, but then that is why they remain one of the best labels around.
'If You’re Here'
This is quite the piece. From a standing start of sparse reverbed keys, Cornelius cooks up a melee that defies immediate categorisation. Part-electronica, part-organic and fluid, part-fractured, the details shape-shift into a perfect whole of what is essentially a mellow love ballad. Future yacht rock, Japanese style. Look out for the amazing video too.
Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra
It’s not often you can say with such surety that you won’t have heard anything quite like this in a while. When it comes to this amazing 18-piece band from Berlin however you certainly can. Covering a whopping 12 minutes, ‘J Schleia’ (of which incidentally there is no chance of getting bored), this Shapeshifting masterpiece somehow joins the dots between Daly Wilson Bog Band, Kamsai Washington Booker T & The MGs, Fela Kuti, The Meters, Donald Byrd... No mean feat I think you’ll agree.
Ahead Of Our Time
Dovetailing beautifully with the post-classical, contemporary piano works of Max Richter, Bruce Brubaker and Jóhann Johannsson et al, this new EP from Ninja cohort James Heather marks another great release for Coldcut’s re-invigorated Ahead Of Our Time imprint; “a playground for free expression and experimentation”. Personifying that mission statement in no uncertain terms this EP finds Heather in beautifully contemplative form, as he switches through seven stark, beautiful, fragile and emotive piano compositions.
'Robin Chasing Butterflies'
The background on this is pretty scant. But then why not just let the music do the talking? Three tracks that traverse spatial breaks and delicate melodies reminiscent of early Plaid. The opener is a thing of delicate force. An evolving slice of well-thought-out electronica that disguises its influences in the background and delivers subtle electro-tinged body-blows.