Continuing with the accounting of my Parisian trip: I visited the record store Souffle Continu, which is a haven for experimental and left-field music of all kinds, from techno, kraut/psych to field recordings. A bona fide treasure trove! Among other things, I have stumbled upon some Kink Gong records. Laurent Jeanneau records the music of South East Asian minorities – hear a sample track called 3 Hani Pipa from his Voices LP.
There were a few gigs I couldn’t attend: Mac DeMarco unsurprisingly sold out his concert at La Cigale. His most recent issue is Another One, a mini-LP out in August.
I missed an Adrew Ashong & La Famille Looka Pop DJ set in Le Comptoir Général. Google says Looka Pop is Yale Evelev from Luaka Bop records. His mix for Dust & Grooves (in the link) is full of world music gems.
I also missed the closing days of the renowned Jazz à la Villette festival. There was a William Onyeabor tribute show. Onyeabor is a (mysterious) legend of Nigerian music, a sort of electronic version of Fela Kuti. (Already featured on the blog with his song Good Name last October.)
Due to the Villette Jazz event, I downloaded Sinkane (Ahmed Gallab) album Mars from 2012 – this is an album I completely forgot about, but I know I liked it at the time of release, in particular the single Warm Spell. I first stumbled upon his music when I was looking for traces of Sudanese music in modern pop. I felt favourable to his 2014 album How We Be as well.
Another person taking part in the tribute was Para One, a French producer who is responsible for exciting throwback tracks You Too and the recent Elevation.
The following day, I missed a gig by Aldo Romano, Louis Sclavis, Henri Texier who play a beautiful blend of jazz and non-European classical music by using only drums, clarinet and contrabass.
Otherwise, I continued listening to the albums I’ve come across recently.
The compilation Make Do and Mend Vol.10 contains the following two gems:
The Liftmen – Cloudy Orange (a really cool band from Bristol), and
Bruno Spoerri – Baby Baby (the best Bruno Spoerri song I’ve heard, probably because it has vocals).
Another album I love to bits is the new Micachu & The Shapes’ Good Sad Happy Bad. The standout is Unity, one of the weirdest songs in recent years (not available on youtube at the moment), while other highlights include Sea Air and Sad.
I also had a listen to mini album releases from the emerging favourite Domenique Dumont’s Comme Ça and old favourite Inga Copeland who published RELAXIN’ With Lolina under the name Lolina. I had a listen to the complete discography of the rebetika experimentalists Andy Moor and Yannis Kyriakides.
Remote’s The Swarm 1999 Underground Resistance single with its B-side Protecting My Hive were responsible for the funkiest tunes I’ve heard recently, while the Australian band F ingers‘ debut LP currently holds the title of the eeriest album of the year.
I’ve listened to some albums and artists that were more active or relevant in the past and are largely flying below the radar now. Below The Radar is a series of mixtapes issued by the British magazine The Wire which explore the more experimental contemporary works by various artists. The compilation #12 was the first one I listened to, and to prove how rare a material it contains, here are the only three songs I could find on youtube:
Dur-Dur Band – Fagfagley (a 1980s Somalian band)
Powell – Rider (a well-known DJ/producer, head of the Diagonal label)
Aluk Todolo – Woodchurch (French black metal trio)
Another compilation I’ve listened to was The Kings Of Electro, compiled by Playgroup And Alter Ego. It contains a bunch of timeless electro records from the 80s and 90s.
The Deee Lite track What Is Love? (Holographic Goatee Remix) was the most fun of the bunch.
This has naturally led me to discover more of Milton Keynes’ finest Playgroup’s work – in fact his DJ-Kicks mix. Some gems found there:
Tiny Trendies – The Sky Is Not Crying (nostalgic Chillout vibes from 1999)
Ralphi Rosario – Get Up, Get Out (strong Vocal House from 2002)
Dexter – I Don’t Care (ingenius Funky Electro, not to be confused with a fan-made video for Dexter series…)
Random Factor – Broken Mirror (a 1998 UK release)
Harlequin Fours – Set It Off (a 1986 Electro classic)
Previously-unkown-to-me band Eardrum play percussion-heavy avant-garde music with a manic touch. Listening to their 2001 album Side Effects in one go can be a tough but rewarding experience.
For conclusion, the album Cotonou by Julien Jacob who is a Benin-born poet and musician living and working in Northern France. His lyrics are in a made-up language although they appear “African” to European ears. A truly charming album balancing between electronic production and African traditional music tropes. His bio at Wrasse records states:
“Few are the pioneering musicians who have managed to invent a whole new style or musical language, but how many have ever invented a new bona-fide verbal language?! Composer, singer, writer, poet and spiritualist Julien Jacob seems to have done exactly that. For him, the meaning of words and the pressure to understand them sometimes encumbers the impact of music. His own imaginary language, which is inspired by the timbre and vibration of words, is intended to release the listener and allow her or him to interpret the song in their own way. Born in Benin, west Africa, Jacob came to southern France at the age of four. After discovering rock and jazz in his youth, Jacob played in a pop-rock band called Anaphase before moving to Nice and pursuing growing interests in literature, poetry and spirituality. He hit the road and hung out with musical heroes like Fela Kuti, Miles Davies and Al Jarreau and then moved to Paris to develop his music. In the mid 1990s he finally settled in the unlikely location of Hennebont, a small town in Brittany where he wrote a series of books and a huge trove of songs. After teaming up with Breton producers and musical visionaries Ghislain Baran and Thierry Nedelec, Jacob recorded his first album ‘Shanti’ in the Breton port town of Lorient and released it at the end of the 1990s. His music is palpably African but also distinctly unlike any African music you’ve ever heard, full of original nuances, twists and the off-beat musings of a very rich imagination. Jacob’s deep sonorous voice hits the G-spot too. Biography by Andy Morgan, July 2003 “
Kink Gong – 3 Hani Pipa
Mac DeMarco – Without Me
Andrew Ashong & Theo Parish – Flowers
William Onyeabor- Fantastic Man
Sinkane – Warm Spell
Sinkane – How We Be
Para One – You Too
Para One – Elevation
Aldo Romano, Louis Sclavis, Henri Texier – Annobon
The Liftmen – Cloudy Orange
Bruno Spoerri – Baby Baby
Benoît Pioulard – Upon The Break Arch
Benoît Pioulard – Loupe
Micachu & The Shapes – Sea Air
Micachu & The Shapes – Sad
Domenique Dumont – Comme Ça
Lolina (Inga Copeland) – Lolina
Yannis Kyriakides & Andy Moor – Minores
Remote – The Swarm
Remote – Protecting My Hive
F ingers – Useless Treasure
Dur-Dur Band – Fagfagley
Powell – Rider
Aluk Todolo – Woodchurch
Deeelite – What is Love? (Holographic Goatee Remix)
Dexter – I Don’t Care
Random Factor – Broken Mirror
Harlequin Fours – Broken Mirror
Eardrum – Deep End
Julien Jacob – Cotonou