Métron Monthly – June 2017
Our monthly feature guides you through seven of the best things we’ve listened to this month. Here’s a round up of new(ish) releases for June, another splendid month of releases.
So many great releases on rotation this month, honourable mentions to these excellent records:
Tops – Sugar At The Gate [Arbutus Records]
Jonny Nash & Suzanne Kraft – Passive Aggressive [Melody as Truth]
Talamanca Systems – s/t [International Feel]
CS + Kreme / Yu Su – Roast Ghost / Little Forest [Wichelroede]
Shinichi Atobe – From The Heart, It’s A Start, A Work of Art [DDS]
Scott Gilmore – Subtle Vertigo [International Feel Recordings]
Gilmore, born and raised in Los Angeles, acquired much of his unusual recording gear at yard sales and second hand shops in his local area. Most notable are his use of a quarter inch reel to reel tape machine and among other things, a bamboo saxophone. Considering how they came into his ownership it’s fitting that his music should be so rich with nostalgia. A sound that exists in a similar space to the airy guitar and soft swaying synths of Air’s Moon Safari. In it’s totality ‘Subtle Vertigo’ is an incredibly accomplished, diverse and complex debut that I can testify as a perfect companion for an afternoon walk along the canals of Berlin, basked in sunshine.
Favourite Track(s) – Europe & Flight Through The Grey
Art Feynmann – Blast Off Through the Wicker [Western Vinyl]
I stumbled across a track by Californian native Art Feynmann on Soundcloud, without any frame of reference I gave it a spin and was immediately enthralled by the scurrying percussion and guitar work that eventually builds into an epic 130 bpm work out. That track, ‘The Shape You’re In’ it turns out, was just an outtake from the mysterious producers excellent debut LP on Western Vinyl.
Blast Off Through the Wicker is a wonderfully unpredictable collection of psychedelic pop, with ecstatic romps like ‘Feeling Good About Feeling Good’ set along side moodier jaunts like the beautiful drifting opener ‘Eternity in Pictures’. Though his guitar work stands out, whether in balls out psych-shred mode or melodic noodling, it’s not an easy record to pin down. Feynmann combines everything from krautrock to afro-beat, highlife to psych-rock, creating a colourful sonic universe that ends up feeling very much of it’s own.
Favourite Track(s) – Eternity in Pictures, Feeling Good About Feeling Good & Small House Blues
Populous – Azulejos [Wonderwheel Recordings]
Andrea Mangia, aka Populous, has consistently produced music that crosses cultural boundaries. On his latest LP ‘Azulejos’, a word for a primarily Portuguese style of tiling, the title is befitting. It’s a record that finds elements from different worlds and places them neatly together.
Having travelled from his hometown Lecce to live and record new music in Lisbon, Mangia found himself sampling the delights of the thriving African and latin European communities in the Portuguese capital. On his debut release for Wonderwheel he delivers a record that uniquely fuses the dynamic rhythms of the Afro-Portuguese world (popularised in recent years by the excellent label Príncipe Discos), with traditional latin instrumentation and Spanish vocals. It’s a bright and energetic record that never feels appropriated, indicative of an increasingly borderless sonic universe in which we all inhabit.
The record is available in full to stream on Wonderwheel’s Soundcloud.
Favourite Track(s) – Alfama, Azulejos & Racatin
Chuck Johnson – Balsams [VDSQ]
VDSQ is a small US based label that mostly focuses on solo guitar records. On ‘Balsams’ that focus narrows in further as the album is built almost completely from sounds emanating from the Chuck Johnson’s pedal steeled guitar. It’s a fairly novel approach yielding unique results, a kind of ambient-country record where the pedal steel echoes out in waves of beautiful, soothing drones. Each of the six compositions feature a similar dynamic, and yet taken as a whole this is a record that leaves a lasting impression, releasing the tension of all that it washes over.
Favourite Track(s) – Riga Black & Balm of Gilead
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – On The Echoing Green [Mexican Summer]
I fell for the sounds of Californian producer Jefre Cantu-Ledesma a long time ago. He’s made many superb recordings, from the wonderful ambient decay of ‘Songs of Forgiveness’ to last years powerful ‘In Summer’ EP. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ledesma’s music is the enormous emotional resonance he is able to expose from within his dense sonic swells. This time around he has created a record brimming with hope and light, and one of his most immediate and accessible recordings to date. ‘On The Echoing Green’ showcases the veteran producers growing ability to craft towards more traditional song structures, a slight departure from his more abstract approach to many of his past releases. This is a record that at times creeps towards early era M83 shoegaze pop epic-ness, and yet at the centre of these compositions is the same brooding sense of decay that persists across much of Ledesma’s work. Fading, fraying moments that, whilst overwhelming in their effervescence, are fleeting. Enjoy them whilst you can.
Favourite Track(s) – A Song of Summer, The Faun, Tenderness & Dancers at the Spring
Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah – Diaspora [Ropeadope]
‘Diaspora’ is the second release of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s trilogy of LPs dropping this year as part of a centennial celebration for one of the earliest ever jazz recordings. The follow up to ‘Ruler Rebel’, which also made it onto our monthly roundups, is another phenomenal collection of tracks in-keeping with Scott’s self proclaimed ‘Stretch music’ style. Built around his masterful trumpet playing, the New Orleans native makes modern Jazz music that, whilst referencing his cultural heritage, relies heavily on musical elements better associated with R ‘n B, Hip-hop, rap, funk and pop. As ever, it’s all done with immaculate precision and virtuoso skill – Scott is once again magnificent across the whole record, creating a truly moving and challenging listening experience, without being inaccessible. Jazz has slowly been moving back into the popular music conscience and Christian Scott is helping to lead the charge.
Favourite Track(s) – Diaspora, Uncrown Her & Completely
Songhoy Blues – Résistance [Transgressive]
Two years after their excellent breakthrough debut ‘Music in Exile’, the North Malian group are back with another hugely entertaining and engaging LP. On ‘Résistance’ they’ve delivered a record even more full of beans than it’s predecessor. In fact they’ve brought a whole new world of references to their brand of desert blues, with funk riffs, rock ‘n roll, horns and surprising cameos from Iggy Pop and grime MC Elf Kid. It’s hard not to fall for their positive energy and effervescent charms, not to mention the excellent musicianship and tight songwriting. It’s a little transparent perhaps in it’s motives, but this is a record that will no doubt elevate the group to further prominence in the mainstream of ‘World’ music – and that’s pretty great.
Favourite Track(s) – Yersi Yadda & Hometown
Let us know what we’ve missed and what you’ve been listening to recently.