Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nostalgia 77 Sessions feat. Keith & Julie Tippett

The appearance of veteran English artists Keith and Julie Tippett makes producer Benedic Lamdin's Nostalgia 77 Sessions an interesting prospect, with much of that promise realised over the album's 14 songs. The music covers the ground between blues, soul and jazz, but it's the left turns taken by the two stars that make it such an intriguing success.

Most immediately ear-catching is the brilliant piano solo taken by Keith Tippett on opener You Don't Just Dream When You Sleep. It's a real sit-up-and-notice experience that takes the music in a new, unexpected direction reminiscent of what may be Tippett's best known performance, his crucial contribution to King Crimson's Cat Food. Beginning with Julie Tippett's soul/blues-inflected vocals and Riaan Vosloo's rich bass tones, Keith steps in after a couple of minutes with slow single notes that spread out into a vigorous middle passage echoed in the outro.

Also remarkable is the strikingly mellifluous free passage that concludes the initially jazzy Sketch For Gary/Billy Goes To Town. It's an approach that finds its echo in the contemplative Lapis Blue, but instead of good-natured angularity, Julie Tippett sings gently into silence. Soothing The Rattlesnake sounds like it might do just that with keening and cooing accompanied by sparse, long-held notes on piano and bass. The group create a magical space that's both eery and strangely inviting. These sessions are notable for the balance they achieve between melody and freedom and the unexpected, but natural way in which one develops from the other.

By Colin Buttimer -

TruThoughts site - Nostalgia 77 official - @ MYSPACE -

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

El Michels Affair - Enter The 37th Chamber (2009)

Cinematic funky soul instrumentals from the El Michels Affair -- the loose NYC collective's long awaited full length nod to the Wu Tang Clan! The crew brings their tried and true slow rolling and dirty funk to their interpretations of classic Wu Tang tracks, with some straight up beautiful sophisticated soul backdrops, too, and Leon & the crew pull it all off masterfully! The RZA's sonic stamp is too innovative and idiosyncratic for a simple live band rehash, and the group is wise to use the famous crackling sample built soundscapes to craft both an homage to the Wu Tang's best material, as well as the 70s funk, soul, and cinema sounds that informed them in the first place. A few of the tracks first blew our minds as funky 45s, and this fully formed set was worth the wait -- from the moody organ funk of "Can It All Be So Simple", the funky drummer rhythms of "Uzi (Pinky Ring)", the string accented moods of "Heaven And Hell", the brass band and children's chorus cover of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and lots more! Other tracks include "Glaciers Of Ice", "Incarcerated Scarfaces", "Bring Da Ruckus" and more. The CD version includes an unlisted bonus track.
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Truth & Soul rec entry - Last.Fm - On UTube -