Review: Alexis Georgopoulos and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Fragments Of A Season was one of the highlights of Emotional Response's output in 2017, centred around blissful, Balearic instrumentation that shone a spotlight on the considerable talents of these accomplished artists. Now the label is revisiting the material with a couple of finely selected versions, the first coming from Emotional regulars Woo, who dutifully inject "Marine" with their effervescent, otherworldly expressions and create a glistening masterpiece in the process. Felicia Atkinson then tackles "AA Cleo" and sends it out onto the horizon in a haze of reverb romanticism, muffled percussive rumbles and murmuring vocals.
Review: Julien Jabre's Elias Productions returns with this sterling new package from the esteemed French producer. "Samana EP" kicks off with the Levant mix of the title track, which is a bombastic peak time cut loaded with emotional tension and release thanks to a powerful lead that reaches skywards like the crescendo of an unforgettable open air set. "Far At Sea" is a change of tempo that locks into a low slung groove without sacrificing the bold compositional surges that typify Jabre's approach in the studio. Lazare Hoche come on board to deliver an edit of "Samana" that nudges the wild peaks and valleys of the original towards a more steadfast, streamlined dancefloor workout.
Review: Swedish travelling minstrel, Rickard Jäverling, returns to lavish upon us further moments of heartfelt, folk-inspired beauty. Spinning Scandinavian wordless folk-songs seems like second nature for Jäverling, and these tracks show quite perfectly his unique skills. Beginning with 'Three Sisters' (which also featured on his recent 'Two Times Five Lullaby' album) we're off to an explosive start; a 21st century hoedown with eyes fixed on frozen Northern European fields rather than rickety Pennsylvanian barns. With banjo, drums and guitar, Jäverling and his band manage to distil a Tortoise-inspired post-rock intelligence and blend it with the traditional folk sounds that seem to have made their way into the mainstream once more. Side A is rounded off with the shimmering and beautiful 'Västbacken', a hazy instrumental piece of folk poetry bringing to mind bubbling streams and the beauty of a childish midsummer adventure. The EP's defining moment however comes on the flipside with the 7 minute epic 'Sultan'. It's hard to imagine a track more life affirming than this, which takes the Chicago post-rock formula and re-contextualises it for 2006, giving us something both reflective and quietly jubilant. Finishing off the disc are fellow Yesternow artists, Shoreline, who have ushered Jäverling into their ever-growing family and contributed a 'remix' which takes the original track and injects it with a sense of fun and playful abandon. 'The Three Sisters EP' adds yet further weight to the growing Yesternow catalogue, and is more proof of the subtle and measured talents of Rickard Jäverling.
Review: Russian producer Kirill Sergeev has been setting light to the likes of Hell Yeah, Bordello A Parigi and Bahnsteig 23 in the past under his Kito Jempere alias, and now it's the turn of Pleasure Unit to get his unique treatment. "House Track" may seem like an innocuous title but don't be fooled, it's far from a conventional house jam. Loose, 80s tinted production vibes abound across the record, not least with the party heaters on the A side. "Never Been To Ibiza Beaches 1997" is a more laid back jam, but still sizzling with inventive energy, and "Jungle Mantra" explores tribal percussion with a fresh slant that will call out to the tropical spinners.
Review: Following initial appearances on Bahnsteig 23, Jonny 5 returns on the Pleasure Wave label with more of that well-travelled, groovesome voodoo for all manner of sonic wayfarers. "Apocalypse" in particular is a stunning piece of tom-powered menace, but it's quickly offset by the bubbling cosmic delights of "Electronix". "Firedance" on the B-side channels some righteous 80s industrial and synth pop tropes to create it's own kind of drama, and then "Stardriver" finishes the EP off with some pulsing, noirish wave synths and gaseous atmospherics. With the styles shifting from track to track, Jonny 5 has once again done a sterling job of keeping his options open and keeping us locked expectantly into his delirious sound.
Review: Love Circle returns for a second release, digging deep into the misty past of golden era disco and finding rare gold for the reissue market to rejoice at. This time it's the work of Barry Blue and two projects he produced in the early 80s, lovingly re-edited for maximum dancefloor pleasure by Velvet Season & The Hearts Of Gold (aka gerry Rooney and Joel Martin). First up is surefire party starter "Breakin In" by Javaroo, and on the flip it's low down seduction workout "Love The Way You Love Me" by Marti Cane getting a fresh airing for all vintage-minded dancers and DJs.
Review: Having worked together on the set of 2011's Drive, Ryan Gosling has called on the services of composer Johnny Jewel for the actor's directorial debut, Lost River. We haven't seen the film yet so we can't comment on the blend between sound and cinematography, but we can tell you that this soundtrack is pure class from beginning to the end, a masterful artillery of dark ambience and atmospheric drones. The Italians Do It Better head honcho delivers two parts of "The Other Side Of Midnight", the first being a rough, heavy piece of noise metal that would satisfy any Wolf Eyes fan, while the second chapter is tamer, more submerged in a layer of deep, ethereal pads and subaqueous synths. All in all, compared to the rest of Hollywood's current musical output, this is totally killer - and totally recommended.
Review: Since emerging in the late 1990s, Swedish singer/songwriter Jay-Jay Johanson has carved a niche as a purveyor of beguiling, jazzy and occasionally surprisingly dark music. "Kings Cross", his 14th studio set, is an altogether warmer and more softly spun affair. Of course, his distinctively low key but emotion-rich vocal delivery remains the same, it's just the music beneath that has been given a bit of a remix. You'll find a gaggle of lusciously orchestrated, Sebastien Tellier style cuts, a handful of dusty downtempo groovers, some gentle folk-rock songs and even a small selection of nu-jazz numbers. The result is an album whose slow motion ethos and subtle beauty is surprisingly alluring.