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Elodie, "Odyssee"

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cover imageThis collaboration between Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk (Af Ursin) has been active since 2011, yet this is the first of their albums that I have actually heard, as Van Luijk shares Chalk's love of limited, small press-style releases.  As a result, Elodie's output has mostly been a series of vinyl-only releases from Belgium and Japan, though Stephen O'Malley’s Ideologic Organ has thankfully stepped up to get their next album to a wider audience.  On paper, Odyssee seems like a very poor choice for my first Elodie experience, as it has two traits that generally make me steer clear of an album: it is both a live recording and the soundtrack to a film.  In reality, however, this album is quietly stunning, taking Debussy-style Impressionism into gorgeously smoky, twilit, and eerily hallucinatory territory.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 August 2017 06:58

Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie, "Essential Anatomies"

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cover imageCompiling recent small-run cassette works into a luxurious double record set, Essential Anatomies represents a reunion for the duo of Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie.  Collaborators since 2000 and friends for even longer, the four lengthy recordings here capture their Texas reunion in 2015, and with its undeniable sense of complexity and cohesion, makes it clear that they have not missed a step from their time apart.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 09:11

"Pop Makossa - The Invasive Dance Beat Of Cameroon 1976​-​1984"

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cover imageA new Analog Africa compilation is almost always a major event for me, particularly since the general trend is that they seem to get both better and more imaginative with each passing year.  A significant reason for that success is that label head Samy Ben Redjeb has been increasingly drawn away from the heavily anthologized regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and Kenya and into less explored territories and more unusual, ephemeral microscenes.  Pop Makossa offers a bit of both, journeying into Cameroon and capturing the brief window in which the prevailing pop style absorbed the funk and disco sounds coming from the US.  If this collection is any indication, Redjeb and co-curator Déni Shain have found quite a rich and largely untapped vein, as these twelves pieces are a feast of fluid basslines, tight songcraft, strong hooks, and seductive grooves.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 August 2017 19:06

Ora, "Time Out of Mind"

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cover imageOra was always a rather curious and enigmatic project, as the collective formed by Andrew Chalk and Darren Tate in the '80s has been historically characterized by extremely limited releases and shifting membership.  Time Out of Mind adds yet another strange chapter to the Ora tale, as it is a reworking of unreleased material that largely pre-dates Ora's debut release (1992's DAAC cassette).  Chalk and Tate make it clear that this is not a "lost album" though–it is more of an alternate history, suggesting a path that the project might have explored without the intervention of line-up changes and new working methods.  Naturally, Chalk fans will probably swoop down on this album en masse, as material from this project is so maddeningly rare, but this collection is a modest and understated affair content-wise, consisting primarily of brief sketches and vignettes of mysterious field recordings and bleary drones.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 09:47

Andrew Chalk, "Everyone Goes Home When The Sun Sets"

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cover imageThis is kind of a companion piece to 2015's absolutely sublime A Light At The Edge of The World, embracing a similarly fragile and dreamy mood, but taking a very different structural approach:  while its processor took the shape of an extended and gorgeously floating stasis, Everyone Goes Home When The Sun Sets consists of nearly twenty discrete and ephemeral miniatures.  That is not entirely new territory for Chalk, as that approach previously reached its apotheosis with 2012’s fine Forty-Nine Views In Rhapsodies' Wave Serene, but it is still a curious step away from his strengths and his longform comfort zone.  As such, Everyone Goes Home is not quite as immersive and hypnotic as Edge Of The World, but it is still a fairly unique release within Chalk's canon, as its gently hallucinatory drift of glimmering vignettes offers its share of nuanced and distinctively Chalk-ian pleasures.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 July 2017 23:47

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