This release came out of nowhere for me. Well, that’s not entirely true, because Takuya Kuroda‘s name was dropped on the recent edition of Bandcamp Weekly, and I was impressed enough by his Miles-like fusion pulses melded tastefully with hip-hop of fine quality, a mix that seems to be pleasant to my ears these days.
Kuroda‘s based out of New York, and his playing is fresh, innovative, occasionally weird, and serves as a great foil for his collaborators to underpin.
Compost Records released an album by Web Web a few days ago which hit a sweet spot for me. The album is a magical combination of free improv (without the racket), kosmische musik, soul and fusion, laced with elements of trip-hop, hip-hop, and any other -hop which comes to mind.
Joy Denalane’s voice is sumptuous. She is at ease telling a soulful story as she is using her voice as a improvisational instrument. Roberto Di Gioia, Tony Lakato and Stefan Pintey add a lush background for the three to play in.
This album will be my go-to disc for 3 a.m. listening for the foreseeable future. It is that good.
Living in China, one can see that, despite the façade of wealth, this is a land of missed opportunities, even when it comes to music. Excepting the underground music scene in places like Shanghai, Dalian, Hong Kong, and here in Beijing, to a point, thanks to Fruity Shop and other amazing record stores, pop music here is garbage. It was bad during the 1970s as well. Taiwan, on the other hand, had music that was funky, lively and energetic.
Yu Ying Ying is a fine example of this. She released scores of albums in Taiwan, and this treasure came into my feed last night. How I didn’t discover this cherry before is anyone’s guess, but Yu’s work is definitely worth hunting for.
Saigon Soul Revival has been on a quest to reawaken the raw, enchanting sounds of 1960’s and 70’s Vietnam; a time when passionate music resonated in Saigon’s streets and clubs with messages of love, heartache, hope and freedom. Amongst the turmoil of war, there was a rich cultural climate that fused popular genres of the day like rock, soul and bolero with Vietnamese music and lyrics. This fusion of sounds that bridged east and west became forbidden after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and almost vanished. Four decades later Saigon Soul Revival was born with the initial purpose of bringing these dormant sounds back to the stage. After numerous live performances over the last 3 years, the band has developed their own sound and now, with the release of their debut album “Họa Âm Xưa”, they are ready to share it with the rest of the world. The 11 track LP, including original compositions and nostalgic reinterpretations, blends traditional Vietnamese elements with modern concepts, featuring pre ‘75 and current artists, all while remaining firmly rooted in the “nhạc vàng” (golden music) of the time. Meaning “Old Harmonies”, Saigon Soul Revival is proud to present “Họa Âm Xưa” as a tribute to the artists and composers of the time that inspired them to create this marriage between past and present.
Even down to his personal look, Joel Sarakula has a 70’s vintage vibe. He offers two tracks of exceptionally good soul music that would not have sounded out of place 40 years ago, even with the much better studio recording equipment.
Some albums bear emotional scars of the artist and the listener equally well. I cannot recommend Tinderstickshighly enough if you are having a drink of vodka and lime and either reminiscing about a lost love or wondering how the hell you managed to land into the situation you’re currently in. We need albums for wistful moments. This one should be filed next to your Chet Baker and Joy Division albums when a profound case of the blues hit you.
Think of a baritone-voiced Nick Cave with a more whiskey-drenched voice singing with a Stax Records house band. Dark, but full of soul. Recommended.
Lynn Williams may not be someone you have heard of but her pedigree is strong. Her father was Hank Ballard (of King and James Brown Fame) and her mother was 60s Miami Radio Personality and dance group leader Vanilla ”Miss Boom Boom” Williams. Lynn cut 5 Excellent 7”s for various Henry Stone owned Miami labels in the 70s here we present her two most collectable. The first ‘It Takes Two’ is a smokey deepfunk killer that would cost you £1000 any day of the week for good reason. On the flip “Don’t be Surprised” is one of Miami’s best ever deep soul records period, a dark serious ballad pulled off with amazing emotion considering her young years at the time of recording.