Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Review - Jean-Michael Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity







Jean-Michael Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity (Sony Music)


LP / CD / Deluxe Versions

16 November 2018


Forty years (to the day) after the release of the landmark Equinoxe album, The Godfather of Electronic Music releases the sequel. 

Jean-Michael Jarre is a tease.  A tease with the album title.  A tease with the album artwork.  A tease with the sounds that he uses (repeats?) on Equinoxe Infinity.  The recent surprise announcement of this new album, hot on the heels of the forty-one track Best Of Planet Jarre, has had fans positively frothing at the mouth. 

Fans will need to introduction to the 1978 original, Jarre’s fourth album has seen him develop a sound that was unique to him – dynamic, rhythmic and employing bassline sequences it initially received a harsh critical response but has since become one of the most instantly recognisable pieces of electronic work ever via the likes of Equinoxe Parts 4 and 5.

With Equinoxe Infinity comes ten brand new tracks (or movements) which cleverly follow the path of the original album.  Breaks of thunder and lightning with bubbling and running water are repeated with synths sounding ‘vintage’ but with a modern twist.  Jarre often teases with lead-ups which could break into versions from the original album at any one time and this, is perhaps when his genius shines through.

Equinoxe Infinity may not hold much appeal to the newcomer unless they are of a particularly inquisitive nature but it is worth remembering perhaps that the likes of Vince Clarke et all owe a massive amount to the work of Jarre. Without him, the bouncy pop of Erasure, Pet Shops Boys, and many others may simply not have existed with huge chunks of 80s pop non-existent.

The opening track, The Watchers induces a sense of wonder, inquisitiveness, fear even as the characters from the original album artwork move from cartoon to monolithic oppressors and track two Flying Totems introduces the gurgling bassline of Jarre that has become synonymous with his sound.

Treated voices on tracks like All The You Leave Behind and If The Wind Could Speak offer more than a passing resemblance to years gone by and the title track Infinity is nothing short of a master at work creating a track that could quite easily sit beside its original contemporaries. 

At just less than forty minutes, Jarre has transformed what many would consign to disaster into a clever work which is both as tender and sympathetic to the original as one would wish it to be.  A dream come true for Jean-Michel Jarre diehards and maybe an insight into an electro mastermind for others.





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Published on Louder Than War 11/11/18 - here.






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Listen! - Equinox - Driven








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Saturday, 17 November 2018

Review - Fofoulah - Daega Rek



        



Fofoulah - Daega Rek (Glitterbeat Records)

LP / DL / CD

Out Now.


Review by Mikey.


Fofoulah. It’s there. Daega Rek. The truth.

It’s here.

This is one of the most progressive and innovative albums of this year.

As soon as the needle hits Nyari Garong we are transported to the outskirts of what we were led to believe was the real World. Say goodbye to your old self, you are never going to be the same again.

Electronica glitches through frightening and beautiful shamanic chants, quickfire sabar beats punch holes in your daily lives and fill them with futuristic melodies and Wolof tales. 
Everything shifts with such fluidity and shockingly raw power that any other music that you might care to listen to afterwards will seem limp and bland.

They explore many avenues of what is to be human. With deft and dynamic drumbeats pulsing through their music, there is no time to settle back in an easy chair. Seye (Marriage) is a shapeshifting and hypnotic track. The title track, Daega Rek, is subtle and smooth, focusing on reality and the truth. 

The combined talents of Kaw Secka (Sabar/vocals), Tom Challenger (Sax/synths), Batch Gueye (Vocals/dance), Phil Stevenson (Guitar), John Brierley (Bass) and Dave Smith (Drums) creates a fusion that is mesmerising and intricate. Hip-hop dances with wild West African trance, jazz trips with electro lightning strikes and they come together in a sweeping embrace of different cultures. They are creating Worlds within Worlds.

The band are set and ready, not just for the release of Daega Rek, but also for a tour of the U.K. which will unleash this fierce and stunning collective on audiences from the South West to Glasgow, with two Danish gigs in between. Are the people of The World ready for the genre busting Fofoulah and their astonishing Afro-Dub explosions? Maybe not. But they will definitely leave those venues with their minds firmly blown and their hands clutching treasured new albums.







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Published on Louder Than War 10/11/18 - here.






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Friday, 16 November 2018

Listen! - Xqui - Glaciate







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Watch! - Steve's 9th Incarnation - Steve's 9th Incarnation







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Listen! - Ilpo - Future Days







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Listen! - Tapes & Tubes - Cemetery







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Watch! - One-Way Song - Billy Fisher Fitzgerald






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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Review - Gaye Su Akyol – Istikrarli Hayal Hakikattir







Gaye Su Akyol – Istikrarli Hayal Hakikattir (Glitterbeat Records)


LP / CD / DL


Out Now


Turkish singer, songwriter and producer releases her third album. 

Two years in the making since her last album Hologram Imparatorlugu, Gaye Su Akyol finally follows up with and album well worth the wait.  Istikrarli Hayal Hakikattir (Consistent Fantasy Is Reality) aims to present itself as an album supporting feminism and revolution in an industry still seemingly dominated and controlled by masculinity.

With influences ranging from Anatolian pop/rock to surf to Kurt Cobain, the title track heads off this ten piece collection with effects that maybe wouldn’t go amiss in a 70s sci-fi tv show soon to be joined by a more traditional sounding Turkish riff.  Gaye’s voice is entrancing, working like an additional instrument it peaks and falls against some wonderful guitar work and addictive play.  It ventures into the dark with the occasional nod perhaps to The Doors and is jam-packed with twists and turns along a much varied route.   Male voices appear in choral form in a slightly ironic way and the album begins its journey.

And, what a journey it is.  A conventional grounding of guitar, drums and bass is accompanied by violin, oud and baglama making for an interesting sound combination which continues through the album.  Written about the people, pain and dreams of the countries she has visited, Akyol presents a very varied work.  Laziko takes us to a surf sound and Golgenle Bir Basima is a slow, emotionally charged piece almost sounding like a faster track has been slowed down.  It’s wonderful.

For a brief moment, the brass intro to Meftunum Sana could be from 2001 A Space Odyssey as once again, the breathy, enigmatic vocals take centre stage.  The brass section takes the track on a new route adding life and feeling as vocals echo and percussion makes a perfect entrance and, an electro interlude precedes a wild and eclectic finale.

What Gaye Su Akyol has achieved with this album has to be applauded, a recent appearance at the WOMAD festival in July of this year will have added to her credentials  and no doubt increased her ever growing fanbase.  The inclusion of Hemserim Memleket Nire, a cover version of a song made famous by psychedelic composer Baris Manco blends in well and is a good choice to run a parallel with the other tracks.

Halimiz Itten Beter closes an album of impressive quality and further enhances the talent available from Akyol.  Well worth checking out.









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Published on Louder Than War 02/11/18 - here









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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Monday, 5 November 2018

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Listen! - Fifi Rong - Red Moon Voyage (Light Edition)







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Listen! - New Optimism - Dr.My-Ho [LETITGO CONTROLME remix By Manapi (Georgia)]







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Review - Yazoo – Four Pieces







Yazoo – Four Pieces (Mute/BMG)


Vinyl / CD (Three Pieces)

26 October 2018

9 / 10


Legendary synth-pop duo release extensive box set.  

Without Yazoo there may have been no Erasure.  Without Yazoo we might not have witnessed arguably one of the greatest singing voices the UK has ever produced.  In eighteen short months, Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet recorded two albums, had one tour and then disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.  Four Pieces released as a four-album vinyl box set and, Three Pieces the 3cd equivalent, brings together both their albums with selected remixes and much sought-after sessions from John Peel and Kid Jensen celebrating this iconic and influential duo.

In the wake of Vince’s departure from Depeche Mode, he joined forces with ex-punk band member Alison Moyet and offered Mute head honcho Daniel Miller the track Only You.  Previously intended as a Depeche Mode track which they turned down (ironically, their first post Clarke single was the similarly themed See You), it became as classic a track as you could possibly imagine.  Simple synth backing with ‘that’ voice slowly took the song to number 2 in the charts held back only by 1982 Eurovision winner Nicole with A Little Peace and set the scene for the history that was to follow.

Their debut album Upstairs At Eric’s, opened with Don’t Go the duo’s second single which had recently climbed to number 3 in the UK charts.  An out and out pop single, it maybe hinted at what might come from Clarke in later years as it’s infectious synth riff and catchy chorus was difficult to shake free.  Moyet’s bluesy vocals were allowed to shine as her voice roared to the point of distortion at times, a complete contrast to the subtle beauty of Only You.



The album was a game changer.  Not only did it contain the two fine pop singles but also ventured down the roads of blues (Midnight), funk (Didn’t I Bring Your Love Down) and experimentalism (I Before E Except After C), making it an album that had surprises around every corner.  The quite fantastic Winter Kills, a track based around a lone piano and Moyet’s voice showed that Yazoo were able to make subtle, haunting songs as well as out and out pop.

With the release of You And Me Both came the news that Yazoo were calling it a day.  The between albums single The Other Side Of Love, lacked some cohesiveness and is missing from Four Pieces but the duo’s fourth and official final single, Nobody’s Diary quickly put the record (sorry) straight.  It was, once more, classic pop.  Alison was again allowed to display her raw vocals and Clarke’s backing was slightly more involved than ever before.

Interestingly, this second album followed a similar track listing path to its predecessor – starting with an up-tempo hit, it then moved on to delicacy with Softly Over, upbeat pop (Sweet Thing) and then the heart-breaking Mr Blue, you get the picture.  There were several possible singles including Walk Away From Love but the star of the album maybe went to Ode To Boy.  Another very simple production with voice, light percussion and varied synth effects it holds the listener in complete awe from start to end.  On BBC Radio 1’s Round Table programme, Midge Ure of Ultravox accused Mute of being ‘deaf’ by not releasing it as a final single, although it had already appeared as the b-side to The Other Side Of Love.  Ode To Boy would also be re-recorded by Moyet for her album Essex.

With Four Pieces comes a collection of eight remixes, some old, some new, and by no means exhaustive.  Don’t Go features twice and wild, funny, abrasive State Farm (originally the Nobody’s Diary b-side) gets a well-deserved outing with the Madhouse Mix Edit.  Situation also has two versions provided by Richard X and Youth and the brand-new Minute Taker Remix of Winter Kills truly send shivers down your spine. 



Used during by a high street retailer for their Xmas 2017 campaign the Orchestral Version of Only You is also included.  It is perhaps, a bit of a sore thumb as it sits uncomfortably and to be frank, strings and voice often seem out of sync.  The electro riff is sadly missed and perhaps the 1999 Mix would have been a far better choice as it cleverly combines synth with classical to goosebumping effect.

The final contribution to Four Pieces are the John Peel and Kid Jensen sessions from 1982.  Containing tracks from Upstairs At Eric’s, their only album at the time, they have become something of a rarity and provide a further insight into the workings of Yazoo.  The atmospheric In Your Room appears in both sets and Situation, the track that would be released as a posthumous Yazoo single with the Francois Kevorkian remix, is quite breath-taking.

Four Pieces is by no means exhaustive and there may be some mixes and remixes that fans are aggrieved at not being included but, almost everything is here is one shape or another.  Yazoo were an enigma, a short career perhaps but an act that to this day continue to be a source of influence, just ask James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem or Anohni of Antony And The Johnsons and they will undoubtedly testify.

Yazoo are an indispensable part of pop history and Four Pieces testifies the fact with a fitting tribute to a quite unique act.







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Published on Louder Than War 24/10/18 - here.









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