Refree – La Otra
Mitad (tak:til/Glitterbeat) LP / CD / DL Out Now Acclaimed Spanish
producer releases new album. Working and
recording with Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth whilst also being a leader in the
‘new-flamenco’ movement is certainly what can be defined as one extreme to the other.On new album La Otra Mitad, Raul Refree
brings together two of his EPs from 2017, Ramirez and Telecaster, for the
soundtrack to the film Entre Dos Aguas.What ensues is one of the most fascinating albums of the year. Opening with Que Te
Vayas, a recording of street music and localised voices, the album maybe hints
at an acoustic theme, with track two comes a reversed bass ridden intro with
reverb voices and the eclecticism of the album is born.Dar A Luz Mix 1 is steeped in an experimental
wash and is potentially mind-blowing before Ramirez 11012017 calms the feel
with a simple acoustic thread. La Otra Mitad is an
album that will struggle to nestle into any genre defining shape, it seems to
weave together opposing styles, almost like a compilation album but where everything
has its place.The beautiful guitar playing
is broken on Nino Perdio when more chanting enters the fray sounded like it has
a deep religious tone and Barbacoa again instils a feeling of near
meditation. The acoustic theme
continues, with tracks that may sound familiar to the listener but in reality
are probably heard for the first time.There’s a sense of calm and ease within these slower tracks which
somehow prepare for the more intense and unusual pieces.With Fandangos Negros, comes one of those
such additions.Creeping in with an
almost drone/ambient intro it slowly adds chanting once more and the almost spiritual
atmosphere is restored as reversed field recordings and controlled distortion
take the track to its finale. Cuando Salga El Sol
plays with flamenco, LGO 28022017 offers up a ‘heavy’ acoustic guitar and
Mariscar drifts away into the horizon and an album which provokes a “Uh?!” as its
last note draws to an end.
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Howard Jones –
Humans Lib / Dream Into Action (Cherry Red) CD / LP / Deluxe
CD/DVD / Super Deluxe 12” Box Set Out Now British singer,
songwriter and musician releases expanded versions of first two albums. Emerging from High
Wycombe in 1983, Howard Jones was an unlucky looking popstar.The tall, thin figure, spikey hair with
mohair sweater appeared with mime artist Jed Hoile as he performed the now
instantly recognisable New Song.Bringing comparisons to Peter Gabriel’s’ Solsbury Hill it rose to number
3 in the UK charts after Jones had invited record companies to see him perform
at the legendary Marquee Club with Warner Music being the record company shrewd
enough to see the potential shining through. What followed over
the next two or three years saw Jones catapulted into the mainstream as one of
the defining faces of 80s (synth) pop.His friendly demeanour and positive lyricism were a breath of fresh air
and, seemed to be to almost everyone’s approval.Alongside Nik Kershaw, he became one of the
finest new songwriters around and the deserved success was quick to arrive. New Song was clean
and clinical, it was catchy and poppy, and it was perfect fodder for the
charts.Interestingly, it bucked the
trend of a repetitive chorus and didn’t even mention the title in the
song.Instead, its success was made by a
synth hook and several chants of ‘woo, woo, woo’ and to this day sees it remains
a classic tune.
Debut album, Humans
Lib began with the upbeat Conditioning, its haphazard bleep and blip intro and
excitable percussion was attention grabbing and the “Welcome to conditioning”
lyric maybe hinted at Jones’ real opinion of the record industry.Followed by three singles What Is Love?,
Pearl In The Shell and Hide And Seek gave the album three more directions and
showed his versatility. What Is Love? peaked
at number 2 in the UK charts and became probably his most recognisable
hit.In its extended album format it is
a powerful mid-tempo pop song with a chorus that is simply impossible to shake
off.Hide And Seek was the albums third
single, a gentle almost percussion less track which had distinct ambient undertones
and once more failed to capitalise on the song title in the lyric, it made the
Top 20 in the UK and was soon followed by the horn driven Pearl In The Shell
which featured a saxophone solo by Davey Payne of The Blockheads. Added by Bill Bryant
who co-wrote lyrics on several tracks. Humans Lib was as accomplished a debut
album as anyone produced in the early 80s.Equality pounded with an incredible synth hook and the title track Humans
Lib, almost threatened to explode at several junctures and contained the intriguing
line “sometimes I’d like to go to bed with a hundred women or men”. The later part of
disc one and the whole of disc to contain various remixes, b-sides and live
tracks.Perhaps predictably, there are a
further four versions of New Song, some more varied than others and maybe one
or two purely for the Jones fan who can spot the obscure differences.Eight minutes of Total Conditioning sit high
at the top of the pile and ‘rough’ mixes of five tracks act as demo’s creating an
insight into the workings of the man. Following the number
1 success of Humans Lib came Dream Into Action which peaked at number 2 in 1985.Less of a success in the UK, it did break
Jones in the USA making his subsequent albums far more popular than at
home.Singles like Things Can Only Get
Better, Life In One Day, Look Mama and No One Is To Blame all made the UK Top
20 with the later receiving a complete rework by Phil Collins who also provided
drums and backing vocals.
Dream Into Action
saw Jones step up his games and introduced Afrodiziak on backing vocals together
with several additional musicians including brother Martin on bass guitar.Songs were far more chart oriented and
clearly had big money record company backing behind them.The album cover saw Howard ditch the jumper
and appear in full 80s padded shoulder blades which again acted as a move to
compete with the big names in pop. The title track, was
an almost experimental affair coming as a surprise after two singles as opening
tracks, it’s throbbing, plucked bass a mainstay in the song which is sparse and
effective.A well-publicised vegetarian,
Jones expressed his views and concerns on Assault And Battery and Hunger For
The Flesh with compassion and Automaton and Speciality upped the pace with as eclectic
and wild compositions. Disc two again contains
obligatory remixes and edits but special mention should go to piano instrumental
Boom Bap Respite which is simply beautiful and the contrasting The Chase which
powers along like a frenzied Hogwarts Express.No One Is To Blame takes over from New Song on Humans Lib with a total
of six audio versions. The deluxe versions
(originally released in 2011 as two cd sets) are both accompanied by an additional
dvd which has a plethora of tv appearances from TOTP to The Old Grey Whistle
Test, from Oxford Road Show to Wogan where the BBC have obviously opened their
vaults and, along with live recordings and promo videos make for an thoroughly enjoyable
trip down memory lane. Third cds also accompany
the Super Deluxe 12” x 12” Box Sets making the Howard Jones experience
complete! Howard Jones continues
to record and is currently planning a new album for 2019, his fan base and enthusiasm
as big as ever.Humans Lib and Dream
Into Action represent pivotal moments in 80s synth pop and these box sets
provide the full, unabridged story.Perfect
pop and not to be missed.
Jamie Morrison has released a brand new Xmas single under the Pop Morrison moniker featuring Sam Semple.
The Stereophonics drummer has collaborated with Sam Semple on a new Xmas song & video. Jamie wanted to end for what was for him a very creatively successful year by releasing 1 more song.
Sam & Jamie’s first collaboration was on the mysterious Drewford Alabama project. Jamie’s long term video maker Ollie Rillands came up with the idea of having Jamie play all the instruments. They shot the video in a couple of hours one Sunday afternoon at the end of November.
Jamie is widely known as the drummer from the Stereophonics and was previously a member of the band Noisettes.
Jamie is an active producer / writer releasing his first work outside of a band in 2015 with the Drewford Alabama project. In 2016 he created his “If you want to make a song Holla series”. Jamie released 6 instrumental EPs in one day he asked people to turn the tracks in to song ,sample or simply enjoy for what they are.
In 2017 His Boi Genius project with London rapper FEM FEL saw Morrison create two short films to accompany the “dark twisted fantasy” style music with Jamie staring in the first film and the second being fully animated.
Jamie kicked off 2018 with his POP MORRISON release “Loyal”. Jamie said of the release " it’s a vibe, just like a tweet or Instagram post. I got so bored with 3 minute songs I created just a beautiful feeling that lasts 40 seconds , why not? ‘"
The song features Ella’s vocals and an orchestra. Jamie continued 2018 with releasing a cover song each month featuring a different artist including everyone from Leonard Cohen to The Pretenders.
Sam is a successful songwriter and used to be Douglas Adams assistant...
As Jamie puts it in his video - "Have a Merry Morrison Christmas!"