Album of the Week 1-5 June
Aksak Maboul – Figures [Crammed Discs] Worldwide FM’s album of the week chosen by Morning Mari* is Aksak Maboul’s ‘Figures‘ out on Crammed Discs. The legendary experimental pop outfit returns with a brand-new record entitled Figures, written, conceived and produced over the last couple of years by Marc Hollander (founder of Aksak Maboul and of…
Aksak Maboul – Figures [Crammed Discs]
The legendary experimental pop outfit returns with a brand-new record entitled Figures, written, conceived and produced over the last couple of years by Marc Hollander (founder of Aksak Maboul and of the Crammed label) and Véronique Vincent (former singer with The Honeymoon Killers).
Figures is a double album containing 22 tracks and interludes, resulting from the flow of creative ideas which arose after a gap of over thirty years (see the Aksak story overleaf). Drawing again from the multiple sources which have always inspired the band (from electronic music and pop to experimentation, jazz, minimalism, contemporary classical etc), Aksak Maboul transcends and reconfigures them with its inimitable style, to create an impressive, rich and unclassifiable piece of work.
Seamlessly weaving electronic and acoustic instrumentation, improvisation and programming, songs, beats, found objects and sound collages, the album works as a labyrinth, full of secret passages and interconnections. Figures clocks in at 75 minutes, thus deliberately shunning the laws of instant gratification and the myth of today’s reduced attention span: the Aksak Maboul aficionados will surely be happy to engage in an immersive session of deep listening (in two halves), in order to enjoy the album’s many layers and details.
Véronique Vincent & Marc Hollander wrote the album together, by following parallel courses with their own respective internal logic, while remaining closely connected. Enigmatic and finely chiseled, feeding on her love for painting and literature, Véronique’s texts form a dense fabric which mirrors the sonic kaleidoscope assembled by Marc, who wrote and arranged all the music (aside from a track co-written and sung by Véronique and Julien Gasc). Véronique also made the drawings and paintings which illustrate the cover and inserts.
The two protagonists recorded most of the album in their own studio, with contributions by the young members of Aksak Maboul’s current live line-up: Faustine Hollander (bass, vocals, co-production), guitarist Lucien Fraipont and drummer Erik Heestermans. Also featured are performances by several friends and guests, including revered improvisor Fred Frith, Tuxedomoon’s Steven Brown, members of Aquaserge (Julien Gasc, Audrey Ginestet & Benjamin Glibert), former band members (including Michel Berckmans and Sebastiaan Van den Branden), and several others.
1. Among The Naeporu
2. C’est Charles
5. True, False, Fictive
6. Histoires de fous
7. Sophie La Bévue
8. Formerly Known As Défilé
9. How Should One Read a Book?
12. The Untranslatable
13. Retour chez A.
15. Excerpt from Uccellini
16. Un Caïd
17. Martial Arts for Boys
18. Un certain M.
19. Ins Bleistiftgebiet
20. Fatrasie pulvérisée
21. Qu’est-ce que c’est “mot”?
22. Tout a une fin
Album of the Week 25-29 May
Wilma Archer – A Western Circular [Domino Recording Co.] Worldwide FM’s album of the week for the last week of May 2020 is Wilma Archer‘s ‘A Western Circular‘ out on Domino Recording Co. We’re also more than happy to announce that he is joining the Worldwide FM family with his monthly show! A Western Circular…
Wilma Archer – A Western Circular [Domino Recording Co.]
Worldwide FM’s album of the week for the last week of May 2020 is Wilma Archer‘s ‘A Western Circular‘ out on Domino Recording Co. We’re also more than happy to announce that he is joining the Worldwide FM family with his monthly show!
A Western Circular is Will Archer’s debut under his new nom-de-plume, following early EPs and an album under the now-retired Slime moniker. On A Western Circular, Archer has uncovered new depths and forged an invigorating singular sound – supple and multi-layered, honouring his acoustic heritage and influence, while building a sonic universe that commands contemporary references to everything from Frank Zappa to Yasuaki Shimuzu, Robert Wyatt to Arthur Russell.
An album that’s been in the works for the past half-decade, A Western Circular is a bold, reflective piece that directly relates to Archer’s personal experiences of life and death, centered on one particular week where they breathed with equal intensity. The record’s themes of greed, love and loyalty all relate back to that specific time. Inspired by author John Fante, A Western Circular is a spiritual voyage through life’s pushing and pulling: finding beauty in the rough, sadness in the bright. Ostensibly, it’s a poignant reflection on the duality of the human condition.
Within A Western Circular lies an exciting and varied crew of guest artists including MF DOOM, Samuel T. Herring (Future Islands), Sudan Archives, and Laura Groves, all contributing vocals to his rich, dextrous compositions. These collaborations are the by-product of several years of writing and producing. Recently, he’s appeared extensively on the debut albums by Sudan Archives (writing the lead single, ‘Confessions’, no less) and Nilüfer Yanya (contributing seven songs), alongside work with Celeste, and another writer and production credit on Jessie Ware’s Devotion.
1. Western Circular
3. Last Sniff (feat. MF DOOM)
4. Killing Crab
5. The Boon (feat. Samuel T. Herring)
6. Cheater (feat. Sudan Archives)
7. Cures & Wounds
8. Decades (feat. Laura Groves & Samuel T. Herring)
9. Ugly Feelings (Again)
10. Worse Off West
Album of the Week 18-22 May
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Mosaic of Transformation [Ghostly International] Our album of the week for this week is Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith‘s “The Mosaic of Transformation” out on Ghostly International. West coast composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has chartered a pioneering career with multiple critically-acclaimed albums since 2015. Following the release of The…
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Mosaic of Transformation [Ghostly International]
West coast composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has chartered a pioneering career with multiple critically-acclaimed albums since 2015. Following the release of The Kid in 2017, Smith focused her energy in several directions. She founded Touchtheplants, a multidisciplinary creative environment for projects including the first volumes in her instrumental Electronic Series and pocket-sized poetry books on the practice of listening within. She’s continued to explore the endless possibilities of electronic instruments as well as the shapes, movements, and expressions found in the physical body’s relationship to sound and color. It is this life-guiding interest that forms the foundational frequencies of her latest full-length, The Mosaic of Transformation, a bright, sensorial glide through unbound wave phenomena and the radiant power discovered within oneself.
“I guess in one sentence, this album is my expression of love and appreciation for electricity,” says Smith. While writing and recording, she embraced a daily practice of physical movement, passing electricity through her body and into motion, in ways reflecting her audio practice, which sends currents through modular synthesizers and into the air through speakers. Not a dancer by any traditional definition, she taught herself improvisatory movement realizing flexibility, strength, and unexpectedly, what Smith calls “a visual language” (the term was introduced to her by filmmaker Sean Hellfritsch) stemming from the human body and comprised of vibrational shapes. Understood as cymatics, as she says, “as a reference for how frequencies can be visualized,” much like a mosaic.
Smith describes her first encounters with this mosaic; “the inspiration came to me in a sudden bubble of joy. It was accompanied by a multitude of shapes that were moving seamlessly from one into the other…My movement practice has been a constant transformation piece by piece. I made this album in the same way. Every day I would transform what I did yesterday…into something else. This album has gone through about 12 different versions of itself.” As it has arrived, in a completed state, The Mosaic of Transformation is a holistic manifestation of embodied motions. Smith’s signature textural curiosity that fans have grown to adore pivots naturally into a proprioceptive study of melody and timbre. Airy organ and voice interweave with burbling Buchla-spawned harmonic bubbles.
“The Steady Heart” quivers to life, peppering blasts of wooden organ between winding vocal affirmations. As with a body, moving one portion requires a balance and counterbalance; here, subtle tonal twitchy signals fire in conjunction with coiling arias to create a mesmeric core. When the beat arrives at the midway mark, a swooping and jittery waltz, a sense of stasis in motion, a flow state, is sonically achieved. As soon as it syncs, it disappears back into the swirling ebbs of electric force.
Other tracks stray into more ruminative physical realms. “Carrying Gravity” is built around string-like pads that expand and contract like a solar plexus, becoming taught and then loose. As the breath interacts and is focused upon, suddenly, the nervous system engages, delicate arpeggios cascade, akin to becoming aware of the transmission of energy happening between muscles and the mind.
If the record could be summarized in a single movement, it is the 10-minute closing suite, a rapturous collage called “Expanding Electricity.” Symphonic phrases establish the piece before washes of glittering electric peals and synthesized vibraphone helix into focus. Soon, Smith’s voice grounds it all with an intuitive vocal hook, harmonized and augmented by concentric spirals of harp-and-horn-like sounds. Smith’s music doesn’t capture a specific emotion as much as it captures the joys of possessing a body, and the ability to, with devotion and a steady open heart, maneuver that vessel in space by way of electricity to euphoric degrees.
1. Unbraiding Boundless Energy Within Boundaries
3. Understanding Body Messages
4. The Steady Heart
5. Carrying Gravity
6. The Spine Is Quiet In The Center
8. Deepening The Flow Of
9. Expanding Electricity
Photos by Chantal Anderson
Artwork & design by Sean Hellfritsch
Mastered by Emily Lazar at the Lodge
Album of the Week 11-15 May
El Michels Affairs – Adult Themes [Big Crown Records] Morning Mari*’s album of the week for this week is coming from El Michels Affair. “Adult Themes” is out on Big Crown Records on the 8th of May. Big Crown Records is proud to present ‘Adult Themes;’ the latest full length offering from El Michels Affair….
El Michels Affairs – Adult Themes [Big Crown Records]
Big Crown Records is proud to present ‘Adult Themes;’ the latest full length offering from El Michels Affair. This album takes the band’s “Cinematic Soul” aesthetic literally and sends the listener on a journey through a whirlwind of moods and energies. With their 2005 debut album ‘Sounding Out The City,’ EMA spearheaded an instrumental funk / soul movement that inspired a slew of bands and even lead to the creation of a few independent record labels. El Michels has since lent his signature sound to artists from Adele to Dr John, Lana Del Rey to Aloe Blacc, and a who’s who list of others. In 2016 he co-founded Big Crown Records and has since produced the lion’s share of its output. A short stint as the touring band for Wu Tang Clan in 2007 led to the cult classics ‘Enter The 37th Chamber’ (2009) and ‘Return To The 37th Chamber’ (2017). ‘Adult Themes’ marks the long awaited, highly anticipated return to an album of original compositions from El Michels Affair.
In 2017 in between producing, playing, and recording on other artist’s records Leon Michels began creating compilations of short interludes intended to be sampled by hip-hop producers. Some of these wound up becoming songs by Jay Z & Beyonce, Travis Scott, and Don Toliver. These minute-long snippets were inspired by the dense moody work of ‘60s composers like David Axelrod, and Francois de Roubaix, as well as Moondog’s brand of classical jazz. Michels was having so much fun creating these instrumental / orchestral nuggets that he decided to expand on some of the ideas and create what would become the soundtrack for a movie that has yet to be made, an imaginary film entitled ‘Adult Themes.’
The album plays like the colours on an artist’s pallet. Songs like ‘Rubix’ and ‘Villa’ are densely orchestrated with the hard-hitting drums that El Michels Affair is known for. On ‘Life of Pablo,’ Leon’s son makes his first appearance on record and intros a song with an epic arrangement and a moving mood. ‘Hipps’ is a drum heavy ballad that could’ve easily fit on EMA’s debut record, ‘Sounding Out the City.’ Other compositions like ‘The Difference’ and ‘Kill The Lights’ are bare, melodic mood pieces with sparse drums and sophisticated chord movement. All of these tunes come together to make perfect backgrounds for dialogue and action.
1. Enfant feat. The Shacks
2. Adult Theme No. 1
3. Kill The Lights
5. Adult Theme No. 2
6. Life Of Pablo
7. Adult Theme No. 3
9. A Swift Nap
12. Adult Theme No. 4
Worldwide Rotations: May
We’ve updated our regular Worldwide FM playlist with upfront and reissued music from around the world. Listen throughout the month on air, or to enjoy on the move, subscribe or follow the playlist on Spotify and Soundcloud. Albino Sounds – Dried Seeds [Modern Obscure Music] BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Jonah Yano – Goodbye Blue [Self Released] Handle –…
We’ve updated our regular Worldwide FM playlist with upfront and reissued music from around the world. Listen throughout the month on air, or to enjoy on the move, subscribe or follow the playlist on Spotify and Soundcloud.
Albino Sounds – Dried Seeds [Modern Obscure Music]
BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Jonah Yano – Goodbye Blue [Self Released]
Handle – What It Does [Maternal Voice]
K-LONE – Honey [Wisdom Teeth]
Kate NV – Marafon 15 [RVNGIntl.]
Luke Vibert – Ready [Hypercolour Records]
Quelle Chris & Chris Keys feat. Pink Siifu & Billy Woods – GREASE FROM THE ELBOWS [Mello Music Group]
Shy One – Route II Romeos [Beats In Space]
Kahil El’Zabar’s Spirit Groove feat. David Murray – In My House (Radio Edit) [Spiritmuse Records]
Natalie Slade – Love Light (Holloway Remix) [Eglo Records]
AMAMI – You Say Me [Les Disques Bongo Joe]
Aksak Maboul – Silhouettes [Crammed Discs]
Akwetey – Toucans [White Label]
Amadou Suso – Kaira [Music in Exile]
Basic Rhythm – Feel Me (Parris Remix) [Planet Mu]
Boldy James & The Alchemist feat. Vince Staples – Surf & Turf [ALC / Boldy James]
Cruzloma – Supay [Place:]
Damily – Zaho Va [Les Disques Bongo Joe]
Daniel Avery + Alessandro Cortini – Water [Phantasy Sound]
Darkstar – Jam [Warp]
DJ Havaiana – Cazukuta (Daniel Haaksman Edit) [BBE]
El Michels Affair feat. The Shacks – Enfant [Big Crown Records]
Elkka – Community [femme culture]
Fabiano do Nascimento – Rio Tapajós [Now-Again Records]
Gabriels – In Loving Memory [white label]
Greg Fox – From the Cessation of What [RVNGIntl.]
Helado Negro feat. Xenia Rubinos – I Fell In Love [Super Music Group]
Hidden Spheres – Karl [Scissor and Thread]
Isaiah Rashad – Why Worry [Top Dawg Entertainment]
Isayahh Wuddha – Elephant Wave (Radio Edit) [WotNot]
Ivan Ave feat. Joyce Wrice – Guest List Etiquette [Mutual Intentions]
Jamael Dean feat. Sharada Shashidhar – Infant Eyes (Edit) [Stones Throw]
Jneiro Jarel feat. Masauko Chipembere – Banana Peel (Cáscara de plátano) [Far Out Recordings]
Juancho Vargas con Ondatrópica – Noche de Amor [Selva]
JUJU & The Space Rangers – Plastic (original 45 version) [Black Fire Records]
Kaidi Tatham – Do What You Gotta Do [First Word Records]
Khruangbin – Time (You And I) [Dead Oceans]
Koki Nakano – Choreographed Mollusks [Nø Førmat!]
L’Impératrice – Fou [microqlima]
Lido Pimienta – Te Queria [Anti-Records]
Lorenzo Morresi – Sistema [Fly By Night Music]
Middle Name Dance Band – Lovers Carnival [Middle Name Records]
Miguel Gil Tertre – C_11 [Fuego en Casa]
Mumpers – Sirus [white label]
Nitin Sawhney feat. YVA – You Are [Positiv LLP]
ONIPA – Fire [Strut]
Other Lives – All Eyes / For Their Love [Play It Again Sam]
Portico Quartet – We Welcome Tomorrow [Gondwana Records]
Psypiritual & The Lasso – Tobe [Mello Music Group]
Shohei Takagi Parallela Botanica – Midnight Rendezvous [Kakubarhythm]
Simon Jefferis – Something In The Water (PBRC Master) [DeepMatter Records]
Siti Muharam – Pakistan [On The Corner]
Sofie – Asleep [Stones Throw]
strongboi – strongboi [strongboi]
Takahiro Izumikawa feat. Jermaine Holmes – Life Is Your Thoughts [Ropeadope]
Tenderlonious – Impressions [22a]
ThE DiAboLIcaL LibERTieS – Pitta Patta [On The Corner]
The Garifuna Collective – Black Catbird [Shika Shika]
The Koreatown Oddity – Weed in LA [Stones Throw]
Yialmelic Frequencies – Play Pond [LEAVING RECORDS]
YUNGMORPHEUS feat. Zeroh – Gots To Get It [1193887 Records DK]
Gilles Peterson: The 20 – Brazilian Jazz
In the latest instalment of Gilles Peterson’s The 20 series (a perhaps over-ambitious quest to pick out 20 key tracks from a given genre) we journey to Brazil to explore the country’s rich jazz scene. You can listen back here. We kick of with Meirelles e os Copa 5’s ‘Contemplação’ (Contemplation) and Maocir Santos (Baden…
In the latest instalment of Gilles Peterson’s The 20 series (a perhaps over-ambitious quest to pick out 20 key tracks from a given genre) we journey to Brazil to explore the country’s rich jazz scene. You can listen back here.
We kick of with Meirelles e os Copa 5’s ‘Contemplação’ (Contemplation) and Maocir Santos (Baden Powell studied under him later in Santos’ life) with ‘Coisa No. 4’ (‘Thing No. 4), both very classic, old-school examples of Brazilian jazz, quickly contrasted with ‘Toque No. 3 (Turvalema)’ from Vitor Araújo, something a bit different. Aráujo was originally classically trained before moving into jazz avant-garde and experimental composition. Straight off the bat we can see the huge range of styles and influences present under the Brazilian jazz umbrella.
We then move into more familiar territory with Dom Um Romao’s ‘The Angels’. Dom Um Romao, like many Brazilian jazz musicians, achieved his recognition outside of Brazil. Many an ambitious musician moved out to New York to play in jazz funk outfits, or to London, Paris and even Beirut to quench the world’s thirst for samba, MPB, bossa nova and tropicalia after the seminal Getz/Gilberto album helped throw Brazilian music into the global consciousness in 1964. Another track on this list, Sergio Mendes’ ‘Jôgo de Roda’ (‘Circle Game’) features Dom Um Ramao, along with Cesar Mareano, on piano.
Next: Sexteto Do Beco’s ‘Flutuando’ is a great example of this Bahia-based band’s catalogue, which stretches back to 1978. Bahia is a hub of Brazilian culture, with strong and lasting influences from the Candomblé tradition and capoeira, a great place to start for those interested in roots music and Brazilian folklore.
In Airto Moreira’s ‘Xibaba (She-ba-ba)’, Rhodes organ overlays a samba-tinged groove on drum kit and a background cuica (a sort of friction drum that is a unique sonic signifier of Brazil). This tune made the list at the expense of tracks from Moreira’s fantastic The Fingers album. Next up is Quarto Novo with ‘Misturada’ (1967) features bossa nova influenced guitar patterns, a rapid clave and a samba drum groove provide by Airto Moreira (his second feature in Gilles’ 20!).
Tampa Trio with ‘Tamba’ (1997). The vocal lines here show how the influence of Brazilian psychedelia, and of course the soft and ghostly vocals of Astrid Gilberto on the fantastic (if over-played) Getz/Gilberto album, seeped through to other genres.
Bossa Tres with ‘Imprevisto’ (‘Unforeseen’) (2005), this tune is described by Sounds Of The Universe as “one of the most unmistakable Brazilian jazz records ever made,” this makes it an extremely valuable source for understanding a genre with so many overlaps and influences, whether it be bossa nova, MPB, samba or maracatu.
Ed Motta’s ‘Overblown Overweight’ (2016), the only tune on this list sung in English, is up next. The strength of this track lies in the honey-sweet voice of Ed Motta and a whirlwind scat solo. Ed Motta also sings MPB, funk and soul, unsurprising as he’s the nephew of the extremely versatile Tim Maia – a master of psychedelia and fascinating character. He spent a few years following the Cultura Racional religious group, who believe that people are aliens whose purpose is to reconnect with their original intergalactic energy source. Their beliefs are documented in their book of teachings Universo Em Desencanto (Universe in Disenchantment), for those with extraterrestrial inclinations!
Next up: Egberto Gismonti’s ‘Encontro no bar’ (‘Meeting in the bar’). The lyrics here roughly say: ‘I don’t like the night, I like the party with wine’ a familiar feeling for many of us during these weird and party-less times! The track features harmonically dissonant, jarring piano figures which are introduced gradually on top of the syncopated groove.
Hermeto Pascoal ‘Bebe’ (‘Baby’) one of the greatest performers alive today according to Gilles. Pascoal also played with Airto Moreira, Trio Novo (later renamed Quarto Novo, who make this list above!), Elis Regina (mentioned next) and many other big names both within the Brazilian music scene and from abroad, a notable name being Miles Davis on the album Live-Evil. This tune is followed by Cesar Mariano & Cia’s ‘Fabrica’ and Marcos Rescende & Index’s ‘Vidigal’. Pascoal’s abinism, a difficult condition to manage being from an agricultural family in a very sunny country, led him to spend hours inside practising his music.
What would any list of Brazilian jazz be without Azymuth? This legendary jazz-funk trio have achieved massive and lasting success both in Brazil and abroad. Drummer Ivan Conti, especially, is still pioneering Brazilian groove-music to this day, if you haven’t heard it already, check out Poison Fruit. The trio’s late pianist and keyboard player Roberto Bertrami had the most prolific solo career, collaborating with the likes of Robertinho Silca on Things Are Different [Far Out Recordings] as late as 2001.
Vocalist Tania Maria’s career spanned across samba, bossa nova, MPB, pagode and jazz fusion. An inspiration to many as a female bandleader (which still remain few and far-between), she remains a prominent figure, alongside the likes of Clara Nunes and Elis Regina (who is mentioned later) in the cannon of legendary Brazilian women singers. Gilles selected her funk-infused and tropically inclined song ‘Transamazonica’ This song is followed by ‘Naquela Base’ from Victor Assis Brasil.
Elis Regina, often hailed as the Ella Fitzgerald of Brazil, suffered an accidental cocaine overdose at the age of 36, ending her life. Regardless of her young age, Regina is hailed as one of the best Brazilian vocalists (across jazz, bossa nova and MPB) of a generation. This is especially significant as many comparable female vocalists continued to perform well into middle-age and beyond, for instance Beth Carvalho and Joyce Moreno. This track, ‘Zambi’ with the Zimbo Trio, features a characteristic bossa nova figure in the bass, gorgeous vocals from Regina and cutting-edge (for the time) synthesizers.