4. FOND/SOUND

In a way, everything you do circles back to where one comes from. All my life, somehow, I felt my own lineage and ancestry steeped in Mexico was some kind of relic of the past. That too many other cultures had managed to strive for something new and exciting, while my own remain stagnant. When NTS asked me to give them a mix that shows what FOND/SOUND is about I had to pull from where I come from. It’s where I come from that has worth to others. I mean, how can I go forward elsewhere, if one doesn’t feel they have something to add to the greater conversation?

Read More

coste

I am you. You are me, Coste Apetrea Airborne cover man. I feel you, ADIDAS sweatpants-tucked-in-full-length-fishing boots man. I get you, oversized-cardigan-above-open-buttoned-linen-shirted-friend. I know you, man trapped in between seasons dude. Is it warm enough to put away winter’s festoons and enjoy warmer moods with cooler duds? Your picture doesn’t tell me the full story.

Read More

soniarosa

Heady, windswept, gauzy saudade that could only come from someone like Sonia Angelica De Carvalho Rosa, are things that don’t quite reveal themselves when you hear Samba Amour. Sonia Rosa had an unlikely musical career. Although she was born in São Paulo, Brazil it wasn’t there where’d she stake her claim to fame. A precocious child, she taught herself Joao Gilberto’s songs when she was just 6 years old. Releasing her first record as a teenager presented her a tough choice. Her debut was a bigger hit in Japan than in Brazil. It’s this bit of history, that Sonia had to moved to Japan, at the young age of 16, to pursue her musical career, that would set her path into this intriguing blend of MPB samba soul, mellow City Pop, and gorgeous modal Jazz-Pop. If Brazil wouldn’t know what to make of her, somehow, the Japanese would draw out something special within her.

Read More

nightdubbing

“Forget your sorrow let’s start livin’ for today” those are the sublime spliced verses that kick off this monumental piece of house music. Before such a word “house music” even existed only a few people were hip to the possibilities inherent somewhere deep in the mind of English soul band Imagination. Night Dubbing was the sound of Imagination stretching to the outer limits the expanse of their pioneering slinky electro-soul, using the techniques of dub and post-disco, and coming out the other end with something far more unexpected and intriguing. And in doing so, inadvertently, tapping into a gestalt simply waiting to be formed.

Read More

slyrobbie

I’m looking at the liner notes to Sly & Robbie’s Language Barrier right now. Performances by Afrika Bambaataa, Bernie Worrell, Mikey Chung, Manu Dibango, Wally Badarou, Herbie Hancock (!), Bob Dylan (!?!?), and production by Bill Laswell…I keep asking myself why in the world did this not make a dent in anyone’s memory? By the looks of their action-packed music video, featuring a young Neneh Cherry as a dancer and Sly & Robbie getting pumped with more lead than your average Steven Seagal movie, Island must have tried to put some muscle into generating heat for this release. But poof, like some no name act, it hardly made a dent in the charts, and they had to lick their wounds and regroup for a good while.

Read More

Back in 1979, French musical giant Serge Gainsbourg travels to Jamaica, meets up with hugely influential dub producers Sly and Robbie, then proceeds to create this controversial 30-odd minutes of “freggae” featuring Rita Marley’s erotic background vocals. It’s a scene that so thoroughly infuriated his own critics, and through one controversial song, infuriated all sorts of right-wing French nationalists (the same old National Front). Released, after a three-year respite, Aux Armes Et Cætera finds Jamaican riddims rejuvenating a career on the brink of petering out by remaking its formula through a different brew.

Read More

Every time I revisit Eblen Macari’s landmark releaseMúsica Para Planetarios, I find something different and special about it. At times, it’s finding pride that something like this exist where one’s own Mexican culture doesn’t need to be negated/subjugated to create something spectacularly pioneering. Other times, it’s when I sit back and identify cultural cues and traditions inherent in the music, that point to new directions my own culture can still take – and others, elsewhere, can still feel inspired by. Right now, it’s just realizing how thankful I’ve gotten to a point in my life when I can appreciate something like this can exist and all the wonderful players that saw fit to bring about Eblen Macari’s vision of Mexican music that can stretch for some rarified height and damn near reach it.

Read More

koji

Music For Silent Movies, it’s all there in the title. Koji Ueno, one half of Japanese duo Guernica (the other half being Jun Togawa from Yapoos), takes their subversive take on the era of “The Greatest Generation” to its logical evolution/conclusion by creating a soundtrack to the lesser known sounds of that period. Thoughts of musique concrete, serialism, atonal and minimalism get transmogrified with a decidedly more modern experimental, Japanese take on said styles – that’s what you’ll hear in Koji Ueno’s Music For Silent Movies. Wholly unpretentious in tone, it discovers a bit of levity in all these overly-serious influences. We’ve already heard piecemeal Koji’s take on classical motifs in Yen Manifold two years earlier, here you get the complete picture.

Read More

main

Sun-lit, rainbow music for respite after rainy days. That’s how I would describe Alap Jetzer’s largely acoustic renditions of Hindu guru Sri Chinmoy’s compositions. Attracted to the same devotional spiritual path that struck other musicians like Pete Townshend, Carlos Santana, Narada Michael Walden, and Roberta Flack, so was this young Swiss instrument maker and multi-instrumentalist taken by the ascetic path set out by the unlikeliest of gurus.

Read More

Everytime I put on Syoko’s Soil I have to do a double-take. Seriously? The music coming out of my headphones right now was made by the same person who created the My Neighbor Totoro soundtrack and KichijoutennyoSonically, I can see the connection to the latter but stretching the conceit to his countless Miyazaki soundtracks seems to question his elasticity in tackling this new style. However, it is in fact Joe Hisaishi who provided his magic touch to this unlikely blend of Japanese industrial Pop music. The lead singer of cult Japanese goth rock band G-Schmitt, Syoko, wanted something that could separate her from the more warmed-over sound of that group. And sure thing, Joe finds a way to do so.

Read More