/ September 15, 2017 / Comments Off on Joan Bibiloni: For A Future Smile (1988)

Joan Bibiloni: For A Future Smile (1988)

for a future smile

Six years after our first introduction to Joan Bibiloni, via his fantastic debut (Joana Lluna), the world had moved under him. For A Future Smile presented Joan Bibiloni in a way unlike anything before. Just a year earlier Joan had been commissioned by a Spanish TV network to create a soundtrack for a nature documentary. That release came to be known as Silencio Roto. Silencio Roto found Joan toying with a more ethereal kind of Balearic music. Its mix of moody, synthesized soundscapes and languid guitar arrangements tied it closer to ambient music than his earlier, more heavily jazz, funk, and prog-indebted music.

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/ September 13, 2017 / Comments Off on Almir Sater: Instrumental (1988)

Almir Sater: Instrumental (1988)

almir

Something so simple as an album of 10-string viola caipira instrumentals shouldn’t sound so impressive, but leave it to Campo Grande native Almir Sater to make you rethink a whole lot of something. This release, Instrumental, was more than just a musical document of some brief musical sojourn, it was a massive peek into the dreamy rural music of the Brazilian central region, specifically his province, Mato Grosso. What little is known (at least outside of Brazil) is how deep this collection of Brazilian country songs went into regional styles we scarcely encounter as part of Brazil’s larger, internal musical lineage.

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/ September 8, 2017 / Comments Off on Chris Mosdell: Equasian (1982)

Chris Mosdell: Equasian (1982)

Simply phenomenal. That’s a great word to describe Chris Modell’s debut: Equasian. Phenomenally hard to describe. It’s an album released exclusively in Japan by an American artist who got his start translating Japanese lyrics into English for them, and used that entry way to get repaid back, by said Japanese artists, by allowing them to contribute accompaniment to his truly unique vision which bridges their two gaps into a fascinating new other…of his own creation.

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/ September 6, 2017 / Comments Off on David Mingyue Liang: Dialogue With The Ocean (1986)

David Mingyue Liang: Dialogue With The Ocean (1986)

dialog

Dr. David Mingyue Liang’s Dialogue With The Ocean merges deep ethnomusicologist study with floating, electronic minimalism for a watery kind of meditative ambient music. With one foot deep in Chinese folk music and another in modern experimental composition, David Mingyue Liang creates something that sounds less like the “Chinese Meditation Music” envisioned by his Tao record label, and more like contemporary ambient or fourth world music. Exploratory, highly melodic, and seriously mysterious sounding, a Dialogue With The Ocean is gorgeous stuff for those who can appreciate a really different kind of “floating” music.

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/ September 1, 2017 / Comments Off on The Milky Way: Summertime Love Song (1979)

The Milky Way: Summertime Love Song (1979)

summer1

Pull out your surfboard, put some sangria on ice, and really enjoy this one. A surprisingly unknown masterpiece, and a rare, rare, rare one at that, of Japanese City Pop, J-AOR, or light mellow, no matter what you call The Milky Way’s Summertime Love Song, one thing you can’t say it is is uninspired. Released in 1979, one can clearly hear all the wonderful influences hovering around the original Japanese City Pop scene and the epic musical spelunking these artists were doing to build up their own style, in this release. I haven’t even brought up the gorgeous album cover designed by Shinpei Asai, so future “whatever” that it merits a tip of the hat itself – it’s the kind of art other future mellow artists would be inspired by.

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/ August 30, 2017 / Comments Off on Water Melon Group: Cool Music (1984)

Water Melon Group: Cool Music (1984)

watermelon

It almost seems like I really shouldn’t have to write that much about the Water Melon Group. If you don’t know the two main players of this group, the late Toshio Nakanishi and Yann Tomita, now would be a great time to go back into the FOND/SOUND vault and dig up my entries on their groups Melon and Doopees, respectively. Together, they seem like an odd pair to link up together for Cool Music. Toshio making music knee deep in American urban soul and Yann (at that moment) more known as an eccentric experimental electronic session musician – my favorite being some of his work with Ippu-Do and Masumi Hara. Together, as the Water Melon Group, they combine forces to tread back in time – before rock’n’roll – to create experimental…lounge music?!?

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/ August 25, 2017 / Comments Off on Regrets: Agathe (1985)

Regrets: Agathe (1985)

regrets

Entirely slept-on, to the point that it still boggles my mind how with all the recent reissues and rediscoveries of artists like Telex, Alec Mansion, Li Garattoni, and Linda DiFranco – artists who skirted the line of Balearic, electro-pop, post-disco, and boogie – there hasn’t been room for someone to be woke enough to Montpellier’s finest: Regrets, helmed by the incomparable Agathe Labernia. Southern France was the scene of their hot as fire debut. Back then, Agathe was likened by critics as a mix of Lio and Brigitte Bardot. However, forgive me if I protest, if anything what makes Regrets so slept on is that it plainly goes beyond what Lio or like minded groups like Elli & Jacno tried to do. More in tune with the fascinating global sound of F/S favorite Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Regrets proved that you can make a very well thought out, multi-mood “dance” album that is much smarter than it lets on and is entirely difficult to pinpoint – to it’s own betterment.

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/ August 23, 2017 / Comments Off on Paolo Modugno: Le Bala Et La Mouche (1994)

Paolo Modugno: Le Bala Et La Mouche (1994)

paolo

Man, what a world to we live in. Just this year Italy’s Archeo Recordings reissued Paolo Modugno’s intriguing debut Brise D’Automne. Once a member of Italian multi-media performance group O.A.S.I., what turned as a love for Middle Eastern and African music transformed into the exploration of new ways to interconnect the electronic with the acoustic and, more impressively, different musical traditions into a new unplaceable style. Brise D’Automne was Paolo’s near-perfect debut presenting a very Italian answer to Jon Hassell’s Fourth World studies. A mix of sampled sounds, electric synths, guitar and ethnic percussion placed it firmly in that bit of Italian minimalism we’re just getting around to discovering. Hopefully, in the near future we’ll get someone to do the same honors to his sophomore release Le Bala Et La Mouche.

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/ August 18, 2017 / Comments Off on Joachim Witt: Moonlight Nights (1985)

Joachim Witt: Moonlight Nights (1985)

night

If anyone knows me, they’d know this album forms a perfect storm of what I dig about music. I love it when someone actually aims to “sell out” by doing it in such a way that everyone is left dumbfounded by the product of that intended vision. There is one “right” way to pull that of course, and that’s where some hidden gems are always found. What is that right way, you ask? The answer can be found in Joachim Witt’s Moonlight Nights, a perfect je ne sais quo of German electro-pop that goes beyond anything you’d expect to hear then. Surprisingly tropical. Surprisingly experimental and “German”, it’s one of my all-time favorite summer albums for reasons I’ll never quite be able to place.

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Triangulus_EX_EX

Hard to describe what’s going on in Triangulus and Björn J:son Lindh. The closest analog I could think of would be what would happen if the Alan Parson’s Project relocated to the island of Majorca and replaced their members with Swedish electro-acoustic minimalists. Imagine a very math-y (complex, musical time signatures galore) version of Balearic music that’s as interested in taking you on a tropical journey as it is into not completely shaking off its progressive Scandinavian experimental heritage. Because that’s basically what it is. A mix of Triangulus’ minimal prog style with the late Björn J:son Lindh’s ambient flute-driven jazz-fusion creating a not so distant kin of Coste Apetrea‘s similar, ruminative ideas.

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