The leading eclectic and cross-generational playlist/Compiled by Dominic Valvona

An imaginary radio show (only without the waffling and interruptions), the Monolith Cocktail Social is a playlist selection that spans genres and eras to create the most eclectic of soundtracks. Dominic includes a bunch of tributes to those albums celebrating anniversaries this month (UMC’s, Human League, Black Sheep, Freestyle Fellowship and Aphex Twin) and raises a glass of dram to those who have sadly passed on (Richard H. Kirk, and more personally, punk, post-punk and rock journeyman and friend Shaun Newnham of Thin Red Line, who at one time included the famous Razzle in its ranks).

Alongside those tributes you’ll find a taste of Sakamoto (very much back in vogue these days, with new material pouring out of him), some Useless Youth, Pointed Sticks, Os Kiezos, Roscoe Mitchell, Lael Neale, True West and more.


The UMC’s  ‘Live Talk’
Andromeda  ‘Andromeda’
Ryuichi Sakamoto & Robin Scott  ‘THE LEFT BANK’
The Human League  ‘Open Your Heart’
Pointed Sticks  ‘Marching Song’
Thin Red Line  ‘Holy War’ The Marked Men  ‘We Won’t Talk About It’
Useless Youth  ‘Tears’
William Doyle  ‘And Everything Changed (But I Feel Alright)’
Os Kiezos  ‘N’gola’
Roscoe Mitchell And The Sound And Space Ensembles  ‘You Wastin’ My Time’
Black Sheep  ‘To Whom It May Concern’
Freestyle Fellowship  ‘Here I Am’
Clifford Jordan Quartet  ‘Powerful Paul Robeson’
Marcel Khalifa  ‘Tarffic Police’
Leo Nocentelli  ‘Thinking Of The Day’
Heather  ‘Morning Bells’
Sneaky Feelings  ‘The Strange And Conflicting Feelings Of Separation And Betrayal’
Ohtis Ft. Stef Chura  ‘Schatze’
Arte No Escuro  ‘Beije-Me Cowboy’
Richard H. Kirk  ‘Reality Net’
Aphex Twin ‘Vordhosbn’
Joseph Shabason  ‘Q-13’
Lael Neale  ‘Every Star Shivers In The Dark’
Cabaret Voltaire  ‘Yashar’
Bondage Fruit  ‘Minus One’
True West  ‘I’m Not Here’
Last Exit  ‘Zulu Butter’
Hocine Chaoui  ‘Oued Ariouss’
Maxine Brown  ‘Funny’
Reggie Workman, Andrew Hill and Sam Rivers  ‘Estelle’s Theme’



Continuing our successful collaboration with the leading Italian music publication Kalporz , the Monolith Cocktail shares reviews, interviews and other bits from our respective sites each month. Keep an eye out for future ‘synergy’ between our two great houses as we exchange posts during 2021 and beyond.

This month Kalporz head honcho Paolo Bardelli shares a recent instalment of the site’s [Coverworld series], which runs through the history of a cover song made famous or brought into the public sphere by a contemporary artist (in this case, the recent Netflix hit show Nine Perfect Strangers).

Amazon Prime’s new TV serial Nine Perfect Strangers has a really good theme song by Unloved, a Los Angeles-based soundtrack trio made up of Jade Vincent, Keefus Ciancia and David Holmes. It’s called ‘Strange Effect’ and it’s not an original song (otherwise we wouldn’t be in this column…). More precisely, it is a cover of a 1965 song that has been remade several times.

‘This Strange Effect’ (yes, the original has that extra ‘This’) is a song written by Ray Davies of the Kinks but was first released by singer-songwriter Dave Berry in July 1965. Unloved’s reworking of the song (featuring the voice of Raven Violet, Keefus Ciancia’s daughter) is in line with the dreamy, drug-soaked feel of the series, where Dave Berry’s original is drier and the riff is played by a simple acoustic guitar.

But the Kinks also played it, though they did not officially release any studio version: there is, however, a readily available live recording of it at the BBC in August 1965, which was published in 2001 as the BBC Sessions 1964-1977. The Kinks’ interpretation is essentially identical in arrangement, only the sounds change.

Since then, ‘This Strange Effect’ has received several reinterpretations, the most “famous” being Hooverphonic‘s 1998 rendition, which is consistent with the Belgian band’s typical orchestral arrangements. In its elegance, the violins obsessively repeat those two notes to create a particularly hypnotic suspension effect. Hooverphonic released it as a single (for their album, Blue Wonder Power Milk) and were the first to demonstrate the ‘soundtrack’ capability of the track itself: it ended up in the film Shades (1999), in the TV series Nikita and for the American TV commercial for a Motorola mobile phone in 2005.

The following year, in 1999, the Thievery Corporation thought it best to make a mix of the Hooverphonic version that was almost unrecognisable, with the typical Thievery drumming and Arnaert‘s vocals standing alone at first and then, towards the end, rejoining the musical base of the other two Hooverphonic’s while still with the addictive rhythm of the TCs underneath.

The “ugliest” cover is the one by Bill Wyman, who included it for his 1992 album Stuff: there’s an annoying piano and little sounds that don’t even sound like the country church organ.

While the 2006 version by the Finnish band The Others is practically useless, the dreamy version, between sitar and harmonica, by the British band Squeeze is very histrionic and was included in the deluxe edition of their 2015 album, Cradle to the Grave.

Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols also approached the song in 1980, with his project The Spectres: the result is interesting, between sax and a ‘Peter Gunn Theme’ style bass line:

A finally electric variant is Steve Wynn‘s on his 1997 album, Sweetness And Light: here how the song starts and shows its multifaceted, and not only “melodious”, soul. One of the most beautiful covers.

‘This Strange Effect’, on the other hand, comes back persuasive in the 2017 version by the Shacks, which has the only merit of ending up as the soundtrack of the iPhone TV commercial, because it has an annoying vocal pitch change in the verse and an incomprehensible speed-up on the ending. The Shacks are an American duo made up of Max Shrager and Shannon Wise, whose Follow Me I recommend listening to, which is very nice.

All in all, the Unloved’s version, although not new (it also appeared in the third series of Killing Eve) is one of the best, and has the merit of having given us the possibility of going through all the epic of this beautiful song from the sixties that still speaks to us.

(Paolo Bardelli)

ALBUM REVIEW/Dominic Valvona

David Ornette Cherry’s Organic Nation Listening Club (The Continual)
(Spiritmuse)  15th October 2021

What providence. What two outstanding luminaries to live up to. David Ornette Cherry’s name marks the extraordinary point in time when his trumpet-pioneering father Don Cherry joined forces with jazz deity Ornette Coleman on the 1958 free jazz defining Something Else!!! LP. It was also the year the musical polymath David was born.

Thankfully taken under his father’s wing, nurtured with the same freewheeling ‘cosmic nomad’ spirit, this sagacious scion of an enviable lineage continues to tread a polygenesis pathway on his latest album of on-message peregrination and rhythmic dances. Attuned to the universal vibrations, channeling the ancients and both his father’s African-American and Choctaw roots, the Organic Nation Listening Club bandleader, prompter and navigator lays out an atavistic form of electronic body movement, echoes of Hassell’s amorphous ‘fourth world’ explorations, the astral and, of course, spiritual jazz on the parenthesis entitled The Continual journey.

David leads a fourteen strong ensemble of global instrument-playing musicians and voices, which includes his niece Tyson McVey (daughter of the no less famous musical sibling, Neneh Cherry) performing vocal soundscape harmonization and wandering siren duties on the diaphanous courtly Indian accompanied, part conscious, part mindfulness yoga session, ‘So & So & So And So’ (imagine Prince joining forces with Linda Sharrock and Brother Ah). 

Almost meandering across continents, you’ll hear the resonated echoes, impressions, twine and spindled sounds of North and West Africa, the Asian sub-continent (a lovely brassy reverberation of sitar and the rhythm of tablas can be heard throughout), the Fertile Crescent and an 80s NYC melting pot on this spiritually enlivened trip. The keen-elbowed viola and tapping beat groove ‘Parallel Experience’, with its West African dun dun drum beat suggests that continent’s mood, yet also spreads its scope towards echoes of Farhot’s reimagined breakbeat visions of Afghanistan. The majestic mountain crust positioned ‘Eagle Play’ takes in musical views of not only the recurring spiritual Indian leitmotif but also Anatolia and Harilu Mergia’s Ethiopia (if put together by J Dilla that is).

Elsewhere David and his human, as well as nature’s chorus of ‘hummingbird’ singing cast embody the untethered soul of Don Cherry’s Om Shanti Om and Eternal Now works (and even a touch of the musical microbe calculus of building blocks and life that you’ll find on Don’s collaboration with Terry Riley, Köln). There’s also the fluted presence of Jeremy Steig, and with the more free jazz, almost improvised interactions between David and his drummer John L. Price, electric piano player Naima Karlsson and trumpeter Paul Simms, a touch of Sam Rivers and the Chicago Underground. Meanwhile, in what is an especially expansive field of instrumentation and influence, Gemi Taylor’s guitar straddles krautrock, jazz and drifted cries of a more ambiguous nature. 

From the cosmos to the age of the Pharaohs, the garden of earthly delights to dancing through the tumult of our modern times, the rhythms of life merge with more avant-garde performances of serialism, free jazz and even the psychedelic.

All the while the mood is electric, both of the moment and the past; a both sporadic and flowing set of reincarnations existing in a timeless scene under the guidance of an outstanding musical traveller. Anchored in the history of jazz, but so much more beyond that, David lives up to the family name on another eclectic album of borderless healing and wisdom. Be sure to check in at the global retreat and take heed of the advice.  

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