Our Daily Bread 531: Brona McVittie, Panjoma, Jose Medele, Hari Sima

July 25, 2022

REVIEWS ROUNDUP
GRAHAM DOMAIN

Here are reviews of some great singles, EP’s and Albums that have recently been released by Brona McVittie, Panjoma, Jose Medele and Hari Sima. Have a listen; you won’t be disappointed.

Brona McVittie ‘The Woman in The Moon’ (Single)
(Company Of Corkbots)

This is a fine song and the Title Track from her forthcoming third album (out in October 2022). It is essentially Autumnal Celtic Folk with a jazz and spooked electronica edge. Double bass, harp and understated jazz drums underpin the song mixed with sparse electronica giving it an eerie off kilter Autumnal feel, like the changing of the seasons as the days get shorter and night falls too soon.

Panjoma ‘Sun and Moon’ (Extended Play)

On first listen, the lead track ‘Sun and Moon’ sounds almost like a psychedelic 60s keyboard band with phased female vocals. Initially the song seems limited by the drum machine and seems to cry out for a real drummer and maybe a full a band to make it more organic and give it greater feel, especially on the semi-improvised instrumental parts! However, after a good-few listens, it begins to sound fantastic as it is, like something from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – a crazy space age dance for Gerry Anderson Puppets, Robbie the Robot and Zooney from Fireball XL5! F.A.B!

The song ‘Free’ is almost summery in its groove but is held back by the overly loud keyboards that make it sound almost like a stuck record. It may be that the artist intended the song to be ‘challenging’ but it soon becomes annoying to listen to, for the reasons given.

‘Like Thunder’ is the most melodic song on the EP with its saxophone refrain creating a late-night ambience and an air of neon-lit excitement.

Overall, the EP contains some good songs (The Yin) balanced by (The Yang) the more challenging material. I suspect this is intentional – one to watch!

Jose Medeles ‘Railroad, Cadences and Melancholic Anthems’ (Album)

Perhaps best known for his time as drummer with The Breeders, Jose Medeles has recorded this album as ‘a drummer’s tribute to the music of John Fahey’.

The album features some fine guitar playing from the likes of Marisa Anderson, Chris Funk and M Ward giving it a laid-back melancholic feel in keeping with the sparse melodic Americana of the songs. The six songs are things of slow tumbleweed beauty that stretch across the wide-open plains and dusty roads of America’s backwoods like ghosts, half glimpsed in the shimmering heat of the day.

Standout Tracks: ‘Voice of the Turtle’, ‘Mid the Snow’ and ‘Ice’.

Hari Sima ‘Solo en Occidente’ (Album)
(Objetos Perdidos)

This is the second album release by Hari Sima. The eight pieces of Ambient music are a mixture of cold technology, human sadness, mystery and musical travelogue of the mind.

The first track ‘Fontanar’ begins with distant synthetic sound, like alien field recordings, that create a feeling of being alone by the sea on an alien planet. The slowly creeping sequencers build harmony while creating feelings of isolation – a desert of dream, a paradise of unease. All is not as it seems.

‘Del Barranco al Rio’ meanwhile, develops from cold sequencer repetition, gradually becoming infused with melancholic clouds of melody – like music created by a cyborg Arvo Part – sadness at the heart of a technological wilderness.

‘Sumatra’ enlists Indian table drums to create a Middle Eastern vibe that slowly evolves into a downbeat spy or espionage film theme.

‘Petricor’ continues the Middle Eastern vibe with synthetic drones creating mystery and tension.

‘Cuando Sonaban las Caracolas’ uses drones, synths and echo to create a feeling of foreboding – like walking into a dark alleyway on a short cut home and suddenly regretting it!

‘Envuelto en Celulosa’ uses a sequencer to create a vaguely Japanese melody that mixes in burbling synth sound and synthetic wind to create the feeling of journeying in a distant land.

‘Dessaraigo’ similarly uses a sequencer and computer-babble noise to create an almost African musical travelogue.

‘En la Azud’ uses African type drums and a sequencer to create the feeling of voyaging deep into a tropical forest.

Whilst the album could easily be used to soundtrack a documentary or film, it can also be enjoyed as background Ambience. It is available now on the Valencia based label Objetos Perdidos as a limited-edition vinyl or digital download.

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