‘Polygenesis Perusal’   Musical Review  #5

Originally appearing on God Is In The TV

Plucked from the scattered regions of the musical quadrant a polygenesis mix of new releases, drawing in enervated wafting drone; Turkish funk; husky Afro-Cuban allure and a maverick west coast nomadic rapper.

 

This perusal deliberates on the new releases from Buika, Ginferno, Ikebana and Malkovich.



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Buika ‘La Noche Más Larga (The Longest Night)’ (Warner Music)

Shimmering and sauntering once more onto the world stage for her sixth album – the first recording since the ‘best of’ compilation En Mi Piel in 2011 – the earthy alluring Concha Buika returns with another collection of vehement originals and well-placed covers.

Attentively voicing the spirit and soul of southern Spain, channeling the atavistic influence of North Africa and absorbing the shuffling Latino grooves of Cuba, Buika slips between her native language and English as she interprets from a polyglot songbook of French, American and Argentinian artists.

The Longest Night features a soulful blend of passionately plaintive odes to survival, home and the loneliness of unrequited love; accompanied by an attentive flowing piano, Afro percussion, flamenco guitars, stirring trumpet and bowed forlorn double bass. Controlled at an elegant pace throughout the samba, bolero and bulerías moods, there are also the odd off-kilter moments of fusion-jazz: on the freeform Abbey Lincoln cover, ‘Throw It Away’ and the increasing spiral towards an Arabic version of The Police, on ‘La Noche Más Larga’.

Buika’s musky tones permeate a certain empirical quality, with observations pulled straight from the heart on her own compositions, ‘Sueño Con Ella’ – an alternative version to the one found on En Mi piel – ,‘Los Solos’ and the Pat Methany collaboration, ‘No Lo Sé’. Our rasping enchantress manages to slip into the skin of both Billie Holiday and Nina Simone on the Holiday/Arthur Herzog JR. penned ‘Don’t Explain’, and attempts to make it through the resigned Jacques Brel ‘universal love poem’, ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’, without breaking down: “There’s a sadness to it that feels like complete surrender. I’ve limited myself to singing only two verses.”

As ever Bukia delivers a very moving performance, traversing an imagined collective of Mediterranean, Caribbean and Sahara desert landscapes, both skipping and at times beguiling.

Released: 8th July 2013

[Rating:4]






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Ginferno ‘Erta Ale’ (Lovemonk)

Sometimes a PR oversteps the mark, in this case writing the review for me. Bare with me with this one, but the opening gambit – though a mighty fine boast – can wrap up the bands sound without any intervention on my part.

“Ginferno’s sound is ginfernal. It’s an assault, it’s The EX with Gettatchew Mekurya, combined with the dirty rhytms of Johnny Burnette, the material rawness of Einstrürzende Neubauten, the free-funk of James Chance and other no-wave heroes, the accessible atonality of The Residents, the enchanting mystery of Mulatu, the barrel-tasting energy of Man… Or Astroman?, the soft sonic tissue of Matir Denny and the indescribable impact of all those Cambodian rock, Turkish funk, African garage and Samoan psychedelia compilations. So yes, the aforementioned adjectives apply. Sorry.”

Whilst we should take the majority of this opening description with the proverbial ‘pinch of salt’ – high jinx and humour are definitely at play here – songs such as the title track, ‘Ahrimans Dance’ and ‘Sahara Billy’ certainly sound like wild sheik-rumba’s through temptuous North African climes, and the bawdry jukebox hop of ‘Mambo Rabbit’ certainly navigates ‘voodoo’ and beaten browed ‘Orleans blues to rambunctious, frenzied ends.

What is missing from the statement is the mention of the Apache smoke signaled drums of Adam And The Ants, as in evidence on ‘TransAntilles’, and the otherworldly presence of a theremin on the Latin-fueled ‘Skeletten’. As for the mention of Einstrürzende Neubauten – a tad far-fetched – the only signs of any raw Germanic post-rock, appear on the reserved, though spiky, ‘Allt Ar Väl. Of course all that matters is the sound, which you may have gathered cherry picks from a litany of influences, spread from Tangiers to the Far East, all punctuated by the squawking saxophone and heralding – sometimes shambling – brass of the accompanying Madrid quartet, Los Saxos Del Averno.

Never quite settling on any time signature or style the band delight in riding roughshod, their ranting’s, barroom philosophies and attempts at romantic despair delivered with a Tom Waites, crossbred with Rowlf the piano playing hound from The Muppets, vocal.

Despite the loose unmitigated genre-hoping approach, Ginferno are a tight unit; their ramshackle sound adhering to a certain template throughout, whether it’s on the spice road trail or wafting the scent of a hookah pipe in an Istanbul bazar.

Out Now

[Rating:3.5]








Ikebana LP


Ikebana ‘When You Arrive There’ (Flau)

Taking their moniker from – and very much informed by – the Japanese art of flower arranging – an ‘art form’ whose emphasis pays close attention to the plant’s stem and leaves, as opposed to its bloom – the female duo of artists, En and Maki, emit the most indolent, fading, minimalism.
Perfectly suited as they are to the vapourous sound collages and languid seasonal paeans label of choice, Flau (home to Masayoshi FujitaLiz ChristineMay May and Cuushe), Ikebana‘s wafting enervated moods are striped down to their essential components, albeit with a resonating accompaniment of deep, echoing guitar effects and scratched strings.
Originally orchestrated by Maki (formerly a member of shoegaze band Incense), MoOog Yamamoto (of Buffalo Daughter) and their friend DJ Codomo, the loosely framed outfit lost two of the trio, replaced by En. Their eponymous self-titled LP of 2012 was given a well-deserved thumbs-up from Yo La Tengo‘s James McNew – who will soon appear alongside the duo on an upcoming remix project.
Their latest album of musical sketches identifies with the natural shape, form and line of that Ikebana floral tradition. From the spindly, fragile reverberating guitar arks and strung-out ringing notes to the wooing effete vocals, there’s an attentive focus on the nuanced and delicate. The song titles themselves keep to one-worded descriptions and themes (‘Alone’, ‘Kiss’, ‘Spring’); the lyrics breathing subtly and laconically all the while, merely hinting at what is the core of a theme.
Amorphous, sometimes whispery ambient, starts and finishes see tracks bleed into each other, and as with the opening obscured ‘Ends’, there’s long (in this case 40-second) repeated tolling chimes fade-in, which eventually evaporates to let the full song manifest.
For all those daydreaming individuals and placable listeners of transient mood music, with a drone psych edge, than this is for you.

Released 8th July 2013

[Rating:3.5]








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Malkovich ‘Great Expectations’

As the braggadocio stakes spiral to ever-dizzying heights of pomposity – the messianic Yeezus complex of Kayne West and vociferous search for immortalization by Jay-Z just two hyperbole examples – it’s refreshing to be brought back down to Earth by the west Californian raping nomad, Malkovich.

Keeping to an undefined surname, our L.A protagonist adopts an umbrella like persona, a vessel in a manner to voice the angst and anxiety of the times. A roll call on the opening gambit, ‘Storm Chaser’, barely pauses to draw breath as Malkovich recites a tumultuous series of flashpoints and events to demonstrate those upheavals: “Khomeini tried to pop me, Gaddafi tried to off me/ now they both R.I.P, all apologies/ Quake tried to break me, Katrina tried to put me in the lake.”
The bio itself reinforces a globe-hopping account, with Malkovich at the center of, or just missing by a week, the hair-trigger for many of the most explosive – in some cases literally – political, natural and societal events; such as Hurricane Gustav, Islamic revolution, 7/7, 9/11 and the L.A riots, all mentioned in that introductory track.

Fueled by such a checkered history – via the Pacific island of Caledonia, Iran, Italy and Libya – Malkovich’s flow isn’t easy to pin down. A mix of Murs, early 90s Ice Cube and the Wu-Tang Clan, his style imbues qualities from both ends of the US Hip Hop map, though there is a sort of laidback L.A canter that permeates throughout this warts and all peregrination to his ‘second home’: the soul sampled wooing sirens and attentive elegiac strings backed ‘Call’, verbally cruises and describes an all too true travelogue version of the city’s outskirts, from Palmdale to Fontana and onto the Mexican boarder and drug war capital of Juarez, whilst the breezier neighborhood guide to the mean streets, ‘Palms’, points out such curios as where Snoop Doggy Dogg “…caught his murder case.”

Punctuated by the odd passage from Scarface to illustrate the tracks theme, the collaborative effort with guest rap artist Sum, ‘’What I Know’, uses the sort of dexterous alignment of lyrics found on Edan’s Beauty And The Beat“Be who you are, be visionary in the face of peril/ Spirits age like Episcopalian whisky barrels, hungry in my 20s, thirsty in my 30s, futuristic in my 40s with the shorties gunnin for me/ When they get formula I’ll be in Mongolia tarvelin astrally with the alchemy of euphoria.” Alongside Sum’s featured slot, guest spots are handed out to a clutch of familiar Malkovich Cali associates, including Ali AbnormalBlvmeChris ClarkeOmiGotham Green and on the soul odyssey paean to lovelorn regret – which riffs off and reworks the Stylistics hit, You Make Me Feel Brand New, over a heavy Lee Dorsey drum beat- New Orleans singer/songwriter Micah Mckee emphasizes the accompanying plaintive woes.

Relatively obscure to our own shores, Malkovich’s blend of golden age Hip Hop and contemporary west coast languid sway offers something a little different, with the rappers unique backstory adding another exotic dimension to the L.A melting pot.

Out Now

[Rating:4]








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