Music Revue
Dominic Valvona

Reviving a roundup special from the early days of the Monolith Cocktail’s blossoming, The Singles, Teasers & Oddities Perusal is a chance to catch-up and to share music that has been left wanton in our inbox or left hanging around. The sheer volume of requests we receive is crazy, and so here is Dominic Valvona just dipping into some of the more interesting and choice tracks from the last month.

Haich Ber Na  ‘Everywhere’s Home’
(RAGS)  EP/ 16th October 2019

Global citizen Haich Ber Na releases a second cerebral, tactile and sophisticated EP of tingly soulful experimental brilliance this month. Though an introspective journey, Haich expands those grime and hip-hop roots further, merging House with languid R&B, downtempo electronica, the avant-garde and Liars. Homesick, though for where, the troubled swooner tackles the topics of isolation, work life balance and a sense of belonging on this often swoozy if dislocated dreamy five-track mini opus. Accompanying the Everywhere’s Home EP is a documentary type film visual accompaniment; a sort of day-in-the-life of an artist going about his mundane daily routine, only he happens to live in a UFO shaped pod: think Basquiat meets Sylvie Fleury.

Giant Swan  ‘Pandaemonium’
(KECK) Single/ Now

The seething underbelly of post-punk daemonic techno, Giant Swans newest single is a sinister sinewy caustic cry and top dance track to boot. Taken from the Bristol duo’s (Robin Stewart and Harry Wright) upcoming self-titled debut LP, and ahead of their European tour, ‘Pandemonium‘ is a barracking metallic clarion call to arms.

Originally conceived as a side project from their roles as guitarists in the band The Naturals, Giant Swan is a step towards more nuanced but expanded sonic horizons; galvanised dark materials that evoke Coil, Current 93, Throbbing Gristle, pushed onto the dancefloor via R&S.

Despite the harsh and abrasive sizzling and throbs, the duo point out that their music is created unconsciously and not in a riled tense state of agitation and anger. As a teaser it promises great things from this burgeoning duo.

Junius Paul  ‘Asé’
(International Anthem)  Single Teaser/ 22nd December 2019

Imbued with the spirit and magic of the The Art Ensemble of Chicago, rhythm wingman for fellow windy city contemporary conscious and spiritual jazz doyan Makaya McCraven, bassist extraordinaire Junius Paul is set to release his debut album, Ism, next month.

Providence wise, Paul has appeared on the recent The Art Ensemble of Chicago 50th Anniversary LP, We Are On The Edge, and on McCraven’s In The Moment, Highly Rare and Universal Beings albums, as well as being the go-to man for numerous sessions.

A long time coming, Ism was recorded across a handful of live & studio locations in Chicago, and features over a dozen instrumentalists, friends & collaborators including Vincent Davis, Justin Dillard, Corey Wilkes, Isaiah Spencer,Tomeka Reid, Marquis HillIrvin PierceShanta Nurullah and McCraven (who also produced the record).

As a teaser, the bandy yet taut noodling double bass elastics Asé’ ushers in a deeply thoughtful chapter in Chicago jazz. Just wait until that those shimmering cymbals and that rifling bounce of the snare and lovely swaddled horns luxuriously and tantalisingly comes in…delicious spiritual jazz at its most tentative and refrained.

Bear With Me  ‘Cry’
EP/ 11th October 2019

Despair, a cork on the ocean, a speck of dust, a mere crumb, how the enormity of it all just gets on top of you sometimes, the underlying anxiety that propels the Danish band’s new despondent dream pop EP, Cry, can make us all feel rather insignificant. Yet despite this, Bear With Me have produced a slow crushing crescendo release of shoegaze lament and brilliance. I really love this title-track; epic sorrowful lo fi pop at its most crooned magnificent. Keep an ear out for these guys.

Land of Ooo  ‘Waiting For The Whales’
Single/ 11th October 2019

The third single track to be left to roam free from its mini-LP, Wry Cry, the dreamy and noisey in equal measures ‘Waiting For The Whales’ siren call combines shoegaze, grunge, C86 and the Banshees on a most lulling flange-y affair. There’s an intensity and fuzzed streak of dissonance yet the course is set for something less caustic and harsh. Hailing from Graz in Austria, Land of Ooo was founded in summer 2018 by Nora Köhler, Leonie Bramberger and Julian Werl. A debut album is promised in early 2020.

Sun Ra Arkestra  ‘Yeah Man! Live In Kalisz’
(Lanquidity)  Teaser/26th October 2019 

Despite leaving these earthly realms some time ago, the venerated Saturnarian Sun Ra continues to shine his constellated rays down upon us mere mortals and inspire. In goes in waves of course, but the doyen of spiritual and cosmic jazz seems to influence and have a profound effect on every generation. And so interest in the Egyptian deity adorned pioneer’s music is in the ascendence. And if you can find those rarest of legendary recordings, or in this case performances, than you’re on to a winner.

The faithful, though ever-changing and developing troupe that Sun Ra once conducted, the Arkestra, continues to play and tour in his honour. But from 1986, when the sun king was still head of the congregation, the Arkestra played their first ever gig in Poland, at Kalish.

Recently rediscovered, the complete tape of the little known concert was forgotten for almost three decades in a Kalisz basement collecting dust.The recordings have been remastered by Marcin Cichy (Ninja Tune), and don’t they sound just grand.

A teaser, Yeah Man is Sun Ra’s live version of the original big band swing arrangement by the legendary and highly respected bandleader arranger Fletcher Henderson; a throwback almost to those heady days of early Ellington.

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