Monthly Archives: December 2002

It’s hard to believe that anyone really takes any notice of all this.

Compilation: 'Glücklich V' (CD; Compost; 1971-2002)
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I have volume 3 in this series, and I recall quite liking it. Maybe it's just today, but volume 5 really didn't do it for me at all...

  1. Racoon feat. Rose Max - Eh Luande (Mimosa Avantgarde Mix)
    This is very smooth. Quite pleasant, bouncy dance music, with tingly piano and a rough Brasilian female vocal. Overall, it's ok, but pretty inconsequential

  2. Rise Ashen - Torn (Blissom Mix)
    Immediately more appealing - dark and smooth, with synthesized strings and a light and bouncy latin beat. However, the 80s style vocals that come in don't improve things. Overall it's nice - a jerky samba beat comes in, and the sound is pretty nice, if a bit smooth.

  3. Os Ipanemas - Icarai
    This is edgy and rather good. This classic Brazilian vocal group came together again last year to record an album. It's simple - percussion, no-harmony group vocals, and intricate guitar work.

  4. Muro - Bohemian (Bah Samba Main Mix)
    Beautiful shimmering strings can't really rescue this track for me. It's just too bloody smooth! The vocals (which recall Lisa Stansfield) add to the effect.

  5. Jorge Ben - Comanche
    A classic track from 1971 with the same kind of over-the-top guitar work and vocals that appeal to me so much. Perhaps some of the other tracks here will sound this good in 31 years, but I doubt it.

  6. Nu Tropic - Moonlight
    This is an interesting track. Essentially it's just a good version of the first couple of tracks here - jazzy basslines and brasilian beats, hyper-smooth production. But the vocal is more Billy Holiday-does Brasil (I wish that had happened) than weak soul, which is more appealing. The track is still repetitive and overlong, however.

  7. R. E. Q. - Casa Forte
    This in obscure 1984 recording of the Edu Lobo classic. The track is a haunting mix of scat vocals and unexpected musical phrases. This is quite a nice version.

  8. Nicola Conte apresenta Rosalia De Souza - Fica Mal Com Deus
    This track seems to benefit hugely from Nicola Conte's involvement. Without the jazzy bongoes, brass flourishes and drum hits, this could have sounded like most of the other tracks here, but in fact, it stands apart.

  9. Rachael Calladine - La La Li
    There's nothing long with this track. It's just pretty much straight smooth sophisticated soul with a Brasilian edge. Beats the shit out of Whitney Houston, but that doesn't make it any more my thing really.

  10. Les Gammas - Outra Vida (Eddy & Dus Remix)
    This is a weird, slightly 70s-sounding instrumental. The vocals are quite nice, but the music sounds kind of like the records my brother used to listen to. It weighs in at 7:28. I guess I shouldn't have bought this CD, huh...

  11. Ben Human - Scott Air (Travelling Light Mix)
    I like this slightly more, probably because there's a bit more variety in the drum sounds, which also get a bit harder. There's still a near-ubiquitous jazzy piano, though. I guess that sound is very big for the DJ/compiler. I favor the vibes myself!

  12. Montefiori Cocktail - Gypsy Woman
    This opens with a nice beat, and ends up being a lot better than you would expect. The tune of this 80s pop hit is taken on the saxophone and flute. It works rather well with the Brasilian percussion. It could have had 4 minutes cut of the length, though...

  13. Aquarius Y Luiz Antonio - Agua De Beber
    This is very smooth, but doesn't suffer so much, because it was recorded in 1973. Hence, it ends up sounding rather interesting, with nice vibes and a strong and clear female vocal.

  14. Wagon Cookin - Lua
    'Lua,' a new release on the Compost label, delivers the same kind of pleasant-enough jazzy Brasilian house sounds that are really pretty inconsequential to my ears.

Just how little I like this surprises me, because I do like a lot of 'similar things', such as smooth 60s and early 70s arrangements, and Brasilian pop. I imagine this stuff grows on you, but the bottom for line for me is that I just don't find it that appealing. I know that the compiler, Rainer Trüby, is hugely admired and adored, and I respect him for chasing the sounds that he likes. It's pretty clear that the sounds I like are very different, however... Hey, at least I bought it used!

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Vodka and nostalgia…

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Non-music item: Yes, I have done this.

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I’ve been sick. Nasty sick. But I think I’m better now.

Jumping Jacques: 'Sugar and Spice' (CD; Petra SRL; 1968)
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More peppy vocal group fun on what I think is the Jumping Jacques' first album. As I mention in my review of their other album, Avalon, the group have an incredibly tight sound, with an enchanting mix of jazzy or pseudoclassical Bacharachian vocal group sounds and italian soundtrack-style soundscapes.

This album has a similar mix of über-cool and hip numbers, beautiful ethereal numbers, and straight-up novelty tracks. For the record, I consider the standout tracks to be the following:

  • 'somehow I must be dreaming' is a bouncy piece that recalls Piero Piccioni's 'Fumo di Londra' soundtrack. The vocals are incredibly warm and sexy.
  • 'Love me now' is another groovy, bouncy number, and is actually the reason why I got into this group - an excerpt from it was featured on the 90s bootleg vinyl compilation, beat actione.
  • 'let them eat cake' has a beautifully rhythmic groove to it, and the same kind of faintly ridiculous wordless crooning as all of the rest of the group's material. The liner notes point out that this wordless quality makes them a truly international group, which I think is a nice sentiment.
  • Finally, 'through a brazilian rain forest' is fun. It starts with some percussive vocal stuff, sounding deliberately like 'the girl from ipanema'. The track itself is then a rather effective pastiche on Jobim's 'One note samba'. To me this sounds incredibly like Novi Singers, which of course makes me like it even more.

    I've no doubt that this is an acquired taste, but if you're big on that 60s vocal group/scat sound, I would definitely pick this up. It fills the gap between Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and the Swingle Singers rather nicely.

    Compilation - Ride: 'OX4_The Best of' (CD; The First Time Records; 1990-1996)
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    In a fit of nostalgia, I picked up this CD after finding it used. Ride are a funny band for me. Their sound isn't one I would naturally graduate towards, but maybe because I was young and they were around, I wound up getting to quite like them back in the early 1990s. Still, I could probably count the songs I really like by them on both hands, so I think it's a little excessive that there has already been a CD box set devoted to them. However, this CD fits the bill pretty well.

    'Chelsea girl' is still very vital and energetic sounding with its dirty, wah-wah laden mush. 'Drive Blind' still sounds like 18 year olds messing around with guitar pedals, which I guess is pretty much what it is. I still like it though. 'Like a daydream,' while still in the same vein, has a guitar part that seems to nod to the Stone Roses. 'Vapour trail' is my favorite track from the debut Nowhere album, and as I noted at musical taste, it still sounds great. I should record an instrumental/electronic version.

    Although I never had the second album (Going blank again), I'm quite partial to 'leave them all behind,' even though it's overlong and slightly formulaic. That feeling of being 16 or 17 is very potent, and I can't help enjoying almost any music that evokes it. Another single from that album was 'Twisterella,' which I imagine many fans of the band's rockier sound hate, but which I rather like.

    I must confess that after this, the band lose me somewhat. I never owned or really heard Tarantula or the third album. It does actually sound like interesting stuff - the sound is less dense and more varied. I have a feeling that Mark Gardener's wispy, slightly wimpy vocals don't work so well over less dense material. But I haven't really yet given it the time it deserves.

    In all, this is a nice collection, although there are some early and mid-period EP tracks that I would have chosen as well (such as 'sennen'). It comes with a really nice booklet, with a long essay about the band.

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    Apparently, today could be the 125th anniversary of recorded sound… I’m talking Thomas Alva Edison.

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    Via the exotica list: Russian easy listening music. There’s even some audio available for download at this site. Interesting stuff…

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