Life Elsewhere Music Vol 209

Hi there, first up, you’ll notice a change to the graphic for this volume of Life Elsewhere Music. Instead of a black and white photograph, the image is a color reproduction of artwork in my collection. I’ve changed the typography too – and omitted the isolation mix number.  Quite simply, after 34 isolation mixes, who needs to be reminded how long we have been subjected to a pandemic that has caused far too much suffering. The other change for Vol 209 is this is a non-stop mix. No commentaries, no details about each cut. They are all here: 

To begin, Cabaret VoltaireThe Power (Of Their Knowledge) from the album, Shadow Of Fear. Richard H. Kirk is the sole remaining member, this is Cabaret Voltaire’s first studio album in 26 years. Kirk has released many acclaimed solo albums and is credited with creating bleep techno. He formed this new album from a series of pulverizing live shows. There is something timely about this release even if I do get a little nostalgic about playing Nag Nag Nag in a dance club, all those years ago. The influence of Cabaret Voltaire cannot be underestimated, I‘m sure Loraine James out of London would agree. Last year (2019) I played a cut or two from her notable For You & I album, she is back with the EP, Nothing another first-class recording. The track I’ve selected, Don’t You See It features  Jonnine Standish and in my opinion, this one should be on your playlist – right now! Tunnels by Zha is next on the fab White Peach Records label, who continue to release important music. I played the Snails EP in my car today, my opinionated 18-year-old son, said “That is sick dad! You have good taste!” From the first few bars of Dead As Disco by Hearts and Rockets you know Kalindy Williams on guitar, synth, vocals and Kurt Eckardt on synth, drum programming, back up vocals are not messing around. The Melbourne-based duo says they are a feminist bratwave punk band. No reason to argue with that. Or this, Kalindy and Kurt write the following, “Hearts and Records write, record, perform and live on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. Sovereignty of this land was never ceded, and a treaty has never been signed. We stand in solidarity with the true custodians of this land and pay our respects to their elders both past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.” So impressed am I with Hearts and Rockets, I added the flip-side, Workout. Magnificent, tell your mother you heard ‘em first on Life Elsewhere Music. Call me sentimental, but certain locations come to mind when I recall good times and lovely people, Toronto is a standout for me. I don’t know Ada Rook but it’s truly fitting she should hail from that vibrant Canadian city. The cut, Total Memory Failure from the EP, Separated From Her Twin, A Dying Android Arrives On A Mysterious Island caught my attention on the first listen. And, I love that Ada says, “I’ve always been obsessed with places that feel unfamiliar, or maybe more specifically, places that explicitly lack signifiers of what I’m used to. I love everything that doesn’t remind me of anything. I feel like I’ve spent most of my life chasing that and running from everything else.” We stay in Toronto to hear from Mira Martin-Gray and Robin Jennings who have collaborated as Calicoes. Their 3-track self-titled EP is startlingly good. My tip, play all the cuts in one sitting. I’ve selected, Open Letter To The Coke-head In North Park. I have no idea if Robin and Mira appreciate how much I want to hear this on every alternative playlist. Robin Jennings is on vocals and harmonica, plus she is a fine water-color artist. Mira Martin-Gray provides vocals, guitar, and bass and also goes by the moniker of Tendencyitis. From Toronto, we head on over to Amsterdam to hear from Fridolijn with If Your Heart Were A City from her EP, Chapter Two. She writes, “This is the follow up of Chapter One, which came out in the summer of this year. The airiness heard in the first chapter is being traded for a darker sound. Synths will play the lead part and hope is making way for irony and disillusion.” Lovely voice and superb production and I do like a nice bit of piano work. Then, a seamless segue into Wonk by Teevee Nicks from her debut EP, Light Blue. Yes, she is having fun with her name and yes, it does look like she is floating naked in a pool, but I’m pleased to report that Ms. Nicks is making music that certainly deserving of your attention. Ah, and yes, Wonk does end abruptly. That works though, ‘cause I segue right into Slow by Kiddus. This is a cut from Future Bubblers 4.0, a compilation on Brownswood Music out of London. This is the 4th in the series and highly recommended. A jaunt over to Istanbul, Turkey is next to hear from acclaimed producer, Gantz with the curiously-titled, Hinges Creak on his Krokodil EP. Make sure your sub-woofers are primed for this one. Love that bass. Next up, the surface noise in the intro to Kerala Dust’s Lilac Dune is essential to the ambiance, which is why I left it in. I have little information about this one except to let you know you should investigate the LP, Light, West on Denature Records out of Paris, an independent record label that has been releasing electronic music since 2016. Over in London, the heart of dance music has always been drawn from soul, and producer DJ Q is certainly on form with All That I Could. He’s been releasing music regularly since 2004, cited as being a revered Garage & Bass producer. All That I Could does not disappoint. Because I like this one so much I created my own extended mix. Talking about soul, the marvelously talented and suitably-named Cleo Sol is next. We played the title cut from her, Rose In The Dark LP earlier this year. In case you have not searched out her music, here is another prompt with, Why Don’t You. I’d like to hear anyone argue that Cleo has an amazing voice and this production is top-notch. OK, we have arrived at the last cut for Life Elsewhere music Vol 209, and this where really rave on. October And The Eyes hails from New Zealand, she is currently based in London and she is making music I think is absolutely incredible. Her EP, Dog and Gods is up there with King Hannah’s Tell Me Your Mind And I’ll Tell You Minemodern rock ’n’ roll-sex-music! I selected her latest single, Dark Dogs, but I advise you to check all of her work out, especially the video for Playing God. Perhaps the best rock video I have ever seen. October struts and pouts and works the camera as only Bowie could. That she has modeled is hardly surprising. Yeah, I know videos are not the music, but in this case, October And The Eyes would have me conjuring up cinematic images anyway. This gets my serious approval. 

LEM Vol 209 Playlist
  1. Cabaret Voltaire – The Power (Of Their Knowledge)
  2. Loraine James – Don’t You See It (ft. Jonnine Standish)
  3. Zha – Tunnels
  4. Hearts and Rockets – Dead As Disco
  5. Hearts and Rockets – Workout
  6. Ada Rook – Total Memory Failure
  7. Calicoes – Open Letter To The Coke-Head In North Park
  8. Fridolijn – If Your Heart Were A City
  9. Teevee Nicks – Wonk
  10. Kiddus – Slow
  11. Gantz – Hinges Creak
  12. Kerala Dust – Lilac Dune
  13. DJ Q – All That I Could
  14. Cleo Sol – Why Don’t You
  15. October And The Eyes – Dark Dog

Make sure you let me know what you think of the cuts I curated for Life Elsewhere Music Vol 209. Write to normanb at lifeelsewhere dot co

The artwork for this volume is by Claudio Zamara “I speak this from my heart” 2005 3′ x 4’6″ (detail) acrylic, gold-flake paint & mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 209