Another week, and another avalanche of exceptional new music. And, the passing of Charlie Watts. So much to digest.
Volume 248 begins with a new single from the exuberant Alexander Leonard Donat, the entrepreneurial Berlin-based creator of Blackjack Illuminist Records, elementary school teacher, marathon runner, and talented musician known as Vimmer. How the man summons up enough energy to make cleverly arranged new music is anyone’s guess. Vimmer’s new album is, Nebenkörper, the single is Kartenwarten. You are advised to investigate the Blackjack Illuminist catalog. “Weather Vane is about the hope that remains even when things are falling apart”, say, Graham Finn, Eddie Butt, Calum Young, and John “Haggis” Hegarty who together are Emperor Of Ice Cream. Almost 30 years after forming, they have finally released their debut album No Sound Ever Dies via FIFA Records. We’ve played EOIC on the show before, ‘cause we like what they are doing. Over in Brighton on England’s south coast you may spot Nicolas Pierre Wardell wandering near the pier when he is not busy producing himself as Beatastic or releasing fine recordings on his Shoredive Records label. The latest Beatastic EP is Refraction, the cut you’ll hear is, Echoes Through The City. Here is another enterprising chap with a label you need to take notice of. Aimee Van der Kruik and Juliana Ebert out of Australia, go by the name Love Level. The popish sensibilities of Do This To Me has a darker overtone suggesting that Olly Shelton of Pela was behind the mixing desk. That’s not the case, but it could be an interesting idea. I admit to having a fascination with the city of Toronto. In part, it could be such a lot of cool new music originates from there. My recent discovery of the Hand Drawn Dracula label has certainly increased my appreciation of the metropolis beyond the Kensignton market and The Hockey Hall of Fame. Breeze is Josh Korody and Kyle Connolly, their LP Only Up was written, recorded, and mixed in 8 days in February of this year. We selected the title cut featuring Tess Parks. The project was funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada, and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Quite simply, lovely work. Next up on the French label, Komplex Recording is Cravism & Maya Diegle with It’s Okay. Maya hails from Paris and initially trained as a jazz singer, she met Singaporean producer Cravism several years ago and fell in love with his music, and sought out a collaboration. Cravism was equally impressed with Maya’s capacity for writing high-level melodies, harmonies, and lyrics. Drum & Bass, after all this time still has not made it into the mainstream. Alternative radio most often ignores it and college radio will tuck it away on a specialty show. That’s too bad because there have been many extraordinary releases over the years and there can be no doubt of the influence of Drum & Bass, yet the big stars out of the UK remain as only slight twinkles here in the US of A. Take a serious listen to Fox with Lion Ting from the LP, Squang Dangs In The Key Of Vibes. Fox, highly rated in the UK, especially in his hometown of Manchester where he was born, he grew up in Jamaica but is now based back in Manchester. Excellent production and graphics. We stay in the UK to hear from Joy Orbison with Better featuring Léa Sen. His debut album, Still Slipping Vol 1, is on the Toss Portal imprint – a portal of toss run by Joy Orbison, according to the info I received. Secrets Held is the third single from London-based producer, Charles Webster’s highly-acclaimed 2020 album, Decision Time. This cut features French-American singer, Emille Chick. Charles Webster has been operating in-house music since the mid-’80s, releasing music over the years under 30 different pseudonyms with over 500 remixes. Superb music. I love inventive or quirky names, so of course, Grubby Little Hands caught my attention. Donnie Felton, Brian Hall, Joseph Primavera, and Chad Brown are out of Philadelphia and I’m presuming these lads had fun making Surf Lullaby. Looking forward to hearing more from the delightfully-named, Grubby Little Hands. The last cut in this volume is a curio, it’s Heft with Ember featuring Lyli J. Heft is producer Zwel Mun Wint based in Yangon, Myanmar. He says his album, “Hermitage is based on everyday-life situations that give the impressions of simplicity that hold deep feelings and thoughts”. He adds, “This is a journey through spirituality and stoicism, which involves all aspects of our being – intellect, imagination, sensibility, and – essentially our body, mind, and soul”. Nothing to argue with there. Over on my talk show. Life Elsewhere #438, you’ll find a conversation about the recent passing of Charlie Watts and the art of drumming with another acclaimed drummer, Martin Atkins. Enjoy.
- Vimmer – Kartenwarten
- Emperor Of Ice Cream – Weather Vane
- Beatastic – Echoes Through The City
- Love Level – Do This To Me
- Breeze – Only Up (feat. Tess Parks)
- Cravism & Maya Diegle – It’s Okay
- Fox – Lion Ting (prod by Lenzman)
- Joy Orbison – Better (with Lea Sen)
- Charles Webster (ft. Emille Chick) – Secrets Held
- Grubby Little Hands – Surf Lullaby
- Heft – Ember (feat. Lyli J)
Artwork by Ms. Annie 1932 – 1999 “The Devil Beating His Wife” (detail) circa 1990 – 1996 25.1/2” x 54.3/4” House paint on reclaimed wood panel. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection