What a lot of superb new music we have curated for your listening pleasure in this volume, do make sure you let me know your opinions, and send your comments to normanb at lifeelsewhere.co
Cortex Of Light – Future Curvature
We begin with a cut from a very fine compilation of electronic dub from Cosmic Sands Records based in Lyon, France, Cortex Of Light who tell us about Future Curvature. The album is titled, Pro Unlimited, definitely worth searching for.
Miss Bella – En Prison Dans Ma Tête
From Marseille, in the south of France, Michèle des Belladonna performs as Miss Bella. Featuring Miss Bella on accordion, the quirky retro-sounding LP, Eternel Retour (Eternal Return) is a tribute to women of the South, to freedom, to the Mediterranean says, Miss Bella. Not so sure that comes across on En Prison Dans Ma Tête (In Jail In My Head), no matter, this is an enjoyable spirited collection of songs.
Dying Adolescence – Lonely
Every so often I rummage around in my archives and come across a release I think you may have missed. Michael Barker is out of Sydney and goes by the moniker, Dying Adolescence (which I think is a noteworthy name). Michael has put out a number of releases, his 2017 Lonely EP on Z Tapes is a fine representation of his abilities. With the title cut, Lonely, Michael Barker pushes the emotional envelope to full effect – I love it!
BB Sway – Everything You’ve Always Wanted
This is the solo project of 24-year-old artist, writer, and producer Ash Johnston based in London. Born in Hong Kong to a Chinese-British mother and American father, Ash says they have called upon the range of influences that have inspired them throughout their life to produce their diverse, memorable, and heartfelt musical repertoire. Well done, Ash.
Death Hags – Topologie Spectrale (Deep Drift)
Now here is one I had to make sure I was listening to the correct track, after all, it said, Death Hags! I know I shouldn’t be surprised by the monikers some artists choose to use, but honestly, I was expecting something quite a lot different from Death Hags. As it happens, I’m far from disappointed, this is exceptional work from musician, songwriter, and producer Lola G, originally from LA, currently living in the woods near New York City, (I will admit that does make me ponder, which woods?). Topologie Spectrale (Deep Drift) is from the Death Hags LP, Lost In The Triangle d’Or (Extended Version), and you’re advised to show some love for Lola G’s enterprising work.
Spiritual Conspiracy – Sometimes I’ve Got To Run Away
Spiritual Conspiracy – I’ll Be As Strong As A Mountain
Now we arrive at an album that may not be taken so seriously by some people, but I want to assure you that whoever is behind Spiritual Conspiracy sincerely understands good music and has the gumption to mess around and manipulate to extraordinary results with the album, Warped Standards. The iconic dance floor hit Tainted Love is familiar to everyone, except Spiritual Conspiracy have (I believe) passed on Soft Cell and taken the original version by Gloria Jones and pitched it down, plus adding a whole slew of smart samples. Another example of brilliance at work here is taking an early Elvis track from 1956, Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be) layering a quasi-disco beat, pop synths, and even a harp sample. Nutty and fabulous. The album is on the New York-based, Stargazing At Blank Stars label.
A Cloud Of Ravens – Parable
We stay in NYC to hear from, Matthew McIntosh and Beth Narducci got together in 2018 to form, A Cloud Of Ravens. I’m sure they won’t mind me mentioning that this couple has the Goth look and sound down, perfectly. A number of bands head in the Goth direction but unfortunately end up sounding like parodies. Matthew and Beth do show their influences, yet they managed to carve out a sound that is completely their own as you will hear in Parable. The album is, Lost Hymns, and the production is stellar.
Personnel – Leave Me Behind
Personnel – Thin Lines
Now for two in a row because I like what Personnel is doing and so should you. From the very opening of Leave Me Behind you know you are in for a treat. Robbie Defacto’s synth work and effects bank along with Trixy Skulz alluring vocals result in a somewhat familiar coda yet at the same time completely brand new. The second cut, Thin Lines shows that Robbie knows his way around a mixing consul. While Trixy Skulz recites a list of familiar phrases and references not heard so perfectly delivered since the late and oh, so great Ian Dury. Fact: I’ve had Personnel on repeat play all day!
Chasms – Ache
It really is hard to keep up with all the intensely cool releases in this volume. Here is another one, Ache from Chasms. Oh, my, this is so good. Chasms is LA-based, Jess Labrador who recorded and produced her latest LP, Glimpse Of Heaven. I’m tempted to rave on about how much I like the dubby production, Jess’s almost ethereal voice, the slightly recognizable mode, yet certainly unique. Suffice to say, delve into Jess’s work, she has a back catalog you need to explore. Chasms is on the excellent Felte label.
Mui Zyu – Rotton Bun
If I were in London right now, I would try to see if Mui Zyu is playing live anywhere. Her debut album, Rotten Bun For An Eggless Century has me intrigued, I need to know more about this talented artist. Eva Liu performs as Mui Zyu, one time front person of the indie trio Dama Scout, now with the help of Dama Scout bandmate Luciano Rossi as co-producer on her LP. Mui Zyu says “The writing process of Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century prompted me to explore more of my Hong Kong heritage, allowing a space for acceptance and celebration. As a child, I would often shy away from traditions and merge into the blur of a crowd. I am Chinese and I am owning it!” Take note, in this mix, you’ll hear, Rotten Bun, another cut is titled, Eggless Century. I love it.
44 Ardent – Far Gone
It should come as no surprise to regular listeners when I make mention how much I welcome new releases from Mammal Sounds, the startlingly fine label and talent resource of Sydney. Mysterious Brisbane producer, 44 Ardent gives us another slice of his production skills with, Far Gone. As with all of the Mammal Sounds releases, this one can slot in so easily to all kinds of playlists.
Kuku Sebsibe – ሆድዬ – Hodeye (Darling)
To take us to the closing credits, an extraordinary piece of music from the early 1980s by the renowned Ethiopian singer, Kuku Sebsibe. The self-titled album is full of passionate love songs, joyful yet also full of haunting melancholy. The album is certainly worth searching for, it’s on Little Axe Records.
Download and listen to the Podcast here
- Cortex Of Light – Future Curvature
- Miss Bella – En Prison Dans Ma Tête
- Dying Adolescence – Lonely
- BB Sway – Everything You’ve Always Wanted
- Death Hags – Topologie Spectrale (Deep Drift)
- Spiritual Conspiracy – Sometimes I’ve Got To Run Away
- Spiritual Conspiracy – I’ll Be As Strong As A Mountain
- A Cloud Of Ravens – Parable
- Personnel – Leave Me Behind
- Personnel – Thin Lines
- Chasms – Ache
- Mui Zyu – Rotton Bun
- 44 Ardent – Far Gone
- Kuku Sebsibe – ሆድዬ – Hodeye (Darling)
The artwork is “Self-portrait through a wine glass” by Norman B, 36″ x 38″ 2023, digital print on treated cotton paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection