On the occasion of the release of the first proper Dexter Wansel anthology, I was reminded of:
- Dexter Wansel‘s work has aged gracefully, and an anthology of the work of this musician/composer/arranger was overdue.
- 1979’s “The Sweetest Pain” has it all: melody, hooks, crisp production and a sweeping sense of drama. Time for a rewind – or perhaps, a first encounter?
- Composing “Nights over Egypt” should be enough to guarantee being awarded the keys to a medium-sized city.
…apparently. The title of this post comes from one of the songs on this 1955 calypso lp. Since a good part of the world seems to be on fire, have an aural antidote. Nothing like calypso to provide some old-fashioned perspective on what’s what. Take it away, George!
Ladies, meet music lovers. Music lovers, meet four talented musicians.
These four records are excellent and deserve a widest audience. So after some heavy rotation on both headphones and speakers, it is time for a quartet of recommendations. Oh and that title? Nina.
khadja bonet – the visitor (from “the visitor EP“, 2016)
maki asakawa – boro tu furutetsu (from “maki asakawa“, 2016)
kamaiyah – i’m on (from “a good night in the ghetto“, 2016)
joanna brouk – majesty suites: entrance of the queen of winter dawn (from “hearing music“, 2016)
Khadja Bonet is an LA-based singer and musician operating on a different astral plane. Listening to “The Visitor” is removing yourself from the rational 24hr news cycle and connected way of life. That hurried mindspace is reclaimed by awe and wonder about love and life. Musically, Bonet is slippery but reference points are early Jill Scott, Minnie Ripperton and the Ladies from the Canyon.
Maki Asakawa has long been a cult figure, but the hard to find work of the Japanese singer has only now been compiled for Western ears. Thank you, Honest Jon’s! Their eponymous collection is an adventurous listen, taking in blues, ballads, exorcism, buddhist chants and the modal jazz vibe of the track featured here.
Kamaiyah is on course to have a great and profile-boosting 2016, but in case you missed it: “a good night in the ghetto” is the perfect summer rap tape, and the fact that the MC at the helm is a 21-year old female from Oakland only adds to that.
Rounding out the musical quartet is Joanna Brouk – an original composer, poet and aural designer. Brouk has turned out to be one of the originators of what would become the New Age genre. “Hearing Music” collects highlights of a cassette-based discography (and adds some unreleased bits). Don’t expect flutes, bells, whistles and chants: this is stark and elegant music that does a very good job of approaching a (or the) core. Check out this 1972 interview if the track above makes you curious.
Excuse the punnage in the title of this post – it is hard to write about Italian library music in a serious way. Here’s why.
Library or Production Music is made for potential use in movies, television, etc. Its intended use or function was purely hypothetical.While “normal” library music is already pretty weird, Italian libraries do it even better.
The artists involved (almost) never used their real names, instead choosing to rely on endless pseudonyms like Alessandro Allesandroni and Stefano Torossi. The records that embodied the physical product were not intended for sale and (therefore) produced in minute quantities. They are rare. And feature some wild designs. It will be no surprise that fans of the genre are often male and geeky😉
All this wouldn’t be of interested if the music in question was some boring theme-songs-for-dummies affair. It’s not. The record above was released earlier this year and is now out of print. Since no digital companion was available I am now facilitating one… as a tip of the iceberg.
The She-Wolf is a rare creature. Born and bred near Como, Mississippi, granddaughter to Sid Hemphill and part of a unique musical tradition. Jessie Mae Hemphill grew up listening to, and later playing, music. She was a skilled drummer, guitar player, singer and composer. This is her debut album. Her looking upbeat and friendly on the cover is an excellent visual entree to her spellbinding sound. Dig in!