Métron Monthly – March 2017
Our monthly feature guides you through some of the best things we’ve listened to this month and where to purchase them. Here’s a round up of new(ish) releases, some older gems and our favourite mixes for March.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Ruler Rebel [Stretch Music]
We featured Adjuah’s previous LP on this section last month and his latest full length releases ‘Ruler Rebel’ continues the New Orleans natives quest to create evocative and experimental Jazz music, whilst seeking to retain the traditions of his home towns famous musical ancestry. Ruler Rebel, the first in a new trilogy of records, comes 100 years after the first commercial Jazz recordings being released in 1917. Adjuah has chosen the anniversary of this work to highlight what he perceives to be a socio-political climate that is all too similar to the struggles of the genres 20th century pioneers, while taking stock of where he see’s the present. In the records liner notes he points to slavery via the Prison Industrial Complex, Food Insecurity, Xenophobia, Immigration, Climate Change, Sexual Orientation, Gender Equality, Fascism and the return of the Demagogue as pervading factors in society, past and present.
It’s another fine release from the excellent American trumpeter. His brilliant solos tend to be sparse, stretched out over the course of each track and regularly paired with the exceptional flute work of oft-collaborator Elena Pinderhughes. Beneath these beguiling solos and more traditional jazz work there’s a broad range of influences that aims to ‘stretch Trap Music with West African and New Orleanian Afro-Native American styles’. It’s a fantastic listen that certainly succeeds in finding a contemporary avenue for the sounds of New Orleans.
Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens [Smalltown Supersound]
The debut full length from London based, Welsh born producer Kelly Lee Owens showcases a young producer with a distinct and personal sound. Beautiful vocal loops stretch and echo across the pulsating arrangements as if Julianna Barwick had dived into the techno world. Dream pop with an industrial complex. It’s remarkably straight forward too, stripped back and concise in it’s delivery. Switching between muddy bass-lines, stripped back synths, pulsating percussion and static noise. And yet the music consistently rises above the sum of its parts. Perhaps that is what sets it apart from many debut records, it’s ability to reduce the tracks to only the most essential components.
Real Estate – In Mind [Domino]
The Brooklyn based quartet’s first studio album since 2014’s excellent Atlas is their first without longstanding guitarist Matt Mondanile but don’t expect a dramatic shift in direction. At this point Real Estate seems pretty set on what they are, a band who works those complimentary guitar lines and charm-filled hooks as well as anybody. With that said, ‘In Mind’ hones what the group had all but perfected on their previous LPs into a greater whole. The production feels cleaner and tighter, the ideas more concise and fully formed. An excellent if not particularly revolutionary entry to the bands discography further building upon their now signature sound.
Mark Barrott – Music For Presence [International Feel Recordings]
Music For Presence is the latest release from International Feel founder and La Torre resident Mark Barrott. There’s a noticeable shift from his Sketches from an Island releases, and yet this new work still feels very much his own. Drawing its focus outwards, just beyond the traditional balearic realm towards a sound that might also brings to mind some of the finer Japanese ambient new age records of the 1980’s.
Our sister project Métron Creative Studios was commissioned to create the beautiful record sleeve artwork so we might be a little bit bias here. Nonetheless it’s hard to resist the charm and the spirit of this soothing four tracker from the Ibiza based Balearic master. All four tracks here are excellent and many will be drawn to the exceptionally breezy EP opener Schopenhauser’s Garden with it’s beautiful saxophone work. Yet the B-side kicks off with the records strongest cut, Mokushō. Blooming synthesisers and echoey drums pervade this astonishingly blissful piece, evoking the kind of serenity many of us aspire to in our lives. One can imagine laying beneath a Japanese cherry blossom as the flowers trickle off their branches in the fading sun of an autumn evening. The effect is gloriously enchanting and makes for one of this years finer musical moments.
Shelter – Zon Zon Zon [International Feel Recordings]
Another great new release from the consistently reliable Internation Feel, this time the latest in their mini LP series by young French producer Shelter aka Alan Briand. Zon Zon Zon is a wonderfully melodic trip that soaks up many of the influences Briand has gained working at Paris record store l’International Records. Cut down from the near forty tracks that were originally sent to the label the seven pieces on this release sprawl from Carribean Zouk to Afro, Balearic to Steve Reich influenced pieces, this is a record rich with sonic and cultural diversity. There’s an awful lot to enjoy here, and yet it might just be a small sample of what Briand has to offer. I also highly recommend his recent mix for Thump which you can find here.
NV – Binasu [Orange Milk Records]
NV is Kate NV or Kate Shilonosova, a Russian producer and vocalist from Moscow. Her first booking was for a RBMA event in Tokyo, at the very spot where Bill Murray’s character famously sings Karaoke in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost In Translation’. It’s not your usual first gig story and this is not your usual first record.
Binasu is an irresistible musical statement, one that is rarely stationary and constantly shifting it’s dynamics without ever loosing its charming voice. It opens with bustling avant-garde chimes and racing percussion on ‘Bells Burp’ and then immediately changes gears into ‘Inn’ a wonderfully catchy Japanese inspired 80’s dream pop song. In simplistic terms that is the dichotomy at play throughout the excellent full length debut, flicking between elegant abstract instrumental pieces and hook laden pop gems, all with a psychedelic twist that one might come to expect from an Orange Milk Record. A truly excellent and massively underrated debut, it will be fascinating to see what comes next.
Analog Africa – Analog Africa Selection Vol.6 (2017) – 10 Years Anniversary Mix
One of the finest record labels in the land Analog Africa celebrates its ten year anniversary with a mix of new material forthcoming on the Frankfurt based label. Mixed by label founder Samy Ben Redjeb and his DJ partner Pedo Knopp, it’s a ”synth-ridden journey from reggae in the Horn of African to Cosmic sounds of Cabo Verde, wavey soca-boogie monsters and other proto-electronic Afro jams”. A fantastic collection of tracks that showcase the exceptional work the label continues to do sharing music from the African continent.
Radio Cómeme – “Cabo Verde” Mixtape by Guy Dermosessian (Kalakuta Soul Records)
More Afro goodness this time from Guy Dermosessian from the excellent Kalakuta Soul Records. Radio Cómeme can always be relied upon for fine mixes and this is no different. Wait for the sun to come out and give this a spin.
Let us know what we’ve missed and what you’ve been listening to recently.