FACT mix, Album de minuit, 405 and other interviews, London show!
May 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
So many things happening and too much travelling for me to update this newsletter as often as I would want to! Don’t forget you can check out my Facebook page for more regular updates, even if you’re not a Facebook user.
On the live front, unfortunately my two shows at the Cappadox festival in Turkey this weekend are cancelled due to legal reasons. I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Lots of photos were taken at my show in Lisbon’s ZDB, both here and here – some of them are truly beautiful, and I had a very special time there, thanks ZDB! Thanks also to Fractured Air for the show in Cork’s Opera House and to GNRation in Braga!
Don’t forget that next week on 24th May I’m playing at LSO St Luke’s in London, the show is presented by the Barbican in association with Artic Circle, get your tickets here!
More interviews and things to listen to this week: a long interview in English on the 405 and also on Music Won’t Save you, both in English and Italian (the interview was originally published in Rockerilla last month).
I had a double page spread in the cultural supplement of Portugal’s biggest national newspaper Publico, Ipsilon, here’s the link to the full article and a nice photo below!
I also finished the Facebook series on how I recorded the songs on Captain of None: head over here for details on “Eclipse” and “Captain of None”.
I had the great and unexpected pleasure of Captain of None being chosen on the Album de Minuit radio show on France Inter, so for those of you who understand French, head here to listen to the show and the mini-interview in which I was asked what is my favourite midnight album.
I made a second 100% Jamaican mix, this time for FACT Magazine, focusing on songs that have specifically influenced Captain of None. Here’s the full text I wrote about the mix, and as always, thanks for your support! :-))))
My second 100% Jamaican mix, this time for FACT Magazine, focusing on songs that have specifically influenced Captain of None. Read the full text I wrote below:
This mix includes music which has specifically influenced me in the making of my fifth album Captain of None, mostly from the point of view of song-writing, interpretation, production, or just a general “feel” in the music, for lack of a better word. No other song encapsulates how these various aspects of music-making are intertwined in Jamaican music better than Burning Spear’s “Door Peeper”: released in 1969, the combination of Burning Spear’s voice, percussion, compressed horn line, minimal instrumentation and lyrics, and dry but deep production make this song one of the most earth-shaking I’ve ever heard. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Scientist’s “Dangerous Match 1” from 1982 sounds like underwater swimming in weird waters and shows how abstract and stylized Jamaican music can be. Tapper Zukie’s “Simpleton Badness” is a perfect example of idiosyncratic toasting, crazy tape manipulation and radical production from 1973. The Lee Perry-produced “Long Time Ago” by Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus marvellously mixes traditional Nyabinghi drumming and intense chanting with Perry’s extremely dense production style , and I just love how the volume and intensity increase unexpectedly at the end of the song with the arrival of a killer bassline. Noel Ellis, son of Alton, has one of my favourite voices, but I chose this track especially for the mind-blowing guitar parts featured in the dub version – guitar perfection in my opinion! When I first heard Augustus Pablo’s “Pablo in Fine Style”, the intricacy and delicateness of the melodica reminded me of baroque music and Mozart, which are not obvious reference points when you’re listening to Jamaican music! Another Lee Perry production, the unusual sounding “Paul Bogle” by King Burnett (NB: attribution to this singer has been debated, but that’s how it’s credited on the 7” label): slow and melancholy with a meandering melody, it’s one more example of how Jamaican music can sound so far from the clichés it’s unfortunately too often associated with. Niney’s “Weeping Lotion” is the opposite, a fast and frantic high-energy feast which is just amazingly mixed! With “Collins Sweat” by Collins Music Wheelers and Wackies Rhythm Force’s “Black Africa”, the amazing flute bended in ways reminiscent of early BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the lilting melodica against the half-tribal half-machine-like backdrop show once again the Jamaican knack for abstraction rooted in physicality which I’ve found so inspiring.
Prince Far I’s voice and vocal treatment on “Plant Up”, Tapper Zukie’s razor-sharp “Man Ah Warrior” and Little Madness’s stirring a cappella on “Mother Country Version” are more examples of the power of the combination of voice and minimal accompaniment in Jamaican music. The Gladiators’s classic “Bongo Red” has guitar that I’m jealous of and excellent lyrics to boot. Black Kush (also known as Black Kish)’s “Natural Rock” is a rare example of acoustic guitar in Jamican music, and its minimal approach to percussion also struck a chord with me. Last but not least, I just had to close with a track that I heard in my childhood: “Return of the Super Ape” is one of the many Lee Perry/Upsetters songs contained on a tape that my parents bought in the late 70s and which we played in the car on long trips. To this day I just love this track and still find it totally unique and one of a kind: you can never be sure of what it is that you’re hearing on this song: monkeys, spanners falling on the floor in a metal house, a jazz band lost in Jamaica, soap bubbles transformed into notes… before one of the best breaks and song finales of all time…