A busy month, shy of contemplative spaces and moments – music in the near-background often, but also scattered in the clatter of work and building. A big project came on – launching an art center to share and broadcast musics among other forms. But much new music did find its way in, though, as ever, and a few special collections no less.
Any month that sees a Jeanne Lee reissue is a good one, and this month saw two, Gunter Hampel’s rerelease of far-too rare 1975 LP Conspiracy, and a strange Spotify-only collection of uncertain vintage (’61? ’62?), with a number of live tracks with Ran Blake. The mastering is terrible, and it’s one of those things that may just mysteriously disappear from platform, but there are some wonderful cuts, including “Left Alone” from The Newest Sound Around. Along with the Lee from 1975, we also got a first reissue of the great Tezeta from 1975 by Hailu Mergia. Great year for film, great year for music.
Geneva continues to collect everything good – another terrific Bongo Joe comp, and a big, wild, hybrid, unpredictable release from Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp. Lots of surprises on that album, and lots of velocity. Nothing was stranger than the new Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band project, which sounds like the frinkiest 90s lost avant-pop disc ever (it’s not), but Nick Hakim & Roy Nathanson’s Small Things comes close at times. And speaking of frinky things, the latest Scallops Hotel / RAP Ferreira was back in rotation again – I’d listened to it a lot early in the year, bundle of earworms that it is, and then a friend noted he was in town, so good luck for us.
Most relaxing night sounds: Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti’s latest. Or classic Mina, take you pick.
Best Listens (new releases)
Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp – We’re OK. But we’re lost anyway. (June 2021)
V/A – Club Coco (Bongo Joe compilation) (May 2021)
Mabe Fratti – Será que ahora podremos entendernos (June 2021)
Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band – Banned (June 2021)
Ìxtahuele – Dharmaland (June 2021)
Nico Roig, Lucia Fumero, Rita Payes – Soy esa tonta canción (single, June 2021)
The Vernon Spring – What’s Happening Brother? (single, June 2021)
Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime (May 2021)
Les Pythons de la Fournaise – L’Orchestre du Piton (May 2021)
Carlos Niño and Friends – More Energy Fields, Current (May 2021)
Nick Hakim & Roy Nathanson – Small Things (April 2021)
R.A.P. Ferreira – bob’s son (January 2021)
Tomás Tello – Cimora (2020)
Douglas Germano – Escumalha (2019)
Best Listens (reissues)
Jeanne Lee – Conspiracy (1975, June 2021)
Jeanne Lee, Ran Blake – Our Season in the Sun (???, June 2021)
Hailu Mergia + The Walias – Tezeta (1975, June 2021)
Mário Rui Silva – Stories from Another Time 1982-1988 (1980s, 2021)
Dmitris Mystakidis – 16 Ρεμπέτικα τραγούδια με κιθάρα | Επετειακή έκδοση (2006, 2021)
Francis Bebey – Dibiye (1997, 2021)
Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)
Mina – Studio Uno (Italy, 1965)
Yanti Bersaudara – s/t (Singapore, 1971)
Pharoah Sanders – Elevation (US, 1974)
Bargou 08 – Targ (Tunisia, 2017)
Abdou El Omari – Nuits D’Étés (three, Morocco – 2016-17)