For those unfamiliar, Bandcamp Friday is a sometimes monthly event where Bandcamp waive their revenue share from sales to help support artists and labels affected by the pandemic. The next Bandcamp Friday is today, April 7th 2023 from midnight to midnight Pacific time. When I remember, I like to put together a recommendation list. Against all odds and a bit late in the piece, today is one of those days.
After the remarkable "Pleasure, Joy and Happiness" (2020), Eddie Chacon and John Carroll Kirby reconnect for Sundown, an equally impressive eight-song collection of beachside synthesiser lounge music, slow-motion boogie and alternative jazz soul. Recorded in 2021 overlooking siesta beach in Ibiza with a cast of collaborators, including Elizabeth Lea (trombone), Will Logan (drums) and David Leach (percussion), for Eddie, Sundown is a high watermark moment in a career that has taken him from seventies teenage garage jam bands to global chart success as one half of the pop duo Charles & Eddie, before arriving at his current cult infamy three decades later.
Released through Soundway Records, The Lahaar is a Trans-Tasman team-up between New Zealand and Australian music buddies Julien Dyne, Horatio Luna, Lachlan Stuckey (Surprise Chef), Mara TK and Toby Laing. Informed by the rich cultural histories of late 70's NYC proto-rap disco instrumentals, Nigerian boogie, Jamaican dub and modern jazzy house, they spend five tracks of varying lengths laying out a luxurious set of dancefloor grooves imbued with heartfelt feeling and soul. Despite the influences cited here, there's also an Antipodean hi-tek dub soul/jazz-funk feeling tying things together as well. This one's for the DJs and the dancers.
With "Object", the second volume in his The Risk Of Hyperbole, Sydney-based interdisciplinary artist, sound engineer and composer Jack Prest brings together a chamber ensemble of top Australian classical and jazz musicians for an elevated journey through avant-garde improvisations with an electronic twist. When people talk about ambient music as a sonic environment or a journey through a space or set of rooms, they're talking about music like this. Delicate, rough, rich and meditative in equal measure, "Object" is a wholly realised and fleshed-out solar system of song forms circling in and out of each other like planets and moons orbiting a star. Outstanding stuff.
If you know your UK Street Soul, you'll be familiar with the British singer Rick Clarke. And if you're familiar with Rick Clarke, chances are you know about his 1992 white label album release, "Guess Who?" Due for reissue on April 7th 2023, through Freestyle Records, "Guess Who?" is a gorgeous journey through street soul, stripped-back house, garage and hip-hop, as delivered in a Rick Clarke stylee alongside a cast of guest collaborators, including Mark Antonio, Delroy Dyer, Gina Foster, Andre Stevens, Imaani, Kemi and more. Pre-order your copy now.
How about a journey to the crossroads of juke, footwork and UK garage? If that's an intersection you'd like to spend some time at, New Zealand producer/DJ Surly and San Antonio, Texas producer, DJ and studio engineer MoonDoctoR's new "Ten Days In San Antonio" project has exactly ten tracks of the good stuff to keep you grooving. The common root element on both sides of the Atlantic is house, but as the album rolls out, they also pay homage to their love of rap and rave. Footwork legend DJ Earl and Chicago rapper A.G.G.Y feature as well, adding some extra sauce to a very fun project.
Music From Memory is one very dependable label, and as their recent "Gaia: Selected Ambient & Downtempo Works (1996-2003)" compilation release illustrates, that won't be changing anytime soon. Co-compilied by Eiji Taniguchi, "Gaia: Selected Ambient & Downtempo Works (1996-2003)" explores the rich IDM, pop and ambient-infused discography of the Japanese musician Dream Dolphin. Drawing from twenty albums that were released over the space of eight years, it presents a vivid picture of a restless creative who explored a full gamut of electronic styles, tying things together with her signature spoken word vocals.
Finally, a vinyl reissue of Buenos Aires, Argentina-based act The Kyoto Connection's cult Kankyō Ongaku/environmental music album Postcards (2018). Fittingly reissued through Australian label Isle of Jura (who previously issued The Kyoto Connection's "The Flower, the Bird and the Mountain" album, "Postcards" is a journey through Facundo Arena's personal iPad meets Akai GXC-70D tape recorder sonic visions of late seventies and eighties Japan. Somewhere between a dream, a half-forgotten story and pure imagination, "Postcards" is a love letter to Japan's Kankyō Ongaku/bubble year glory days, expressed in a mood only Facundo could muster.
Left Ear Records and Mixed Signals reconnect for a right-on-time reissue of Chicago LITIA=LOE’s mid-90s album "Life Love Dance". Equal parts classic Chicago House, golden era Nu Groove, early Warp releases and Ibiza-era New Order, "Life Love Dance" navigates the slipstreams between mainstream pop and underground dance music, enhanced by upgraded technical skills and a set of bouncing beats that were firmly aimed at the hearts the 90s dance community worldwide. Even better, there's some unreleased material on this one. Due for release April 14th 2023. Pre-order now.