Once again, I've been missing in action for a few weeks. I got distracted by writing up a few feature stories (bills have got to paid) and went out of town to host a live interview with the super producer Che Pope from Wrkshp Media, fascinating guy. Anyway, I've got a bit of free time today before I have to head to the airport again. How better to use it than recapping a few decent recent and forthcoming albums and EPs.
New Zealand percussionist, producer, DJ and bandleader Cory Champion (aka Borrowed Cassettes) steps up with the second release from his Clear Path Ensemble band project. Taking influences from the '70s ECM catalogue and refitting them inside sleek house, techno, ambient and experimental shapes, "Solar Eclipse" is a lush ten-track ride through Champion's influences and aspirations. A touch of p-funk/synth-jazz here, a little Sun-Ra there, and an abundance of good grooves and basslines for the floor. Out now on Soundway.
Music From Memory sub-label Second Circle reloads for 2022 with a six-track mini album (plus two remixes) from the Colombian musician Tomas Garcia Station. "Moon Phase Gardening" is a concept record based on the idea that the lunar cycle affects plant growth. Recorded during Lisbon's first covid lockdown and a microphone, computer, Korg MS20, hang drum, and a field recorder, "Moon Phase Gardening" emerges as a buoyant suite of liquid techno and IDM on a dreamy 90s tip. Immersive music born in a time of isolation and reflection.
Due for release in November through Melbourne's Left Ear Records, "Double Action" is a reissue of an album recorded in 1982 by the Japanese twins Morihito and Yasuhito Ito, known collectively as Twin Cosmos. Divided into two halves, "Double Action" sees each twin creatively helming a side of the record. On Morihito's side, the sounds of sunkissed Californian psych-pop dovetail together with musical motifs drawn from early eighties Brazil. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the 1979 city-pop record "Summertime Love Song" by The Milky Way. On the B side, Yasuhito takes his cues from late '70s New York and Los Angeles, shades of Lou Reid and David Lynch in a lonely Japanese style.
Oh, this one is tasty. International Anthem unveils a collection of stripped-down four-track funk home recordings from the late Chicago producer, arranger, and composer Charles Stepney (1931-1976). One of the interesting things about "Step on Step" is that, in a sense, you could call it Stepney's debut album as an artist, which feels strange to write forty-six years after he died, but here we are. Some of you will be familiar with Stepney from his baroque soul production work on records like Minnie Riperton’s “Les Fleurs,” Marlena Shaw’s “California Soul,” or Terry Callier’s “What Color Is Love.” Whether you are or aren't, "Step By Step" is a fascinating and extremely fun account of what was and perhaps a window into what could have been. There are some demos for some of the gems he worked on and some other shit as well.