Ale Cohen is the director of non-profit radio station DUBLAB, and one of the true legends of modern Los Angeles. When he isn't overseeing DUBLAB's freeform broadcasting and the station's other activities around the discovery and the cultivation of next-wave music, arts and culture, Ale works as a musician and composer. Over the last two decades, Ale has been a member of Pharaohs, Psychic Powers and Languis, while collaborating with and recording a dizzying array of artists. Ale's most recent music project is Cafe Ale, Diego aka Suzanne Kraft's nickname for Ale's studio.
Originally, Cafe Ale was a showcase for work created in the studio by Ale and friends. This is still true, but it is also Ale’s own solo project, and ultimately finds a space between these two pulls. Cafe Ale draws inspiration from dance, balearic, electronic, '60s, post punk and experimental music. Since Cafe Ale's first release on Cooper Saver’s Far Away label, each release disguises itself as a mixtape in homage to the legendary Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza. A new Cafe Ale release "Third Age" up on Bandcamp now, so I asked Ale to Take 5 for Test Pressing. His selections are loosely themed around Latin America.
Miguel Abuelo is a fascinating musician who died in 1988 from complications of HIV. He story starts in the beat and psychedelic scene of Buenos Aires of the late 60s with his band Los Abuelos de la Nada. From there he travelled extensively through Europe recording an incredible solo record under Miguel Abuelo y Nada in France and spending a lot of time in Ibiza where he absorbed and even defined the bohemian lifestyle and music of the island before it was catalogued as "Balearic" After the end of Argentina's dictatorship in 1983, he returned to Buenos Aires and re-formed Los Abuelos de la Nada with young musicians and became a sensation, becoming one of the country's (and Latin America) most successful bands of the 80s. Towards the end of his life he released a solo record that includes this song. A perfect blend of his flamboyant style and that clear influence of Ibiza.
I knew Emmanuel's version of the song before discovering the original one by Lucio Dalla. Both fantastic, Dalla's is more organic while the Emmanuel version features drum machines and synths. When I was a kid this was on the radio and TV in Argentina non-stop. It wasn't until 2012 or so that I heard it again and realized what a strong dance tune this is.
Classic of the classics. For those unfamiliar with Rita Lee, she was the singer of Os Mutantes. Her solo career is really what she became famous for and this song is probably one of her biggest hits. I highly recommend listening to the entire self titled album. A true masterpiece of Brazilian pop and disco.
I am not particularly a big fan of Julio Iglesias, but this song (and part II of it) really took me by surprise. Released in 1995, it shows exquisite production and a vocal delivery reminiscent of the best work by Bryan Ferry. Similar to Ferry's 1994 Mamouna, the use of synths and real instrumentation results in a lush, atmospheric and clean/defined sound of the era. Clearly influenced by the sound of "chill" music of the 90s but crafted for mainstream audiences, it is a mellow and reflective listen.
In 1987/88 Locomia was a worldwide sensation, particularly in Latin America. Their clothing, the fans, the outrageous lyrics were all referencial to a universe few in the general public (including me) had any idea it existed. Locomia on the surface may have seemed like a designed commercial product with no substance, however that is far from true. They are a designed product, but they are also the result of a rich cultural movement from Spain called "Mi Locura" This movement was a product of the post dictatorship period of Spain: an era of liberation, freedom, and extravagant expression. Closely related to Balearic music, Ku Club, and Ruta Destroy/Ruta del Bakalao, Locomia was a genuine expression of the times.
"Third Age" by Cafe Ale is out now through Simballrec in digital format (Purchase here)