Sunday, 18 October 2009

THIS WEEK WE HAVE BEEN MOSTLY LISTENING TO….

What’s been on the shop stereo the most this week…

DUNGEN - 4
Dungen's fourth studio album extends the acclaimed Swedish outfit's sound past psychedelia into something far more rare. Moving beyond mere stylistic concerns, '4' finds Gustav Ejstes' focus on the extremes of Dungen's sound separating into two entities. Blazing, raw guitar workouts have their own time and place, but now, so do stirringly orchestrated, jazz-cooled compositions with cinematic undertones. The ten tracks on '4' comprise Dungen's most concentrated effort to date, beats surging forth and atmosphere changing as their sound continues to evolve. Every song here runs under five minutes, pushing the group to introduce confident melodies and arresting ambiance in tighter frameworks.

VARIOUS ARTISTS - CAN YOU DIG IT? - THE MUSIC AND POLITICS OF BLACK ACTION FILMS 1969-75
'can you dig it?' charts the rise of 'black action films' from 1970-75. as well as featuring a double CD collection of the stunning music from these films, 'can you dig it?' comes with a 100-page booklet, limited-edition mini-film poster cards and stickers. the black action films of the early 1970s gave the Hollywood industry its first African-American cinema - actors, directors, cameramen, editors and writers. these films discussed aspects of the african-american experience in the form of entertainment. storylines interwove post-civil rights revolution with action stories, many involving pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers or private detectives. The films also featured the finest funk and soul black music of the time as stars such as James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Willie hutch and Roy ayers produced some of their finest work, with film budgets allowing for the addition of huge orchestral arrangements by jazz legends such as Quincy Jones, Johnny pate and jj Johnson. in the early 1970s, black action films exploded into the cinema with three extremely successful films - 'shaft', 'super fly' and 'sweet sweetback's badasssss song'. the most profound statement of these films was their actual existence - black actors and black directors entering the previously closed hollywood film industry. black action films were a representation of politically everything that had gone before and stylistically of everything that was current. civil rights, Malcolm x, martin luther king, black power, black panthers, vietnam sit alongside the criminal worlds of policemen, private investigators, bail bondsmen and the criminals, drug dealers, pimps and hustlers that they parole. 'can u dig it?' brings you everything you always wanted to know about black action films. aside from the amazing music (brought together for the first time ever), it also comes with a 100-page (yes, 100-page!) book featuring scores of original photographs, film posters, text and descriptions of all the films. this is an essential soul jazz records release!

AMORPHOUS ANDROGYNOUS - A MONSTROUS PSYCHEDELIC BUBBLE VOLUME 2 (PORCUPINE/PLATIPUS)
who is amorphous androgynous? they are the psychedelic super group formed and produced by seminal electronic duo, fsol (future sound of london). they have released 3 original albums since 2001. 'the isness' in 2001, 'alice in ultraland' on emi harvest (pink floyd's label) and 'the peppermint tree and the seeds of superconsciousness' on freedimensional / fsoldigital.... and of course 'monstrous bubble volume 1' was released in november 2008. psychedelic cosmic space music is a reinterpretation of psychedelic music tracing the dots from its birth in 1967 to the present - a dj trip through over 4 decades of genre busting, sonically diverse music. 'pagan love vibrations' is volume 2 in the monstrous psychedelic bubble series.

ALESSI’S ARK – NOTES FROM THE TREEHOUSE
Armed with spellbinding fairytales of magic, freckles, and asteroids, 18-year-old Londoner Alessi Laurent-Marke is set to cause quite a stir with her stunningly mature debut. Leaving school at 16 to pursue a career in music is a brave move, but Alessi's clutch of dreamy gcse compositions won over EMI, who teamed her up with bright eyes' Mike Mogis to make this record. The production is as sensational as one would expect from mogis; haunting breathy vocals weave intricately between rich layers of orchestral strings and generous use of harps and violins, whereas the simpler vignettes such as 'constellations' allow Alessi's curiously ethereal voice to shine over wistful keyboards. Her voice seems to have found its distinct character; warm and bewitching it inevitably conjures associations with the likes of Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Laura Marling and Cat Power. However Alessi stands out from the well-worn canvas of the folk-pop storytelling, inviting us into the enthralling and mystical realm where the mundane is turned into exquisitely crafted poetry. Her songs are rooted relentlessly in the sensory worlds of fantasy and imagination, though she deals an expert hand in measured wistfulness, singing 'it's just a shame that from the very beginning you've always been her man'. Showing maturity well beyond her short years, the playful and childish nature of the record should not demean her prodigious talent. Alessi’s ark is a serious contender for a place in your record collection. A highly deserving rough trade album of the week, 'Notes From The Treehouse' makes for a breathtaking gem of a record.

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