Thursday, 28 December 2017

Xidus Pain & Blacc Sky - Bliss & Desert Islands

Xidus Pain & Blacc Sky - Bliss & Desert Islands
Rap Music From The Soul

The new album from UK rapper Xidus Pain and American counterpart Blacc Sky provides the same kind of chills that Hip-Hop used to when Def Jux were at their peak in the early noughties. Passionate, razor-sharp raps full of coherent, complex metaphors, concepts and messages, avoiding the usual cliches and underpinned by some serious beats... this is everything Hip-Hop should be as far as I'm concerned.

I could list the albums, tracks and rappers I'm reminded of when listening to this, but that would be unfair - the fact is this album and these artists deserve  appreciation based on their own merits.

Having said that, fans of Phi-Life Cipher, Mr Lif, Aesop Rock, Anti-Pop Consortium, Wildchild and Stones Throw/Def Jux styles really should get on this one!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

December Podcast - Best of 2017!

CMFCP December Podcast
Best of 2017!

The CMFCP December Podcast is an extended 90 minute episode in which we rattle through our favourite tracks of 2017! 

The Black Madonna - His is The Voice I Hear (We Still Believe) 
Piero Umiliani - Discomania (Liuto) 
Zru Vogue - Do The Zru (Eskimo) 
Bonobo - Kerala (Ninja Tune) 
Lindstrom - Drift (Feedelity) 
Apostles - Banko Woman (Cultures of Soul) 
Elbertina 'Twinkie' Clark - Awake O Zion (Mr Bongo) 
Sampha - What Shouldn't I Be? (Young Turks) 
Jackson - Keep Swimming (Self-Release) 
Thundercat - Show Me The Way feat Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins (Brainfeeder) 
Addison Groove - Changa (Self-Release) 
Alessandro Alessandroni - Afro Discoteca (Four Flies) 
Edith Peters - This Is The Moment (Rework by Gerard Frisina) (Schema) 
Com Truise - Idle Withdrawal (Ghostly International) 
Bicep - Glue (Ninja Tune) 
Todd Terje - Jungelknugen (Four Tet Remix) (Olsen Norway) 
Jamie 326 feat Masalo - Testify (Local Talk) 
*End of 'Best of 2017'* 
 New Releases spotlight: 
Ewan Hoozazmi feat Audible One - Freedom (Mr Bird Remix) (Particle Zoo) 
Tundra - The River (Particle Zoo) 

Africa Airways Four (Disco Funk Touchdown - 1976 - 1983)

Africa Airways Four (Disco Funk Touchdown - 1976 - 1983)

Africa 7

The ever-impressive Africa 7 are regulars to this blog for good reason. The very finest sounds from Africa reissued, licensed and collected in exciting, relevant compilations is always likely to score big points over here.
The fourth installment of their Africa Airways series amps up the Disco-Funk at the expense of the Psych nuggest in episode 3, and hosts luminous figures like Tala AM, Manu Dibango and Charly Kingson alongside names less internationally known but no less exceptional if this comp is anything to go by!

Available at all good stockists - Juno here or Bandcamp here

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Barclay Crenshaw & Mad Zach - Hiroglifix (Video)

Barclay Crenshaw & Mad Zach - Hiroglifix

If Andrew Weatherall, J Dilla and Parliament met up with Sbtrkt and made a soundtrack for a bar scene in an intergalactic adventure movie, this would probably be what it sounded like. Chuck in some Zeitgeist/psy-trance style animation and you've got something rather delectable.


Stay in touch with Barclay Crenshaw by signing up to his mailer here  

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Mind-Reading Space Lasers - Xmas in Space

The Mind-Reading Space Lasers - Xmas in Space

Any DJs or party organisers out there will know the bittersweet prospect of the busiest time of year, replete with part-time party-goers and their horrendous opinions, low alcohol tolerance and slowly manifesting childhood traumas. Lots of people out and about, lots of people having fun, and lots more having a little too much fun.
Well, neutralise those pesky requesters by giving them just what they... they asked for Christmas music, right? And what's more Christmassy than Band Aid and The Snowman?

Exactly. You can thank me later.

Everyone needs to see the ridiculous videos too

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Guy One - Everything You Do, You Do For Yourself

Guy One - Everything You Do, You Do For Yourself

Guy One is Guy One because he's number one! That's what Philophon say and who are we to argue. The 'number 1 Frafra artist in the world' duly delivers a record that fulfils the hyperbole and then some. It's melodic, exquisitely composed and features some truly amazing percussion sounds. Highlife music never sounded so good!

Here's what Philophon have to say:

With the single "Everything You Do, You Do For Yourself" North-Ghanaian Kologo master Guy One opens the door to his first international release #1, which will be available end of January 2018. Guy One promises what his name is saying: he is the number one artist of Frafra music, named after his people: the Frafra. 

"Everything You Do, You Do For Yourself" is his only song having a phrase in English. Here he is following the example of his collegue and friend King Ayisoba, who introduced the use of English into Frafra music a few years ago. The beat is a driving Highlife rhythm. That's the kind of groove we all love Ghana for! 

On "Estre" we have special guest Florence Adooni, one of the leading voices of Frafra-Gospel. She is interweaving perfectly with the horn arrangements by Max Weissenfeldt, as well the drummer of the song, and gives after her part the lead to Mr. Guy One - yeah, the number one!

Bit of a wait on this - vinyl ships late January 2018, but get your pre-orders in now as I doubt it will stick around!

Boca 45 / Mohawkestra - Bear Pit

Boca 45/Mohawkestra - Bear Pit
Bomb Strikes

Bristolian beat King Boca 45 is a man who knows a thing or two about dusty breaks and 7" records. The 45 Live lynchpin has been integral to the recent revival of 45 culture, and here teams up with fellow Bristolians Mohawkestra to deliver another killer record. The A-Side, Bear Pit, references one of Bristol's infamous institutions, the Bear Pit - a place where artists, anarchists, tramps, pissheads, punks, crusties, rastas and drug dealers intersect with shoppers and office workers in the centre of Broadmead. 

Fittingly, Bear Pit oozes punch-drunk swagger, gritty funk and psychedelic swirls. Utilising the exceptional musicianship of enormously popular local live act Mohawkestra, Bear Pit delivers on many levels.
Featuring Kelvin Swaby, B-Side Round & Round feels like a blend of The Meters, The Rolling Stones and The White Stripes. Rousing, idiosyncratic and just brilliant.

Straight in at No.1 on the Funk chart, get it below

Friday, 1 December 2017

November Podcast!

CMFCP Podcast
November 2017

A collection of tracks featured on the blog (and a couple of about-to-be-featured ones)


  • 1Slipping Underby Sumsuch
  • 2Ratto Neroby MNP
  • 3Maskindansby Todd Terje feat Det Gylne Triaangel
  • 4In Another Timeby Courtney Pine feat Omar Lyfouk
  • 5Driftby Bicep
  • 6After Omegaby Long Distance Dan feat Sam Crick
  • 7Sensual Timesby Junko Ohashi
  • 8Sunrise Boulevardby Gemini Rising
  • 9Phantasmagoriaby Frenic feat Hugo Kant
  • 10Keep Swimmingby Jackson

Monday, 20 November 2017

Frenic - Initiation: Monomyth (Part 2)

Frenic - Initiation: Monomyth (Part 2)
This One Records

Neatly following our recent Concept Albums exposé, Bristolian Frenic delivers the second part of his ambitious Monomyth series, Initiation Part 2. We're treated to the chance to own this installment on a gatefold 12" LP via the popular Qrates crowd-funding model. A tantalising prospect for anyone interested in owning genuinely unusual small run pieces of audio brilliance. And you're here, so presumably, you are just such a person.

Musically, we can refer to Frenic's musical pedigree for a sense of the quality, attention to detail and depth of the fare on offer. Trip-Hop, Hip-Hop and lo-fi beats embroil the listener in a weaving, entrancing tale. If one feels they are on a journey, it's by design.
Monomyth is music set to the concept of 'A Hero with a Thousand Faces' by Joseph Campbell, in which the reader is presented with the idea that there is only one real story ever being told; a common theme that runs through all narratives. By understanding and identifying this, we can unlock the power of protagonism in our own journeys (heroic or otherwise)
Whether you wish to entertain such notions is entirely your choice - those choosing to appraise the music without existential debate will find a cohesive and satisfyingly impressive album spanning nearly 20 evocative tracks.
The Money in My Pocket single already introduced us to the sweet voice of Gracie Grey, while te other vocal collaborators, Erik Jackson and Digistep, bring markedly different styles but add shine to an already glossy package.

Your heroic journey presents you with several options to consume this feast: Stream through Apple Music, Download via Bandcamp above (on a Pay What You Want basis) or get yourself a delicious looking Gatefold LP for £15 through Qrates

Saturday, 18 November 2017

NYC Records - Hiding in the Shadows

VA - Hiding in The Shadows
NYC Records

A deadly EP from NYC Records here... all Electro vibes, classic drum machines, vintage synths and an overall aesthetic of a top-notch Miami Vice library submission. Bafflingly, the label themselves describe the music within as 'Modern Funk' which is absolutely not true. Neither modern, nor Funk, it's a curious description. There are some funky touches, but the old addage that one swallow does not a summer make rings true. Still, all that really matters is the music, which Hiding in Tthe Shadows delivers with conviction and quality.
The dedication to retro synthesis is clear, but unlike many of the current crop of revisionists, this EP eschews straight imitation and instead maintains the prerogative to craft proper songs rather than merely rehash classic tropes. 
A nice mix of styles across these 4 tracks, too. From the Prince style Electro-pop of Synthman's Nord Lead, to the suspenseful Acid vibes of Windy City's, er, Windy City. Kozmik Funk delivers a slow groover while Synthman's first effort steals the show, the slow-but-dancefloor-friendly fun of Synths in the Jungle, which sounds like a theme tune for a short-lived 1986 cop show called Palm Springs Police Squad. Or something.
These songs could all be by the same artist and one wouldn't be able to tell, which leads me to wonder if they have a time-share scheme on the same expensive synth collection. Speculation aside, this is a cracking little EP from a label I'll be paying close attention to from now on. Go get it on 12" or digi here

Saturday, 11 November 2017

‘The Library Archive’ Compiled by Mr Thing & Chris Read

The Library Archive - Compiled by Mr Thing & Chris Read


Join two of BBE’s most prolific artists and compilers, Mr Thing & Chris Read on a voyage into the mysterious, strange and wonderful world of Library Music, courtesy of Cavendish Music. Founded in 1937 and originally known as Boosey & Hawkes Recorded Music Library, Cavendish Music is the largest independent Library Music publisher in the UK and also represents a host of music catalogues across the globe.

During the Library Music heyday of the 60s and 70s, thousands of original instrumental tracks were produced across a broad range of genres for companies like Cavendish, who then created vinyl and tape collections, often arranged by theme or mood, for their customers in radio, television and film. Cult British TV shows such as The Sweeney and The Professionals as well as documentaries and feature films relied heavily on these catalogues, and companies like KPM, De Wolfe and Boosey & Hawkes went a long way toward defining the sound of British popular culture at the time.
Never commercially available, music created for these libraries that never made it to the promised land of TV or Radio was destined to languish in Cavendish Music’s vast London vault; only recently unearthed by a new generation of DJs and producers searching for rare gems or a perfect sample.
Mr Thing & Chris Read were first invited to examine the contents of the Cavendish Music archive in 2014 as part of WhoSampled’s ‘Samplethon’ event in which producers created new tracks against the clock using sample material mined from the catalogue. Whilst digging through box upon box of records and tapes looking for interesting sounds, the pair also discovered a host of 70s library music which has not only stood the test of time, but deserves to be heard in its original form.
From dramatic big band numbers reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin’s film scores to atmospheric proto-hip hop instrumentals produced before the genre’s existence, right through to fairly straightforward jazz and funk cuts; this amazing collection of music is sure to inspire and delight DJs and beat-makers the world over.”

Ewan Hoozami - Safari Strut feat Audible One (Video)

Ewan Hoozami - Safari Strut feat Audible One 
Particle Zoo

We'll be making a bit of noise about this over the next few weeks, which definitely breaks the Bloggers Code (Section 13B: Don't blog your own music if you're a music blog)

In an effort to maintain a charade of journalistic impartiality we'll just not say anything about it and let you decide if this utterly brilliant slice of party-starting Funk/Rap is for you or not.

Totally impartial, see?

Taken from the forthcoming Remedy the Blues EP on Particle Zoo. More on that soon.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Dream Division - Mosura

Dream Division - Mosura
Polytechnic Youth

All analog John Carpenter-esque Synthwave from Dream Division, who get their first vinyl press thanks to the good folks at Polytechnic Youth. It's revivalist and thus not the most original music, but among the soft-synth copyists going for this sound, Mosura has a convincing air of authenticity. Sonically, the 4 tracks feel more like a soundtrack than an EP, which is not a criticism. Don't expect catchy, Kavinsky-style hooks. Do expect grainy, biting synths oscillating eerily over pulsing, simple rhythms that will have you playing out laser fights and flying car chases in your mind's eye.

Available on cassette from the band's Bandcamp, or 7" through Polytechnic Youth. Which brings me to Polytechnic Youth's rather curious (and effective) model of delivery. A combination of email, Twitter and Facebook updates lead up to a chronologically precise launch time - usually 9pm GMT - at which point said record goes becomes available in a quantity of precisely 111, usually with some sort of hand-stamping, limited edition signature, lathe-cut or other collectible feature. These puppies then sell out within hours to a clearly devoted and satisfied customer base. It's the sort of brand loyalty any company would kill for and must have been exquisitely cultivated in today's ultra-competitive landscape. 
The label also stock through regular outlets on longer run presses, but these collectible launches are particularly eye-catching.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand... with Blade Runner 2049 and Halloween in the same month, Dream Division have a record that neatly joins the dots between the two. I'd muster more enthusiasm if I weren't so jet-lagged. Just buy it.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Galaxians - Let The Rhythm In

Galaxians - Let The Rhythm In
Dither Down US

Sounding exactly like the 80s thought the 2020 would sound like, Galaxians release ther debut LP Let the Rhythm In on Dither Down. Only the 80s actually recorded what they thought 2020 would sound like, and in so doing meant that 2020 had a heads up and would actually sound more like Justin Bieber. Funny old world.
Anyway, it's a cracking album, all power vocals vocals and staccato synths punctuating drum machine-led rhythms and swirly bloops and bleeps. Lovely.

Buy here from Juno (other stockists exist)

The Top 10 Concept Albums of The Millenium

Curious Music for Curious People's 
Top 10* Concept Albums of the Millenium

*11 actually

As far as narrative/structural crutches are concerned, concept albums don't have the best reputation. Though steeped in a tradition harking back to the 40's dust bowl ballads and incorporating some fine, drug-fuelled psychedelia throughout the 60's and early 70's, the idea has now become more synonymous with a certain level of arrogant pretension. The propagation of Prog-rock led to bloated, cringeworthy efforts by The Who and 10cc - whose 1977 side-project album Consequences, featuring a drunk Peter Cook with a penchant for rambling monologues, might well have sounded the death knell for the whole movement. 

Jump forward 40 years however, and we find ourselves with something of a conceptual resurgence. A reaction, perhaps, to the limitations of digital streaming and MP3 culture - the last decade has seen a plethora of epic albums tied to increasingly outlandish themes, a narrative crossing continent and genre alike. Here at CMFCP, we give you a run down of some of the best of these gems - albums that, though steeped in no small degree of pretension and cheese, offer up some of the boldest, uncompromising music of the 21st century.

So fire up your pretension-meter and behold the 10 (11) Greatest Concept Albums of The Millenium:

11. Land Of Kush - Against The Day (2009)

Sam Shalabi has been doing his cross-continental avant-jazz thing forever now, but it was on the first Land of Kush record that we received the first, and arguably greatest, example of his large-scale compositional chops. Amassing no less than 28 musicians from the Vancouver music scene (including members of Godspeed You Black Emperor, Esmerine, Cobra Noir, and Marie Davidson, to name but a few) and paid for by the Canadian government, Land of Kush is an ambitious project in both music and scope. Paying homage to the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, Against the Day mixes epic post-rock sensibilities with Drone, Jazz and authentic Arabic voicing (Shalabi being of Egyptian descent). Not always an easy record, it melds long-sections of free-form brass and electronics with more sensible Post-Jazz numbers, and comes wrapped up in some for the most garish/wonderful screen-printed covers ever experienced.

10. Voyag3r - Are You Synthetic? (2016)

I'm not really sure why this counts as a concept album, but the albums blurb proclaims it to be one, so who am I to argue. Are You Synthetic? Is one of those albums whose title and cover immediately divulges every aspect of the music contained within, and a mere glance at the electrified space-portal figure on the cover immediately conjures up images of exactly the brand of retro synth-wave that Voyag3r specialise in. Given the omnipresence of this sort of music these days, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Voyag3r stand out, but, much like the recent John Carpenter albums, the utilisation of actual drums and guitars alongside the prerequisite synthesisers helps the band to forge something more organic and lively than most of their peers. Not particularly big, and certainly not that clever, Voyag3r succeed not by advancing an existing formula, but sticking dogmatically to one, creating in the process a soundtrack to any one of a thousand cheesy science fiction movies, a sound world laced with generous portions of charm, even where it lacks originality.

9. Antonia Luerkers - Hasenlove (2008)

Described by its record label as a piece of 'meta-scientific research of hares and related social, zoological and aesthetical phenomena', inspired by foreign travel guides, and sounding an awful lot like a woman pretending to be a rabbit over children's nursery rhymes and abstract techno, Hasenlove is nothing if not unusual. Limited to 300 copies on a one-sided etched picture disc, this record is a great example of a predominantly visual artist working momentarily in sound - a cycle of songs that, if not quite working in a traditional musical sense, provide enough beguiling aesthetic interest to more than warrant their existence. It may be hard to imagine the conditions under which you want to actually listen to the record - despite its humour it is certainly more of a soundtrack to an art gallery than it is a house party - but once you do, Hasenlove reveals a surprisingly delicate take on otherwise obscure material.

8. The Majesticons - Beauty Party (2003)

The middle part of Mike Ladd’s Hip-Hop (sort of) trilogy, Majesticons tells the tale of the bling-obsessed antagonists to the story’s heroes, The Infesticons. Whilst the Infesticons are framed by Ladd’s more typical left field, Anticon/Lex vibe, The Majesticons invoke the most base, sleazy, mainstream-aping RnB and party-starting Hip-Hop - resulting in something that is as much an advancement of genre as it is a pastiche of one.  Orientated around a cover of the Pet Shop Boys Opportunities (let’s make lots of money), the album pushes contemporary RnB's vocal tropes to near breaking point, making particular good use of a plethora of female vocalists. It's hard to know if the joke was on the DJs spinning jams such as Piranha Party in ultra-hip clubs in 2003/4, but, parody or not, Ladd's creative abandon and 'fuck it all' attitude translated exceptionally well to the dancefloor, and almost certainly influenced the likes of Diplo and Major Lazer - who would go on to expand on the sound and turn it from pop-pastiche to post-ironic pop smash.

7. Fall of Efrafa - Warren of Snares (2010)

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you actually realised those great ideas devised down the pub with your mates, instead of forgetting all about them once the reality of the morning hangover kicks in? Fall of Effrafa answer just that question, with their awesomely specific/completely bonkers career. Formed and named by a group of vegans indebted to the singular notion of creating an experimental Crust-Punk retelling of Richard Adams' classic Watership Down, the band constructed a trilogy of rabbit themed albums (plus an additional remix project) incorporating authentic lapine linguistics (the language of Adams' fictional bunnies), before breaking up immediately once the project was complete. If the idea of listening to several hours of grown men screaming about rabbit torture ("Warren!!!!") doesn't immediately float your boat, then the sheer scope of the project should be enough to warrant a listen - a Post-Metal triumph incorporating a string section, Richard Dawkins quotes and, in the case of the vinyl box set that concluded the project, several recycled card prints of related artwork and a metal statuette of a rabbits skull.

6. Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz (2010)

Sufjan Stevens is no stranger to the concept album, having once threatened to write a dedicated album for each American state (he only made it as far as Michigan and Illinois), created a song-cycle reflecting the Chinese zodiac, and being commissioned to undertake a symphonic exploration of the Brooklyn-Queens expressway.  With Age of Adz, Stevens channels all of this conceptual potential into an album that finally reflects his thematic ideals - a brilliant, bloated effort that seamlessly incorporates folk, electronic, glitch, synth-pop, hip-hop and indie, without ever sounding forced or trite.  Centred around a recent viral infection and subsequent discovery of the artwork of self-proclaimed prophet Royal Robertson, the album explores themes of love, death, sickness and suicide, staying remarkably cheery throughout. And if you think all this sounds a bit niche, Stevens wraps all this up in some of the most poppy hooks of his career to date, resulting in a modern masterpiece that has been described as both an 'epic train wreck' and as containing "more engaging ideas than most artists could muster in a career". It's also edged it's way onto another masterpiece of the last few years, having been sampled by Kendrick Lamar in his own pseudo-concept album 'To Pimp a Butterfly'.

5. Direct Hit - Wasted Mind (2016)

For every genre, there exists a band who have tried to almost single-handedly destroy it. For hip-hop that band was Black Eyed Peas. For American folk, it was Bob Dylan. And for pop-punk, Blink 182. Such is the omnipresence of these artists that they serve to redefine the contours of their movement, taking what was once charming, authentic expressions of a given community, and replacing it with a sanitised, two-dimensional, cartoon version thereof.  With this in mind, it is impossible to listen to Direct Hit's Wasted Mind without hearing the echo of Blink 182- yet to write them off as mere pop-punk emulators is to miss the snotty charm of the record. Each song crafts a unique identity that corresponds to stages of drug use/abuse, from the euphoric clarity of the hit to the sickening cum-down that follows, and exploring themes of dependency, paranoia and ill-health, with the whole thing tied together by an energy rarely encountered in the genre since NoFX's 1992 masterpiece, White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean.  If anything, Direct Hit owe far more to early NoFX than they do to the likes of Blink or Green Day - a musicality and technique that is carefully buried beneath its relentless pace and questionable vocal delivery, and themes far darker than the comedy masturbation of their peers. Indeed, few bands would dare speak so candidly about heroin use as Direct Hit manage, framing their obvious love of illicit substances in a way that both promotes and critiques substance abuse in equal measure.

4. Seamen and the Tattered Sail - Light Folds (2013)

A collaborative concept album by two artists who have a habit of embarking upon marine-based projects, namely Craig Tattersall (The Boats) and Bill Seaman (Attsea, SEA).  Much like the body of water upon which it is based, this is a vast, meandering offering, clocking in at some seven hours of crackling loops, wistful pianos and melancholy brass, replete with art-prints, a DVD and housed, of all things, in a bin bag. The album is, above all else, beautiful, comprised of the sort of Neo-Classical murkiness your mum would like if it were found on the soundtrack of Broadchurch, but extended to such lengths that the whole thing comes across as a far more dream-like, abstract affair in its totality. Indeed, there is precious little memorable about this music, and therein lies its charm - like the sea itself, it is an encompassing, evolving mass of similar but superbly rich and nuanced textures.

3. Alan Jefferson - Galactic Nightmare (2014 re-release)

Originally written between 1979-1985, and only available at the time via an advert placed at the back of computer magazines, Galactic Nightmares is one of those ideas that works precisely because it is so flawed. A sort of crap, northern retelling of The War of the Worlds, Jefferson wields cheap drum machines and cheesy synths to present a story that, I think, has something to do with a weary space traveller whose ship crashes amid a world of strange and exotic space creatures. Jefferson is by no means the best orator, and therein lies the charm - his lacklustre description of his crew mates being killed off one by one, punctuated by ridiculous synthetic bird noises and porn-film synths is quite something to behold. Recorded alone in his Hull bedroom, Jefferson plays all the parts himself, with many of the characters breaking into impromptu song with the same, badly out-of-tune voice. Particular highlights include an abducted spaceman from Yorkshire singing a song about dramatically aging overnight, and a rebel alien (also from Yorkshire) whose race has been corrupted by a video-ad promising them immortality - "it's a biological breakthrough, not just for you but for the family too!".

2. The Ocean Collective - Heliocentric / Anthrocentric (2010)

Starting any album with the words "and God said…" suggests a level of pretension that should well start alarm bells ringing in any normal circumstance, but when said lyric arrive as part of a double album of Art-Metal documenting the rise of the heliocentric worldview, quotes Dostoyevsky, and comes on an intricately etched vinyl complete with a 3D interactive map of the solar system then you are inclined to give the artist a break. I'm not even sure it's that good an album - it's horribly cheesy for a start - but the sheer and untamable grandeur of the enterprise makes for a compelling, if occasionally cringeworthy, listen. That said, if you're feeling in the mood for some theologically inspired Euro-Metal, then tracks such as the wonderfully blunt The Origin of Species / The origin of God are unparalleled in their Chris De Burgh-like Biblical ambition. Amid all the blast-beats and distorted guitars there's even a reverb-drenched sax solo, something of which Mr De Burgh would no doubt thoroughly approve.

1. The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love (2009)

The Hazards of Love risks falling into the 'Rock Opera' category, but it's relationship to the classical form has more to do with its intricate, movement-orientated composition than it does any faux-Wagnerian opulence. In essence a inter-species love story not entirely dissimilar to A Midsummers Nights Dream, the album is comprised of a surprisingly limited number of riffs, hook and vocal refrains, which are transposed and repeated over one another throughout, creating a level of self-reference and narrative growth that rock music usually eschews in favour of a standardised verse-chorus dynamic. I'm not sure how well this sort of thing goes down with your average indie-folk fan, but for me this is the Decemberists crowning achievement. Every moment of this epic tale is encapsulated in a unified, wonderfully rendered aesthetic, building from slow, Olde Folk ballads to something that borders on early Cream, and the constant reframing of riffs and lyrics builds to an holy climax at the albums apex, the bitterly remorseful The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid, replete with its pained, antagonistic chorus: "I made you, I wrought you, I pulled you, from Ore I laboured you, from cancer I cradled you, and now, this is how I am repaid". An unrelentingly beautiful album that, like any good concept album, only really makes sense when listened to as a whole.

And there you have it - CMFCP's Top 10 (11) Concept Albums of the Millenium. Think we missed one? Drop a comment with your suggestions. 

Until next time, brave audio adventurers. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Mr Bongo Record Club - Volume 2

Mr Bongo Record Club - Volume 2
Mr Bongo

As far as feverishly anticipated follow ups go, Mr Bongo's sophomore Record Club release is up there with Stranger Things, Blade Runner and the next round of charges to be levelled at the Drumpf administration.
Speaking of feverish, what better word to describe Elbernita 'Zwinkie' Star's Awake O Zion, an Afro-tinged Disco juggernaut that sets the tone for a right old party. That's just what is in store here, 14 tracks (or 18 if you cop the CD version) of infectious African and Latin grooves and rump-rattling rumpus, all influenced by the global Disco phenomenon that swept the globe around the time of these recordings.
Volume One sold out in minutes and was picked by Lauren Laverne as her album of the day on 6 Music. This time round, we've got even more Disco and Soul in favour of a few more traditional sounds, which is marvellous news for anyone throwing a dancing party. 
Highlights are many but Kiru Stars (Julius Kang’ethe) by Family Planning is sublime, while Dee Edwards' Put Your Love On the Line stands out, not only as the only American track featured, but as a bona fide stomper. Elias Rahbani And His Orchestra's Liza… Liza is also particularly curious - is it Bollywood? Genuinely not sure. Anyway, it's all bloody brilliant, go buy.

TRACKLIST (VINYL 2-LP): A1. Elbernita ‘twinkie’ Clark – Awake O Zion (full length, original version) / A2. Dee Edwards – Put Your Love On The Line / A3. Anubis – Ecology / B1. Guy Cuevas – Ebony Game / B2. Kiru Stars (Julius Kang’ethe) – Family Planning / B3. Teaspoon & The Waves – Oh Yeh Soweto / C1. Leny Andrade – Não Adianta / C2. Rosa Maria – Samba Maneiro / C3. Tom & Dito – Obrigado Corcovado / C4. Inezita Barroso – Maracatu Elegante / C5. Joao Diaz – Capoeira / C6. The Equatics – Merry Go Round / D1. Elias Rahbani And His Orchestra – Liza… Liza / D2. The Beaters – Harari
TRACKLIST, (CD): 1. Luiz Henrique – Mas Que Nada / 2. Elbernita ‘twinkie’ Clark – Awake O Zion / 3. Guy Cuevas – Ebony Game / 4. Kiru Stars (Julius Kang’ethe) – Family Planning / 5. Kelenkye Band – Jungle Music / 6. Effi Duke & The Love Family – The Time Is Come / 7. Anubis – Ecology / 8. Dee Edwards – Put Your Love On The Line / 9. Teaspoon & The Waves – Oh Yeh Soweto / 10. Oby Onyioha – Enjoy Your Life / 11. Leny Andrade – Não Adianta / 12. Rosa Maria – Samba Maneiro / 13. Tom & Dito – Obrigado Corcovado / 14. Inezita Barroso – Maracatu Elegante / 15. Joao Diaz – Capoeira / 16. Elias Rahbani And His Orchestra – Liza… Liza / 17. The Beaters – Harari / 18. The Equatics – Merry Go Round