Based high up in the Japanese mountains, Dr. Rob runs the Ban Ban Ton Ton music blog / website, and writes for Faith Fanzine and Electronic Sound. He has a long running local FM radio show, The Remedy, and is also part of Music For Dreams Radio`s weekly roster. “Live”, he is a member of Tokyo`s Lone Star crew.
Eblen Macari – Arce – Silent River Runs Deep – 2021
Amazing acoustic acrobatics from Mexican guitarist / composer Eblen Macari. Canada`s Seance Centre reissued his 1987 LP, Música Para Planetarios, a little while back, and last year Japan’s Silent River Runs Deep, with assistance from Kuniyuki Takahashi, remastered 1997`s Ambar for vinyl. While Música Para Planetarios captured a performance for guitars, synths, percussion, and choir, Ambar leaves Eblen`s 6-strings largely unadorned. The playing elegant and emotive, delicately dancing somewhere between Pat Metheny`s ECM stuff – Au Lait, Sueno Con Mexico – and Paco de Lucia`s fiery flamenco flame.
Sebastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (Session) – Record Makers – 2021
That piano riff plays and my life sorta flashes before me. It`s a huge nostalgic cue. Championed by Moonboots at Manchester’s Aficionado, where it became an anthem, I put La Ritournelle on mixtapes that I made for everyone I knew. All of them called – or texted – stopped in their tracks the moment they heard it. Consequently it carries a whole lot of personal cache. It reminds me – big time – of my last few months in the UK, the tangled mess I managed to “weave” before I flew.
Originally released in 2003, how on Earth did they get Tony Allen on drums? This version is taken from acoustic sessions, issued on CD in 2006. I first heard it on a Phil Mison mix. Last year it finally got pressed to vinyl.
Caribou – Stevie – Trad Vibe – 2021
Groovy French jazz-funk / fusion released in 1977 by Alain Mion of Cortex – the folks behind the classic Mary et Jeff. This is the kind of gear that I`d expect my Mind Fair mates – Dean Meredith and Ben Shenton – to discover / uncover and spin on their Rotation Sound System. Just like the Nino And Radiah album they turned me onto.
Bunny Scott – Kinky Fly – Freestyle – 2021
A buzzing, fuzzed, Lee Scratch Perry production from 1975 – that sounds as if the whole backing track has been bounced down through a Blaxploitation score wah-wah pedal. Recently pressed on 7” by Freestyle, it`s taken from the album, To Love Somebody, which also features the classic, What’s The Use?
Mutabaruka, I Rainy, Simbad – Catch, Loot, Steal – Rainy City Music – 2022
A mix of modern dub and deep house from Manchester’s Rainy City Music crew. Some serious skanking, with melodica, and poetry from the mighty Mutabaruka – of Dis Poem fame.
Lydia Tomkiw – Hot June Evening – Bureau B – 2021
Poetry of a different kind, but still sorta dub. Chicago poet, Lydia Tomkiw, with cut of meditative, marimba`d, very classy cold wave ambience – culled from Toulouse Low Trax`s super cool, Bureau B, Kiosque Of Arrows 2 comp.
Cocteau Twins – Three Swept – Fontana -1993
The B-side to the 1993 single, Bluebeard – an outtake from the sessions for the LP, Four Calendar Cafe. Kinda rare, and a Phil Mison Cafe del Mar spin, this a characteristic Cocteaus breathless loved-up float. Their`s is an inspirational sound, often aped but never quite equalled. Like the Durutti Column record I mentioned last time (Fidelity), this is a little more electronic than their earlier stuff.
Janko Nilovic – Drug Song – P Vine – 2021
If you’re a vinyl fan / fiend then one of the (many) perks of living in Japan, is that Japanese labels, like P-Vine, are in the habit of regularly pressing hard-to-find classic soul and jazz cuts onto bespoke 45s. This is a fairly recent example – wicked wah-wah-ed flute-driven funk – lifted from the 1975 LP, Soul Impressions. Janko was born in Turkey, but is based in France. His Xenos Cosmos is also a scorcher.
Large Plants – La Isla Bonita – Ghost Box – 2021
A heavy rock romp, Black Sabbath-esque thrash, through Madonna’s 1987 pop smash, La Isla Bonita. In stark contrast with not only the OG`s Balearic-isms, but also the label, Ghost Box`s usual electronic, hauntological, output. It sounds like it could have been lifted from Dominic Thomas` dynamite Dreams Of San Antonio comp, and is the very opposite of The Cardigans covering Ozzy Osbourne`s Mr. Crowley.
Johnny Clarke – Warrior – Tuff Scout – 2022
A previously unreleased vocal cut of Aswad`s anthem, Warrior Charge, produced by Mad Professor. The OG is such a South London youth club classic / call to arms / soundtrack to SUS laws and resulting race riots that initially I wasn’t sure about this new version. However, it`s really grown on me and is actually a cracking “cover”. Perhaps lacking a little of the anger and the dread but still deep and boasting a super nice dubbed-out second half, plus a cool trombone solo.
Wendell Harrison & Phil Ranelin – What We Need – P Vine
P-Vine shine again by pressing Wendell Harrison & Phil Ranelin`s What We Need on a 45. Taken from their 1972 album, Message From The Tribe, it`s a chilled conscious, cooking, Civil Rights, groove. It`s both sad and absolutely mind-blowing that 50 years later the song`s sentiments are still relevant today. Also check Wendell’s Peace Of Mind, and Phil`s Vibes From The Tribe.
Syl & Brenda Johnson – All I Need Is Someone Like You – Grapevine – 2003
Legendary Deep South singer, Syl Johnson, sadly passed away on February 6. His 1967 track, Different Strokes, is one of the most sampled breaks in hip hop, but this is proper “Balearic back room / acid house afters” soul. I’ve no idea when it was recorded, but it was released in 2003.
Lars Bartkuhn – I Meditate Every Morning – Rush Hour – 2021
Lars Bartkuhn was part of house trio Needs – whose music from the turn of the millennium to mid-2000s, coincidently, is lined up to be reissued. Solo he recorded the marvelous Massai, for Utopia, in 2017. Teaming up with Jan Henning in 2020, he went ambient adventuring on The First Minute Of A New Day for Seance Centre. I Meditate Every Morning pops and percolates, mid-tempo`d and totally modern, but invoking the vibe of a mid-80s White Isle sunset / sunrise. Cosmic jazz-funk, like the offspring of, say, Herb Alpert`s Rise or Rotation. Buff with birdsong and with a pinch of La Ritournelle-esque piano.
For more musical musings, from Rob, Balearic Mike, Dennis Kane, Cal Gibson, and house music expert, The Insider, please visit Ban Ban Ton Ton.