Dr Rob writes an extremely good blog called Ban Ban Ton Ton, he’s also a music fanatic and a rather good DJ. Here’s what he said about this exclusive guest mix that he did for us here at the Chill Out Tent:
‘These are all records that I pulled from the shelves, for a gig, DJing between artists at an ambient event held in Tokyo at the start of December. Musicmine and Mental Groove, Japanese and Swiss labels, respectively, co-hosted the show, at Galaxy Gingakei, in Shibuya, which acted as a launch party for Ayane Shino`s sublime album, Sakura. The evening featured amazing sets and performances from Ayane, Chillax, Takashi Kokubo, and Inoyamaland
Huge thanks to Rob for putting this beauty together for us.
Popol Vuh – The Garden Morya – Soul Jazz – 2015 Over the last couple of years I`ve been sent a fair amount of slightly darker dance music to review – a lot of it marrying house and motorik. On the blog / site I’ve been collecting it together under the banner, Funky Alternatives – named in tribute to a series of influential compilations that came out in the `80s. The new tracks got me revisiting my old kosmische gear, searching for psychedelic, ambient – looking for pieces that I could play alongside them, to open sets. The Garden Morya is all sighing symphonic synths, and sampled, in this case I think field recorded, Tibetan chant. It`s taken from the soundtrack to Florian Fricke`s film, Kailash – Pilgrimage To The Throne Of Gods (Pilgerfahrt zum Thron der Götter), committed to tape in the early 90s, but unreleased until Soul Jazz rescued it in 2015.
Pablo Color & Lexx – Aire Nocturno – Ish – 2021 I received the promo files for Pablo Color`s latest LP, Hora Azul, quite a way in advance. It sounded so fab that I made notes on it there and then, but when I emailed Michel at the label, Ish, he told me to hold off until autumn with the review. So I put the notes away for the summer. Come October, Michel then messaged me and said, “Hey Rob, that review you’ve got, can we use it on our Bandcamp page?” Now my handwriting`s well shoddy and I had to decipher, and try to make sense of, those notes sharpish. In the rush I accidentally left Lexx off the credits, so I’m including Aire Nocturno, a cracking collaboration between Pablo and Lexx, partly as an apology. Totally “ambient”, it`s a serene sonic shimmer of tremolo sustain. A musical mirage, an aural heat haze, a little bit Jon Hassell-y.
Steven Legget – Swivel – Firecracker – 2018 Andrew Weatherall and his Music’s Not For Everyone NTS radio shows brought me here. Taken from Steven Legget`s beautiful LP, Bathhouse, released on the now sadly defunct Firecracker label, this is built, I think, from treated bass-strings – made to sound like a marimba. Laura Reid`s melancholy cello melody constantly trying to break through. I`d hazard a guess that Steven`s spent some time dabbling with dub techno, and the tune reminds me a lot of his work with Robert Burroughs as Four Hands. This is fairly rare, but I sold a few records, and treated myself. Discos Paradiso in Barcelona sorted me out.
The Cinematic Orchestra – Breathe (Susumu Yokota Remix) – Ninja Tune – 2008 Crackling away, this is an old, dusty, well-loved 12. Susumu Yokota reduces The Cinematic Orchestra to vapour, leaving the sad, jazz / blues vocal a near, almost, acapella. Released over a decade ago, I dug this out in order to align my mind, in preparation for penning some sleeve notes. Lo Recordings have a Susumu reissue planned. A big thank you to Jon Tye for asking me to be involved.
The Grid – Planet Of Blue – Apollo – 1993 Interviewing Richard Norris, from The Grid, was a dream come true. He has so many stories, and such a deep musical knowledge, particularly of all things psychedelic. When I spoke to him about collaborating with singer, Billie Ray Martin – jokingly asking him if Your Loving Arms had made him a millionaire – he mentioned that the sublime, understated, Planet Of Blue, taken from 1993`s 4 Ambient Tales, is his favourite of the things he penned and produced with the famous electronica diva. The legendary BJ Cole provides pedal steel.
Idee Du Femelle – The Sea In Winter – Musica Maquina – 2021 Born in Barcelona, and rescued from an `80s cassette, Idee Du Femelle`s Sequences is the inaugural release on Oriol Riverola aka John Talabot`s new label, Musica Maquina. While the album`s got some great slightly darker moments – see Come Back To Bali – this track, The Sea In Winter, is part classic new age, and part the output of Klaus Schulze`s Innovative Communication imprint. The choirs of computerized sighs and Fairlight fanfares also remind me of Eno`s An Ending (Ascent), and Jack Nitzsche`s much-loved score for John Carpenter`s Starman. I`m not sure if the seagulls are samples, or sine waves.
MLO – Wimbourne – Music From Memory – 2021 Time for another big thank you to Seahawks Jon Tye. When the mighty Music From Memory took a trip through the “ambient techno” archives of MLO – one of the many outfits that Jon was in way before partnering with Pete Fowler – Mr. Tye suggested that I write the liner. It was such a pleasure to spend so much time with so much great music, which, while previous unreleased, wasn’t totally unfamiliar – taking me back to the daze when I`d be a regular (nuisance?) in “specialist” stores like FatCat and Big Apple. Wimbourne is one of my favourites on the retrospective, Oumuamua – and its very much a mix of two halves. Starting out as highly synthetically strung, serene, sunrise gear, with sequences twinkling like the first refracted rays of dawn, its keys gradually take on a more organic, organ-like tone, while a beatific live bass-line begins to make its presence felt – its melody rising and falling in a hushed lullaby. There’s a ton of terrific MLO material that’s yet to see the light of day – Jon sent me a couple of twenty minute-long tracks to help me tune-in – so, fingers crossed, there’ll be a Volume II.
Stina Nordenstam – Little Star (B-Zet Remix) – Eastwest – 1994 On the anniversary of Jose Padilla`s passing I published a beautiful essay that a friend, Lilac Camel, had written about his memories of Jose and the Cafe del Mar. In it he mentions two fairly rare records. This was the first, Stina Nordenstam`s Little Star, remixed by Sven Väth`s mate, and sometime studio partner, B-Zet. Musically it`s not so much a song, as a fragile vocal surrounded by similarly ethereal instrumental whispers, the sound of cosmic comet tails. Icelandic, and perhaps an attempt to jump on the Bjork bandwagon, a section in latin further enhances its prayer-like properties.
Woob – Wuub – Styrax – 2016 This was the second Lilac Camel “drop”. Released on CD, on UK label em:t in 1994, it was a sunset staple of Jose`s. German imprint, Styrax later reissued it on vinyl in 2016. Sampled dialogue, I think from the `70s horror movie, Night Of Dark Shadows, and reverb-ed tribal cries ride a slow, tabla-like rhythm, which breaks down after about 5, 6, minutes to reveal treated and looped strings. These then build to a sort of orchestral roar, a la The Beatles` Revolution #9, before hitting a final fade. LC called it kinda spiritual, and I have to agree. There’s something about it that’s hyper hypnotic. Introspective and instantly inner space trance-inducing stuff. ‘