Review: Lewis' gentle and bewitching L'Amour, which came complete with a bizarre backstory involving the disappearance of the blonde-haired would-be-matinee-idol on its sleeve, was one of the surprise delights of the year. Yet the release of the hitherto unsuspected follow-up Romantic Times, which was originally recorded in 1985, only adds to the mystique surrounding this off-kilter auteur. The abstract croon and expressionistic mood may remain, yet the pastel shades and beachside calm of his earlier effort are gone, replaced by brooding atmosphere and vocals that betray a troubled soul beneath the luxurious veneer. Residing somewhere between lounge lizard thrills and outsider art chills, Romantic Times is a portrait of a true one-off.
Review: You might recognize Erasmo Carlos from the infamous Roberto E Erasmo Carlos outfit, the two-piece band that he was part of with his long-time collaborator, Roberto Carlos. Known as one of Rio De Janeiro's musical legends, Erasmo has put out an innumerable amount of music throughout his career, the majority of which has come out for titanic labels such as Polydor. To that point, Erasmo's music is is also part of the much coveted 'latin jazz' sound from collectors like Joe Davis or Gilles Peterson, who have contributed to the diffusion of the genre's popularity in the UK. Carlos, Erasmo is his 1971 LP, and it's every bit as fresh and zesty as we'd left it. If you're into the sounds of other aritsts like Marcos Valle, then this will undoubtedly please your every sense, thanks to a sweet combination of placid funk, psyched-out pop, and gentle swarms of jazzy instrumentation. Excellent.
Review: Once again displaying the Light In The Attic's label's uncanny ability to unveil fine work from deep within the realms of the long-forgotten, this second release of home recordings from two young pop hopefuls from rural Washington, dating from a later period than the earlier Dreamin' Wild, is another treasure-trove of wide-eyed charm and hook-filled buoyancy, created on a budget. Setting out a charming journey on the space-time continuum from the ghosts of Kenny Loggins to twenty-first century acts such as The Drums, this is a strange and infectious document of eternally youthful radio-pop suss.
Review: Re-issue of this underground classic for those that know! Originally released in 1983, Lifetones comprised of duo Charles Bullen and Julius Cornelius Samuel. Bullen was previously in short lived but seminal art rock outfit This Heat and drummer Samuel was also known in some circles as Dub Judah. Hailed by many as an influential and innovative project, the band fuses dub, krautrock, middle eastern and post punk aesthetics interestingly on this Zeitgeist/soundtrack for early 80's Thatcherite Britain and the struggles of youth in Brixton in the face of economic adversity.
Review: The Saturday Knights are a culmination of three freaks, a jaw-jacking combination of performing personalities: storyteller and entertainer Tilson, who can tickle any lady's funny bone; low-income yarn spinner and urban graffiti poet Barfly; and pumped up by the big beats and psychedelic turntable-artist, DJ Suspence.
Review: U.S label Light In The Attic has previously served up compilations exploring various Japanese takes on Western music, most notably folk, rock, ambient and new age. Here they switch tack, curating a brilliant double-album set that showcases the best Japanese synth-pop, AOR and boogie recorded between 1976 and '86. The quality threshold remains impressively high throughout, from the blue-eyed-soul breeze of Taeko Ohnuki's "Kusuri Wo Takusan" and the Chaz Jankel-meets-Thompson Twins style throb of Haruomi Hosono's "Sports Men", to the talkbox-sporting late night AOR-pop flex's Hiroshi Satoh's "Say Goodbye" and the glistening, Latin-influenced jazz-funk brilliance of Masayoshi Takanaka's steel pan-sporting "Bamboo Vender".
Ralph Lundsten - "Bon 5 - Forlat Oss Vara Skulder = Prayer 5 - Forgive Us Our Debts" (4:50)
Ralph Lundsten - "Le Sourire Vole" (5:49)
Popol Vuh - "Bruder Des Schattens - Sohne Des Lichts (Abridged)" (14:22)
Ariel Kalma - "Orguitar Soir" (9:15)
Bernard Xolotl - "Cometary Wailing (Valley Plateau)" (12:47)
Peter Michael Hamel - "Einklang" (10:03)
Francesco Messina - "Track 8" (7:31)
Roedelius - "Wenn Der Südwind Weht" (4:09)
Deutsche Wertarbeit - "Der Grosse Atem" (9:50)
Robert Julian Horky - "Dance For A Warrior" (8:05)
Karl Schaffner & Lothar Grimm - "Caravan" (3:11)
Suzanne Doucet & Christian Buehner - "Shiva's Dance" (9:22)
Enno Velthuys - "Morning Glory" (10:01)
Deuter - "Spirales" (6:30)
Gigi Masin - "Ship Beetel" (5:57)
Review: The Microcosm: Visionary Music Of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 presents works from 'cosmically-taped' artists; legends like Vangelis, Ash Ra Tempel, and Popol Vuh through to more obscure names in the form of Bernard Xolotl, Robert Julian Horky and Enno Velthuys. According to Washington State label Light In The Attic, the compilation aspires to present these these works of "ambient, new age, neuzeit, prog, krautrock, cosmic, holistic stuff, whatever one calls it - as a pulsating movement unto itself", and they've done a fine job of that when you hear how well curated this album really is. From major label recordings through to limited obscure cassette editions, it unearths some truly captivating and oddly inspiring gems from beatless electronic music's recent past.