Hatchback - Colours Of The Sun (Lo Recordings)
Music like this and that of the Scandolearic Dons could only be made by the sea. Whether it's Samuel Milton Grawe aka Hatchback's California or Rune Lindbaek's Norway, there's the feeling of open expanses and salt air and - yawn - space! Lots of space, space inbetween the spaces, both physical and spiritual. Endless horizons and miles of desolate shoreline. After being The Sorcerer's apprentice for a while, Quick Draw McGrawe has emerged as a real challanger to Dan Judd's cosmo-cali crown with this startlingly good LP. Recording together as Windsurf, they share a similar ethos, reclaiming the AOR West Coast heritage and fusing it with Euro synth-prog to produce 21st century epics. Essential!
Release Date - 22nd September
Various - Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol 1 (Eskimo)
The original Bealric Beats Vol 1 (there never was a Vol2) was released 20 years ago in 1988 and maybe more than any other compliation, changed what we now call 'dance' music for ever. With the re-birth of interest in all things 'balearic' this release is a timely reminder that the original ethos of balearia never went away. Mixed by Skinny Joey, these tracks serve as an antidote to the likes of Fred Deakin's cash-in Nu-Balearica comp on Ministry Of Sound (are they STILL going?). Maybe it's a tribute to that original Ibizan template of togetherness that a Belgian label has served up a cracking tribute to Balearic Beats with contributions form the UK, US, Belgium, Germany and Italy. Wasn't that what Amnesia was supposed to be all about?
Release Date - 6th October
Red Snapper - Pale Blue Dot (Lo Recordings)
More fishocentric funk from the Snappers, now back to a three piece and honking that Fela-esque sax with wild abandon. After listening to nowt but nu-cosmo-balearia-space-disco for the last three centuries, Red Snapper's organic blend of afro-dub-funk-electronica comes as a bit of a refreshing change. There are even cosmic-rockabilly (cockabilly??)tinges here with dub-slap-bass action and two remixes;Subway's take on Brickred and my favourite, the Kelpe remix of Clam. This LP (extended EP really - only 6 tracks plus the two remixes) was recorded live in the studio and that really comes across with an almost freestyle/jam feel to the tracks, but ina good way! Good to have the whippersnappers back after too long an absence.
Release Date - 6th October
Thanks to Jonas at epm for review copies
Other CDL recommendations
Funky Nassau - The Compass Point Story 1980-1986 (Strut)
Been out a while this but is essential listening for anyone with even the slightest interest in the evolution of modern music. Put simply, Chris Blackwell of Island Record's Bahamian studio became perhaps the most innovative production space of the 80s with its 'drum n' bass' super-duo, Sly and Robbie, producer Wally Badarou and the creme of New York's No Wave/Mutant Disco crowd all maxing n' relaxin and soaking up the laidback Caribbean vibes. Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads, Gwen Guthrie, Ian Dury, Chaz Jankel, Will Powers tracks, FK, Larry Levan mixes, dubs, 12 inch versions, obscurities, there's something different about all these tracks, even the familiar ones. Lovingly packaged with extensive sleevenotes, this is the kind of compliation that makes me weep when I see all those tacky Ibiza Bliss abortions stocked up in row after row of funky house Fierce Angel futility.
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (4AD)
The sthick goes like this; Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver (French for Good Winter if you knock off an H) splits with bird, retreats into the wilds of Wisconsin during the winter of 2006/07 and pours his heart and soul into these nine tracks of loneliness and despair. In his freezing wooden shack, Bon kills and eats a deer to keep him going and with only the merest hint of production and 'additional recording' the songs write themselves. It's a good story and I even think some of it may be true. There's no doubting Bon's despair, each song being more or less an ode to his ex, the Emma of the title no doubt. I should hate it but there's no two ways about it, this is a beautiful record with Vernon's achingly morose voice and the spartan arrangements highlighting the minimalist 'one man and his songs' philosophy of the 'concept.' There are elements of Jose Gonzalez's stripped bare guitar style and the alt-folk-harmonics of Fleet Foxes. At times the lyrics are at once self-indulgent 'and if all your love was wasted then who the hell was I?' yet totally heartfelt. I'd advise Justin 'to get over it' but if he did, then he wouldn't have produced such a gorgeous record as this.