The Morning Slap

(Almost) every morning a musical slap in your face.

Stéphane Grappelli - Rolls

There are a few films in the world that were more representative of the french youth of the 1970’s than Les Valseuses (Going Places). Discovering freedom, sex and more generally life, not through the best way, Jean-Claude (Gérard Depardieu) et Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere) invite us to follow them in their escape through the french countryside, directed by Bertrand Blier. The music for such a story was probably a pleasure to compose for Grappelli, a french self-taught violinist who is for me and many others the greatest Jazz violinist ever. With Rolls, he expresses all his talent, and the run-away of Jean-Claude and Pierrot, on a beautiful theme probably inspired by Bach and his fugues, along with a crazy harpsichord. So I post it today as a tribute to this big man, who makes sounds music so easy, natural and human. Born in 1908, Grappelli died in 1997 after he went through the century with as much frivolity as his playing.

Wilson Pickett - You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Everyone probably knows this song interpreted by Kim Wilde. But You Keep Me Hangin On’ was actually written when the sexy Kim was 6 years old, in 1966, by The Supremes. Since then, the title has known a incredible number of covers and for me two are really really really worth: Ken Boothe in 1983 made of it a great jamaican reggae version. But Wilson Pickett took it to another level in 1970 with an incredible organ introduction and his awesome soul vibes. If you have watched the premiere of Mad Men’s last season on sunday, you know what I’m talking about…

ISAN - Meet Next Life

Yesterday I was sick and took time to relax at home and go back into my musical archives. Once I found back ISAN's album Meet Next Life from 2004, I focused on the title track and couldn’t get rid of it. It’s quite different of the rest of the album, which is good because I’m not a big fan of this one. Don’t you feel like you are listening to one of Brian Eno’s Music For Airports or Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks? Formed by Robin Saville and Anthony Ryan in Leicester in 1996, ISAN still exists and they are apparently collaborating now through the internet, Ryan moving from european countries to european countries. But still, they didn’t release anything since 2010. Which is a good opportunity for you to rediscover their amazing discography, essentially released on Morr Music. Have a wonderful and relaxing day.

Blue Hour - Reference 97

Luke Standing is like many UK techno producers based in Berlin. Even if I get really tired to hear about this city invaded by european hipsters, I have to admit that it is one of the most inspirational place of the world for musicians. Standing started Blue Hour with a first EP in 2013, self-released on beautiful clear vinyls like his two following EP’s, including this one. Reference 97 is in the same vein than the others with its deep Detroit beats, but it seems that the artist focused on the atmosphere too this time. Deep, light, aquatic: this slap is made for those who dance and dream in the same time. Enjoy your weekend!

Cocktail Naïf - Love Concert

The crazy dudes who spent the last weekend with me in Hamburg won’t be very surprised by this morning slap. It has been in our head since friday night at Golem. Written by two italian prolific producers from the 1970’s – Elio Palumbo and Marcello Ramoino –, this 7” released in 1978 on Yep Record is the perfect example of the obscure italian disco of this era: space atmospheres, sexy voice and hypnotic analog bass and even an orchestra. And above all, an enormous craving for dancing…

Kranky just sent me the last work of Christopher Bissonnette, and let’s start with big words and compliments: it is absolutely gorgeous. It is one of the biggest surprise of this excellent label since the releases of Stars Of The Lid, Grouper or Keith Fullerton Whitman. Of course I liked Periphery and In Between Words both on Kranky, but with Essays In Idleness, Bissonnette clearly gains in maturity. And if this album gains in maturity, it’s because the canadian artist did work two years long on it with a self built analog synthesizer only. It’s a real work of research that has been done here, where the exploration of every simple sound has been reworked and enhanced until the point where perfection is overtaken and let some place again to a controlled sense of improvisation. And that’s where the talent of Bisssonnette is high and rare: despite his perfect control as a composer and music player, every single piece sounds as human as you and me, close to the listener and touching on levels we have rarely experienced. Though, to experience this, you’ll have to wait until the 7th of april. Be patient and you won’t your slap !

Odd Nosdam - Olynn

It has been a long time I didn’t check the Bandcamp of Mister David Madson aka Odd Nosdam, and that was a mistake. The young veteran of the Californian hip-hop/ambient scene still produces and releases a lot (but it does seem that he doesn’t work that much with Anticon anymore since he runs his Burnco Records label), and the tape TRISH, released in 2013 on Baro Records is one perfect example of his undeniable talent. Especially on this track, where he join his forces of sound nerd with the fabulous voice of Liz Harris aka Grouper. Olynn is a track that already appeared in a shorter and rythmic version on the release Vol. 17, but on TRISH, it’s entirely reworked, atmospheric and “summerish” : really, it makes you feel like you were surfing in slow-motion at the end of a sunny day. It’s great what Dave makes, still based in his beloved Berkeley, working with hands, imagination and creativity, surrounded by friends, keeping discreet and sharing with its little community. I recently read a sentence that would perfectly describe this kind of rare artist : “It’s not because you haven’t heard about it that it isn’t great.” Well, it has been almost 20 years than Odd Nosdam belongs to the hip-hop underground scene… And if you don’t have enough, he just released a collection of early tape recordings full of slaps.

If you are not familiar with the footwork and juke scene from Chicago, Tyrone Smith and his new mixtape as EQ Why is probably the best way to learn to know each other. As “God Wiki” says, “Footwork involves fast movement of the feet with accompanying twists and turns, and usually takes place as part of a “battle”. This evolution of the Chicago juke or Booty House has been made for booty battles and you’ll understand it by its quick beats and ultra-short cutted samples in loops. This mixtape of EQ Why released on Orange Milk Records will probably make you move your ass, but at least blow your brain. A massive slap on side A and B of your face!

Not Waving is an electronic single-man project from the italian Alessio Natalizia. Ok, you’ll think that he is not the first one, but what make him so specific in this overcrowded field of music is his pure analogic sound going from emotional soundscapes to more rythmic tracks like this one, released on early 2014 on Emotional Response. And his tape “Voices I” announces some heavy slaps for the future of this discreet artist based in London. Have a nice weekend!

Tangerine Dream - Live at Coventry Cathedral

In the mid-1970’s, the german krautrock/ambient visionary band from Germany creates a big bang in modern music by bringing experimental/contemporary music and “unclassical” instruments in places like Reims cathedral (in 1974, with Nico) or the Royal Albert Hall in London (april 1975). On this video directed by the great Tony Palmer, you can experience the music of TD like on no other format, as seeing Peter Baumann, Edgar Froese and Chris Franke playing on their massive synth walls in this incredible location transports you in an another world, or at least in another era. Because yes, guys, don’t forget that this live and this music are almost 40 years old !

Heidi Lord - Lo Pan

In 2013, two mysterious releases (EDM A2 and EDM B2) from a mysterious label (Electric Dance Music) appear on the market. On them, many different mysterious electronica/IDM tracks from mysterious bands called Heidi Lord, Jidomatix, Alain Kepler, Rob Kidley or Steel Erector. Well, behind this big mistery, there is only one guy : Jodey Kendrick who released some work on Rephlex in 2009 and 2012 already. Reading this label’s name will probably make you listen to this track : a pure IDM slap, where rhythm meets sensuality. Made to dance or have sex… You have the weekend to choose.

Marie Dior - Not In Portland

Little is known about Marie Dior which real name actually is Diogo Correia. Portuguese artist who grew up in the local Black Metal scene before to move to Berlin, The Morning Slap follows him since his awesome EP Antitheist on Aural Sects. And I have to admit that even if I loved this EP, the album Good Night we are talking about today is a big step further. A step further in emotions, in sound processing and in atmosphere, pushing back the actual frontiers of intelligent dance music far beyond our expectations. It’s a genius release, child of the rave culture of the 1990’s and product of a pure talent that won’t remain unknown for long. 

Pietro Antonio Locatelli - Concerto a 4 “Il Pianto D’Arianna” in E-Flat Major

Locatelli is not an italo-dance producer, but a baroque violin virtuoso and composer born in Bergamo in 1695. In 1723 are published his Concerti Grossi op.1 that will make him famous, at least in Rome, where he lives at this period. 6 years, he moves to Amsterdam after a trip that brought him from Mantua to Berlin, through Kassel, Frankfurt and Dresden. During this trip, he played with Weiss, Pisendel, Quantz for the Prussian court of Frederick William 1. This is after having been inspired by the whole european culture during his trip, that he composed at the top of its maturity this “Weeping Of Arianna”, in 1741. Both a tribute to the story of Ariadne and Theseus but also to the original acclaimed Lament Of Arianna of 1608 by Monteverdi, this piece is a resume of the european baroque music in all its greatness, majesty and splendor where the ears are subject to a variety of emotions that you can rarely experience in a 14 minutes track. Here beautifully interpreted by the Akademie Für Alte Musik Berlin.

My favourite vaporwave project Infinity Frequencies released a free album again! This is pure vaporwave, this is pure “I don’t know who these guy are” and the purest slap you can receive.

Terry Riley - Eastern Man

Who doesn’t know Terry Riley? Minimalism pioneer, one of the most influential american contemporary composer born in 1935. Beside his famous works In C or A Rainbow In Curved Air that show his passion for jazz and modal figures, he has done several less known pieces like this beautiful Eastern Man, which was released in 1983 on the album Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets. If you have good ears, you’ll recognize that one of the prophet is the synthesizer Prophet 5, the other is Terry Riley himself singing. A massive tribute slap.