Still getting the hang of this new WordPress interface – I really didn’t know I’d written a 1,700-word book review until after I’d posted it…
Anyway, in slightly briefer form, the first track up today follows on somewhat from last week’s fusionists, Khruangbin, and also has something of a spiritual connection to David Mitchell’s work. Nemanja is a Croatian band mixing the ‘psychedelic sounds of cosmic disco cumbia’ written as a musical response to the ancient text Tibetan Book of the Dead‘. ‘Terra Magica’ is from the band’s album Cosmic Disco, recorded ‘in a room in Pua’ (which is at the southern tip of the Istria Peninsula) in May and April this year, and mostly under a lockdown that was earlier and stricter in Croatia than in most other European countries. This is a gorgeously shimmering track, packed with cosmic noises and truly responding to its purpose as ‘a celebration of life and all the beauty and joy we found and have yet to discover in the next life.’
Nemanja’s bandcamp, where you can hear and download ‘Terra Magica’ and the rest of Cosmic Disco, is worth a look.
The second new track is by Errol Linton, a Mississippi blues man who plays with a reggae-inspired sensibility. And is straight outta Brixton (a review which, by the way, scores double points for its nod to the sadly demised and still much missed Dobell’s on Charing Cross Road. (By the way, one thing I’ve just noticed is missing from Utopia Avenue: you don’t catch any of the members of the band, other than one late entry by chance, in a good record shop.)) Back to Errol, his new album No Entry came out in May, and the track I’ve picked is ‘Big Man’s Gone (I’m on My Way)’, the album closer, and overlays a rhythm section as tight as Sly and Robbie with Errol’s honey-sweet vocals and harp, making a whole that’s both warm and loose but which still belies the sadness of the vocal. I’m hoping he’s going nowhere. He’s also a great portrait painter, too, by the way.
No Entry, Errol’s sixth album, is out on Brassdog Records.
And, for a bit of a birthday bonus track, here’s La Misa Negra, a seven-piece from Oakland, California, blending ‘heavyweight cumbia and high-energy, Afro-Latin music’. I’m sold, already. This new version of ‘Pistola’, released at the back end of August, features Shae Fiol & Mireya Ramos from Flor de Toloache, New York’s all-woman mariachi group, and is a percussion-heavy slice of Latin heaven but still driven by that brass riff. Hot hot hot!
You can get hold of the remix at La Misa Negra’s bandcamp ridiculously cheaply – and do search out the band’s eponymous 2017 recording featuring the original version.