E11 | 30 March 2018

JJordvn feat. SF1 | Le Dom | Theo Alexander | H ZETTRIO (pictured) | Aisha Badru

This week, friends, I’ve been dancing a horrible tango with Lady Influenza but it hasn’t stopped me from pulling myself out of bed and putting together five selections for your listening consideration.

We’ve got a fair old mix with some hip-hop, Japanese jazz and even a sort of new-wave of French EDM that calls itself ‘Bérite Club’.

So, with your appetite sufficiently whetted, let us proceed…

1. The ‘Charm Offensive’ – JJordvn: ‘Must Be (feat. SF1)’

What I Know:
A match made in Colorado, JJordvn is the rising rapper, teamed up with emcee and producer of growing repute, SF1. The latter has toured with, amongst others, Lupe Fiasco and Jurassic 5 and his full-band live show has a fearsome reputation.

What I Like:
If being close to greatness prepares one for one’s own betterment then SF1’s travels with the likes of Jurassic 5 will certainly stand him in good stead moving forward. It is certainly true that a clear (and very much understandable, I might add) osmosis has taken place in terms of sound, with much of the scratch-aesthetic and low-fi beats heard on tracks like The Influence bleeding into Must Be. Indeed, each time I listen to the track I spend all three-and-a-half minutes waiting, like some sort of hip-hop Pavlov’s dog, for Chali 2na to come bowling in like the big, gruff-voiced, lovable bugger that he is.

I’m especially a sucker for a Fender Rhodes and this, combined with a tight-as-a-crab’s-arse bass line do it for me on here.

***

2. The ‘Military Coup’ – Le Dom: ‘Castle Owner’

What I Know:
I’m no linguist but I believe Parisian producer Le Dom’s name roughly translates as ‘The Dom’, which therefore leads me to suspect his real name is, in fact, Dom… or, perhaps, some other variation of Dominic.

He’s not the only one with a silly name in his group of French ‘Bérite Club’ mates, though; Orgasmic and Teki Latex are probably regulars round his Mum’s for a cuppa. Lord knows what they chat about, like.

What I Like:
I’m a massive fan of anything that sounds aggressive and animalistic. The gold standard, for me, will probably always be The Haxan Cloak’s Excavation which is one of the most evil, waking-of-a-beast-like albums of all time in my opinion.

What Le Dom’s managed to do across the whole EP from which this title-cut comes, is replicate a lot of that dark anima, while breathing into it a movement and agility that morphs it something you can feel proper scared by, while also imagining you’re in a scene from the Matrix.

On the artist’s own Bandcamp page, Castle Owner is described as “highly percussive and rich with dark, uncoated materials… all about loop worship, repetition fetish and demanding body-mechanics” and, well, I’m not sure I can sum it up any better.

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3. The ‘Peaceful Protest’ – Theo Alexander: ‘Hammer Frenzy

What I Know:
Theo Alexander is a Prague-based, London-born composer.

His two previous albums, Waiting for You to Die and Points of Decay took two different approaches to their recording process; the former being ‘clean’, while the latter’s melodies were deliberately distorted and degraded in the recording process with sonically interesting results. So he’s a composer who’s pushing the boundaries.

He’s also somewhat inspired by the work of playwright, Samuel Beckett; in particular Krapp’s Last Tape which, amongst other things, studies the dichotomy of light and dark.

What I Like:
‘Light’ is a funny word isn’t it? After all, describing something as it implies that it is either (or possibly both) the antonym of ‘heavy’ (i.e. light-weight) and the antonym of ‘dark’ (i.e. luminous).

With previous releases called Points of Decay and Waiting for You to Die, you might get the impression that Alexander’s compositions don’t have much light in them – in either sense of the word. Indeed, I’ve heard his music described as being like My Bloody Valentine trying to write a piano ballad.

But that’s not the case for me. The layered pianos and bouncing rhythms of Hammer Frenzy feel joyous and uplifting to my ears. Indeed, the introduction reminds me strongly of Arrival of the Birds by The Cinematic Orchestra which is the song my wife walked down the aisle to (a testament to what that song means to me).

I like the way it doesn’t build much, but simply meditates, relatively still and unmoving. Given the song’s name, I think Mr. Alexander may be playing with us.

***

4. ‘Guerilla Warfare’ – H ZETTRIO: ‘Fusion in Blue’

What I Know:
H ZETTRIO is the product of keyboardist Masayuki Hiizumi (also known as H ZETT M), bassist Masahiro Nirehara and drummer Kou – all former members of a band once dubbed ‘The Samurai Jazz Band’ – PE’Z

Fusion in Blue comes from the band’s Mysterious Superheroes album, released earlier this month. That, in turn, follows hot on the heels of the trio’s Christmas Songs collection… which is just about as unlistenable as you might imagine.

What I Like:
OK, I know this is an extremely self-indulgent choice of mine. Japanese, drum-heavy jazz isn’t most people’s idea of a good time but, you know what, you’re going to know whether this is for you inside 10 seconds, so if you don’t like this bit, just skip to the next track… philistines!

For those of you who are left, obviously I love Kou’s drums! I also love that the other two have the good manners to allow him to take centre-stage on multiple occasions… we need more drummers taking centre-stage in modern music.

But, more seriously, it’s the Latin – yes, Latin! – beat that runs throughout the majority of the song that really hooks me in. Think about that for a minute. A Latin track. Played by a jazz trio. From Japan. That’s why I call it a Guerilla Warfare choice, folks!

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5. The ‘Quiet Riot’ – Aisha Badru: “Bridges (Acoustic)”

What I Know:
Aisha Badru is a singer-songwriter out of New York. Suffering from chronic shyness, she basically ended up dropping out of her music scholarships but continued to work on her songwriting.

Her album, Pendulum hasn’t even been released yet but it’s already the focus of quite some hysteria. That’s thanks, in no small part to her track Waiting Around having been picked up by Volkswagen and used on an ad that was distributed widely, even seen by her father, all the way in Nigeria!

What I Like:
This is a classic case of a story making the song for me.

So, yes, I like the strings, guitars and keyboards here but this one’s all about the lyrics. Obviously, she’s had a tricky time growing up and you can hear a lot of that pain coming through in lines like:

“I’ve got scars by great white sharks
But I swam fast and I swam hard
All these miles I’ve walked
All these stumbles and falls
They led me straight to your arms”

But then, knowing what we know about her background, how can lines like these not make you think about her Dad in a completely different country, unexpectedly hearing his own daughter’s voice coming through a TV screen?

Imagine meeting up with your daughter again having not seen her for a long time after experiencing that? And now imagine the ‘oceans that would have to be tread and bridges you would have to mend’ to make that happen from New York to Nigeria.

That’s the part of the song that really hit me. And that’s why it’s my Quiet Riot choice for this week.

***

The Outro:
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week. Click here to listen to the 45 RPM Spotify Playlist in full.

If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), feel free to engage in dialogue with me @45rpmPodcasts on Twitter.

The silence is broken again next week when I’ll return with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you and go in peace.

 

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