CRAIG LEON – ANTHOLOGY OF INTERPLANETARY FOLK MUSIC, VOL.2: THE CANON
In the 70s and the early 80s, Craig Leon was active as a producer for acts like Talking Heads, Ramones and Suicide, the Live at CBGB’s compilation, early Blondie and Richard Hell & The Voidoids records. You may let that sink in for a while, and then try to imagine the shock of surprise when in 1981 he released Nommos, followed by Visiting a year later: both albums displaying an otherworldly, mechanical, almost robotic collection of rhythms and pulses. With hindsight, they were too far ahead for their time and (almost) vanished into obscurity. Until, in 2014, they were released as a double set titled Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol.1.
This explains the title of this new set, which picks up where Visiting left.
To our spoilt ears, Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol.2 may not sound as alienated as its predecessors (depending on what you are used to, of course). The album opens with a somewhat uncharacteristic choral piece (The Earliest Trace), followed by two rhythmic tracks that definitely link to the early work. From there, there’s less emphasis on the rhythm but the overall sound is still the same since Craig Leon (and Cassell Webb as his partner) used many of the same synths and programs.
‘The alien sounds of the Nommos become more familiar to western ears and musical vocabulary as the album narrative thrusts forward.’
In case you’re wondering about the title(s): the inspiration for these albums came from an exhibition of Dogon art in 1973: ‘Leon remained fascinated by the Mali tribe’s creation myth that the Earth was visited in ancient times by the Nommos, a semi-amphibious alien race who travelled from the white dwarf Sirius B to impart their wisdom to mankind.’
SLAGMANN – KRYSALIS
There’s no way this could be filed under ambient, but it will definitely appeal to anyone that likes a little ‘genre-bending’ and cross-border experiments.
Slagmann is short for the collaboration of Talismann (Guy Blanken – a ‘techno DJ’ from Amsterdam) and Slagwerk Den Haag (Dutch percussion ensemble), joining forces with visual artist Heleen Blanken.
Talismann produced the album, embellishing the virtuoso percussion performance of Slagwerk Den Haag with his subtle electronics.
Percussion is the main ingredient here, but the atmosphere is enhanced by the added sound environments, ‘Sometimes dreamy and dark, euphoric and explosive at other times – a cross-pollination between ritualistic percussion and drum machines.’
The result is a mesmerizing set of tracks, best enjoyed on a volume that matches real-life percussion sounds.
Krysalis is only available as a 12″ vinyl album; a digital download including four extra tracks comes with the vinyl album purchase.