One day this world seemed like a safe, quiet place, but it really wasn’t. Now, someone has tripped an alarm or something.
This is a fire escape.
Fire Escape is a music selection of the latest summer releases by Acre.
We tripped the alarm, now you can get out of here.
Moritz von Oswald Trio – Dissent: Chapter 1-10
Moritz von Oswald is back, with a change in his trio from to the last release of six years ago (Sounding Lines), and this time is accompanied by Heinrich Köbberling and on the keyboards the versatile hands of Laurel Halo. The album is divided into ten Movements, a word that reflects the balance that the three composers were looking for in this ambient-jazz tension between stasis and motion. There are some vague echoes of a dub imprint that most distinguished von Oswald’s career, but the main intention here seems to be the jazzy improvisation with a psychedelic note.
The overall picture is not always very clear as the album flows, but it remains an excellent listen, certainly more appreciated by dub/jazz-trained ears.
Joy Orbison – still slipping vol. 1
As Joy Orbison seems to want, still slipping vol.1 is more similar to a mixtape than an album. The first full-length by the British producer is a real gem whose sound confirms the path taken so far by the artist. Above the intention, what makes it a mixtape are the countless fragments, cutouts, and voices, which mainly come from members of the producer’s family. This part puts the album/mixtape in an intimate dimension, which musically manages to perfectly combine the breaks with cleanliness and a soft note of some of the tracks.
Many collaborations (Lèa Sen, James Messiah, and many others) that manage to create an amalgam of really exceptional sounds (the trap beat in bernard?, the house/R&B of Better, you could go further) and demonstrate the disinterest from any protagonism of the producer. More or less wanted, the undertone is nostalgic. But it is a sweet nostalgia, typical of LO-FI house, and, translated into everyday life, the same that we can feel safe looking at old photos.
Nu Genea – Marechià
Massimo Di Lena and Lucio Aquilina came back this year to brighten our summer. Despite the name change, the music proposed by the two Neapolitan producers does not disappoint expectations compared to the excellent album of 2018 (Nuova Napoli). The formula is always classy disco-funk, with the collaboration of the French singer Célia Kameniche, who mixes Neapolitan language with French confirming once again the interest of the duo for a typical cultural mix of Napoli. Definitely one of the best singles of the summer just passed.
Nightmares on Wax – Imagineering
Another surprise from the last few months was the new single by George Evelyn, aka, Nightmares On Wax, artist-pioneer of British electronic music by Warp. Inspired by his pre-Covid travels in Asia, he brings us a single in which a classical composition is flanked by a beat with a sensual rhythm, as in his typical style. A perfect chill-tune for the relaxing moments of the summer just passed, which will anticipate the album Shot Out! To freedom… coming out soon.
dreamcastmoe – After All This
dreamcastmoe is the alias of the singer and producer from Washington D.C. usually known as Dreamcast (paying homage to the well-known video games console). He became known to those most interested in the electro-funk sound overseas for his Lost Tapes. The new EP After All This sends us into the maze of his pasty voice, inside a mixture of R&B and U.S-branded electro. It’s a mellow, sexy, romantic, and funk sound that exudes the atmosphere of the American metropolis, always in motion but with really low BPM that creates a mood definitely hypnotizing. Very recommended.
Caterina Barbieri (feat. Lyra Pramuk) – Knot of Spirit
Caterina Barbieri launches her newborn label light-years with this track in collaboration with the brilliant Lyra Pramuk, known for her phantasmagorical voice games.The single lasts 10 minutes and is composed on one side by the typical synths of Barbieri and the other by the vocals of Lyra Pramuk that accompany them, in an incredible mix that creates a kaleidoscopic crescendo. The track resolves in its climax at about the sixth minute, and the tension that is released takes us out of a tunnel to land us in the middle of a dreamlike and surreal soundscape. A great presentation for a label that we will surely hear a lot about in the coming months.
Yves Tumor – The Asymptotical World EP
After having abandoned (unfortunately) the electronic drifts of the first albums, Yves Tumor confirms with this EP to be more interested in riding glam rock genres, goth, and in general a much more radio sound for its standards. The Asymptotical World came out as surprise in July, is composed of six tracks that flow pleasantly and quickly, developing and evolving in some ways what we heard on the latest album Heaven To A Tortured Mind. The feeling is that these sounds do not represent a point, but a path in continuous evolution, by a multifaceted artist who surely represents the most interesting thing in today’s avant-garde.
Willow – Workshop 30
Workshop is a label that over the years has built a solid reputation, made up of many releases characterized by irresistible minimalism able to move on the banks of different genres, always keeping distinguishable features (including the anonymous as well as fascinating artwork of the covers). Also in this case we have in our hands four tracks by the producer Willow, which make us dance with a minimal-house simple and disengaged, but not for this reason not very effective for those DJs who certainly carry them around in their drives/bags of records. Nothing special is added to the label’s catalog, however it remains a definitely appreciable summer release.
Dj Manny – Signals in my Head
DJ Manny is one of the cornerstones of that genre 100% from the U.S. that is footwork. Friend of the legendary Dj Rashad, in this new album the Dj from Harvey, thanks to his long experience as a producer (he started at the age of 20), manages to put together a work that shows footwork in its complete maturity, influencing the sounds with R&B and Chicago House. Disc published not by chance on Planet Mu of Mike Paradinas, the main exporter of the sound footwork in European lands. While never deviating from the genre, the relationships that are created between this sound and a classically straighter bass drum are explored; he called it “romantic footwork“, a definition with which we can only agree.
Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning
This has been the hip-hop album of the summer. Isaiah Rashad, class of ’91, after the excellent The Sun’s Tirade in 2016, continues bringing us his refined rhymes in these sixteen tracks full of features that cannot go unnoticed. From Lil Uzi Vert to SZA, he creates a collage that goes from Southern Rap to more trap-like pieces, to some really nice R&B notes. Everything is seasoned with beats that are well-matched with chilling moments, a nice continuation for a rapper who is only at the beginning of his career and who will still have a lot to say.
Headlock – Dragged Away
On the ambient side this summer was the turn of Headlock, New York-based producer, born Lou DiBenedetto. The album is used, as stated by the author himself, as a way of grieving two friends. As proof of this, we can say that it is an emotionally dense album, in which the abrasive noise is weighted to a typically ambient construction; the hour of listening is permeated by a vapor cloud that has a sparkling flavor, evoking magical interweaving. Album strongly narrative, emotional but of an icy cold. Hard and cathartic.