The artists surveyed on Music From Memory’s second multi-artist comp utilize more or less the same sound palette that has characterized most MFM releases to date (drum machines, vocoder, FM synthesizers, lots of reverb and chorus). But where the bulk of their excavations have traded in modest ambient, new age and electronic folk, the songs that make up Uneven Paths have been executed with unabashed pop aspirations. Europe in the 1980s was swirling with the sounds of reggae, afrobeat, exotica and post-punk, as well as the latest mutations of jazz and R&B from the States. Some of these shades can be heard in the work of I-Level, The Police and Prefab Sprout, but the artists documented on Uneven Paths were operating on the fringes of the jazz and experimental scenes, longing for even a fraction of the chart success enjoyed by the aforementioned bands. Most were plagued by a certain degree of lo-fi kitsch that prevented them from crossing over when they really should have (Nonobstant’s “Jessica” for example is so catchy, you’ll swear you’ve heard it before), making this comp somewhat of a kindred spirit to Chocolate Industries’ Personal Space. Still, that doesn’t explain the undeserved obscurity of immaculately-produced tracks like Xavier Jouvelet’s George Michael-esque vocoder ballad “Oeuf En Clock” (the melancholy vibe is said to have been inspired by the news of Jaco Pastorius' passing just the day before recording), or the spine-tingling noir-wave of Violet Eves’ soaring “Listen Over The Ocean,” two of the comp’s best entries. Also check out Nightfall In Camp’s “Cada Día,” Tony Hymas’ “Pictures Of Departure,” Steve Beresford’s “Comfortable Gestures” (has Morris Mobley heard this?), Lou Blic’s “Minéralité” and Monica Rypma’s “Hey, Where You Goin!” Compiled by Raphael Top-Secret and Jamie Tiller and assembled with the utmost care, as per usual: double vinyl, gatefold jacket designed by Steele Bonus, heavy matte printed inner sleeves with artist photos, bios and full liner notes. Also, a warning to all you Spotify warriors who look at this and think ‘I’ll just stream it’; you’ll be missing out on Brenda And The Beach Balls’ (aka Lab fave Brenda Ray) Factory Recs-meets-Bronx Freestyle party starter “Dancing Thru' The Night” as well as three other great tracks exclusive to the vinyl edition. Recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- deluxe gatefold sleeve
- heavy matte printed inner sleeves
- extensive liner notes, artist bios + photos
- music label: Music From Memory 2018
reviewed by carparts, bottles & cutlery 08/2018
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