Things without words #31: Compressing all that time

“Tomorrow Never Knows” by Angelo Repetto | This album has been sitting on my inbox for a month, but then, there was a request, not that peculiar, to let it sit for a while. So, here I am, not writing about it just before the album release, which apparently is still music blogger standard practice. I have listened to Roboto a couple of times in its entirety in between, in places when I just need something to fill the space in between writing or being stressed. The debut album from Angelo Repetto – half of Swiss duo Wolfman, who I have written about a few months ago – is an instrumental delight, filled with synths that you cannot easily wrap your finger around. This, despite the press release explaining to me that Angelo’s dad is from dark wave pioneers Grauzone (yes, I had to look them up too; I’m seven time zones away and all) which meant an upbringing surrounded by synthesizers and all the possibilities they brought. Roboto just vaguely reminds you of the 80s when this music came out on a scratchy radio signal, but then, it contorts to whatever you’re up to, whatever time of the day it is, whether you’re in chilly (I assume) Zurich or not-at-all-chilly-despite-what-they-say Manila. It takes all that time and compresses it, and serves it to you, and you’re wherever you think you ought to be. It’s a bender, this. Also, it’s a surprisingly potent pop record. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

Things without words #30: Now we know the reason behind the melting


“Flash Frame” by Kaos Protokoll | Earlier this year I wrote about Swiss jazz band Kaos Protokoll, and went on about how it feels like I’m melting when I listened to them. Well, there’s more of that now, with the release of new album Everyone Nowhere tomorrow. “New Chapter”, the previous track we’ve written about, is there, but the shareable now is opening track “Flash Frame”, which puts the record – described as “a scathing assessment of where we ended up, not only as a culture, but also as a species” – in perspective. It still melts, sure, but there’s this build-up in this track that swells, and swells – but then it makes sense when you listen to the record in whole, where the melting isn’t so much reminiscent of the heat but now an indictment into how, um, spineless we can be. But then, I can be weird when interpreting Swiss post-jazz bands. It reads like a high school report, but by the end of the record you know where Kaos Protokoll stands, or at least you have an idea. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

Things without words #29: How to justify a recent incursion into classical

“Oceanic” by Niklas Paschburg | It’s happened: I have begin listening to more Radio 3. Must be my mindset. I’m still tender, and I’m writing this in the middle of a mood swing (which is also why I’m delaying what’s on the inbox to tomorrow, at the earliest). Well, we did see this coming, right? And also, while I don’t think I’ll ever crack most of what makes classical music intimidating, I can enjoy listening to the late night stuff where classical is a stretch. So, early this week, I woke up to Elizabeth Alker playing this from Niklas Paschburg, who’s from Hamburg, just 23 (or 24) and has both a serene and accessible way with his music. “Oceanic” – also the name of his album, released last February – was such a good thing to wake up to (again, time zone differences) so much so that I was not going to regret my recent incursion into radio geekery in service of my stress levels still being high. And then, hours later, a weird piece comes on and I remember Shalla telling me about why she isn’t going to be into newer composers just yet. [NB]

Things without words #28: How to best melt in this heat

“New Chapter” by Kaos Protokoll | This time last week I posted something that I called “Monday music”. Today I’m posting something that essentially is Sunday night music, for those boozy days when you’re winding down with both anticipation and dread for the start of the workweek. Not exactly apt, but then, there’s another particularly suitable use for it, at least for my compatriots reading this: it’s a particularly hot summer, and this song feels like walking down city sidewalks at lunchtime and you’re this close to melting. It’s a bad feeling, but this is a good soundtrack. Yes, it’s another Swiss jazz band from my inbox: Kaos Protokoll have just dropped their EP New Chapter last week, although this song has been bouncing around the past few months. It’s got that nice swell, that sultry saxophone tempered by that build-up of percussion and electronics into something more four-dimensional, more not-easy-to-decipher, more… well, more of a melting pot. We feel like melting. I know they’re from Switzerland and their summers aren’t bad like ours, I assume, but still, this is a good way to melt. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

Things without words #27: Neon-lit, almost-noir post-jazz

“Mount Ninja” by Me&Mobi | I was supposed to post this last week, but somehow I forgot – busy schedules, as always. But I listened to half of Agglo, the new album from Swiss-German jazz trio Me&Mobi, and I remember it being more accessible that it was sold as. It might be difficult, I was told, but actually, it isn’t. Am I showing off supposed jazz chops? I can’t play any instrument, and whatever jazz I grew up with is strictly smooth, the stuff purists might scoff at. But this, I immediately got into. It made an impression, the organized cacophony, that I knew how to write the review – but then, I forgot to. But impressions have been made, and now I’ve listened to Agglo in its entirety, and while there are bursts of weirdness some might find off-putting, there is a beauty in the cacophony – the patterns you don’t spot so easily, the permutations you don’t get on the first try. Perhaps you’re bombarded until it makes sense; perhaps you’ll find something to latch on quickly. It’s a swarming, buzzing, neon-lit, almost-noir, past-midnight trip. It’s a bit of escapism. It’s fun. [NB] (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)