Oh! It’s a new album from Machine Translations!
SERvin’ Up! – w/c November 6, 2017
Mista Savona Presents . . – Havana Meets Kingston
Machine Translations – Oh
Margo Price – All American Made
Jackie Shane – Any Other Way
Jonti – Tokorats
Andy Rantzen – 1/66
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry & Subatomic Sound System – Super Ape Returns To Conquer
John Maus – Screen Memories
Lost Horizons – Ojala
Hoolahan – Casuarina
Curtis Harding – Face Your Fear
Modern Studies – Swell To Great
Noise In My Head began as a radio show on great Melbourne community radio station 3RRR. Hosted by surpreme selector and sequencer Michael Kucyk, the show has since moved to online radio station NTS and provides a monthly seamless showcase of electronic excursions sitting somewhere between the club and the cerebral. Kucyk has expanded Noise In My Head into a record label to extend his curatorial skills with releases that plunder and rescue oddball obscurities from around the world or survey the array of Australian musicians working abstract ends into techno, house, industrial and more. More recently he has created an offshoot imprint Efficient Space as a dedicated home for reissues. The latest comes from Sydney producer Andy Ranzten, who song with Paul Mac took Australian dance music to the masses two decades back as Itch-e & Scratch-e. While Mr Mac was infamously and wryly claiming back in 1995 that the Aria they were awarded wouldn’t have been possible without their ecstasy dealers, Rantzen stayed at home. Maybe he was working on music, not all of which saw the light of day at the time. Closer to 2000 Ranzten was producing digital dub and Efficient Space have collected a nifty set of it called 1/66, showing a sweet and breezy flow and an exquisite light touch rising up from the bottom end. Perhaps there’s no need to thank the ecstasy dealers for this one, but much praise to Mr Kucyk for his continuing archival journey.
Possibly one of the most unassuming people in Australian music, Greg Walker – better known as J Walker – has returned with his long running Machine Translations for a ninth full-length called Oh. I mention Walker’s unassuming quality because of the way it finds itself into his music – for all the invention and craft at play on one of Machine Translations idiosyncratic pop gems, Walker revolves them around various collaborators, often taking a back seat to let their natural tendencies sink into the song. Oh has a lot more cut and thrust than we’ve come to expect from Machine Translations, with some newly found low-slung rock swagger but also the kind of groove you might find on an early Beck or Spoon album. It’s a way more immediate record, but at the same time, Walker is simply too canny a songwriter to keep things on a straight-up simple level.
It’s not often an instrument gets credited as the founding member of any group, but that’s exactly what the UK’s Modern Studies have done, even if it doesn’t get any songwriting credits or royalties. Singer Emma Scott was gifted an antique and particular harmonium originally from Belfast and belonging to a music teacher over 100 years ago. Scott saw its peculiar sound as a means to create a new way forward for her songwriting and finding other musicians to join her, Modern Studies was born. Their debut album Swell To Great is gorgeous, swirling atmospheric pop, big on surging arrangements of piano and cello to align with the harmonium’s ebb and flow. It’s the classic winding folk steeped in exquisite storytelling Scott’s songs are attuned to that make them so rich and vivid, and certainly a cut above.
Also, more from the upcoming posthumous album from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, The Ocean Party, Grenadiers, Jim James (covering the Beach Boys!), Kevin Morby, P76, Hater, David West and Fan Girl.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,