Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Abstract Index playlist - April 19/06

Soul Jazz' work on reissues should be very familiar to regular listeners of the Abstract Index. They are one of the very best reissue labels in the world. This doesn't mean that everything they do is flawless; some of their Studio One compilations are pretty thin, and sometimes their graphic design is brutal (I'm still trying to figure out the tracklisting for New York Noise 2).

However, like a steroidal Mark McGwire, they never go too long without hitting one out of the park - and their new compilation of Tom Moulton's (see swarthy pic above) mixes justifies everyone's love. This collection will become a necessary resource for all discophiles, it's right up there with Strut's double disc Larry Levan Live At The Paradise Garage set in capturing the most unbridled creativity of disco. Moulton's work is less dubwise than Levan's or Walter Gibbons', but his sense of appropriateness of where each instrumental section of a song ought to unfold is unparalleled.

The liner notes also paint a vivid picture of post-Stonewall gay life in New York, especially the Fire Island scene where Moulton first tried his hand at manipulating the dancefloor. His techniques exploded the pop song format to an approach more suitable for the dancefloor. Moulton wasn't flashy, his edits were transparent rather than transformative. Moulton was always about making good songs better, and this collection is about 2/3 full of primo Philly soul stretched out well beyond the confines of a 7" single . The notes do a superb job of describing his technical innovations at work and the sense of the enthusiasm that Moulton still has towards simultaneously experimenting with and paying tribute to great grooves.

The crown jewel of this set is the opening cut - an unreleased mix of Eddie Kendricks steamrollin' "Keep On Truckin", originally from 1973, but sounding so, so fresh some 30 plus years later.

keep on truckin - eddie kendricks (soul jazz)
pombaral - sao paolo underground (aesthetics)
versus - ezekiel (jarring effects)
magma mama - ramasutra (semprini)
panama esta bueno y... ma - los exagederos (soundway)
ok-oyot system - extra golden (thrill jockey)
let no man put asunder - first choice (salsoul)
mei libertei - toni tornado (emi)
mach - john oswald (fony)
subincision - andy haas/fred frith (avant)
how postmodern of me - quinsin nachoff (songlines)
kolo chimera - amsterdam klezmer band (essay)
babylon by bus/dub - ex-centric sound system feat. prezedent brown (EXS)
mistaken identity - brain damage feat dylan bendall (jarring effects)
esa una banda en dub - nortec collective feat. calexico (nacional)
african - h20 feat zubz (out here)
life is not easy - meditations (makasound)
holy mount zion - zion all stars (studio one/soul jazz)


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