Mohamed Al Ali - Mili Alay

Syrian music became incredibly trendy in the west a few years ago when people realised it was danceable. Obviously there is a lot more to the music than that, but it is this kind of ingredient that typically makes a previously unheard-of type of music catch on overseas. With Omar Souleyman the loveable figurehead of this development, the music - generally localised to weddings and parties - became universal. Souleyman went from an unknown part-time performer, to niche label Sublime Frequencies alumnus, to working with UK dance's finest, Four Tet. Naturally, a fascination with the music of the the Middle East (and more specifically the Levant) grew and compilations, such as the one featured here, were released. This song is by Mohamed Al Ali, who is practically untraceable online. What we do have of his, though, is this fine example of dabke music. Hypnotic percussion, vocals and mijwiz merge to form a seriously cool, intoxicating tune.

Label: Sham Palace (reissue)
Year: 2012 (reissue)
Genre: Dabke, Dance, Folk

Resonance FM 26/3/15 (The Go! Team)

The most recent episode of Dig That Treasure! on Resonance FM was a particularly special one. The show was dedicated entirely to an in-depth interview with Ian Parton from The Go! Team, my favourite band of all time (and responsible for the greatest album ever released). We discussed their new record, live set up, sampling, imagery in music, and Ian's own passion for the weird and wonderful world of obscure record collecting. I also played two brand new songs from The Go! Team's new record The Scene Between. This is one that I was extremely excited to air, and one that you don't want to miss! Big thank you to Ian for his time and wisdom.

Dig That Treasure (26/3/15)
The Go! Team - Rolodex The Seasons
Lata Mangeshkar - Ab To Hai Tumse Har Khushi Apni [extract]
The Go! Team - Yosemite Theme [extract]
Alèmayèhu Eshèté - Teye Gidyeleshime [extract]
The Go! Team - Back Like 8 Track [extract]
The Go! Team - The Art of Getting By (Song For Heaven's Gate)

Resonance FM 19/3/15

Last Thursday was host to the first episode of Dig That Treasure! on Resonance 104.4fm for almost two months. I guess I will call this newest run of episodes "series four". I began the episode with a couple of tracks by the awesome Eritrean musician Aron Abraham, followed by a tune by popular Azerbaijani singer Oqtay Aayev. I played American sculptor and sometime lo-fidelity musician Ry Rocklen back to back with Dutch oddball Harry Merry, before closing the show with warped rockabilly of Israel's Charlie Megira.

Dig That Treasure (19/3/15)
Aron Abraham - Amani'do Yetselem
Aron Abraham - Ayresaekuken
Oqtay Aayev - Qaytar Eqimi
Ry Rocklen - Under The Radar
Harry Merry - Stevie Storm
Charlie Megira - Tomorrow's Gone

Vagif Mustafazadeh - Roads

This is probably the first time I've really acquainted myself with the music of Azerbaijani music. Vagif Mustafazadeh (otherwise spelled Mustafa Zadeh) was a pioneer of jazz music in Azerbaijan - a country occupied by the Soviet Union for the duration of his lifetime. Because of this occupation, censorship on music was rife and Western imports were minimal. Nevertheless, Mustaafazadeh was supposedly influenced by Bill Evans, among other American jazz musicians. I can't find much online about this particular release, 'Roads', but it's the track that instantly appealed to me while exploring his music. The music is unique, at least to my ears: it's a fusion of the aforementioned American jazz influences and Azerbaijani 'mugham', a folk music.

Label: ?
Year: 197?
Genre: Jazz, Jazz-Mugham, Fusion, Traditional

R. Stevie Moore & Ariel Pink - Come My Way

On my Resonance FM show I've dedicated whole episodes to both Ariel Pink and R. Stevie Moore, each time spinning my favourite rarities from the two. That said, up until about five years ago everything they'd released was a 'rarity'. Anyway, they are two of my favourite artists and ones who have opened me to a load of music that's informed this blog's identity. Naturally, them coming together to collaborate is always going to be pretty special. 'Come My Way' is cut from their record Ku Klux Glam, although the song originally featured on Moore's 1976 effort Stevie Moore Returns. This time around it's Pink providing the vocals while Moore and Jason Falkner lay down the instrumental. Pink is so perfectly suited to the tune - a gorgeous 60s pastiche that you can imagine Pink might have based songs like 'Dayzed Inn Daydreams' or 'Only In Dreams' on.

Label: Stroll On Records
Year: 2012
Genre: Rock, Sunshine Pop

Asei Kobayashi & Micky Yoshino - Eat

Last summer I spent some time in Berlin where I stayed a while in the flat of a Canadian girl, Rhianne, who had moved to the city to study. We met at a Jerry Paper show in a former brothel, and bonded over Haruomi Hosono and Francoise Hardy. One night we got a takeaway and she projected the Japanese surrealist horror flick Hausu against a wall in her apartment. I was blown away by the film's style, a dark sugar-rush that was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. As well as a ridiculous plot, amateur acting and a stunning aesthetic, the film boasts a killer soundtrack. The film's recurring musical theme is a beautiful piano motif although the stand out soundtrack contribution has really got to be 'Eat' - what I can only call 'the best song Zappa never wrote'. It's a crazy groove with a scaling bass, pots-down-the-stairs drums, and wacky/sexy keys. If the film's reputation hasn't turned you onto it yet, this tune will.

Label: Columbia Records
Year: 1977
Genre: Funk, Jazz, Electronica

Ted Chippington - Feel Like Buddy Holly

Always find it hard to write about things that are as unique as this. Ted Chippington (real name Francis Smyth) is a comedian of the deadpan 'anti-humour' variety - those words not being mine, for I find his stuff hilarious. Although it may seem as such, I'm not alone in thinking that. Stewart Lee is a big fan and was heavily influenced by Ted, while Lee's former comedy partner Richard Herring has said that Ted holds "contempt for the very idea of jokes". Given this assessment, one might expect his music to be even less humorous. That's not the case. A reinterpretation/parody of Alvin Stardust's 'Feel Like Buddy Holly', this track features an incredible imaginary encounter between Ted and Alvin. When the latter says "it's raining in my heart", Ted tells him: "ah well, y'know, shouldn't have been waiting outside for me, you should've gone inside the cafe, have a cup of tea while you were waiting - only yourself to blame." I find that nothing short of hysterical. But it's not just humour (or anti-humour) that Ted explores. His music is strangely poignant - his dry monotone atop kitsch forlorn instrumentals is strangely emotive, beautiful even. Fantastic stuff.

Label: Vindaloo Records
Year: 1986
Genre: Comedy, Experimental, Synth-Pop