Ho Mei Fan - China Night

This is a song whose story I've been trying to piece together for a while. I've found a fair amount of information about it, but whether this information is true or not is another issue. As far as I can tell, Ho Mei Fan is the vocalist and the 'Columbia Orchestra' provide the music (maybe obvious from the large COLUMBIA on the record's label). The song was seemingly written by a group of Japanese songwriters, although Ho Mei Fan is - at least I'd assume - a Chinese name. I read somewhere that it was recorded during Japanese occupation of China, although that would imply a date somewhere south of 1945. This contradicts another bit of information that I've seen that suggests it was released in 1957. Obviously the song could have been released a long time after it was recorded, although I don't see why it would have been and I'm not sure if it sounds like that old a recording. Chances are it is a Japanese piece in the style of a Chinese popular song. Regardless, it is fantastic and 'otherworldly' - not in a backwards Orientalist sense, but in as far as it is so ambiguous in its history and distant in its sound.

Label: Columbia
Year: ?
Genre: Easy-Listening

Ava Luna - Carbon

Ava Luna are a group from Brooklyn who have recently released a new record, Infinite House. Its sound lays somewhere between the fairly vague confines of no-wave and soul, and the less vague, very New York-centric alternative rock formula. Typically, new music released on an established independent label (Western Vinyl) is more the business of Pitchfork, "DIY" and other press-release zeitgeist generators. But this record - albeit from a band I knew I loved - has really stolen my heart. The trouble with the aforementioned sites (those that publish all the same acts doing the press circuit) is that they won't give significant attention to anything that won't return the favour: a major website giving a 'relevant' artist an exceptionally good review will generate a lot of attention and 'clicks' for the site in return, but a major website doing the same for a smaller act with less promotional buzz will, while making a few people happy, do relatively little for the website. Ava Luna are not as marketable as many of their counterparts and subsequently their music is criminally underplayed. It has jittery Captain Beefheart guitars and ESG's funky vocal work, with a heart that follows in a line of awkward erudite New Yorkers -- Talking Heads, James Chance, Dirty Projectors. This track features Carlos Hernandez's calls of "that's the trouble with... that's the trouble with love", possibly the highpoint of the album for me. Anyway, this blog is for the overlooked and I think that, for what it is, this record is exactly that. It is fantastic, nothing less.

Label: Western Vinyl
Year: 2015
Genre: Rock, No-Wave, Experimental, Soul

Resonance FM 16/4/15

It's my birthday, I'll play party tunes if I want to. The most recent episode of Dig That Treasure was on my birthday, so I span extra fun and extra celebratory tunes. I opened with DJ Paypal's footwork rework of Ramsey Lewis's 'Whisper Zone', before visiting Syria and the dabke of Mohammed Al Ali. I played a duo of Television Personalities songs, some orchestral easy-listening, a killer PC Music tune, and a track from one of my favourite Ethiopian musicians, before ending with the soundtrack to a Japanese SEGA Dreamcast video game.

Dig That Treasure (16/4/15)
DJ Paypal - Whisper Zone
Mohamed Al Ali - Mili Alay
Television Personalities - Geoffrey Ingram
Television Personalities - Where's Bill Grundy Now?
The European Sound Stage Orchestra - Cmon In
A. G. Cook - Drop FM
Mahmoud Ahmed - Neshtie
Shenmue OST - Tomato Convenience Store

Resonance FM 9/4/15

This show featured tunes from Azerbaijan, Japan, Benin, Bulgaria, the US and Ethiopia. I started off with Vagif Mustafazadeh's combination of mugham and American Jazz, before stopping off in Japan for a double bill of 80s pop. I span some highlife, easy-listening and Ethiopian pop, before ending with criminally overlooked vocal group The Free Design.

Dig That Treasure (9/4/15)
Vagif Mustafazadeh - Roads
Tatsuro Yamashita - Nightwing (Karaoke)
Hiroshi Satoh - This Boy
Lemed Janvier - Nazali Nayo
Angelo Mikhailov - The Three Hundred Year Itch
Ephrem Tamiru - Anech Nesh Gelay
The Free Design - Never Tell The World

Resonance FM 2/4/15

I returned to a live set up for my latest show on Resonance FM. It was a load of fun, even (especially) the mistakes I made... It's a good feeling nailing a segue, too! I opened the show with James Chance, before spinning a trio of notably kitsch and saccharine tunes. I followed those up with a track from Trinidad and another from Lebanon, then closed the show with a song from Ethiopian keyboard wizard Hailu Mergia.

Dig That Treasure (2/4/15)
James Chance & The Contortions - Design To Kill
? - Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence
Mosiac.Wav - Falsie the Pseudo-Science Girl
EasyFun - Infinity Glisten
Oluko Imo - Praise Jah
Elias Rahbani - Dance of Maria
Hailu Mergia - Sewnetuwa