What music are we listening to at Polari HQ this week?
Olivier Joly – Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle – Ultra Orange and Emmanuel
Released in 2007, Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle was a one-off collaboration between French band Ultra Orange and sultry actress Emmanuelle Seigner (aka Mrs Roman Polanski). It’s a collection of unashamedly ’60s sounding tracks – some dirty and loud, some soft and sweet – which makes for my perfect “walking down the street” soundtrack. As much as I love the whole album, which I have been re-listening to recently, some tracks really do stand out for me: from the Velvet Underground-inspired ‘Sing Sing’ – released as a single with a truly cool video where they channel Nico and John Cale, to ‘Simple Words’ – a beautiful melody which suits Emmanuelle’s soft and sexy voice like a glove (it was also recorded in French with Brett Anderson with whom she collaborated on his Wilderness album of the same year). If you have never heard it, go get it now!
Andrew Darley – A I A: Alien Observer – Grouper
Released in 2011, Grouper incorporates acoustic and electronic instruments to create ambient soundscapes. Beautifully crafted, this album sets itself apart from other ambient music, which can verge on the indistinctive, with a record built on subtleties that feels both fluid yet focused. Those who like the drones and sweet melodies of this one may want to check out the accompanying album of the double release, A I A: Dream Loss. This album will be staying with me for quite some time and feels like the perfect music for the imminent dark evenings and cold weather of the coming months.
Christopher Bryant – Can’t Go Back – Tanita Tikaram
Can’t Go Back, Tanita Tikaram’s first studio album since Sentimental in 2005, was released on Monday. I have been listening to it for a couple weeks now (after it was sent out by her PR). It’s a revelation. It’s warm, yet cool at the same time. You can relax back into it, like a first-class seat on a cross-country train, and then let it propel you along. For me, the three tracks ‘Rock & Roll’, ‘Science’ and ‘Keep It Real’ are the heart of the album. The production brings the strong acoustic feel to the fore, and that in turn really concentrates the emotion of the songs. I know that many still think of Tanita as that self-conscious intellectual teenager who wrote ‘Twist in my Sobriety’. That was 1988. This is a mellow record that speaks to the heart and mind written by a woman who is clearly at home in her own skin.