Wild Mercury Sound

Today's Uncut playlist, plus Ethiopiques

John Mulvey

Apologies for the deadly silence over here these past two weeks. We haven't run out out of good music worth writing about, of course: the good CDs kept turning up, it's just that I wasn't in the office to play them.

My holiday, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to hear, was lovely, not least because a lot of it was soundtracked by the "Very Best Of Ethiopiques" compilation. At the risk of paraphrasing (possibly misrepresenting) the excellent sleevenotes from memory, it's a 2CD set that corrals the best tunes from the 21-volume "Ethiopiques" series of music from Ethiopia recorded between 1969 and 1978: the last days of Haile Selassie's rule, and the first years of military dictatorship.

Essentially, much of the music on this album is a kind of exoticised jazz and soul; everything from smoky cool West Coast-style sessions to James Brown, Get-On-The-Good-Foot workouts, combined with Ethiopian scales. I've left the CDs in the car, so I can't say much about specific artists or tracks. But if you can put up with my woolly generalising, there's something both uplifting and relaxing, poignant and rich about much of this music. Not since the "Love Peace And Poetry" comp of Turkish psych have I felt so inspired to go out and binge on a music that I was so utterly ignorant of.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get back into the hang of relatively lucid blogging as the week progresses. Here, as a kind of taster, is today's Uncut playlist, chiefly made up of stuff I found in the landslide of post round my desk at 9 O-clock this morning. As before, one or two of these are, let's say, not quite to my taste. But since Wild Mercury Sound is designed as a little oasis of positivity in an ocean of music crit snideness, you'll have to guess the stinkers. . .

1 Six Organs Of Admittance - Shelter From The Ash
2 Charalambides - Likeness
3 Various Artists - Global-A-Go-Go (free with this month's Uncut, folks; this isn't the stinker)
4 Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong - Lucio Starts Fires
5 Scott Walker - And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?
6 Black Lips - Good Bad, Not Evil
7 Damon & Naomi - Within These Walls

No sign of the Neil Young album yet - there's a possibility that might turn up later in the week. My colleagues can only seem to remember playing that newish comp of Ladbroke Grove hippy jams while I was away. Hey ho. . .


Editor's Letter

The 3rd Uncut Playlist Of 2015

Still at that stage of the year where I nearly type 2014 every time instead of 2015, but time moves on - swifter, perhaps, than Bjork for one would've liked this week, given how an unauthorised leak forced the release of "Vulnicura" a couple of months ahead of schedule.