Painted Word (label)
22 June 2018 (released)
22 June 2018
This is the first 3 releases on Painted Word, a new Jazz/Ambient label formed by multi-award-winning, legendary record producer, Killing Joke bassist, ambient and chillout pioneer, songwriter and artist, simply known as Youth.
The three albums are very different but there is an unmistakable ‘family’ sense to them embodied in a feeling of space between the instruments and multiple layers of sound. They are all very different and elicit different moods but the core of experiment and innovative playing is common to all three.
Roger Eno has been playing seriously since the early ‘80’s and his music is played, in the main, on piano although he is a multi-instrumentalist. The opening of ‘Dust Of Stars’ has a lonely and wide feel with the piano and guitar at the heart. A simple, repetitive, piano piece centres the ear while the other instruments range around the soundstage creating a dark image. ‘Diamonds In The Tiles’ continues the feeling of empty space with moments of illumination while the title track uses a sampled Samaritans conversation to indicate the remoteness of our essence. It is a lonely album but the feelings it evokes are something we can all relate to sometimes and the playing is magnificent.
Susso Seki Singh are a three piece consisting of Jally Kebba Susso on Kora, Andrea Seki on Harp, and Kiranpal Singh on Santoor. The music has complex interactions between the three instruments but the sense of space and alienation is familiar from the Roger Eno album. The opening track ‘Afro Cosmic’ has the feeling of three sprites dancing on their own but crossing and bouncing off each other – there is a feeling of joy but I still get the breadth and size of the soundscape that seems to pervade all three of these albums. ‘Orange Sunshine’ itself is based around a drone with Susso’s Kora picking out a complex melody – the whole number brings to the mind’s eye sunrise and a sense of coming out of a deep sleep.
Finally Youth himself appears, playing with the legendary Hawkwind founder-member Nik Turner. This is probably the most jazz-like of the three with Turner playing saxophone and Youth on bass and production. The music could be called ambient but there is an emotional edge to much of the music that you do not always find in ambient. ‘Junk DNA’ adds synths and strong keyboard effects to Turner’s sax while ‘Magnetron’ sees Turner playing flute to effect a whimsy over dark, thudding backgrounds.
Based on this, Painted Word have a great deal to offer. All three of the albums are fascinating, brilliantly conceived and played. Essential listening for anyone with an Ambient bent.