Grounding Sounds #009: Maps and Diagrams
It’s been a short while again but fear not, we’ve another Grounding Sounds show up for you today, courtesy of the artist behind Maps and Diagrams, Hessien, Black Elk, Bluhm, Karst, Atlantis, Louper and many more… Tim Diagram. Right from the start we were keen to get Tim on board, as we knew his influences were likely to be broad. Tim’s work has graced labels such as Static Caravan, Nomadic Kids Republic, Beko DSL, Fluid Audio, Time Released Sound, Chemical Tapes, Smallfish, Toytronic, Expanding Records and both Moamoo and Symbolic Interaction in Japan.
Tim has appeared on the famous John Peel show, a man well-respected within the Grounding Sounds community for obvious reasons! Tim has also worked alongside the CityLab art collective in Chile with part of this culminating in a project combining 40 musicians from around the world, in which he curated and co-ordinated the ‘Citygenetic’ project.
For those unaware, Tim runs the Handstitched* label from his native UK. It focuses on releasing handmade packaging for the more electro-acoustic and drone elements of his work. You can find out more by visiting the site: www.handstitched.net
For his show, Tim manages to fit a whopping 26 tracks into just 80 minutes which is incredible in itself. Even better, the sounds he has selected smoothly blends Afro-beat, funk, vintage electronic music, krautrock and more into a thoroughly enjoyable listen from start to finish.
GS: Hi Tim, how are you keeping?
TD: I’m good thanks, keeping busy as usual, trying to juggle 101 things at once as usual!. It keeps me from going off the rails though so I can’t complain. All good!
GS: What projects have you got going on at the moment?
TD: There’s some new projects coming very soon, as you know the new Hessien EP has just been released, this is to be followed up by the second Hessien album both Charles and I have been working on this year. There’s a secret project, which I’m not sure is a secret any more coming out soon too, keep your eyes peeled. There’s a new Maps and Diagrams EP on the Postcard series on the lovely Hibernate. Some more Maps and Diagrams full-length material on an as yet undisclosed label. Both Mark and I will be working on some new Karst music this autumn too, looking forward to that and last but not least, the lovely work with Genoveva under our Bluhm project, looking forward to that too!. So, as you can see – pretty solid with projects for the foreseeable future!
The Stellar Workshop – Alpha Sound (1977)
This whole album by The Stellar Workshop is magical, floating synths and random sequences, this one song is my favourite off the album, I discovered the album a few years ago – just arriving at the Ultraviolet Bar, I’ll have a Cosmic-Spritzer.
Bernard Fevre – Dali (1975)
This is toe-tapping electronic music from Bernard, after discovering this song on the fairly recent Space Oddities compilation I needed to hear more from him so in typical anorak style I tracked down a few of his albums – his sound never gets boring, this song in particular is one that stands out, library music at its finest. Sonic stardust.
S.Olivier, Nakara Percussions – Balimba (1975-1984)
I love the rhythm and percussion in this piece – the vocal chant, sounds of the inner-jungle. I’ll have an Um Bongo on the rocks.
The Daktaris – Super Afro-Beat
Great track from a great album, I discovered The Daktaris through Frank @ Voodoo Funk. He’s travelled far and wide through West Africa to dig-out rare and obscure Afro-beat and Hi-Life gems from the 60s and 70s. Through the summer months I find myself listening to more and more of this sound – goes down great with some biltong.
Psapp – Rear Moth (2004)
I’m not sure how they managed to make this track Rear Moth so perfect. A timeless album, multi-instrumentalists with an ear for something totally unique, Galia’s voice, squeaky toys, kazoo, and that timing – perfect!
Reiko Ike – Ai No Kizuna (1971)
I blame Colin Herrick for my Reiko Ike fascination after the introduced me to her music after he stayed over one weekend, this song is pieced-together with her famous erotic vocals, mysterious and sleazy – an all-round entertainer in more ways than one.
Mulatu Astatke – Yekermo Sew (1972)
The godfather of Ethiopian jazz, I discovered him on the brilliant Ethiopiques compilations a few years ago, his music is intertwined with keys, brass and amazingly timed rhythm sections, music for a smoky jazz club in Addis Ababa in the 1960s, pass me the hookah.
Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics – Mulatu ()
More recent output from Mulatu, this time collaborating with the Heliocentrics, I love the flatness of this song with its vibraphone and trumpet breaks and of course – that beat ties everything together.
S.Maharba – Damn Hands (2007)
There’s something intriguing about S.Maharba, the production is superb, the sampling is spot on. It’s an old sound that reminds me of DJ Krush and DJ Shadow – nice and crunchy, like a big bag of pork scratchings.
Beastie Boys – Suco De Tangerina (2007)
Ah, the Beastie Boys, one of my favourite groups of all time; they’ve always been so consistent and have always evolved with their music. This song demonstrates why they’re so together as a group, live instrumentation, bouncing off each other with their trademark instrumental/dubbed-out style.
Can – A Swan Is Born (2012)
Can weren’t always on the top of my Krautrock list, I heard a fair bit of their music in the early 90s then they dropped off my radar for a while, I’ve listened to The Lost Tapes album a lot since its release last year, A Swan Is Born reminds me of a Radiohead track, but better.
Brian Bennett – Cloning (1980)
Another library/early electronic space-jam gem from the archives, I love the way this track shuffles along to the simple drum sequence and the live-feel to the synthesiser keys which drive it, as fresh as the day it was made. I’ll take the Skylab burger w/extra cheese.
Plone – Dry Pen ()
Not sure when or if ever this Plone album was released but I’ve had it many years and have listened to it constantly. This song Dry Pen is Plone in a nutshell, simple, melodic and quirky, as with the previous song by Brian Bennett, the pads and bass move so nicely through the tracks progression. Music to ride your bike to.
A. Tommasi – Capricorno (1970)
1970s library funk from A. Tommasi, getting funky with the organ, this reminds me of some of the Beastie Boys instrumental tracks with Money Mark on the keyboards. There’s a whole lotta shimmy going on; BBQ and Vodka Martini.
Dolphins Into The Future – Onset-Beyond Clouds (2012)
One artist I always get drawn back to – Lieven’s music is so raw and real sounding, hypnotic and tranquil. This song is one of my favourites of Dolphins Into The Future, tropical loops and scratchy field recordings make it unique and nostalgic. His weekly radio show brings some rare and obscure world music to a wider audience, it’s worth checking out.
Walter Christian Rothe – Gentle Waves (1982)
Another rare and typically unheard artist, he only released a handful of albums, this from 1982 is a synth masterpiece, reminds me of a less-grumpy Jean-Michel Jarre but with just as much purity to his music.
My Bloody Valentine – Slow (1988)
Second track off the You Made Me Realise EP and for me one of their best singles, staggering through seedy clubs in the late 80s spilling beer on other likeminded people, those were the days – no one cared.
To Rococo Rot – Horses (2009)
Reminders and echoes of Arcade Fire. This is a great piece from a great band
Bernard Fevre – Odyssee (1977)
Another gem from Bernard Fevre – amazingly simple, but that’s the beauty of it; like a lot of electronic music from this era this piece is very spacious and melodic; gliding through the analogue ether without a care in the world. Next stop: Pina Colada in the Neon Lounge.
Michael Bundt – Galaxy Machine (1977)
Also from 1977; Michael Bundt’s Galaxy Machine. Going deeper into the galaxy here with some nice pad-action and heavy synth waves. The album is worth checking, there’s some real rarities on there. Music from another world.
The Apostles – Oshi Onwu (1970s)
Even heavier Afro-funk right here from The Apostles. This is as raw as it gets from this East Nigerian group. Lagos-Funk-Central.
Beastie Boys – Shambala (2007)
What a great album Ill Communication is; with all those classics flowing one after the other, Shambala is no exception, cosmic-funk, influenced by African rhythms and to the point. You know where it’s heading – it’s the Beastie Boys.
Jean-Jacques Perrey – E.V.A (1970)
Maybe an overly-obvious choice for a track on a mix tape of sorts but I’ve always loved this since the first time I heard it and always will. The guitar and bubbling Moog just roll on through, pure class.
The Stellar Workshop – Gamma Melodie (1977)
More cosmic explorations from The Stellar Workshop, wistful synths and sonic fragments drop into your ears to find their way inside your head to fill that space with those transpicuous arrangements. Drop a couple of Disco 3000s in Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina and Bob’s your uncle.
The Apostles – Onye Akpa (1970s)
The Apostles again with the flip-side to the Oshi Onwu track from earlier, taken from the same 7” single – I love discovering new (old) music like this, when you find something of this magnitude it doesn’t matter that I have no idea what they’re singing about. Straight-up afro-funk… perfect for beating those summertime blues.
Reiko Ike – Keiken (1971)
And to finish off, a bit more Reiko, groaning her way through the song, and why not, with that voice
she’s forgiven, this song has a nice muffled, schmoozed-out groove too, lounge music on another level. Reiko Ike – a woman of many talents and a sleazy ending to my Grounding Sounds selection.