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Melt Yourself Down — Melt Yourself Down (2013)

 Melt Yourself Down — Melt Yourself Down (2013)

Melt Yourself Down — Melt Yourself Down
¤¤  They proceed through a kaleidoscopic hybrid of psychedelic jazz, Afrobeat and post-punk that is intense and primal.
Location: London, UK
Album release: June 17, 2013
Record Label: The Leaf Label Ltd
Duration:     35:14
01 Fix My Life     4:03
02 Release!     4:19
03 Tuna     4:27
04 We Are Enough     4:34
05 Kingdom Of Kush     4:38
06 Free Walk     3:49
07 Mouth To Mouth     4:27
08 Camel     5:02

Melt Yourself Down is:
¤¤  Pete Wareham (Saxophone)
¤¤  Shabaka Hutchings (Saxophone)
¤¤  Tom Skinner (Drums)
¤¤  Ruth Goller (Bass)
¤¤  Kushal Gaya (Vocals)
¤¤  Satin Singh (Percussion)
:: Pete Wareham (Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear) (Hastings, UK)
:: Shabaka Hutchings (Sons Of Kemet, Heliocentrics) (London, UK)
:: Tom Skinner (Hello Skinny, Sons Of Kemet, Mulatu Astatke) (London, UK)
:: Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Rokia Traoré) (London, UK)
:: Kushal Gaya (Zun Zun Egui) (London, UK)
:: Satin Singh (Fela!, Transglobal Underground) (London, UK)
¤¤  Produced and mixed by Leafcutter John
Website: http://meltyourselfdown.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeltYourselfDown?fref=ts&amp
Label: http://www.theleaflabel.com/
¤¤  Members of the Heliocentrics and friends offload an album of skronky, festival-minded rock-jazz-funk; in its opening moments it sounds like it could be a noble synthesis of James Chance’s no wave volatility and Mulatu’s swaying Ethio sound, but it doesn’t take long to realise that it’s more like the Dub Pistols meets Jools’ Hootenanny. The musicianship is hard to fault in plain terms, and the band are probably formidable live if you’re pissed up on pina coladas with The Cuban Brothers, but the sporadic rock riffs and slapped-on electronic zaps and whooshes serve to date the thing (more like 1998 then 2013, truth be told); and the less said about the pub-singalong vocals, the better. But hey, you might love it.
Description from label:
¤¤  Melt Yourself Down is the sound of Cairo ‘57, Cologne ‘72, New York ‘78, London 2013. North and south and east and west. Horns blowing, drums vibrating, a suffocating fever dream. Primal. Vital.
¤¤  This is: a journey across an ocean of sweat to a golden obelisk. In its airless catacombs, the house band from hell. MYD. Making music you can see, sounds you can smell. Vibrations you can taste. Rhythms to rearrange your DNA.
¤¤  This is: a modal map, a burning passport, a trip, a banquet, a broadcast, a protest, a party, a ritual. A broadcast political. This is: music mined and hewn. Blasted and blown. A tribal war cry.
¤¤  Hoodoo voodoo? They do, you do. They call it a debut. Fierce funk and punk and detonated jazz. ¤¤  Rhythms to rearrange the DNA. Five senses being ripped by six souls across seven continents on eight songs. Live, they’re a tropical storm lit by full-frontal fireworks, carried by a finger-pointing, proselytising equatorial preacherman spitting fire and brimstone calls that demand a response. Their message: Melt Yourself Down and turn yourself up. Get out of it and get into it.
¤¤  Finally the fever breaks. The sound of moaning. Breathing. Chests heaving. Twelve white eyes, blinking. This is: imagination. Communication. Liberation. It’s just the beginning.
¤¤  Melt Yourself Down: Pete Wareham (Acoustic Ladyland, Polar Bear), Kushal Gaya (Zun Zun Egui), Shabaka Hutchings (Sons Of Kemet, Heliocentrics), Tom Skinner (Hello Skinny, Sons Of Kemet, Mulatu Astatke), Ruth Goller (Acoustic Ladyland, Rokia Traoré), Satin Singh (Fela!). Pulled into shape by Leafcutter John.
By Alan Ashton-Smith | 12 June 2013 (Editor rating: ****½)
¤¤  There can’t be many people who don’t like a horn section. Stick a bit of brass on a track and you get motion, rich textures and timbres, warmth and depth – all of the best things about music. From marching bands to Motown, what’s not to love?
¤¤  Melt Yourself Down don’t exactly have a horn section going on – and in fact they don’t use any instruments that are strictly brass – but with a pair of fearsomely played saxophones providing the melodic current of their album they achieve all of that movement and warmth. They are in essence a jazz-rock supergroup, but don’t let that give you the wrong idea. This is unpretentious music that demands dancing and speaks to the same primal senses that no doubt inspired someone to start banging sticks and rocks together however many hundreds of thousands of years ago music was invented.
¤¤  The saxes are handled by classically trained jazzman Shabaka Hutchings and Pete Wareham of Acoustic Ladyland – whose bassist Ruth Goller also plays with Melt Yourself Down. The drummer is Tom Skinner, of Hello Skinny and Hutching’s other group Zed-U, and additional percussion is provided by Satin Singh, whose credits include Down To The Bone and Transglobal Underground. Producer Leafcutter John adds electronics to the mix, and vocals are yelped, gargled and spat out by Zun Zun Egui’s Kushal Gaya. That’s a hefty chunk of leftfield talent, and it actually adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
¤¤  Gaya doesn’t always have a lot to do from a vocal perspective, but he’s a crucial part of Melt Yourself Down’s live impact: check out any video of them playing live to witness him dancing and jumping around like a dervish. The vocals are fragmented, and frequently take the form of simplistic repeated refrains or barely intelligible stuff that sounds like high-octane scat. It’s as though he’s caught up in the whirlwind of music, the clattering and blowing, that’s going on around him, and is occasionally compelled to insert his interjections into the mix. But these snatches of singing often bind the whole thing together, bringing a kind of earthiness to the music and turning riffs and melodies into actual songs.
¤¤  Meanwhile, what drives things along is the interplay between saxophones and bass. We Are Enough showcases the way that the musicians weave in and out of each other’s spaces to greatest effect: saxes and bass play the same riff in a kind of call and response pattern, until a veritable frenzy occurs. Stretching this highly effective yet simple conceit across the length of an album involves something of a risk, and by keeping things to a tight eight tracks, Melt Yourself Down just about prevent the record from dragging. There are moments when a little more variety might be welcome – but still, who doesn’t love a horn section?
¤¤  Moreover, this is at its heart a form of dance music, so some feeling of repetition can be forgiven; crucially, rhythm and soul are both present in droves. Fans of any of the bands Melt Yourself Down’s musicians have played with are likely to find much to enjoy here, but equally, lovers of Balkan brass and groups like the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble will see a crossover appeal in this frenetic noise. It’s compelling stuff; we need more musicians who are prepared to go nuts in this delightfully joyous way.
Fortaken: http://www.musicomh.com/
¤¤  We all know how much the music press love to build little boxes in which to compartmentalise artists, but sometimes it would be good if they could put a bit more effort into it: the two most common descriptions one sees attached to London/ Hastings collective Melt Yourself Down are “Acoustic Ladyland side-project” and “UK jazz supergroup”, and whilst there is a degree of truth in both neither are wholly accurate and in fact do the band something of a disservice. For one thing, Acoustic Ladyland – for much of the last decade the most successful ensemble on the contemporary British jazz circuit – are no longer operational, which means MYD are no more a “side-project” than, say, Wings or the Style Council were; this is the sound of saxophonist Pete Wareham and bassist Ruth Goller moving forward, not just finding a new diversion to pass the time away from work. Secondly, MYD are only jazz by default, in as much as a group with a two-horn frontline and collective time served with some of the genre’s biggest names (see also Polar Bear, the Heliocentrics, Mulatu Astatke) will always be automatically and lazily tagged as such. In fact, whilst most of MYD’s players are grounded in jazz – second saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and drummer Tom Skinner (who also records as Hello Skinny) make up half of Middle East-meets-New Orleans quartet Sons Of Kemet – the group’s sound is much further-reaching, with percussionist Satin Singh (Transglobal Underground) and vocalist Kushal Gaya (Zun Zun Egui) bringing punked-up world fusion rhythms to the table and producer Leafcutter John, a one-time Planet Mu stalwart, adding electronic flourishes and dancefloor heft. ¤¤  So we get brassy, block-rocking bangers (“Fix My Life”) and hyperactive Afro-acid house (“Release!“) seamlessy melding booming hip hop and highlife rhythms with duelling saxes and fat synths; Krautrock Arabesques (“Tuna”) and riotous calypso (“We Are Enough“), even a daring attempt at jazzing up sludgy prog-metal (“Camel”). With Gaya spouting unhinged Damo Suzuki-esque glottal-babble and leading the band with call-and-response chants, and with Wareham and Hutchings’ addictive sweet and sour harmonies and Skinner and Singh’s equally irresistable thunderous double drum attack pushing the adrenaline levels into the red, it’s the kind of music John Peel would have loved, a condensed Rough Guide to World Music for those who would rather be shaking their rumps at Notting Hill Carnival than comparing garden suntans with the armchair tourists at WOMAD. It’s a dozen stamps in a well-thumbed passport, an open plane ticket to wherever you want to go and a few places you didn’t know existed besides. It’s the pharaohs’ own “Gangnam Style”, a retro-futurist tribal rave-up of mind-blowing proportions. It’s Fela Kuti playing the Hacienda. It’s James Chance and the Contortions playing Ronnie Scott’s. It’s Can playing CBGBs. It’s the sounds of Cairo ’57, Cologne ’69, New York ’78 and the “Second Summer of Love” coming together in London 2013, and it’s absolutely wonderful. Straddling continents and generations with their globe-trotting giddiness, Melt Yourself Down have produced the best British debut album in years, and if you need a pigeonhole to stuff them in, here’s one that’s a little more accurate than “UK jazz supergroup”: your new favourite band.
Fortaken: http://foamhands.wordpress.com/
By Chris Buckle: **** (http://www.theskinny.co.uk/)
By Danny Wright: 7/10 (http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/)

Melt Yourself Down — Melt Yourself Down (2013)



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