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Flying Wonders: MADWALTZ Presents....... CD
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1. Flying Wonders
3. Try Again
5. Fairweather View
7. Fruit Machine
8. D.E.X. 1
9. Mai Beshe Peeinal Dosta
10. Too Fast
Ninja have put out some, well, lets say some eccentric records over the last few years. And few were more eccentric than Homelifes "Flying Wonders". A giant collective from Manchester based around bassist Paddy Steer and guiatarists Tony Burnside and Simon King, their 2002 album combined classical training, folk, eastern melodies, latin rhythms and just about anything else you could think of into a suprisingly accessible psychedelic pop whole. Unsurprisingly, the record was critically acclaimed, with Gilles Peterson picking it as his album of the month on his "Worldwide" radio show.
Now comes the "Flying Wonders" EP, where, rather than recording the band in small groups in Steers loft, 12 members of Homelife went to Moolah Rouge Studios and recorded two tracks from the album live, plus two completely new compositions.
The results are everything you would expect a more fluid, relaxed reading of the Homelife blueprint which give you a taste of what their live show delivers time and again. Featuring more of the incredible vocals of Seaming To, plus the slightly more downbeat delivery of Burnside, the main thing you can say is that this is a fantastic ensemble enjoying playing together.
Have a listen
After two fine albums on their own imprint (Madwaltz), Manchester's secret weapon Homelife have finally been spotted. Agit-funksters from the big smoke, Ninja Tune, have given them the platform they deserve, and in return Homelife deliver their best yet. And at their best, they're utterly fabulous - idiosyncratic, rich heady brews of rootless sound. No-one sounds quite like them.
Bassist-about-town Paddy Steer is the guiding force behind this sprawling, multinational band - participants from Canada, China and, oooh, Cheetham Hill - truly the sound of Manchester in the 21st century. It's almost the New Exotica, though more Gay Village than Quiet Village. It'd be labelled Fourth World music if it wasn't on Ninja - and so effortlessly enjoyable.
The rhythms are variously motorik and shambolic, Tom Waits' funkier cuban-heeled grooves and loping hip-hop manouevres. A friend asked after the "dysfunctional" music I was listening to. I hope Homelife take this as a compliment.
That the Homelife sound is so distinctive is largely due to two things: 808 State-alumni Graham Massey, deploying his wonderfully off-kilter woodwinds, and in particular Semay Wu's cellos and Rosie Lawler's violins, who lend wonderful, swaying Chinese strings, akin to Michael Gallasso's soundtrack to Wong Kar Wai's "In The Mood For Love", but more light-hearted, more intoxicated.
"Buffalos" illustrates this perfectly: strings twittering between the High Chapparal and the Yellow River, analog synths echoing around outer and inner space, slide guitar posted from Hawaii, loping shuffles straight outta Madchester. Utterly beguiling. "Fair-Weather View" is bonkers, but beautiful; quite miraculously staying afloat. "Mai Besche Peeinal" sounds like a Russian story (but probably isn't) set on the steppes of Stockport Road. "Dosta" is surrealist fantasy, then dreamy loopyness. Anything seems possible. When steel drums suddenly ripple through "Too Fast", you only wonder why they took so long to emerge.
Chinese opera singer Seaming To, as well as possessing one of the best names in the business, is quite unique. When only Yma Sumac springs to mind as a comparison, we're talking a rare talent (she also provides vox on the new Mr Scruff album). Faron Brooks' spare, fragile but soulful vocals sound as if they've been beamed in from Canada this time, as opposed to taking the poorly-recorded audio-tape-in-brown-envelope route. Allegedly, fact-fans, Brooks recorded the theme tune to 70s TV show "Why Don't You". I don't believe it for one minute, but all is possible in Homelife-world.
They're great fun live too, not least in their lengthy, endearingly chaotic sound checks - well, you try to cram a 15-piece band plus exotic instrumentation onto a small stage. Grab this as an introduction, then check out their earlier releases, why don't you. --Dan Hill
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26 April 2004
Format: Audio CD
A slightly tongue-in-cheek bohemia runs through this wigged-outcollective’s latest LP. There is a lot of shoddy material released throughNinja Tune but this can certainly be placed in the context of the moreinteresting artists currently on their roster (see Amon Tobin and Bonoboalso). Live instrumentation is pitted playfully against the label’strademark noodling but this is a more international in its musical visionthan the jazz n’ breaks fodder of their stablemates. Quirky and exotic,this album is a melting pot of downtempo jazz, lilting acoustica andethnic influences coupled with drum and bass inflections, hippysing-alongs and trip hop. The highlights are the beautiful pluckedstrings, skittering rhythms and mangled Eddie Cochrane-esque vocals of‘Fairweather View’ and the bonged-out freeform of Fruit Machine. Momentsof inspiration jossle with the occasional slide into characteristic Ninjaindulgence.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 1 reviews
Homelife - Flying Wonders
13 September 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
One person found this helpful.
Homelife moves to Ninja Tune after a number of releases on their own label, and FLYING WONDERS continues their unique blend of jazz, funk and everything in-between. In-between, in this case, includes the Chinese-sounding strings in "Buffalos," or the spare instrumentation of "Try Again," or the Lawrence Welk on acid of "Seedpod." "Fair-Weather View" blends folk-funk with general electronic blippery, while the plucking of "Fruit Machine" meets a quick stepping beat (interestingly enough, "Too Fast" is probably one of the slower tracks on the album). The strings on "Wonderley" give a nice, dreamy feel to close out the album. Overall, strange but enjoyable.
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