Studio 58 - Live At Expo '58

Let's not beat around the bush. The reason you're here reading this (and the reason I myself got involved with this motley crew of Sleazy scoundrels) is the love and never-ending search for damn good music.

In today's torrent of tracks it's easy to miss out on quality releases, and perhaps even easier to overlook great musicians, especially in the electronic music scene. But if it's musicality and craftsmanship you're looking for, Lemonade Records' second release has got you covered.

Somewhere around the end of October last year, Belgian electronic duo Sue Avenue hunkered down in a desolated theatre, a remnant of the 1958 Brussels World Fair aka Expo 58. They invited Afro-Cuban collective Compro Oro and Funk & Soul congregation Big Whoop to join in, locked the doors, and engaged in 3 weekends of musical experimentation.

The resulting album comes as a double package comprised of both a 7" and 12". The former kicks off with 'Midnight Wires', a snug, whistle-infused piece marbled with vibrant percussion and guitar play that will make you question the adequacy of labeling music. On the flip, the tropical rhythms of 'Birds Of Paradise'  provide an instant hit of sunshine during even the coldest of days. The way in which that xylophone and guitar feed off eachother is guaranteed to get the floor moving, bunch of bananas and hula skirts optional.

The main record, if there even is such a thing, brings another 6 tracks to the table, 2 of which are short musical intermezzos aptly named Intermezzo I and II. More than just fillers, both are captivating in their own right, displaying a sense of DIY naivity that reminds of Golden Retriever's 'Capablanca' EP on Omena last year.

While title track ' Live At Expo 58' contemplates on life, 'Lalibela' is probably the most catchy of the bunch, with licks that are bound to stay stuck in your head for days to come. 'Red Seats & Carpets' on the B-side starts with a detuned guitar, but it's that growling bass that takes centre stage, providing the backbone for what is without a doubt one of the most funky and driving outings on the entire release. 'On Air In Five' comes out as a close second on the funk-o-meter, though, with an equally, if not more, prominent bassline and tribal percussion slapping the heck out of those drums and your ears. The near-primal howls of the vocalist lend themselves perfectly to the atmosphere of the track, and the fact that, throughout, you can hear one of the musicians giving pointers in their native language, adds both personality and playfulness to the tune.
If Moodymann were Belgian, he'd be banging the living daylight out of this one.

To sum it up in one word, this Lemonade is refreshing. A superb example of colaboration between electronic artists and skilled intstrumentalists, and a strong contender for my personal record of the year.

You can have a listen through all the tracks in this Spotify playlist, and grab your copy over at OYE or any of the other Wax Warehouses of your liking.