4th March 2013

Chris Coco’s weekly radio broadcast. An eclectic selection of brilliant new music starting with house and moving on to electronica, downtempo, acoustic and all sorts of other styles loosely connected to dance and electronic music. Let tastemaker Chris Coco guide you through his selection of the week’s best new music. Oh, this episode is, maybe the first signs of spring, because there’s more than a dash of acoustic instruments, some joyful singing from the rafters and an overall live feel from the fuzzy feeling on.So we start with some city life. that means some new house, then some very beautiful new songs from brilliant new bands and then we’re off to the islands for some gloriously Balearic business, but don’t worry, the hour ends back where we started, in the big smoke. Listen, it will all come clear.

[setlist]

1 Jupiter Jax – Soulless City – 100% Silk 2 Jay Shepheard – Here Comes – Retrofit 3 Turntable Orchestra – You’re Gonna Miss Me (Friend Within Remix) – New State 4 Locked Groove – Wear It Well – Hotflush THAT FUZZY FEELING (TUNE OF THE WEEK) 5 Pascal Pinon – Berney (One Thing) – Morr Music 6 Saroos – Henderson Island (Schlachthofbronx Mix) – Alien Transistor LIFE’S A BEACH 7 I Feel – Island Life – International Feel 8 Baby Prince & Navid Izado – Missing You feat Pillow Talk – Soul Clap Records 9 Atoms For Peace – Stuck Together Pieces – XL STRINGS, WOOD AND A BOX OF AIR 10 Palma Violets – All The Garden Birds – Rough Trade 11 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away – Bad Seed 12 Darkstar – Hold Me Down – Warp 13 Simple – Main Street – Apollo

Coffee, Fags and i-Pads

19th February 2013

So, I have been in Ireland at Sacha Puttnam’s Riverside Studio, making some new music with a lot of help from the magnificent Cairan O’Shea. Here is a collection of images that have already appeared on my Tumblr and Twitter but need to be here as well for the record. There are ten new tunes with these working titles:

Poly 6 100 Billion Euros Drops Simple Bicycle Café Human Joy of Six (Jam 3) Flight (Chilly) Jam 2 (Kaoss)

As you can see, most of those titles will change but the music will form the basis of the next Coco album.

James McArthur in the studio

4th February 2013

Down to Welling for a little view of James McArthur recording his new single. Drums, piano, guitar, vocals, mandolin, violin… This is real.

Dreaming In Colour part v)

30th January 2013

Dreaming In Colour – First Impressions of Kerala, south India

v) Karikathi Beach, then Kovalam, aka The Last Resort

Rain drips from the coconut palms like thick black coffee, hot, viscous, strong, dangerous. The oil drips onto my head, hot, dirty, a little crude, Marmite black. The sky is black, then white. Bombs and sheet lightning then nothing, dark matter, empty and endless, old eyes staring into space. The mosquitos come into the mosque, shoes off, to escape the deluge. Red hibiscus runs riot up the walls leaving pink stains like white emulsion mixed with a little blood. The waves crash round the house. The tuna fishing fleet flash their lights and sing in time with the waves – we are fireflies, we are sand crabs, we are burning plastic, we are sandalwood powder, we are A.K. Naboodeer’s amazing toothpaste, come to make your teeth gleaming white, naturally. The tuna fishing fleet, hundreds of lights bobbing on the horizon like fireflies. Crack. The branch of the coconut palm falls in slow motion and strikes my right cheek bone. I fall helter skelter down the Indian Coffee Shop slide, to the beach, and into the waves. The mosque is steaming, the crows are pecking at my ankles, the sea eagle circles then drops, heading for the crown of my head. Up and down, the boats bob up and down, the lighthouse spins, swarms of mosquitos race round, following the light. Where are the fishing nets? It’s raining. A mosquito is helping itself to a blood transfusion from my right arm. The ceiling fan is off because of a power cut, and we forgot the mosquito net. Damn. Awake. Night time in paradise. And back into the next big breaker. The mynah bird is wearing a tea towel on his head. His head rocks from side to side. He smiles a beaky smile. Fresh. Fresh. He keeps repeating the word he learnt earlier from the proprietor of the Ayurvedic Treatment Centre. He is talking about their massage oil. I can’t tell if he means – yes, it is fresh; no of course it’s not fresh, you idiot; or if he is simply parroting the word, parroting, like the birds in Battersea Park, green and totally out of place. They should be here with the crows. A thousand tuk tuk drivers, heads nodding from side to side. Free. Free. We are free, they chant. The rain stops. Dawn arrives suddenly like the Kerala express pulling into Ernakulam Junction. First there is black; then a light; then the whole train arrives all at once; car after car after car – general compartment, sleeper, sleeper, sleeper, ladies only, chair car, chair car, chair car 2AC, first class. The rain has stop. Dawn has arrived suddenly to wake me. I am under the net. My arm is itching. It is the beginning of another day in paradise, the boats are one their way home, time to get up and swim before breakfast.

This is the rope that makes me one rupee. This is the rope that makes me one rupee. At 4am every day the family who live behind our de-luxe luxury apartment on the beach (sea view from bedroom) get up and start making rope. The rope is made from the stringy insides of coconuts, soaked in water for six months then wound round two ancient iron contraptions by the ancient father while the ancient mother and the pretty daughter feed and twist the scraps of dry, hair-like twine. Feed and twist, twist and wind, all day long from 4am. Each piece of rope, about three metres long, can be sold for one rupee. Feed and twist. Twist and wind. Another piece off the production line. You can’t really buy anything with one rupee, but ten or twenty is enough to make a meal. Feed and twist, twist and wind, every day in the dust and the dark, every day in the sun and the heat, every day in the heat and the rain. If you listen closely, just before dawn, you can hear the sound of the ancient winding from our de-luxe apartment (sea view from upstairs bedroom). Meanwhile, up the steps and over the hill, the rich and fat of Europe are slowly grilling in their sun loungers like freshly caught, shiny sardines on individual luxury grills. In the two weeks we have been here these are the most miserable looking people we have seen. Perhaps they should read the words outside the Ramraj Cotton (for the Prestigious People) Shop: “Don’t always presume yourself with a feeling of superiority over others. Don’t be greedy and crave more than what you need.” Thathuvagnani Vethathiri Maharishi

Feed and twist. Twist and wind. Would we Europeans be happier if we couldn’t afford to come here? Would it be better for the people here if we didn’t come? When we do come, is it possible to make a reasonable transaction when our economies are so different? Is it stupid to explain that at home we are not rich? At home we work hard to please other people. We are all the same.Trying to make our way as best we can with the skills that we have and the luck of where and when we were born. We are (mostly) good people who want to be treated as we would treat others. We want to talk, we want to help, but what can we do alone? We can’t buy enough saris and dhotis to make a difference. We can trade, cooperate, communicate, try to understand a little, talk about micro banks and Asian tigers; spices and skills and fishing boats; education and family and life long friendship. We can talk and we can listen. Listen when Alex tells us that there are no poor people in south India. Everyone here is rich because this is an abundant paradise, he assures us with a smile, pouring dark brown coffee into pale white cups. This is God’s Own Country, no matter who your god happens to be, you will be fine. Everything is in balance. There is night and day, dreams and reality, he smiles again and pours a little milk, turning the coffee to muddy brown. For every problem there is a solution. Here you can somehow live a good, simple life, and be happy. And that is enough; truly, that is enough.

“Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness.” Swami Vishnudevananda

Dreaming In Colour part iv)

28th January 2013

Dreaming In Colour – First Impressions of Kerala, south India

iv) North Kumbalangi Island, just a short Tuk Tuk ride from Fort Kochi

Next time you happen to be in Fort Kochi, turn left on Princess Road, towards the church and the post office. Perhaps stop off at Tea Pot for a pot of tea on the way but definitely follow your nose to the essential oil shops and the women’s cooperative selling spices, remembering to hold said nose when you go over the lime green, slime green, snake green river that snakes around the town carrying all sorts of unidentified effluent very slowly from nowhere in particular to somewhere else not that far from where it started. Inside the oil shop ask the friendly assistant about dark oily black musk; fresh, clear white gardenia; complex, overflowing Kerala flower. Let essential oils drip like olfactory poetry onto your arms. Frangipani makes me sneeze. I love the word more than the fragrance – fran-gi-pa-ni, exotic, full of promise and expectation. Bitter amber to make you thoughtful; zesty lime to give you a new lease of life; coffee to clear your thoughts; green orchid for that special, sensual moment. The spice shop is run by seven women. The one husband present, all moustache and belly and folded arms, raises an eyebrow to me in the simple, international language of men, saying, simply – women, eh? – as we pile up spices, ready for purchase. Saffron, vanilla, chilli flakes, star anise, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, all go into the plastic tray. I step outside and husband follows. He tells me that he drives an Ashok Leyland bus, just come off shift, on the chaotic city streets, and wonders if there are any opportunities for such drivers in London. Wonders if the wages are good. Wonders if I can sponsor him and help him to get there. What can I say? The wages are good. He could earn in a week what he earns here in a month. But the prices are high. You can’t really make the comparison. Most of the money would go on rent and heating and lighting and a coat and boots and eating and surviving. That’s what most people do in the UK, with a little drinking and watching TV and shopping on the side. It’s just like here really, but without the goats wandering down the street and the heat and the tuk tuks; and the spices and the power cuts; and the colour and the craziness; and the smiles and the sunshine; and the creeks and the Chinese fishing nets.

The Chinese fishing nets dangle over the backwaters; wooden cantilevered constructions that look spider-like, ancient, alien, strange. At night the nets are lowered into the two metre deep, brackish, bath-warm water. A light is turned on above the nets. The prawns and small fish are attracted to the lights. The nets are pulled up. The fisherman have prawns to sell and eat. The poor allegorical prawns and gullible fish believe that when their friends and family ‘go to the the light’, as they like to call it, and never return, they are ascending to a better place, up above in the sky outside the water, somewhere high above in the place called air, where there is nothing to breathe, they believe they are going to some kind of prawny, fishy heaven.

We follow the signs to Jew Town. Synagogue 0.3m it says, and underneath – God’s Own Country. The arrow is, naturally, pointing up. The synagogue, built in the 16th century, is a new addition to our collection of religious establishments. It is a little understated compared to the really rather over the top, brightly painted Hindu temples that are in direct competition with the sparkly icing sugar white churches. There is a bunting war going in the streets around them and a sound clash at festival time. Hindu or Christian, these elongated religious services are about the only thing that you could call night life round here. Once the sun sets, around 6:30, the rush is on for home and supper, something involving prawns and spices most probably, and bed, unless there is a do at the church or the temple or the synagogue or the mosque of course.