The last Clube da Esquina radio program was mostly assembled from a selection of songs released in 2019. The intention of this harvest was not of identifying last year’s best songs or albums, but to offer a set of songs that became more eminent throughout the year, while also removed from the reissue market. In short, the main objective of this program focused on the search for songs that refer to a certain musical production, in line with today, with contemporary times. In this way, the present was thought of as a time that still has the capacity for musical innovation. My perception is that, for some of these musicians — like Tom of England, Tujiko Noriko, Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas or Kate Tempest — the drive for the now is not a coincidence, but a desire to transform today’s way of thinking and making music. As I went through the songs in this chapter, I noticed the absence of Burial, but I am convinced that in this last program I was contaminated by some of the ideas presented by Mark Fisher in Ghosts of My Life: by the music that is in tune with its time. And 2019 was a good harvest. Clube da Esquina ends with… See you soon! : )
The music family supports many subjects, but I am convinced that love will always be its biggest theme. And for this reason, the next-to-last Clube da Esquina radiocast recovers this fundamental topic yet bringing with it a close relative, oblivion. The assembly of these two subjects means that an attempt has been made to build a radio show composed of songs that have been slightly dormant, favoring, as usual, the recall of bands which are equally distant from the limelight. The diversity of sounds heard in this chapter was not premeditated, but it seemed impossible to escape a song like Persian Love, upon which and even though I don’t understand a single word of what is sung, it is still fascinating to perceive how the passion between two people makes itself felt. Beyond, of course, Holger Czukay’s pioneering music, which by capturing these voices from radio waves, debuted, alongside other musicians, the era of sampling. Or what about a lone EP by Depeche Mode’s Martin L. Gore which remains underrated, the urgency to return to Sekou Sundiata’s activism, or the forgetfulness of the single LP released by duo Will & James Ragar, to which we also need to come back to. Probably Walker Brothers’ music will be the one we have most on our minds, but it was hard to escape the albeit slightly forgotten genius of Scott Walker when revisiting this topic. You can’t learn to love but listening to music is a constant learning : )
It was planned to devote Clube da Esquina’s 10th edition to early polar expeditions, recalling the prowess of those who risked their lives to cross the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Explorers James Clark Ross (1800-1862) and Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) will be forever linked to these historical moments. But at the time of selecting songs for the chapter, it seemed unfair to abandon songs that have become critical to understand pop music’s recent history. That is, these are songs which more or less directly refer to a relationship with ice, while symbolically too far removed from risky raids on the Atlantic Ocean. Examples are Yoko Ono’s Walking On Thin Ice, a theme song that has become one of Post-Disco’s anthems, or Break The Ice At Parties by The Tesco Bombers, an English Post-Punk band that during their short career edited a unique but brilliant single. For this reason, this program ended up tracking songs that, in a more literal, illustrative, metaphorical or even ironic way, retrieved the word ice as their title or introduced it in their lyrics. This way of building the chapter was different than usual, as it brings together songs from various musical genres that may sound far apart. In any case, identifying, ordering and creating a narrative meaning has been our challenge, perhaps it worked. Music on the rocks!!!
Since no radio program can summarize the musical history of a country, it would be foolish to risk this task. But, perhaps as a consequence of the trip to Minneapolis, I felt this was the time to return home and focus attention on the production of national music. In this research, which inevitably builds on a certain affective content, it quickly became visible that the scale of the country is no longer the limit of its expression and that, from year to year, there are several national editions enrolling the wider music world. The cartography proposed here begins in 1986, with music theme Mate from authors D. W Art (António Duarte and Manuela Duarte) and Is It Hope? from O Projecto Azul (João Gargante), songs which are part of the Música Moderna Portuguesa: 2º Volume compilation, edited by Dansa do Som. The music that opens the program is more recent, from 2019, titled Ruídos (À Portuguesa) and belongs to Gonzo, alter ego of Gonçalo F Cardoso. Over this time interval I tried to recovered songs from an internal story that has been fertile in their diversity but, above all, I have sought songs that deviate from a certain dominant norm. Welcome to this home!!!
I don’t know if all has already been said or written about Prince but I am pretty convinced there is still a lot of his music to discover. Legend has it that the Minneapolis genius kept a bottomless musical archive at Paisley Park, which is why it came as no surprise the release of new album this year (Originals), recovering several demos we often hear from other musicians. Starting from this motto, on the eighth chapter of Clube da Esquina, we decided to reclaim a set of extraordinary pop songs which, for one reason or another, remind us of Prince’s genius. In any case, this way of returning to the most relevant Minneapolis sound wasn’t built on more obvious historical connections (Jimi Hendrix, Sly & The Family Stone or Parliament), much less on identifying projects the musician was sponsoring along the way (The Family, Sheila E. or The Time). What was intended was to create a radio show that aims to reactivate the sound universe of Prince, either by the way of singing, voice tone, funk melodies or musical structures, that we all wished we could hear from his unique voice. So while summer isn’t over, or starts, here’s a funk concentrate that is meant to stay. Even if, Nothing Compares 2 U.
Skipping the historical part, well contextualized in an online encyclopedia, and also jumping over the contemporary curse of reactivating past experiences converted into playful enjoyment, the train ride between Porto and Pocinho (in Portugal) remains magnificent. Without wishing to escape the first and second parts of the trip, the third portion of the route improves significantly from Pinhão on the point of the railway from which the line runs alongside the Douro river. This chapter of Clube da Esquina, limited to its 2 hour format, was composed from the Mosteirô line until it reached the final destination. On a late summer afternoon the landscape is prodigious, so we advise departing at 6:37 PM to arrive at 8:35 PM. By the end of the first 30 minutes we have already jumped from the Ambitious Lovers’ It’s Gonna Rain to RAP’s Static. Midway through the journey, the mysterious DJ Healer Holding On To You breaks between Covelinhas and Ferrão, shortly following the Heights Of Abraham The Cleric prior appearance on the show. After several tunnels and bridges, in the last fifteen minutes of the route, Julianna Barwick’s pastoralism in Vow comes to escort the landscape of hills and valleys surrounding the river, with the train only stoping to the whistle of Prefuse 73’s Whisper In My Ear To Tell Me You Hate Me. As is well known, the tourism phenomenon has promoted, and at the same time nullified, access to any new form of experience and, like so, it is predicted that virgin lands will soon cease to exist, so the best thing is to plan your trip over less agitated months. All aboard.
This program’s debut took place only a couple of days after the summer solstice, and for that reason, the songs that compose it go in search of the Sun. The Sun, being the same that shines over Buguni, Martinique, Ibiza, Japan or Brazil, does not necessarily produce the same light. And perhaps because of this, the songs from this sixth chapter of Clube da Esquina contain different atmospheres. But if the first pretext of this program came from the will to reclaim solar music, the second reason focused on the permanent desire to identify and distinguish songs that are worth coming back to from more, let’s say, disposable ones. Being a Before And After Sun theme, the program starts in a more contemplative tone, acquiring more energy at the middle and ends in fade-out. And, returning to the Sun in fade-out theme, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to evoke this magnificent Tacita Dean (1965) piece, filmed on the west coast of Madagascar, entitled The Green Ray (2001), in the remote hope of crossing with an optical phenomenon of a fraction of a second which is also a sign of happiness, mainly for sailors. Welcome to Summer!
Everyone eats. I don’t know if everyone hears music. In fact, if it is evident that food is decisive for our survival, the idea that music has a side effect in our day-to-day life has long stopped being controversial. In any case, the two activities have undergone profound changes, with the discovery of fire, for example, or with more recent inventions, such as electricity. And only from these changes could several paths be traced from the relationship between music and food. The fifth chapter of this radio show preferred to follow the path of a musical sequence that summons musicians who at one point built songs with the theme of food in mind. In other words, this chapter departs from a proposal for a soundtrack prepared for any meal, frugal or sophisticated, focusing on themes, words, allusions or artistic proposals (Breadwoman in mind) of more and less known authors. Until recently we were taught that language contained a palate map, apparently the question no longer arises. In any case, recovering this typology of flavours, this program suggests as Sweet; Jonathan Richtman And The Modern Lovers’ ironic proposal Ice Cream Man, for Sour; the theme Pickes by Allen Toussaint, for Salty; music from George Clinton’s Fries Go With That Shake, Bitter; can only be Taste Strange from DJ Food and finally, for Umami; Chic’s musical suggestion, entitled Soup For One. Here’s a menu to relish without specific order, even with junkfood to the mix.
The risk experience associated with a climber’s activity is mind-blowing. A challenge comprising so many variables that it becomes difficult to understand. As if all the adversities of the rise were not enough to face, Italian climber Vittorio Sella (1859-1943) decided to include a large format camera in his expeditions, enabling him to share a part of the landscapes his sight had reached. The photographs of these expeditions were not the first images we associated with hostile places but certainly inaugurated a photographic practice around the mountainous landscape which influenced several modern photographers, Ansel Adams included. Roland Barthes (1915-1980) in his last essay, stated that photography is a proof of having been there, more recently Maria Filomena Molder (1950) recalled that the work of a good photographer is also regulated by the questioning of an idea of authorship, singularizing Barthes’ reflection in the expression only one could have been there. Suddenly, Sella’s photographs seem to evidence this thought. And here we are, in the fourth chapter of Clube da Esquina which draws inspiration from the images of this climber and photographer to create a soundtrack for the month of May.
This chapter of Clube da Esquina is dedicated to appropriation, and for that reason borrows the title from the work of Hillel Schwartz (1948). Published in 1998, The Culture Of The Copy makes a very particular sociological analysis around the notion of twins, of double or of replica in the context of popular culture, subjects that have occupied great part of the creative process of the Modern era. In the context of pop music, Jon Savage (1953) explored the subject of appropriation in a famous article published in an issue of the late magazine The Face. Starting from an analysis of album covers, The Age of Plunder featured the iconic work of designer Peter Saville (1955), Linder Sterling (1954) and Malcolm Garrett (1956). Leaving aside the visual character of objects, it is known that the history of sampling has dominated much of the current music industry, in which, more and less clearly, a new music is built containing traces of another. The third part of this radio show is structured upon a set of songs that came to question principles of originality but which definitely rival or risk surpassing its originals. In short, we’ll hear versions that don’t sound like a copy. Definitely not déjà vu!
The notion that sound relates to hearing while images are addressed to the eyes seems rather consensual, however the result of these relations turns out to be much more complex. The phenomenon of this intersection gained a different popularity after 1894, when William Kennedy Dickson (1860-1935) recorded the first sound experience reproduced in film. The music chosen for that inauguration belonged to an opera by Robert Planquette (1848-1903) and was entitled Song Of The Cabin Boy. In 1927, Alan Crosland (1894-1936) directed the film; The Jazz Singer and included, for the first time, a soundtrack synchronized with the movie’s images, debuting the era of sound film. Since then we have seen a constant renewal of experiences that cross sound with image or, more specifically, music with cinema. Composers such as Nino Rota (1911-1979), John Barry (1933-2011), Ennio Morricone (1928) or Burt Bacharach (1928) will always be remembered as ones who stood out as soundtrack composers of more or less well known films. This chapter of Clube da Esquina rounds up different approaches of music that intersects cinema, cinema that intersects music, or how music is thought in relation to cinema. The program is, therefore, a comeback to the term Audio-Vision. Thank you Michel Chion (1947).
Finding longitude at sea was a long and complex endeavour. It was always clear that sailing without instruments, brought serious problems to navigators with journeys often ending tragically. Throughout the world, governments have encouraged the development of a system which would accurately calculate the distance between islands, countries or continents while assisting navigation. Despite all the efforts and achievements of the astronomical observatories in determining longitude, a more effective solution was born of the will of a self-taught english watchmaker. In 1761, John Harrison (1693-1776) came up with the first marine chronometer, improving it for several years until being able to determine the position of a boat by a third of a second a day. Like other revolutionary inventions, the chronometer came to rescue us from drifting and consequently from death. This first radio show, composed as a small sound narrative, is inspired by and pays tribute to all those who ventured out in the sea in dire, precarious conditions.