Review: The Running Back affiliated Mondo label is back with more impressive Balearic and chillout grooves. This follows up the tremendous compilation album; Collezione, which was released earlier this year. Label boss Francesco de Bellis aka L.U.C.A. appears with several long time collaborators such as Raiders Of The Lost Arp with the smooth astral travelling vibes of "Niagara (Rotla Version)". He then teams up with Polysick on the "Afghanistan Version" which is the smooth cruising psych-rock derivative that Psychemagik would sit up and notice. Finally it's L.U.C.A. Himself with the "Quirky Version" an intense retro house throwback in the vein of Lauer or Tuff City Kids and not being shy on the funk bass or heavy claps.
Review: Mondo's slow and steady output remains as consistent and attentive as ever as they continue to delve deep into Italy's seemingly endless library vaults. For this particularly cosmic collection they've explored documentary music that's been utilised by programs on topics as diverse as sea fauna to poaching. As you'd imagine, each cut comes with broad visual and imaginative appeal. From the dream-weaving guitar-shimmering of "Anxur" to the soft ebb and flow of "Maga Circe", close your eyes and start making your own documentaries. Stunning.
Review: While there's something undeniably contemporary about Odeon's seriously psychedelic "Rocket Launch" - particularly the druggy, Weatherall-pleasing arpeggio lines, wayward guitars and densely-layered feel - it also feels like a long lost cosmic rock classic; the kind of tune Daniele Baldelli would have been digging for way back at the turn of the '80s. It's hard to pin down but undeniably brilliant. Italian experimentalist Panoram delivers a superb reconstruction that abandons all dancefloor pretentions in favour of enhanced horizontal credentials, while LUCA's "Quirky Version" turns it into a full-blown space disco shuffler. Those looking for some funk-fuelled space-rock thrills should have for impressive bonus track "Earth Polar Axis".
Review: Rome-based combo Odeon is an interesting proposition. Basically two sets of musician brothers brought together by mutual friend (and Mondo label boss) Francesco De Bellis, their debut recording is a pleasingly hard-to-pigeonhole affair. Sometimes psychedelic, often dreamy and always atmospheric, the album's 12-tracks variously draw influence from odd Italian library music, eccentric synthesizer soundtracks, Talk Talk, the Cocteau Twins, shoegaze and the heady, E'd-up sound soup of ambient house. In fact, one of the tracks even sounds a little like REM if Michael Stipe and company had necked a bunch of disco biscuits and moved to Ibiza. While the unique and intoxicating sound is clearly theirs, you can hear the guiding hand of De Bellis, who acted as producer throughout.