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Monday 12 February 2024

Monday's Long Song

Today's long song is a guest post by the writer behind No Badger Required, a blog that has more ideas for posts and monthly series than many of us will ever manage, always beautifully written and based in his life. A few days ago I wrote a post for No Badger Required as part of the Nearly Perfect albums series that has been running on Saturdays for the last 97 weekends. It's about Sabresonic, the 1993 Sabres Of Paradise album. You can read it hereSouth West Correspondent promised me a Monday Long Song in return and has more than delivered with this, a song I might have missed if he hadn't sent it- and one that I've been playing repeatedly since he sent it. 

Over to SWC...

Unravelling – Ada Kaleh featuring Eric Leeds (2024 R&S Records)

I’m going to start with pleading my ignorance on three things.

Firstly, I have no idea what constitutes a long song.  When I was younger, anything that nudged seven minutes was considered to be an epic, and back then I only really listened to guitar music and therefore anything with guitars in it that went over seven minutes was probably prog rock or the end of a Stone Roses album.  But then I started listening to Underworld and Goldie and frankly anything under seven minutes was considered to be short and snappy. 

So I’ve plumped for something where the track running times runs into double digits in the minute column - to be honest the definition of a long song should be a song that goes on but is so good that you don’t even notice that it been playing for three days (or fifteen minutes, whichever is more realistic).

Secondly, I have no idea who Ada Kaleh is.  I expected it to be a female, because of the Ada bit.  I expected a little blue rinsed old granny with a twin set and pearls outfit on her way to Bingo.  But I am wrong, Ada Kaleh is two things, neither of them old and blue rinsed or even female.   It is most promimently an island located on the Rover Danube in Romania that was submerged in 1970 so that some gates could be constructed.  More importantly it is the name of a Romanian producer and composer who explores different sounds on his journeys through electronica. 

Finally, I also have no idea who Eric Leeds is.  I assumed it was going to be a vocalist, but when you hear the vocals, you instantly know it can’t be.  So wrong again.  Eric Leeds is in fact an American saxophonist and I think I might be the only person in the world who didn’t know that.

Which finally brings us to the track, ‘Unravelling’, which blends some Afro beat and some jazz (that will be the saxophone bit) alongside some minimal electronica which burbles away marvellously and then this voice pipes up, which just happens to be from the late great Fela Kuti – you’ll know that in about four seconds after he starts.  His vocal is great taking aim at “police beating heads, Shell Oil, petty crooks, bastard landlords and wifebeaters” and then calls for us to tackle all these criminals and take our destiny in our own heads. 

It’s proper goosebump stuff really as Fela speaks, the saxophone chirps away, the electronica enters a soft dubby loop and is gently caresses your ears like a minimalist pillow.  Just wonderful.

1 comment:

Nick L said...

I have a feeling Eric Leeds might have been a regular in one of Prince's bands during the eighties.