Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Paqua - Akaliko

Paul 'Mudd' Murphy's Claremont 56 is such a class act, equally forward as it is backward looking, equally referential as it is original, and equally eclectic as it is precisely modern and sleek. It's a veritable haven for aging ravers, diggers and trainspotters, surfers and travellers, Harvey fans, bikers, Balearic dreamers, sunset aficionados and beards. The box set of tracks from their seminal 'Originals' series is one of the most exciting and desireable vinyl collections of overlooked gems in recent years, or ever... and it's a perfect example of the label's meticulous approach to substance and quality. The label is also, as i'm sure most of you already know, home to a host of exceptional music makers that include Bison, Alumnia, Torn Sail, Paqua and even a recent Hulger Czukay project... amongst others. But ok, this post isn't really about Claremont 56, instead it's about the first full length from Paqua entitled 'Akaliko', a Budhist word that means 'timeless', released on the label some weeks back. Being well late on this review has given me time to really live with the record, to hear it in a number of situations and settings and i can honestly say it's a classic in every sense of the word.

For those that don't already know, Paqua is a cross continental collaboration between Paul Murphy (Akwaaba, Mudd, Bison, Claremont 56), Phenomenal Handclap Band's Quine Luke (aka Bing Ji Ling), Alex Searle, Groove Armada's percussionist Patrick Dawes and Patrick Wood, also from the Phenomenal Handclap Band. Joining them on a few of the albums tracks also is celloist Robin Lee, one half of Faze Action. That's practically some kind of underground supergroup right there... and the album is a testament to the combined talents present on the record.

'Akaliko' is a beast of a thing! 8 superb tracks that remind one of any number of Adult Oriented West Coast Yacht Rock golden moments from back in yer mum's day, familiar...  and yet fresh with the ocean spray of recent summers on the Dalmation coast. You could say it's the revivified sound of The Hollies Folk Disco on 'Draggin' My Heels' meets The Doors, CSN, Brian Auger, Batteaux... only it's made by young men who've undoubtedly lived through Acid House, Madchester and Balearica. The beats are funky and modern, the crisp and free jangle of their guitars reverberate with the sound of heady holidays on exotic shores, and with hot spots of psychedelic shimmering beauty liberally scattered about, 'Akaliko' is far less than a sum of it's inspirations and far more the fresh beginings of a well travelled, savvy, attuned and cosmically inclined crew. Everything about this album is deeply pleasing and as such is essential to own.

A limited edition 10" called 'The Dubs' also hit the stores a couple of weeks after the album came out. Ray Mang and the Idjut Boys take on 'The Visitor', my current favourite track from the LP, and both deliver extra warm and now also essential beauties. The Idjut's version just barely takes first prize with it's dubbed out extended play, a bit like staring at the sun.

Get either or both records here and here, or hunt them down in your favourite spot. Oh and keep a look out for a further remix double pack with Emperor Machine versions of 'Late Train'

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