So I was recently asked to review the most recent LP by Chris Coco and Co. The multi-talented crew aptly named their recent LP ‘The Chillout Album’ and are releasing it on Melodica Recordings #MELOR039 on the 16th July. This happens to coincide with the 20th anniversary of their first release ‘It!’ on the magnanimous Warp Records back in 1994.
Having listened to the entire 44 minutes and 44 seconds on repeat the last few days I can honestly say that it is nothing short of a masterpiece. There are 14 tracks on the LP if one should even call them that. I would describe them more as transitioning segues. These were made in a series of late night sessions in various south London studios under the heavy influence of many crackly vinyl spins of classic albums by Eno, KLF and Laraaji; with label mates Deekie, James McArthur and Haraket popping in to contribute too.
They have described the LP as a homage to 90’s chillout rooms and lost weekends at festivals. I would describe it as a blissed out soundwash detailing a magic carpet ride through peaceful forests and the vast corners of space. The first 11 tracks feel like one relaxing deep breath with remaining 3 tracks allowing the listener to exhale, letting go of any pent up stresses they may be experiencing and vacating the mind.
The LP is expertly crafted making great use of tremolo synths, reverb, pitch bending, silence and ambient field recordings of what I can only imagine to be Café del Mar, various forests and jungles, river tributaries, the sea, birds, crickets, white noise and, probably my favourite of all, an alien space craft unbeknown to us mere folk but clearly accessible to the Warp Records family. If you are keen fans of Burial, Four Tet, Teebs, Lone and Shigeto then this is definitely a cup of tea you need to be drinking immediately. Listen to a true pioneer going to town in the studio by clicking through here.
I’ll highlight a few of my favourite moments and let you discover the rest for yourself. Segue 4, ‘Queuing for Shangri-La with a Surprisingly Level Head’ is a very abstract take on the beaches of Ibiza through the use of people talking to each other in the context of a heavily reverbed electric guitar, reversed horn and piano triad. Segue 6, ‘Rain and Walking and a Strange Moment of Calm’ starts with the lighting of a cigarette and progresses into the flowing sound of a river tributary, with crows overhead and omnipresent crickets in the background. The ending contains a recording of what sounds like a very lost and confused woman saying ‘it’s all very fast and I am not sure where I really am’ which I believe most listeners will be able to relate to in some way. This leads nicely into the next two segues. Segue 7, ‘You Parked your Car in the Spaceport’ which contains heavy continuous pads, a guitar tremolo, monophonic synths sounding almost digital in nature and a sub bass which punches through intermittently giving the transition a humanesque pulse. Segue 8, ‘Uncle Albert would Never Believe what you Can Do with this Computer’ places the listener into the sacred Warp Records space shuttle with robotic alienesque sounds ready to take one into space. The synthesised harp riff continuous throughout and Space Centre Houston maintains the listeners grasp on reality. My mind was brought instantly to the sounds of Enya/Björk on first hearing this transition and is the best part of the journey in my opinion. Segue 11, ‘Miles Away and Coming Closer’ seems to be the peak of the gut wrenchingly progressive journey with the soulful and jazzy landing strip bringing the listener safely home.
If you’re lucky enough to be going to Glastonbury this year be sure to catch DJ Chris Coco playing an extended ambient version of the LP at the Heaven stage on Friday 27th June. He will also be making appearances at Ambient Forest, Bestival on Friday 5th September and Festival No6 on Sunday 7th September.
Full stream of the album can be found on Tsinoshibar