mercoledì 5 maggio 2010

Ragazza Pop Compilation



L'estetica della S.H.A.D.O. viene messa in mostra con questa bella compilation che ricrea in pieno sonorità e atmosfere care a questa etichetta. La compilation giusta per la primavera! (2003 - S.H.A.D.O. Records)

"Pronto? Ah, sei tu. Sali pure, ti aspetto." Comincia così, con una voce femminile sensuale e un po' indolente, la festa di "Ragazza pop", la compilation tutta dedicata al pop in rosa compilata dalle inesauribili menti di quei ragazzacci della S.H.A.D.O. e dei Valvola. Negli intenti dei quali "Ragazza pop" dovrebbe essere anche un'etichetta tutta dedicata al pop femminile. Intanto, questa compilation internazionale fa da manifesto d'intenti ai Nostri, mettendo in luce un pop nell'accezione che il termine aveva nel pieno fiorire degli anni '60, coerentemente alla poetica retromodernista che da tempo agita la band fiorentina.
La ricetta è semplice: un po' di beat al suo massimo splendore ma con tutte le sue ingenuità e freschezza ancora intatte, una lounge jazzata ideale colonna sonora di spy-stories alla Bond, l'r&b che fu delle Ronettes, i fantasmi di Françoise Hardy e Phil Spector che aleggiano benigni, e giusto una spruzzata di country e di garage. Insomma quel periodo felice in cui il movimento beat non era ancora diventato hippy, non aveva iniziato a voler risolvere i problemi del mondo e si chiamava 'yé-yé'. Un'immaginaria bolla temporale pre-'Summer of love', sospesa in eterno tra 1965 e 1966. C'è un'ospite davvero illustre, la leggendaria Moe Tucker, batterista di quei Velvet Underground che nei loro momenti di dolcezza ("Sunday morning", una per tutti), esprimevano già il rimpianto di quel mondo onirico.Moe omaggia qui Carol King ("Will you still love me tomorrow") e Phil Spector ("To know him is to love him"), sfogando la sua rabbia garage in "I wanna". Spicca la nutrita rappresentanza giapponese, che con Instant Café Records, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box e Three Berry Icecream confezionano una particolare declinazione del pop sixties che deve molto alla lezione di Pizzicato Five e Fantastic Plastic Machine: un raffinato rosolio. Belle anche "London" delle Noonday Underground, pezzo veramente notevole e strambo, dall'arrangiamento delirante pur nella classicità della struttura, e il remix, opera dei parigini Cocosuma, di "Flashin' light (some girls like to disco)" dei Valvola, trasformata in un brano alla Sneaker Pimps del primo album.
In generale tutti i brani sono gradevoli, e stupisce l'unità stilistica che rende la compilation particolarmente piacevole all'ascolto, ottima per un viaggio in auto o una festa tra amici. E in più contiene un brano che da solo vale l'intero disco, "The sun keeps shining on me" delle Fonda: una grande canzone, che cresce strofa dopo strofa, ritornello dopo ritornello, dal bellissimo movimento. Da avere. (Renzo Stefanel - http://www.rockit.it)

Ragazza defines their label’s mission as promoting the “extraordinary female sensibility in contemporary, past and future pop music”. Thankfully, they’re much more selective than that, eschewing that apparent feminine intuition that can produce the likes of Ashanti, Britney Spears, and Kelly Clarkson. Ragazza Pop culls its tracks from the indie fringe, avoiding pop as we popularly know it, instead highlighting far more interesting female tastes. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m wholly suspect of any biologically-bound aesthetic because it’s impossible to know and in most cases dangerous speculation to dabble in. But for a pop music compilation, I can probably forego all my philosophical reservations about whether or not there is a “female” sound in the world of music. No matter how you frame it, this compilation has so much of a good thing in so many varieties, that’s its worth picking up just to have this many great tracks corralled together on one disc.

Moe Tucker covers “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, lending it an extra helping of yearning weakness as she hobbles through a rendition that is affectingly flimsy and distant, like nostalgia. Her treatment of another cover, “To Know Him Is to Love Him” similarly sounds whispered through a set of breezing gauzy curtains, but still implosively compelling. Trip-hop outfit, Valvola, contributes “Flashin’ Light (Some Girls Like to Disco)”, a grandly threatening dance floor track that could have just as easily been a Sneaker Pimps single, not necessarily a bad thing depending on how you feel about such underwonders. Die Moulinettes drop a French hybrid of the Cardigans and Pizzicato 5, with warm basslines and glittering guitar, the sort of ephemeral glamour song you’d expect to be playing in a young starlet’s convertible. Channeling the Marvelettes, the Aisler’s Set toss in “Hey Lover”, more a tribute than an indication of their usual sound, but nonetheless a catchy, brief treat of handclaps and recessed harmony.
This is one of those compilations that launched several purchases and internet searches on my part. Hearing Daisy Martey on the Noonday Underground’s track led me to one of my favorite CDs of the year. Their contribution to the compilation rips through the rest of the more shimmery numbers as Martey belts out an indictment of the times with a voice that sounds like a kiss between Grace Slick and Beth Orton. Not to mention that go-go boots backdrop of acoustic guitar and drums that sounds like incense, peppermint and probably a little weed. Though I am familiar with Phil Elvrum (of the Microphones), until this compilation, I hadn’t had the pleasure of knowing the work of one of his collaborators, Mirah. Her track, “Don’t”, sounds like a lost Ronettes song, with beautifully cascading drums and Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn’s snowfallen angel of voice. This song was yet another track that led to an ace record purchase in the form of Mirah’s Advisory Committee.
Only a few of the album’s songs fail, and usually in the most innocuous of ways. Nothing flat out sucks, but songs like Fonda’s “The Sun Keeps Shining on Me”, push the pop envelope in the direction of embarrassing cheese whiz string arrangements and vocals that would make a karaoke crowd wince. The Faraway Places, Nico-lite exhale on “Summertime” also fails to register in any meaningful way. Some songs like the Corner’s “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.” hit and run so quickly, it’s difficult to call them proper songs at all. This song would be better suited for one of those movie scenes where the protagonists are shopping wildly. Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, a Japanese sugar pop band in the vein of Pizzicato 5, tosses in “White Drops”, a song of skittering cutesy overkill that sounds like bad children’s music. But that could have much to do that I can only travel so far down the path of this kind of pop before I’m wholly annoyed by the saccharine, shiny poofyness of it.
If there’s any kind of recognizable skew in all of these artists, it might be an overrepresentation of sixties studio pop, from the girl groups, to go-go rock and roll, to Phil Spector’s noise wall wash outs, it seems that a good share of these artists made contributions with this era as a touchstone. It’s a wonderful reminder that pop music doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure, one that requires you to strangle your sense of discernment in order to enjoy. (Terry Sawyer - http://www.popmatters.com/)

- Pop conversation (main titles)
- At the airport - a (Instant Café Records)
- Her words hang in the air (The Ladybug Transistor)
- Will you still love me tomorrow (Moe Tucker)
- The girl from U.N.C.L.E. (The Four Corners)
- Loud and laughing (The Shermans)
- Comme d'abitude (Souvenir)
- Star wacher's song (Instant café records)
- Flashin' light (some girls like to disco) [Cocosuma remix] (Valvola)
- London (Noonday Underground)
- Liebe auf dem land (Die Moulinettes)
- White drops (Plus-Tech Squeeze Box)
- Mon ange gardien (April March)
- To know him is to love him (Moe Tucker)
- Fine day (Three Berry Icecream)
- The sun keeps shining on me (Fonda)
- Free (The Mondo Crescendo)
- Hey lover (The Aislers Set)
- Don't (Mirah)
- Let drive at him (Instant Café Records)
- Summertime (The Faraway Places)
- I wanna (Moe Tucker)
- Pop conversation (end titles)


RAGAZZA POP COMPILATION

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