Fall has come to Washington D.C. Longer shadows drape the brick houses of Georgetown and I stir my Scotch pensively. My beautiful, sensational wife, Coverton, of whom we shall speak no more, has been gone on an extended holiday for some time now and Paris was drowning in women. Sultry chanteuses everywhere but I craved a different kind of excitement…
I missed my wife badly and briefly entertained the thought of giving her a call. Quickly dismissing the idea, I popped the cork on another magnum of champagne, bid adieu to my ladyfriends, and set out.
I had Theo fire up the great bird, and a six hours later we were in Washington to tie up some business matters and look up an old friend, a dodgy acquantance named Esteban who split time between being wealthy South American pseudo-industrialist and Cambodian hash bar owner.
Touching down at the private section of National Airport, I was pleased to see that my advance team had a plum Citroen waiting for me. Long and low, it was a 1967 DS with maroon paint and a silver racing pinstripe. Safely ensconsed in the supple, well-aged leather, I sped through the town to my Georgetown hotel room on the Potomac. Nervous for no apparent reason, I smoked 8 Silk Cuts and 2 joints on the way.
The suite came equipped with a full bar and a blinking message light. It seems Esteban knew me better than I know myself and he had left a terse message indicating that I should meet him at Au Pied du Cochon, a Georgetown institution (with some small connection to its Paris namesake) thatís a favorite with those who like the drink from every corner of the free world. To calm me down on the way over I put in the latest release from S.H.A.D.O. records, an Italian outfit with an outlandishly stylish approach to pop music.
Valvola and DJ Spectra have produced ďAll the Colours from Venus 69,Ē a journey of intrigue and revulsion through Japanese and international futurepop that shares a border with the Electroclash scene of NYC. Having never heard the record before, I was unprepared for the (quite exciting) juxtaposition of the bouncy bright happyfun clubs and the sordid back alleys that make it all come together. Seemingly alone in the corridors of power, my Citroen blasted long and low through empty downtown DC, all parks and monuments, office buildings and street lights, but no people, just other cars. In particular an ominous large silver 1950ís Mercedes. I tried to shake it by driving like a maniac through Rock Creek park, but as I turned back onto Wisconsin Avenue it was still there. Lighting another joint full of Turkish Tobacco and Lebanese blonde hash, I cranked the stereo on tack 6, a mesmerising blast of dark pop by PINE*am, a Japanese girl group with an apparantly ambiguous regard for humanity but a deep love of synthasizers and haunting, troubled beats.
Other tracks feature similarly dark and brooding electro sounds, while others are get-up-and-go-to-the-new-plastic-disco-scene sensational. The Italians behind this album have invented a future-transporter that leaves the listener both confused and satiated. Valvola is an Italian collective that is also responsible for S.H.A.D.O. Records, and they have mixed these tracks to sonic perfection, creating a most unusual blend of soft ecstasy and paranoia pop. Standouts include the tracks from PINE*am, Jellyfish, and Cubismo Grafico.
But I couldn’t let myself get lost in the music, I was a man with shady associates in the city of Imperial Power and a mysterious Merc with smoked windows was hot on my trail. My Citroen was built for luxury and comfort but not speed, so I slowed down to see if my stalker would pass. Inhaling deeply I affected a pose of cool Kraftwerkian detachment as the car slowly rolled next to me. The future was now and as the music pulsed around me I wondered how long I had left to enjoy such aural pleasures. The window rolled down and Estaban’s grinning visage was revealed.
“Phillippe!” He called out, “pass that joint over here, it’s time to re-open the Estonian embassy, amigo… And what in God’s name are you listening to, it’s fantastic!”
The sound of my own heart, my friend, transported by way of analogue circuit transfusion… thanks to Valvola and DJ Spectra.
Coming Soon: Interview with PINE*am, up-and-coming Japanese sexy electropop group
More information might be found at http://www.shadorecords.com