London-based record publishing company Art Yard take time off from digging in Sun Ra’s archives to share the first full-length album from Alexander Christou aka Al Chem.
This release is not the first time the label has dabbled with electronic music. In 2009 it released Berliner Ring’s “Orbital” album and now follows with the foggy electronic dub meditations of Al Chem.
Kicking off proceedings is No Hopper a rework of a Ras Michael tune No Hoppers, from Rastafari Dub, Chem’s version merging electronic percussion with organic, almost Moondog-like rhythms and misty atmospherics. The Prophet pinpoints Chem’s GPS firmly in Berlin, just as The Red Tower blurs that kick drum border between reggae and house music. Baudelaire randomly sputters digital delay, building up the pressure, Ladder of Perfection rounds off the set with a drone, creaking with squashed fills.
Originally recorded between 2000 and 2005, the six tracks on the album are still some of the most intriguing and fresh music I’ve heard in a long time.
Worth your time and attention.