Oriol Night & Day Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Past times marinated in the present day, an album of exquisitely selective memories.

David Stubbs 2010

The latest signing to Mike Paradinas’s Planet Mu label expands the mould of that imprint. Like his sometime CDR label contemporaries Floating Points, there isn't an abrasive bone in Oriol’s musical body. Clocking in at a good old-fashioned sub-45 minute mark, Night & Day is smooth to the last, while always smartly swerving well clear of blandness. It’s a reimagining of a halcyon, colourful era of jazz and funk grooves, an era the Spanish-Trinidadian, Cambridge-based Oriol cannot possibly be old enough to have experienced at first hand, and yet one to which he pays immaculate homage, exciting citrus memory flashes at every turn in those of us of a slightly senior generation.

Opener Joy FM splashes you immediately into the album's warm waters, a squiggly D. Train ride, endless jazz-funk sunshine, slap-bass paradise. Spiral recalls future-jazz master Herbie Hancock's mid-70s radio-friendly vocoder excursions like I Thought It Was You. Memories follows, an arcing descent into a tropicalia of nostalgia, of shinier, more sequencer-driven pop/funk times. And so the album continues, dappled and sparkling with the joys of disco summers past; a seafront, open-top cruise that takes in Coconut Coast and its soberly blissful Moog meanderings, before moving onto Fantasy For N, whose synths and flutes rise and ebb like swallows swooping over a hot, shimmering landscape.

It’s as the album reaches its later stages, however, and the shadows lengthen, that Oriol’s sleight of hand is revealed. There are more and more prompts to awaken you from 70s/80s nostalgic reverie. Any future Antiques Roadshow expert analysing these beats would identify the rhythms of the title-track as belonging undoubtedly to the post-d‘n’b era, while the edits and breaks on LW would puzzle the soulboy school of 1973 as surely as Sam Tyler's accidental mentions of Facebook would bemuse DCI Hunt on Life on Mars. That’s the great catch with Night & Day – it's not just straight nostalgia but past times marinated in the present day, an album that is very much of 2010, an album of exquisitely selective memories.

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