Hot on the heels of two EP releases on Bristol label Shall Not Fade, Felipe Gordon is preparing for the release of his debut album on the important UK imprint. With human contact at an absolute minimum, it’s refreshing to hear an electronic music record that ventures away from the machine in favour of the organic. Gordon’s ability to blend complex jazz instrumentation with acid-licked basslines, golden-age house aesthetics and the cultural sounds of South America is unrivalled; creating distinctive, beautiful and exciting house records from his home in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
“A Landscape Onomatopeya” was crafted through the concept of a painting; exploring shades, changes of tone, use of light. “I found myself making tons of music and wondering how to start an album process”, he says, “something with more concept; a long journey between all the different musical influences in my head. I wanted to try to accomplish something with soul, deepness and an inherent melancholia to it. More organic, more human.”
The record – which includes the Spanish word Onomatopeya as a Colombian statement and ode to the Latin American house scene – kicks off with the early evening funk of “How Do You Spell That”, the distinct sugar cane sweetness of Guaro hanging in the late sunlight. “Wes” ventures into hip hop territory; dusty boom baps, 90’s scratching and live guitar provoking a vibe that lies somewhere between Dilla and fellow Colombian AvenRec before the A-side reaches its climax with a cut of Gil Scott-Heron-esque funk on “She Will Come”.
The B-side raises its curtain and with it comes two cuts of sublime house, each more colourful than the last. “The Colombian Excursions of House Music” does exactly what is says on the tin; fusing South American drum patterns with the creative innovation of live jazz to create a dimly lit, Latin American energy. “Momma, It’s A Long Journey” maintains a more progressive vibe as it meanders through subtle acid stabs, radiant atmospherics and an oxymoronic blend of mournful, hopeful vocals.
Tape throbs and breakbeats make up the C-side as we delve deeper into Gordon’s sound palette: think The Cyclist and Kaytranada, but with an Ibero-American vibe. “Howl” meanders slowly through the smoke-filled booths of a jazz cafe whilst the sounds of Detroit and Chicago shatter and break (“Away”, “Das Nuyorican Vibes”) over the crowd below on, before “Brazil” invites you outside for a post-dance cigarette with itsdowntempo boom-bap and mellow energy.
The record comes to its end with three D-side cuts that perfectly encapsulate its artistic vision. “Like the album itself, the artwork process was all about texture and analog treatment”, he says. “We used old pentax cameras with black and white ilford rolls to achieve an intimate feeling. I found that my mind was drawn to a landscape with a house deep inside the Bogota mountains; where I hang all the time with my girlfriend and friends. It’s a quiet, emotional place. Far from the city.”
Wiggling basslines, vibrant shimmers and bold jazz instrumentals bring a fitting end to a truly beautiful record, and further cements Shall Not Fade’s reputation as a label with its finger on the pulse of exciting dance music.
1 How Do U Spell That Spell 8:35
2 Wes 2:26
3 The Colombian Excursions Of House Music / Featuring – Toro Moratto 9:06
4 Momma, It’s A Long Journey 7:46
5 Howl! 2:50
6 Away 6:18
7 Das Nuyorican Vibes 4:33
8 Brazil 1:39
9 A Landscape Onomatopeya 5:10
10 Walking Into The Unknown 9:09
11 Wake Up 1:48