- CHANNEL 052CD
Golf Channel Recordings presents II, the first full-length recording from Lisbon, Portugal-based Gala Drop in six years, and their first release since 2012's Broda, an acclaim split with Ben Chasny of former tour-mates Six Organs of Admittance. For this release, Gala Drop joined forces with Detroit ex-pat Jerrald "Jerry the Cat" James to pull together the variant strands of the Motor City's aural lineage with the more off-the-cuff Balearic grooves of their native Lisbon in a hypnotic melting pot of sound. From percussion work with Parliament-Funkadelic, to live performances with John Lee Hooker, to collaborations with Derrick May, Theo Parrish, and Moodymann, James' involvement in the great rise of black music through the mid-to-late 20th century cannot be understated. It's as a vocalist that he makes his mark on II, with his dub-smeared murmurs and galvanizing cries pushing Gala Drop even further away from the introspective delay-pedal drone that they started out with nearly a decade previously. Seductive 808s and samplers sit alongside Afonso Simões' drumming, allowing the lighter tissue of the track, shimmering synths and soulful vocals, to weave and wind their way around the foundations — never more apparent than on the pirouetting Mediterranean disco of the final track, "Samba da Maconha." The track closes an album that shows definite Jamaican reggae and dub influences, while at the same time drawing deeply from the progressive Afrofuturism aesthetic that's come to typify the Lisbon club scene of the past few years. That scene has certainly had an influence on Gala Drop's development, as Simões says: "I was going out to a techno club at the weekend but going to see a garage rock show or some free jazz band in the week. The post-millennium Lisbon has been very fertile musically speaking." It's that eclecticism that's allowed the group freedom to be similarly unhemmed. Their music takes on the bustling heat of the streets of Lisbon but, like the city itself, remains tied to the open seas and panoramic scenery beyond. A song like "Sun Gun" is a perfect example, built around intricate basslines and restless drumming that eventually stretches out into the distance as the track races along, with Gala Drop skipping through their alluringly idiosyncratic world.