Ross Alexander | Memorias Vol. 2
This is the latest from Ross Alexander, and Memorias Vol. 2 – High Atlas to the Sahara Desert is quite a unique record, both in its programming and it’s use of field recording sound samples recorded and inspired by Morocco. Also incorporated into this are session recordings that include musicians Albert Sempeke as well as the Nilotika Collective. The setting infused here is quite mystical (and a bit like a deconstructed Doctor Who anthem). Alexander takes you on an African safari of sorts, a gentle and strange travelogue, with plenty of luxurious synth riffs and vital footsteps that take us from point A to B. Every sound is so well-rounded and mastered to the nth degree here, and without sounding at all calculated or overly produced. Instead you get something more of a sated warmth, along the lines of the coos of a dove.
The effects blended with gates being opened, sizzling fire, with small physical actions in nature, all lead way to an incredible visual sensibility. This may as well be a soundtrack for a documentary film exploring the mighty African continent. There is something quite reverent in the modulation of each transition, the way in which these scenes connect, the flow is impeccably subtle but somehow this comes off bold via percussion/gongs and timing, through the intrigue of gurgling liquids and invention.
As the listener experiences the whoosh of a scooter and perhaps merchants selling their wares on Homage To The Cause (One Night In Marrakesh) one is in a legitimately exotic place with a long cultural heritage. This track is centered on incredible drumming that any enthusiast would easily be caught up in its hypnotic rhythm. This is where Alexander blends the street and the studio best. The A side here is the more esoteric and risk-taking, and the flipside is more of a mindmeld of soft washes in multicolored light and ‘in-wait’ conjecture. The hermetical overtures continue throughout, there are several pockets that are shaded but never does he lose sight of pairing the avant garde and the melodic.