MJ Lallo – Deep Dreams (P&C Séance Centre, 2017)

Cosmic discoteca and downtempo liquidness from beyond the stars.

Like a time capsule that waiting slowly floating in space, this EP presents itself as such. A dreamy, cosmic dip into unknown territories, all the while dancing away and closing your eyes nodding gently, trying to comprehend the swirling beauty moving all around you. An ode to exploration, inspiration that we get from looking at the sky, and how music can be directly paired with that experience via the form of movement and dancing. An experience forming and developing alongside our immersion, our swim, our wholesome embrace.

MJ Lallo, a multi instrumentalist, who has helmed a high regarded and diverse 40 year career in the music industry, has composed for a wide variety of shows, documentaries and the like, alongside producing some significant projects of her own and others. Her MJ Production company, founded in 1983, was her main focus, but she released a small number of releases in the late 1980s, that have also ben the focus of a P&C reissue in the form of a long play. Here, on the EP ‘Deep Dreams’ , we are introduced to the many facets and channels of Lallo’s Musical mind, one that encourages exploration and engagement with forces that move around us, and the mystique that exists in the galaxies beyond.

The opener, ‘Star Child Going Home’, is a dance floor beauty, smoothly transitions from its opening chord sequence into a dream like ascent into the stars through its bridge. One key element of this tune remains Lallo’s voice, gliding and directing the music underneath, when to groove, when to slow down, when to move on. It is remarkable that this tune remained so quietly slept on at the time, but it sits within this interesting intersect of dance music. It can as easily be enjoyed at home, given an understanding of the context of the record, a journey can be made when the listener closes their eyes. On the other, it can be injected straight into a off kilter, high octane disco/HI-NRG set, where it provides an important bridge between many bands of that era (think the gap between bands like Mtume/Surface/Emerson, and Chicago house and italo). Perhaps this is Lallo’s intention, for the tune to reside within its own plane of existence and meaning, where it resides in bliss and harmony.

The next tune, ‘Aquarius Blue’, is more akin to Lallo’s larger body of work, but is just as compelling in its musical character. Beatless to begin with, a chuggy downtempo beat comes into play, with a delightful drum pattern providing a base for a consistent stab and swirling cresendos of synths and vocals to drift in and around like song birds (reminds me of Talaboman’s debut LP, in terms of its feel and downtempo yet weirdly uptempo sort of feel). The vocals again remain wordless, simply acting as a enchanting solo element of the song. Providing wonderful highs, her voice works so well with the instruments, much like the power of Al Green and his voice, and keeps the listener locked in eternally for the journey towards the stars. Then, from the sounds of it, a vocoder trumpet vibe comes in to replace the vocals, and is equally as effective in bring the tune forward. two solos are better than one, am I right?

to end off a fantastic first side, comes the bold and ambitious ‘Deep Dreams’, which at over 11 minutes long is a monster of a track. But, it retains a soft glowing essence, that reverberates strongly within the listener. Growing from deep baritone voices, into a fully released synth lead whisper, its strength lies in its small intricacies and its ability to speak volumes without a groove or with a large amount of layers. here, the song doesn’t exactly demand your attention but more hypnotises you with its gentle direction, from the seat to the stars. It gently slumbers along, never waning from its journey, always keeping you locked in til the every end. A downtempo triumph.

MJ Lallo’s reissues have shone new light on a remarkable musical career, where she has explored so many avenues of discovery and rich journeys. This EP, and the LP, have shown her body of work, from within its context, to be forward thinking and innovative, contrasting in its mood and texture. It starts off in a world of dance, then moves slowly through the motions and notions towards a blissed out paradise. A wonderful journey, and one that should be taken time and time again.

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