TRACK: Paradise Cinema – ‘Possible Futures’: exhilarating Afro-ambience


Jack Wyllie, aka Paradise Cinema, photographed by Anna Wood

JACK WYLLIE, the musician best known to those of us with a deep and abiding penchant for the leftfield, the beautiful and the widescreen as a member of The Portico Quartet, has announced a new solo project under the nom-de-musique Paradise Cinema, a full album under which alias will be out on October 9th.

Paradise Cinema sees Jack venture to Western Africa for a breathtaking, cinematic experience splicing the percussive styles of the traditional mbalax rhythms of Gambia and Senegal with electronica.

We’ve embedded his latest taster track, “Possible Futures” below; imagine, if you will, a world in which Richard D James’ ambient works had a frisson of Cape Verde instead of Carn Marth. It’s fresh, beguiling, unusual, the rhythms playing off and around the ambience, but absolutely refusing to entirely subject to them. The mbalax percussion comes courtesy of Khadim Mbaye, who plays saba drums; and Tons Sambe, who plays tama drums.

The impressionistic and dream-like quality of the track draws directly on lived experience , in a hypnagogic state of aural consciousness: “I had a lot of nights in Dakar when the music around the city would go on until 6am,” Jack says.

“I could hear this from my bed at night and it all blended together, in what felt like an early version of the record.”

There’s an enveloping sonic dichotomy at play, in the diffuse, more Western ambient qualities and the sharp, propulsive rhythmic counterpoint.

Paradise Cinema is also informed by French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s concept, hauntology: in which possible futures that were never realised can haunt the present.

Paradise Cinema’s Paradise Cinema will be released by Gondwana Records on October 9th, on digital, CD and very limited transparent green vinyl formats. You can pre-order a copy at Paradise Cinema’s Bandcamp page; and from Piccadilly Records, Rough Trade and Resident.

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Previous Film Review: Rebuilding Paradise
Next MEET: We chat with landscape artist and musician Richard Skelton ahead of his new album

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