Behold a new seven-tracker coming out on Hell Yeah! Recordings, a label in full force with a streak of black plastic discs this year (read the write up on Quiroago’s Passages from last month) and showing no signs of relent. This time: Juan Moretti’s Cats Do Not About Glasses.
Juan Moretti sounds like a badman and looking at his musical CV you’d think the same: ‘bassist, drummer, composer, arranger, visual artist, DJ, hard clubber and good food lover,’ – also: jazz band leader, theatre producer, disco soundtrack composer, visual artist and all-round balearic renaissance man.
His latest offering on Hell Yeah!, Cats Do Not Care About Glasses, due out November 29th, sounds like this:
And the rest sounds like this:
Opener ‘Flare’, atmospheric noodling in the band room makes way for multiple massive oscillations, segueing into wide-open spiritual jazz in reverse and.. wait.. yes, that’s a 303 bubbling underneath the tenor sax. Acid jazz in more literal terms. An opener that takes the baton and sprints with it. Is your interest piqued?
A2, ‘Fahrenheit’. Starry pad arpeggios recall Mark Barrott’s moonlit soundscapes. Shuffly, off-kilter stylings confirm the suspicion that Juan Moretti plays just how he pleases. Less broken beat, more bruised and squeezed, spurting zesty analogue spritz across the walls, floors and keyboard covers. Follow at your peril. A wild and breezy expedition.
Track 3 is called ‘Insane’ (not speaking relatively). Tight midnight grooves in 7/4. Tangerine Dream synth incantation. Rhythmic workouts channelling the most innovative and jazz-borne of modern hip-hop, with a guitar line playing like clockwork over the top. It swerves almost blindside through its peaks and troughs, throwing in dizzying arpeggios and girthy vocoder samples as it builds to its explosive and unsteady apex.
On the other side we have ‘Fortaleza’, dusty with jazz piano samples and a slow, deliberate wandering guitar lead. Tribal vocal cries, reverse crashes and an ever-shifting undercurrent make it far-reaching yet very intimate. B2, ‘Claustrophonic’ is celestial electronic jazz for intimate home listening in its brave and brilliant chaos.
Heading towards the tail end of the record, ‘Moroboshi’ is the 45turns pick. Drift into a sea of fruity keys, twangy guitars, live drums and ‘that’ sax, one hundred dub-swung riddems a minute. Summer 2020. Final track ‘Backdoor (The Mad Cat)’ is a subtly cosmic hip-hop jaunt where Moretti offers an explanation for much of the preceding material: ‘cos I’m a mad cat!’. A fitting closer.
Cats Do Not Care About Glasses is not easily pigeonholed, skirting Moretti’s own involvement with music since the 90s rather than clear-cut genres in themselves. It’s definitely challenging, but not to the extent that it feels deliberately alienating; the seven tracks on offer intrigue the casual listener far more than pure idiosyncrasy would, and yet there’s plenty to explore beyond the pale. Juan Moretti has made a record that reflects his here and now and he has no qualms about it. An album that oscillates wildly through the oddments of a lifetime in jazz, hip-hop and the dancefloor with a sensorial feel and a cosy do it yaself core. Pick it up, set some time aside and get lost in the rainbow hues of Juan Moretti’s latest invention.
Cats Do Not Care About Glasses is out Nov 29th via Hell Yeah! Recordings. You can pre-order the vinyl LP, shipping two weeks early on Nov 15th. Incentives.