On October 9th the multi-instrumentalist Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet/Szun Waves) presents his new project Paradise Cinema. It was recorded in Dakar, Senegal in collaboration with mbalax percussionists Khadim Mbaye (saba drums) and Tons Sambe (tama drums).
The impressionistic and dream-like quality of ‘Paradise Cinema’ is a stunningly effective realisation of Wyllie’s 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. I could hear this from my bed at night and it all blended together, in what felt like an early version of the record.”
Atmospherically ‘Paradise Cinema’ is vaporous and enigmatic, but also percussive; existing in a paradoxical sound-space that’s amorphous, yet still purposeful, serene, but propulsive and aesthetically sharp.
Khadim Mbaye and Tons Sambe, provide the rhythmic backbone of the record. There are traditional elements of mbalax rhythm, but it is often deconstructed or played at tempos outside of the tradition, so while it hints at a location it occupies a space outside of any specific region.
‘Paradise Cinema’ is also informed by notions of hauntology – a philosophical concept originating in the work of French philosopher Jacques Derrida – on possible futures that were never realised and how directions taken in the past can haunt the present.
On the album’s title Wyllie comments, “there are a handful of old cinemas in Dakar – these big modernist buildings dotted around the city built around independence. They’re old and derelict now, but feel to me like monuments to that period, when the city was flooded with utopian ideas about its potential futures.”
As such it sits closely to 4th world music – situated in an imagined culture and time that never came to pass. And while it contains rhythmic references to Senegal it combines these elements with ambient and minimalist music to produce a sound that sits outside of any tradition.