Album Of The Week // 23–27 November

ThE DiAboLIcaL LibERTieS — High Protection & The Sportswear Mystics [On The Corner]

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The Diabolical Liberties released their debut album High Protection & The Sportswear Mystics on 13 November 2020 via the boundary breaking On The Corner Records label, a bastion of oddball jazz and electronics from the worldwide underground.

Comprising Rob Gallagher (vocals, guitar, bass) and Alex Patchwork (head of square-pushing), the duo’s debut longplayer is a rough, unpolished gem of a record that falls clumsily through the gaps between post-punk, electronica and jazz. Lead single ‘Sliders’ embodies this identity crisis, simultaneously honouring and deriding the ubiquity of said footwear over resonant breakbeats, plonking cowbell and the screeching horn of Ignacio Salvadores (King Krule, Gal Go).

Elsewhere, the brilliant Emma-Jean Thackray sprinkles ‘High Protection’ with cosmic dust. ‘Fix My Battery’ documents a trip to the phone repair shop over a guiro and bell-heavy groove, including sounds made from whacking varying lengths of plastic drainpipe. ‘Then We Were Money’ explores the same spaceways as Brooklyn’s Standing On The Corner collective — fusing blues and boom-bap. All produced and recorded in a shed, on train, trains, tubes and occasionally Caffè Nero in Cheam when it was quieter than home.

The music starts to make sense when you take into account Gallagher’s long and varied career in music. He was a stalwart of the mid-80s London jazz scene (centred around the WAG club and Dingwalls) and a key agitator/forerunner of the fusion that was bubbling up. He formed the band Galliano in 1987 and was the first signing to Eddie Piller and Gilles Peterson’s now legendary Acid Jazz label. Sidestepping onto Peterson’s freshly minted Talkin’ Loud imprint, Galliano’s debut album In Pursuit Of The 13th Note materialised in 1991 and was an international hit — effortlessly marrying cosmic funk, blues and an aura inspired by spiritual jazz with a conscious, poetic flow. Roy Ayers contributed vibes and scat. Four albums later in 1997, Gallagher disbanded Galliano and embarked on a solo career as Earl Zinger. The following year he formed the jazz/electronic duo Two Banks of Four with Dilip Harris AKA Demus, releasing City Watching on Ben Wilcox’s Sirkus label in 2000. Later, in 2012, he was also behind the experimental blues/folk/dub project William Adamson on Brownswood Recordings and most recently collaborated with Emanative and Rocketnumber9 on 2013’s Over EP.

Alex’s career initially revolved around curation (for Soul Jazz Records, Brownswood Recordings and his own label Earnest Endeavours) and DJing, his “Patchwork” moniker derived from his former crew Patchwork Pirates. Latterly, remixing, re-editing and production took over.

High Protection & The Sportswear Mystics follows a series of self-released and long sold-out white label 12” and 7” records that included collaborations with Nyasha (a moniker of Nubya Garcia) and a super limited On The Corner 10” dubplate. Support came from Andrew Weatherall (RIP), Gilles Peterson, Tom Ravenscroft, Mary Anne Hobbs and Bandcamp’s Editor-in-Chief Andrew Jervis

Hear tracks from the album all this week on Morning Mari*, 9:00–9:15 GMT every weekday.

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