Tuesday 7 April 2015

Wild Card - Organic Riot - Him You Ten

Wild Card, Organic Riot, Top End Records, TER003CD
All too rarely do our cartoon heroes leap off their pages and live up to expectations. For many years Clement Regert, Sophie Alloway and Andrew Noble of London Jazz trio Wild Card were stylised figures who I imagined lived in a colourful marshmallow world of bright colours and oversized footwear. It was only last year that I experienced Wild Card for the first time at Pizza Express in Soho and was able to calibrate real fleshy faces to those represented on social media by graphic personas.

Wild Card
Everything Changes
The artist who is responsible for 'Le Look' of Wild Card is Fung Voon Him You Ten. He has created the artwork for Wild Card's previous albums Mixity (2008) and Everything Changes (2012). The paths of Him You Ten and Wild Card's Clement Regert first crossed here in London and their friendship and working relationship still endures despite the Atlantic Ocean coming between them. Him You Ten returned to his native Montreal, Canada with his wife and two sons in 2010 before taking up a position as a Cloud Architect at Vice Media Inc in NYC.

Shinichirō Watanabe's
Samurai Champloo.
Our featured artist isn't just a man of the arts but one of action too. Him You Ten was a respected member of London's aikido community, training at Hikarikan in London Southbank University, UK. He started his training as a Shotokan Karate student and holds the grade of 1st Kyu. It could well be this interest in martial arts that inspires his art, and it seems both himself and Regert grew up watching and reading Manga cartoons. These have bubbled over into his creations for Wild Card especially the most recent album. The composition of this artwork is a direct homage to Shinichirō Watanabe's Samurai Champloo.

The hip hop influences of duo Force of Nature played a strong role in the soundtrack of Samurai Champloo and the lyric style makes more than a cameo in Wild Card's Organic Riot too. With rapper B'loon coming through loud and clear from the Intro to title track Organic Riot and finally the powerful Tchouks.

Clement Regert
This isn't the only voice on the album and it is here I could talk of the melting pot of nations and influences appearing here, from France, Japan, Brasil, Australia and the United States to mention just a few. No I play this with a straight bat and Natalie Williams does exactly that with two appearances on Feeling Good and Wash him out, but it is Regert's guitar which gives me the feeling on the former and Graeme Flowers' brass that aerates the latter.

This is truly a marmite of ideas and styles, the title Organic Riot is a fitting moniker to what is a fluid and satisfying nosh. Read the excellent review by Ian Mann on The Jazz Mann website for further insight.

Him You Ten
If we can weave the theme of Art and Music one last time then it would be to give you the definition of the word Champloo. It originates from the Okinawan word chanpurū, which simply means "to mix" as in the stir fry dish Goya chanpuru. Taste this Organic Riot for yourself on the 18th April, 2015 at Café POSK, 238-246 King Street, London, W6 0RF when Wild Card officially launch the album. and give you their mix of heavy grooves, swinging hard-bop and fleet footed Samba,


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