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Gecko Turner - Soniquete: The Sensational Sound Of Gecko Turner
CD Album
£9.99

Gecko Turner

Soniquete: The Sensational Sound Of Gecko Turner

Lovemonk

Released: 12th October 2018 | 14 track funk album

Modern day beatnik and alt-troubadour Gecko Turner has long been the Iberian go-to for Afro Latin, funk, soul and sun-soaked musical gems.

Soniquete: The Sensational Sound Of Gecko Turner features 13 classic cuts selected from his previous four long-players on Spanish label Lovemonk, plus a brand new track. The record includes heavyweight guests like the mighty UK vocalist Eska, Brazilian and flamenco percussionist Rubem Dantas and Cuban pianist Javier 'Caramelo' Masso.

Gecko's artistry as vocalist, multi instrumentalist and arranger shines through a global melange of styles from West African disco to hot-stepping Caribbean descargas. There are sounds and textures of all persuasions – mini-moog, clavinet and mbira sit alongside the cajon and other Latin and Brazilian percussions, yet it's the use of Gecko's language that truly sets his songs apart; the way he twists words and sentences that they become one with the melodies.

Singing in English, Spanish and a tongue only Gecko is privvy to, where local slang, foreign lingo and 'made up' words poetically combine, his songs always come with a nudge and a wink. The way he records, writes, composes and produces everything results in something he calls soniquete, a word often used in flamenco to refer to the rhythm and sound. A case in point is the debut single and signature Gecko tune 'Un Limón En La Cabeza', originally released in 2003. Each verse suggests to put a little lemon on your head, promoting a certain 'mental acidity', or 'critical thinking', as Gecko recalls. The horns weave around the words, leaving the listener repeating the interplay way after the track has finished.

Born and bred in 1966 in Extremadura, little Gecko was the son of a local sports journalist, and was soon exposed to the station's music library, which consisted of a large amount of vinyl LPs and 7 singles. After acquainting himself with a set of new sounds, he soon learnt to play the guitar and songs from his favourite artists of the time like Bowie, The Kinks, Talking Heads and James Brown.

In 1984, the Afro-Cuban sounds of Dizzy Gillespie were stinking hot, and a not-so-little Gecko hitched on dusty Iberian highways in search of the Vitoria Jazz Festival, where Dizzy was billed alongside Freddie Hubbard. Travelling over 1,000 kilometres with paperbacks by Kerouac, Burroughs and Miller stuffed in his rucksack, it was this period of jazz discovery that would turn out to be Gecko's defining moment.

In the winter of 1986, he moved to London and squatted in Camden, busking and living a day-to-day existence with music. He soon returned to Spain, took a job in a bank working in a data centre (to avoid the public and the need to cut his hair). The years passed, and he quit his job in the bank to start working in a recording studio, where he cut his teeth producing and tracking records and formed a band called Perroflauta (the Spanish equivalent of crusty) – he worked closely with Brazilian players playing a mix of African rhythms, jazz, soul, reggae and samba.

In 2003 he released Guapapasea!, his debut album proper on the Madrid based Lovemonk. It was the label's first ever album release and Gecko's music perfectly encapsulated the eclectic sound that became, and continues to be, the foundation to the label's music philosophy summed up neatly by an oft-used by-line discos buenos (good records).

'Cortando Bajito' is a brand new production on the record with percussion by Akin Elegbede Onasanya, of highly rated Afrobeat outfit OGUN Afrobeat from Madrid. It sounds like Stevie Wonder performing an Innervisions B-side in West Africa, with DFA records sewn into the tapestry. Eska's intervention comes in the shape of 'Monosabio Blues', a grooving down tempo number with Gecko rhyming and rapping in her shadow. 'Afrobeatnik?' and '45.000$ (Guapa Pasea)' both feature Rubem Dantas on percussion, a Brazilian player much revered for his pioneering work with flamenco genius Paco de Lucía. 'Toda Mojaíta' features the Rhodes and piano of Javier Caramelo Massó, a Cuban who was part of an incredible export of musicians to Madrid from Cuba over recent decades.

Soniquete is a snapshot of an artist who lives, works and plays with wild abandon, caring little for music industry norms or the big city, much preferring his Extremadura outpost by the Guadiana river. With a life philosophy learned from his experiences 'on the road', he absorbs jazz, global music and literature. With the help of a guitar or a piano, blistering sunshine, a wee dram and a puff of smoke, Gecko is an expert at turning inspiration into expression, clever word play and writing incredibly addictive songs.

The album release coincides with the vinyl represses of his previous albums Guapapasea! (2003) and Chandalismo Ilustrado (2006).