top of page
2024-02 February Playlist SunNeverSetsOnMusic

2024-02 February Playlist SunNeverSetsOnMusic

Watch Now
Yirinda - Yirinda

Yirinda

YIRINDA

Released 16 February 2024

Chapter Music

*****

A stunning fusion of timelessness & the contemporary, indigenous language & contemporary music.

 

Yirinda means 'Now' in Butchulla language and it is the name taken by duo Fred Leone and Samuel Pankhurst, who combine ancient Aboriginal language with sublime modern production. Their music invokes thousands of generations of story and culture, while emerging as something entirely new.
Fred is one of three Butchulla songmen - a song and language custodian for the Butchulla people from the Fraser Coast region of Queensland, including K’gari (formerly known as Fraser Island). He sings the songs on this album in the endangered Butchulla language, now spoken by only a handful of people.
Samuel is an internationally acclaimed contrabassist / producer known for his kaleidoscopic harmonies and polyrhythmic mastery. He has scored extensively for contemporary dance, recently for notable choreographer Thomas Kelly’s celebrated work SILENCE.
Their self-titled debut album was recorded in Brisbane by Samuel, then mixed in London by Jake Miller (Björk, Arca, Yves Tumor) and mastered at Abbey Road by Alex Wharton (The Beatles, My Bloody Valentine).

The album sets Fred’s powerful vocals against striking experimental soundscapes, rich with strings, horns, double bass, synthesizer, piano and percussion. The result is otherworldly, a timeless art music outside Western convention.

Read more ... Bandcamp

Les Amazones d'Afrique - Musow Danse

Musow Danse

LES AMAZONES D'AFRIQUE

Released 16 February 2024

Real World Records

****-

Les Amazones d'Afrique message remains loud and clear: violence against women must stop. Three generations of women sing out in unison, calling for a future without the threat of female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual violence, lack of education and forced marriage

Musow Danse is the third album by West African supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique. Six women from six different countries pooled their respective talents, traditions, and languages to assemble the album: a collective demand for justice and recognition, not to mention an irresistible invitation to dance along with them. “It is not possible to shut us down,” says Fafa Ruffino, the Beninese vocalist who wrote two of the album’s songs, including “Flaws.” “It was maybe possible before, but now, no. They just want us to keep quiet, but when African women start shouting, you just have to give in. If you don’t give in, you die.”

 

Les Amazones d’Afrique’s previous albums—2017’s Republique Amazone and 2020’s Amazones Power—sought to address a range of urgent gender political themes that apply universally but resound especially strongly in the nations they represent, from FGM to forced marriage to teenage pregnancy.

On “Musow Danse (Women’s Dance),” however, the nuance switches from commentary to activism, the collective channeling their righteous anger into a high-energy, disruptive call-to-arms, challenging their audience to embody the change they wish to see.

Read more... Bandcamp

Nadine Shah - Filthy Underneath

Filthy Underneath

NADINE SHAH

Released 23 February 2024

Universal Music

*****

Nadine Shah returns after an absence of four years, with a deeply personal but life-affirming collection that transcends the turbulence of its subject matter.

 

There is a fine line to tread in any creative labour when opening up about your personal struggles. It’s delicate work to find how much honesty resonates with an audience and what becomes alienating. Nadine Shah navigates this rough terrain on her fifth album, Filthy Underneath, a record which deals with how, in a few very short years, she coped with the death of her mother, substance abuse, a suicide attempt, recovery and the end of her marriage.

Any one of these topics could be completely overwhelming for listener and artist alike, but Shah’s control of the narrative makes her songs sound more confidential than confessional. She exercises the same incisive observational skills that she applied to songs about social unease and toxic relationships when she turns the lens on herself, as willing to be cutting, critical and humorous when she is her own subject.

The self-awareness around the weight of her material reads in how she tempers her delivery.

It’s in her wry humour, however, where she shines brightest, even on some of the most thematically dismal tracks.

She knows how it all sounds and she isn’t worried about any judgement. She is an artist wholly in possession of herself and her own story.

Read more... The Quietus

Daymé Arocena - Alkemi

Alkemi

DAYMÉ AROCENA

Released 23 February 2024

Brownswood Recordings

****-

A revolutionary - and transformative - fusion of neo soul singing, Afro-Caribbean beats and slick new millennium pop.

 

Daymé Arocena burst onto the international scene with Nueva Era, her prodigious debut album, in 2015.

Now, she has fully reinvented her sound with 'Alkemi,' a revolutionary - and transformative - fusion of neo soul singing, Afro-Caribbean beats and slick new millennium pop.

'Alkemi' is the Yoruba word for alchemy. "It means the cosmovision of transformation," she explains. "It is mixing all the elements to achieve an unbeatable result, full of shine and light, like gold springing from the skin."

 Alkemi veers into Latin pop with 10 tracks of ear-worming hooks, synth melody and snapping electronic percussion. These aren’t pristine arena-fillers, but intricate and emotive tracks full of subtle touches. The album could benefit from a moment where the full force of Arocena’s voice is unleashed, but this is the sound of a singer poised for crossover success.

Read more ... Bandcamp, The Guardian

Brittany Howard - What Now

What Now

BRITTANY HOWARD

Released 9 February 2024

Island Records

****-

Brittany Howard continues her stellar solo career away from Alabama Shakes with a turn to the avant-jazz/funk/rock-fusion.


After five years without a fresh sound in a prolific portfolio, you could be forgiven for thinking “What now?” That’s, of course, exactly where this Nashville musician wants you for her sophomore release of the same name. The title's double meaning is just as versatile as Howard herself, deftly nodding to both the pace of demand as well as the curveball creative decisions of her career to date. And this unorthodox approach has only been heightened in such a kaleidoscopic collection of tracks.

The whole record feels enveloped in a Thundercat-cool, a fellow pioneer of hyper-inventive arrangements. Avant-jazz closer “Every Colour In Blue” even offers an epic trumpet performance from Rod McGaha. But while Howard might dip a toe towards the fruits of funk, standout tracks like recent single "What Now" and “Power To Undo”, with their frenetic fretwork and razor-sharp hooks, help position Howard as a genre-free iconoclast like Prince. Long may she reign. 

Read more... The Arts Desk

MGMT - Loss of Life

Loss of Life

MGMT

Released 23 February 2024

MGMT / Mom & Pop

****-

The newly viral US duo seem to take inspiration from Bowie, Simon and Garfunkel and the Gallagher brothers on an album of glossy, impressively melodic psychedelic pop.

 

In fact, Loss of Life covers a surprising amount of musical ground in 45 minutes: everything from Ziggy-era Bowie on Bubblegum Dog to Nothing to Declare’s flirtation with Simon and Garfunkel-esque folk. You get the reference points, but it never sounds like explicit homage, partly because everything gets fed through MGMT’s psychedelic filter – thickly smeared with edge of chaos electronics and sudden, disorientating explosions of echo – and partly because the songs beneath the arrangements are sturdy enough to support the teeming arrangements and stand apart from their influences.

It’s possible to overstate how straightforward an album Loss of Life is: this is an album that opens with someone reciting a 13th-century Welsh poem and ends with the title track dissolving into a protracted cacophony. Rather, it strikes a balance between weirdness and pop more impressively than any MGMT album since their debut.

Read more ... The Guardian

Erika de Casier - Still

Still

ERICA DE CASIA

Released 21 February 2024

4AD

****-

She may have won a lot of new fans in the past three years, and a lot of high-profile collaborators (Dua Lipa, Blood Orange, Eartheater, etc.) but as this album’s title confirms, she’s the same old Erika de Casier. Still.

 

The 33-year-old Danish singer, songwriter and producer built a cult following with her 2019 debut album Essentials, and built on that “cult” designation with 2021’s Sensational, her first for 4AD.

Since then, she’s performed at some of the biggest festivals in the world, written for pop stars (NewJeans) and sung on hyped dance tracks (Mura Masa, Shygirl).

But when she ushers you into the expanses of her third album she’s inviting you to leave any crass The Nordics’ Next Big Thing or Rising Alt-Pop Star epithets at the door.

All of this to say the album is classic de Casier, her idiosyncratic mix of luxuriant electronica and moonlit R&B drilled further into that one-of-a-kind sound here. Her songwriting is as masterful and universal as ever, and her proficiency as a producer heightened as she produces other voices (They Hate Change, Shygirl, Blood Orange) for the first time. 
 

Read more ... Bandcamp

Ella Haber - Moments Between Dreams (EP)

Moments Between Dreams (EP)

ELLA HABER

Released 16 February 2024

Soul Has No Tempo

****-

Ella strives to carve out a space for reclamation and self-celebration through music. 'Moments Between Dreams' represents a refined and evolved expression of her artistry. 

 

Multi-talented Eora-based artist, Ella Haber's highly-anticipated EP, 'Moments Between Dreams’ is written by Haber and co-produced with longtime collaborator, Yianni Adams (Kyoshi).

The EP is a beautiful journey of discovery, the artist opening herself up into intimate new worlds both musical and emotional.

A six-track record that follows Haber through a myriad of awakenings, the songs were all written and conceptualised on pianos in bedrooms. The intimacy and quietness of these spaces, combined with the emotional resonance of her treasured instrument, shaped the album's soft and close-knit atmosphere.

The treasured collection of songs poured out in the warmer months of 2021-2022 with urgency and passion, Ella reflects: “I needed to release myself from my own numbness, isolation, inactivity and loneliness induced by successive lockdowns, a long-term relationship coming to a close and a disconnection from my own body and heart.”

Read more... Bandcamp

Laetitia Sadier - Rooting For Love

Rooting For Love

LAETITIA SADIER

Released 23 February 2024

Duophonic Super 45s

****-

Laetitia Sadlier explores ways of healing humanity inspired by her Zen Shiatsu training and the words of Véronique Vincent (of The Honeymoon Killers)

On Rooting For Love, her first solo album since 2017, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier The message is clear: methods of self improvement and engaging in art and culture are the only way we can go deep within to let the garbage out. In other words, self care doesn’t have to have narcissistic or hippy-dippy connotations, it can be radical.

Rooting For Love acknowledges civilisational trauma, the heat of a turbulent world and collapsing institutions, but doesn’t allow its spectre to negate the human instinct of hope. Unlike the indignation typified by most political music, it’s not cynical or condemning, but a gentle rallying cry.

Read more... The Quietus

John Surman - Words Unspoken

Words Unspoken

JOHN SURMAN

Released 16 February 2024

ECM

****-

At seventy-nine, Surman is a long way from his youth. But he plays with such vigour and passion on this stunning album that one would never guess. Words Unspoken is a gorgeous addition to an already impressive discography.

 

Since the mid-sixties when he played baritone saxophone with the Mike Westbrook Band, John Surman has been one of the most instantly recognisable voices in jazz. In part, it’s because of his unusual choice of horns: soprano and baritone saxophones, plus the bass clarinet – a relatively rare beast in jazz.

More significantly, Surman’s sound on all three horns is very much his own, often suffused with the deceptive simplicity of folk songs and hymns. Surman might have lived in Oslo for many years, but he can still conjure up a profoundly English spirit of Albion.

His long relationship with ECM began with Barre Phillips’ Mountainscapes (1976), and the first ECM album under his own name was Upon Reflection (1979), the first of a number of multitracked recordings where he accompanies himself over rippling synthesizer lines. For his latest recording on ECM, he’s found the perfect musicians to combine the hypnotic qualities and unusual instrumentation of those multitracked solo albums with the spontaneous interplay of a live group - Vibraphonist Rob Waring, Pianist Nelson Ayres, Guitarist Rob Luft and drummer Thomas Strønen.

Read more ... London Jazz News

Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey - Compassion

Compassion

VIJAY IYER, LINDA MAY HAN OH, TYSHAWN SOREY

Released 2 February 2024

ECM

****-

Pianist-composer Vijay Iyer follows his 2021 ECM disc Uneasy — the first to showcase his trio featuring bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey — with Compassion, another album in league with these two gifted partners. 

The New York Times captured the special qualities of this group, pointing to the trio’s flair for playing “with a lithe range of motion and resplendent clarity… while stoking a kind of writhing internal tension. Crucial to that balance is their ability to connect with each other almost telepathically.” Compassion, Iyer’s eighth release as a leader for ECM, continues his drive to explore fresh territory while also referencing his forebears along the way, two of them long associated with the label. The album includes a lyrical homage to Chick Corea via the late pianist’s valedictory interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed.” Another tip of the hat comes with “Nonaah,” a whirlwind of a piece by avant-garde sage Roscoe Mitchell, a key mentor for the pianist. Then there are Iyer’s own melodically alluring, rhythmically invigorating compositions, ranging from the pensive title track to the hook-laced highlights “Tempest” and “Ghostrumental.”

Read more... ECM

Helado Negro - Phasor

PHASOR

HELADO NEGRO

Released 9 February 2024

4AD

****-

Floating between the interior world and the external one with ephemeral ease, PHASOR is a pleasure to experience -- and another fine example of Lange's receptive, responsive artistry.

 

Even though Helado Negro's music is always unmistakable, Roberto Carlos Lange has never repeated himself. On PHASOR, his ability to change, grow, and roll with life's highs and lows is at a peak. Lange recorded the album after trading Brooklyn's bustle for the considerably more easygoing creative mecca of Asheville, North Carolina, and the feeling of a fresh start is evident following the lockdown outpourings of 2021's acclaimed Far In. In the best possible way, PHASOR doesn't seem like as much of an effort as its predecessor. Everything on Helado Negro's eighth album feels serendipitous, from its sunny electronics to its mingling of psych-rock, jazz, and kosmische to the understated yet undeniable grooves that give Lange's musings a flowing foundation.

Read more ... AllMusic

Larry Goldings, John Sneider - Chinwag

Chinwag

LARRY GOLDINGS, JOHN SNEIDER

Released 7 January 2024

Sticky Mack Records

****-

Chinwag, which literally means "a conversation between friends," is the most recent expression of the long and ongoing friendship between Goldings and Sneider. Massachusetts natives of the same generation, both grew up with a love of bebop and electronic music.

 

A 30 year long friendship between musicians is not necessary to make intimate, creative music together, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Chinwag, the first duo record by pianist Larry Goldings and trumpeter John Sneider, is just such a project; a debut three decades in the making. It might seem like a simple undertaking—a small format album of piano and trumpet—but under the hood there is a lot more going on than meets the eyes (or ears).

Chinwag was recorded by Sheldon Gomberg at his Carriage House studio, a veritable playground of unusual instruments, including the 100 year old Wing and Son upright piano used to evoke the nostalgia of a sepia toned, bygone era. "That is such an unusual piano," says Goldings. "It narrows the way I'm going to play. You can't play just anything on the Wing, it has this crazy natural reverberation, for instance. It just begs you to play something slow and open. It sets a mood."

While the music on Chinwag finds Goldings narrowing his focus to accommodate the Wing piano, it is also an example of how, over time, he has happily explored music outside of the bebop language.

Goldings puts it this way: "I'm just trying to get to the essence of something, and I'm getting away from a jazz vocabulary here and there. But still using what we need to have as jazz musicians—and that is openness, good ears, good time, making good decisions."

So while Chinwag explores a classic American repertoire (by the likes of Stephen Foster, Eubie Blake, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Thelonious Monk) the music suggests multiple eras and multiple dimensions—a new conversation between old friends, a bold exercise in free improvisation and spontaneous composition, and today's vision of a future firmly rooted in the past.

Read more ... All About Jazz

Mk.gee - Two Star & The Dream Police

Two Star & The Dream Police

MK.GEE

Released 3 February 2024

R&R Digital

****-

Mike Gordon’s debut album warps ’80s pop, rock, and R&B with idiosyncratic production, yielding strange, murky songs full of anxiety and longing.

 

Mike Gordon’s mangled mix of pop, rock, and soul sounds like it’s made of scrap metal and polished with sandpaper. Across Two Star & the Dream Police, his magnificent debut album as Mk.gee, the 26-year-old from New Jersey subverts recognizable forms—’80s R&B ballads, Phil Collins-inspired downtempo anthems, Michael Jackson-meets-Arthur Russell pop-rock grooves—with unusual tones, tempos, and textures. His distinctive, distended guitar playing and Prince-indebted singing are pinholed through murky, twitchy mixes that refuse to stay still. Despite the elusive and exploratory nature of his music, Gordon is a master of melody, chiseling gorgeous, richly detailed pop songs from seemingly cluttered compositions. Two Star is as singular as it is familiar, an original and expansive record that feels at once timeless and uncannily contemporary.

Read more ... Pitchfork

Delasi - Audacity of Free Thought (EP)

Audacity of Free Thought (EP)

DELA$I

Released 19 January 2024

Brownswood Recordings

****-

Ghanaian singer/rapper and composer DeLa$i is killing every other song!
He has found a voice through production with the support of music tech group Ableton. DeLa$i's sound is a fusion of Soul, Hip hop and jazzy influences with traditional Ghanaian music.

Delasi, the Koforidua-based producer, singer and rapper has released his new single ‘Perception’.

Sonically traversing electronic, funk, new wave and R&B in a way that’s akin to the work of KAYTRANADA and BADBADNOTGOOD, ‘Perception’ is an optimistic and affirming testament of self-actualisation for all the misunderstood outliers and underdogs.

Just as with previous single ‘Amplifier’, Delasi once again employs the use of repeated phrases and manifestations to drive home the importance of maintaining a strong sense of morale in the face of oppressive structures and personal hardships.

Partially inspired by his challenges coming up in the music industry, ‘Perception’ doubles as an anthem for artists who continue to boldly operate on the fringes of their creative communities even if it's at the expense of increased career mobility.

Read more... Bandcamp

Aziza Brahim - Mawja

Mawja (Wave)

AZIZA BRAHIM

Released 23 February 2024

Glitterbeat Records

****-

Brahim’s voice, as always, is a wellspring of deep and resonant emotions. The yearning for homeland. The struggle for freedom. The love for one's elders. The unfurling of time. Waves of history, waves of sound. Mawja.

 

Sahrawi singer-songwriter activist Aziza Brahim’s fifth album Mawja (Wave in Hassaniya Arabic) is fashioned from a simple but powerful foundational palette: Saharan and Iberian percussion entwining with stately guitars and warm, enveloping bass.

Co-produced by Brahim with long-time collaborator Guillem Aguilar, the record from her oeuvre that Mawja most sonically resembles is her revered and graceful debut Soutak (2014).

Growing up in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, after her family was forced into exile from Western Sahara, singer and songwriter Aziza Brahim spent hours listening to the radio. Mawja, her grandparents would say as they changed stations. Wave. Medium wave, FM. Radio brought the world to her, music from across the globe carried over the airwaves. When she left, first to study in Cuba, then to live in Barcelona, Brahim never forgot the radio and the education it offered. Now the waves carry her again on Mawja, her fourth album for Glitterbeat. It’s coloured by her own travels, her personal diaspora, and the music she heard through the speaker of that transistor radio as a child.

“Music lets you enrich your original sounds with others you learn,” Brahim says. “Mawja reflects everything that involves me.” It reflects what she’s heard around the Iberian Peninsula, especially the rhythms and percussion instruments. “There’s the tambourine, square tambourine, the almirez (pestle and mortar) that you hear in folk music everywhere on the peninsula. But I mixed with other African percussion instruments, and even ones from other continents. There’s a fusion in the root of each song.”

Mawja is a powerful statement, building on all Brahim achieved with her last album, the lauded Sahari (2019), which offered a portrait of her displaced Sahrawi people. But the four years since that release have been difficult ones for her.

Read more ... Bandcamp

Dawn Again - Every Dog's Hotel

Every Dog's Hotel

DAWN AGAIN

Released 23 February 2024

Hell Yeah

****-
The superbly welcoming Every Dog's Hotel is a place to pull up, sink a drink, and soak into some lavish and escapist downtempo sounds.

 

Every Dog's Hotel is a dreamy and breaks-driven downtempo excursion that the artist, Australian producer Dawn Again, has dubbed "pubwave."

Melbourne-based Nick Verwey has been crafting solo and collaborative cuts for the best part of a decade on labels like Houseworx and Enjoyment Division.

He operates in a world where danceable grooves are paired with laid-back moods. His lo-fi sound is both sunlit and sunset-ready and is for grown-up crowds who like to get down on rooftops, sandy enclaves, or laidback living rooms. This new album was conveyed during lockdown when Nick and his friends were missing their favourite communal drinking spots.

"My friends and I were missing the pub, missing dance floors, missing being able to hang out and have fun," he says. He came up with the idea of creating something similar but in his own way, initially with spoken word poetry over the top. I think it still nails the dreamy, Balearic "pubwavee" feeling".

The gorgeous cover painting is by Nick's mate Holly Hunt. It's an old English haunt called the Old Neptune, and what nails the brief more than a pub that is literally on the beach?"

Read more ... Bandcamp

Cowboy Sadness - Selected Jambient Works Vol. 1

Selected Jambient Works Vol. 1

COWBOY SADNESS

Released 19 January 2024

People Teeth

****-

Selected Jambient Works Vol. 1 might not feature songs about whisky ‘n’ bars ‘n’ feelin’ low, but it does evoke winds whipping over lonely plains, scratchy 45s booming out of shotgun shacks, and the vertigo-induced melancholy of being at the center of a giant landscape. Move over, Midwestern emo: this is Southwestern ambient.

A cocktail of campy posturing and plain ol’ gloominess, the “sad cowboy” aesthetic seems machine-tooled for internet popularity. In addition to the viral mash-up of a sad face emoji wearing a cowboy hat (that should be considered with the immortal accompanying tweet “they only say yee haw, they never ask haw yee”), the Tik-Tok hashtag “sadcowboy” has over 27 million views. Artists such as Orville Peck, Goat Girl, and Lil Nas X have tinkered with the idea before, but Cowboy Sadness—a project from The Antlers’s Peter Silberman, David Moore of Bing & Ruth, and Nicholas Principe of Port St. Willow—approach things abstractly.

Read more... Bandcamp

Alex Albrecht - Allambie

Allambie

ALEX ALBRECHT

Released 18 January 2024

Analogue Attic

****-

Allambie’ glides off into the ether and back with comforting, pillowy textures building towards deep house crescendos. 

 

Melbourne-based producer Alex Albrecht has amassed a discography that explores the dreamier side of ambient electronic music. Utilizing field recordings, ambient soundscapes, and minimal, propulsive drum rhythms, Albrecht’s solo work evokes the pensive melancholia of landscapes scattered along seemingly endless journeys.

What Alex Albrecht gets right in his approach is imbuing tracks with an emotional core without hitting you over the head with what you should be thinking. The label doesn’t present a narrative that lays out what listeners should take away. There’s terms in the album description to pique one’s interest, but it’s vague enough to allow listeners to take their own journey with the music.

‘Allambie’ demonstrates Albrecht’s ability to pull from different realms of the electronic world and put his own spin on it, allowing it to rise above the many artists operating in this realm. ‘Allambie’ has great individual moments, but the album taken in as a whole is completion of the journey. Each song builds and morphs between one another that you become enveloped in the sonic world Albrecht constructs. 

Read more ... Inverted Audio

COMETS - Anywhere Here

Anywhere Here

COMETS

Released 12 January 2024

Melted Records

****-

COMETS are back with their second LP: a mixed bag of  tracks and guest appearances.

 

COMETS are back with another seemingly effortless number in Anywhere Here. It was recorded in a similar fashion to Rain Faces, out at Ghostriter, but this time the band sent word to a few friends to throw some sounds over the top and see what happened.

The result is a sprint through an overgrown city with Mika Kohlman’s sprightly saxophone on ‘Lost Car’ or of curious robots studying human behaviour (hear Mikey Young’s glimmering synth on ‘Dress for Texture’). It’s also Koral Chandler’s introspective meditations, rising and falling, reflecting on ‘Sun Standstill’. It all culminates in the last tune with Blake Scott’s revolving tale, delivered swaggering in swing with the
band, putting his pinch of salt on ‘Lipschutt’. Clocking in at over 11 minutes and weaving many moods,

Music by Brad Barry, Shaun Gionis, Stacey Gray & Scott Redford.
Lyrics Vocals by Koral Chandler ('Sun Standstill') and by Blake Scott ('Lipschutt').

Sax by Mika Kohlman ('Lost Car')

Synth by Mikey Young ('Dress by Texture')

Flute & Casiotone by Ryan Taylor ('Lipschutt')

Read more ... PBSFM 106.7 Melbourne

Bandcamp

Maddison Carter - Polymorphic

Polymorphic

MADDISON CARTER

Released 23 February 2024

Earshift Music

****-
The album is a showcase of polytempi, a concept involving overlapping pulses that create an intricate tapestry of sound. This technique, combined with Carter's movement between the vibraphone and drum kit, offers audiences an auditory experience of layered rhythms and shifting musical colours.


Polymorphic is the groundbreaking project from Melbourne based Maddison Carter, a visionary percussionist and composer.

Formed amidst the solitude of 2021 lockdowns, "Polymorphic" began as a solo exploration and evolved into a sextet ensemble, symbolizing Carter's commitment to melodic richness and the unconventional use of the vibraphone. 

"It was born out of a change of lifestyle and my frustration with playing only non-pitched material. This music brought me back from a period where I spent far less time on music." The ensemble’s journey mirrors Carter's own artistic transformation, from a period of diminished musical activity during the lockdowns to a rekindled passion for composition and performance.

Whilst blurring the boundaries of jazz and contemporary classical music, the compositions juxtapose tonal and atonal threads. The music shows an affinity for constructed, organised sonic space alongside vast improvisation. Electronic manipulation, tight interlocking rhythms, and vibraphone craft the distinct sound of this ensemble.

Read more... Bandcamp

Ghost Funk Orchestra - A Trip To The Moon

A Trip To The Moon

GHOST FUNK ORCHESTRA

Released 23 February 2024

Karma Chief / Colemine Records

****-

It's full of big compositions with garage rock attitude. Influences range everywhere from Eddie Palmieri and Esquivel to The Lively Ones, Dusty Springfield, and War.

 

Ghost Funk Orchestra is the brainchild of composer/multi-instrumentalist Seth Applebaum. What started as a one-man recording project has now evolved into a powerhouse live band. It’s a sonic kaleidoscope that defies genre specification, but draws heavy influence from the worlds of soul, psych rock, salsa, and beyond.

Coming off the heels of 2022's A New Kind of Love, A Trip To The Moon sees GFO diving even deeper in the worlds of film music, exotica, and psychedelic surf rock. The aim is to create a layered and collaged listening experience with more elements than you could possibly pick out in a single listen. The guitars are fuzzy and flooded with spring reverb, and the horns are arranged in a studio big band fashion.

The tracks are tied together by real recorded transmissions from the Apollo moon missions. The concept for the album is a story about a woman stranded on earth by her cosmonaut partner, left to ponder his whereabouts and whether or not he'll make it back from the cosmos alive.

Bandcamp’s Editorial Director J. Edward Keyes praised the band’s ability to ‘leave no funk-adjacent genre unexplored.’ Experimentation is the key, and unpredictability is what has been attracting folks from all corners of the globe to see what GFO pulls off next…

Read more ... Bandcamp

Ariel Kalma, Jeremiah Chiu, Marta Sofia Honer - The Closest Thing to Silence

The Closest Thing to Silence

ARIEL KALMA, JEREMIAH CHIU, MARTA SOFIA HONER

Released 2 February 2024

International Anthem

****-

"The Closest Thing to Silence" is taken from a quote by Kalma included in a documentary by RVNG Intl (as part of their release of the 2014 compendium/retrospective An Evolutionary Music). Perhaps coincidental, Kalma’s quote was a slight modulation of a legendary ECM Records motto, as he said: “Music is the closest thing to silence.” 

 

In August 2022, Australia-based, French born fourth-world music legend Ariel Kalma was invited to participate in BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction series of special collaborations. The program pairs artists who have not previously worked together to create new music cooperatively.

Kalma was quick to suggest working with two musicians whom he had never met – International Anthem recording artists Jeremiah Chiu & Marta Sofia Honer, whose critically-acclaimed duo debut 'Recordings from the Åland Islands' had been released just a few months earlier. An invitation was sent to Chiu and Honer, which was received with great enthusiasm, as Chiu had long been a fan of Kalma’s work, even citing him as a major influence on his approach to electronic music composition.

After meeting their twenty minute goal for the program (four pieces total), the three musicians were satisfied in what they would present and sent along their work to the producers of Late Junction. However, there was a nagging suspicion that this wasn’t the end of the story. 

Ultimately, the collection of music highlights the work of all three musicians, intertwining the contextual immersion heard on Chiu & Honer’s 'Recordings from the Åland Islands' with an intergenerational reverence for (and the undeniable presence of) Kalma’s decades-spanning body of work. It is work that has definitively enshrined him as one of the true, transcendent pioneers and sages of new age and fourth-world music. That reverence is affirmed by the album title chosen by the group — "The Closest Thing to Silence"

Read more ... Bandcamp

Liam Bailey - Zero Grace

Zero Grace

LIAM BAILEY

Released 23 February 2024

Big Crown Records

****-

Bailey has managed another album that moves across genres but remains entirely cohesive. The title Zero Grace represents his uninhibited energy. He wears his heart on his sleeve, he speaks his mind without filters, and he has little concern for formalities where his ambitions are concerned. He won't be held back ever. One thing is for sure, his talent speaks for itself, and it is on full display on this album.

Zero Grace, Liam Bailey’s sophomore album on the Big Crown label. Following the success of 2020’s Ekundayo album, the tried and true chemistry of Bailey and producer Leon Michels (El Michels Affair) is on full display again as they take the sound they established and push it further. On Zero Grace they lean more into the bleeding heart singer-songwriter side of Liam. The result, much like Bailey himself, is impulsively honest without reserve.
Born and raised in Nottingham, England, the son of an English mother and 2nd generation Jamaican English father, Liam will admit his early childhood was fairly chaotic and filled with "all the cliche racism that happens when people started mixing up in the '80s in England." Liam got his early influences from his mom’s record collection. Bob Marley and Dillinger, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix would eventually shape the singer - songwriter we know today. Fast-forward to 2005, Liam is in London performing at every open mic and acoustic night he could, hustling with hopes of landing a record deal. It was through this time that Liam first teamed up with Michels, musician/producer luminary, and the co-founder of Brooklyn's own Big Crown Records. 

Read more... Bandcamp

Houria Aichi - Chants Courtois de l'Aurès

Chants Courtois de l'Aurès

HOURIA AÏCHI

Released 27 January 2023

Accords Croises

****-

“This repertoire is joyful, does not take your head in your hands to cry. It's about happiness in love, the happiness of loving a woman".

 

Five years after her album Mystical Songs of Algeria, Houria Aïchi resumes her exploration of the little-known heritage of Algerian traditions. Always using the tools of her first profession, sociology, to guide and sift her collection into collective memory, she pursues the noble project of bringing to light and magnifying the endangered culture of Aurès.

Chants courtois de l'Aurès reveals ten songs of the love of men for women, the singularity of which is to be explicit. It is not an ethereal ideal of a symbolic woman loved as the dew dreams of the flower, but of Zina, of Fatma, of Louisa, of Dalila, of women of flesh and life.

These songs speak of the jubilation of feeling, of desire, of the attraction of bodies. Certainly, we hear the pain of absence, the lack of the woman we love, but it is not a poetry of unhappy loves or the deploration of loving mourning.

Read more ... ACCORDS CROISÉS

Slowspin - Talisman

Talisman

SLOWSPIN

Released 19 May 2023

SLOWSPINSPACE

****-

US-based Pakistani artist, Slowspin (Zeerak Ahmed) has a distinct sound practice grounded in North Indian classical vocal traditions, dream-folk, ambient and experimental-electronic music.

 

Co-produced with Grey Mcmurray, the TALISMAN delivers a sound beyond boundaries and/or genres. Mcmurray, who is revered for his intuitive musicality, eloquently narrates enchanting as well as feverish scenes. Through his chord washes and poignant rests between notes, he effortlessly holds space for Slowspin's lilting arrangements that recall the journey to the divine.

The album is a unique blend of North Indian classical vocal traditions, lush textures akin to shoegaze, psychedelic-rock, folk, ambient and experimental music; collectively it composes the spatial richness and complexity of the contemporary South Asian voice.

Slowspin describes the TALISMAN as a tightly woven amulet made from devotional expressions. She says it is "braided from the metallic threads of the ecstasy of my highest loves, the smokey whispers of my deepest, quietest losses, and the over pouring rivers of my loudest calls. The TALISMAN or طلسم holds the telos: it is an amulet for the journey into the unknown, a balm for the pilgrim traversing the abyss of love, loss and longing.” 

Read more ... Bandcamp

Enji - Ulaan

Ulaan

ENJI

Released 28 April 2023

Contre-Jour

****-

Enji pushes her voice to new heights, effervescently fluttering over each track and moving in perfect lockstep with her band.

Enji begins her third album with a stark reminder of her own humanity. “I am Ulaan,” she utters plainly in her native language of Mongolian, referring to a nickname affectionately given to her by her family. “I have to remember who I am,” she says, explaining her choice of a spoken monologue. “It empowers me.”

Throughout Ulaan, Enji continues to find new ways to bring out those affirming expressions of herself. Drawing on the elegant blend of jazz and traditional Mongolian song on her previous album Ursgal, she leans into her strengths while breaking into bold new directions. With trusted collaborators Paul Brändle on guitar and Munguntovch Tsolmonbayar on bass at her side once again, she expands the band to include Mariá Portugal on drums and Joana Queiroz on clarinet—and her creative process expands along with it. “They have such deep feelings and such deep love of music,” Enji says of the group. As a result of these new partnerships, the compositions have opened up, bringing in lusher textures, more rhythm, and more interplay between musicians. Enji pushes her voice to new heights, too, effervescently fluttering over each track and moving in perfect lockstep with her band.

Read more... Bandcamp

Carla Patullo - So She Howls

So She Howls

CARLA PATULLO

Released 11 August 2023

Carla Patullo

*****

On So She Howls, the film composer, songwriter, and alum guides listeners through a cycle of healing that chronicles her experience with a life-threatening illness.

 

When composer and songwriter Carla Patullo B.M. ’01, M.M. ’13 was young, her grandmother often sang to her. With that singing came a reminder of the cycles of life, of what it gives, takes, and returns to us. “She used to tell me, ‘Record this [singing] on a little tape recorder, because when I pass, I want you to have this so you can listen to me and remember me,’” Patullo said.

The image of the tape ribbon, winding and rewinding itself around its spool, is a powerful one, and not just because of how it preserved her grandmother’s voice. The memory of those tapes would help Patullo rediscover her own voice as she fought through a nearly three-year cancer battle, emerging with So She Howls, which earned a 2024 Grammy Award for Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album.

Read more ... Berklee

Ali Sethi, Nicolas Jaar - Intiha

Intiha

ALI SETHI, NICOLAS JAAR

Released 17 November 2023

Other People

*****

Ali Sethi transforms Nicolas Jaar's challenging experimental 2020 album "Telas" into a extraordinary fusion of  contemporary.

 

Singer, songwriter and author Ali Sethi had been entranced by Jaar’s music long before they began collaborating. He’d absorbed the sounds over a number of years, listening casually and taking in their subtleties in bars and rooftop parties across Lahore and London.

“It felt familiar to me, that sense of adventure you have when you hear his music, like a tale that teases you and plays with your expectations as it unfolds,” says Sethi. “In that sense it resembled the leisurely improvised ghazals and qawwalis I grew up hearing in Pakistan.”

So when the two were finally introduced by Indian visual artist Somnath Bhatt, a regular Jaar collaborator who also handled the album’s artwork, Sethi was well prepared.

He began to sketch out voice notes using loops snipped from Jaar’s acclaimed 2020 album ‘Telas’, improvising vocalizations and seductive Urdu poems over Jaar’s weightless, time-bending productions.

Jaar was astonished by the result; “It was what ‘Telas’ had been missing, he says.

Footnote: SunNeverSetsOnMusic's review of Nicolas Jaar's 2020 album "Telas", was far from complimentary, rating it only 3 stars, a result of it's experimental nature and by comparison with the prolific artists' outstanding other output that year. 

Read more ... Bandcamp

Driss El Maloumi - Aswat

Aswat

DRISS EL MALOUMI

Released 28 April 2023

Contre-Jour

****-

With his latest album,“Aswat”, Moroccan musician and oud virtuoso Driss El Maloumi explores the auditory landscapes of everyday life, capturing the sounds of hope, pain, fatigue, doubt, loneliness, and happiness, which form the essence of our existence.

 

“Aswat” presents a set of dazzling oud performances, with stellar individual playing, accompanied by a rich layer of captivating North Africa and Middle Eastern percussion. Notably, there is an ongoing dialog between the oud and percussion, including brilliant call and response interaction.

“Aswat,” which translates to "sounds", is a manifestation of El Maloumi’s lifelong quest for musical ecstasy, or Tarab, which refers to the state of rapture, bliss, and contentment that music can induce. As an Arabic musician, he draws inspiration from the rich oral tradition and seeks to imbue his writing with the same essence. This album is the first part of a larger project, which will also feature “Tafassil,” an instrumental work for Oud and Symphony Orchestra.

Read more... World Music Central

Jacqui Dankworth, Brodsky Quartet - Rocking Horse Road

Rocking Horse Road

JAQUI DANKWORTH, BRODSKY QUARTET

Released 28 January 2022

Chandos Records

****-

An album that escaped our attention upon release, this album memorialises the musicians' long professional association and is a masterclass in song selection, interpretation and delivery.

You could hardly accuse Britain’s Brodsky Quartet of being classical sticks-in-the-mud. These musicians collaborated widely outside the classical world across their half-ce

ntury career, with the likes of Elvis Costello, Björk and Paul McCartney, and they also have a two-decade relationship with uncategorizable jazz/folk/classical singer and actor Jacqui Dankworth. Surprisingly, this is the Brodsky's first CD collaboration with Dankworth, but for it they’ve gathered many of the pop and jazz reimaginings they’ve created across the years, together with a few new arrangements of songs by Dankworth herself.

And it makes for fascinating, deeply satisfying listening. It might be tempting to think of Rocking Horse Road as merely high-class background music, but there’s a sense of melancholy and introspection running through many of the songs that gives the album quite a hefty cumulative emotional power, and the instrumentalists’ adept, intricately detailed playing – together with Dankworth’s own gloriously rich, velvety voice and remarkable tonal variety – reward close, attentive listening.

Read more... The Strad

Nitin Sawhney - Identity

Identity

NITIN SAWHNEY

Released 20 October 2023

Warner Music UK

****-

Nitin Sawhney’s intelligence and feeling make for an album that bears repeated listening and shines with the best that sensitive and inspired collaboration can bring to music.

 

Nitin Sawhney never fails to produce albums that draw on the talent of his brilliant friends, touch on issues of current urgency, and bridge musical styles with great deftness and in a way that avoids the frequent artifice of fusion.

Perhaps more than any other British artist, Sawhney has managed to celebrate both diversity and identity, qualities that have nourished the culture of this island nation for many centuries.

There is the powerful human message behind most of the tracks as well, whether a moving spoken word contribution from Gary Lineker about the treatment of refugees on “Illegal”, or virtuoso cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s heartfelt affirmation of Britishness on “This is Our Home”.

Sawhney has a fine ear for great vocalists, and Identity showcases some exceptional talent, some of whom are the producer’s friends and regulars: the American singer Lady Blackbird displays an exquisite soul voice; Jack Bruce’s daughter isn’t afraid to let her vulnerability shine through. There is also Guy Garvey, the trademark voice of Elbow, mellifluous explorations of the raga with Ankita Joshi, a disciple of the great Indian singer Jasraj, and Joss Stone who remains one of the many British singers of her generation.

Read more ... The Arts Desk

Okami - Synapse

Synapse

OKAMI

Released 24 May 2023

Okami

****-

Madrid artist Okami works in the triangular  musical space between downtempo, chill-out and ambient.

Synapse is the 3rd full length Album by Okami, producer in the organic downtempo scene. The album features 10 tracks that blend lush ambient textures, syncopated beats, ethereal woodwinds and FX to create a sonic journey that stimulates the mind and soothes the soul.

Synapse explores themes of connection, rhythmic complexity and creativity.

Drawing inspiration from nature, science, and ethnic music, Okami invites the listener to enter a state of flow and harmony, where the boundaries between self and music dissolve and the synapses fire with inspiration.

Read more... Bandcamp

Dragonchild - Dragonchild

dragonchild

DRAGONCHILD

Released 28 April 2023

FPE Records

****-

“The record feels and breathes to me like the Ethiopian music I’ve been trying to figure out my whole life.” 

dragonchild takes the exploration of Ethiopian music that  began with Boston artist DA Mekonnen's Debo Band and explodes it into vivid, three-dimensional space. Where Debo called back to the sounds of 1970s Addis and added original material along those same lines, dragonchild shatters traditions and boundaries, incorporating sampled material, field recordings, experiments in high and low fidelity, and the throughline that unites the diverse sounds, layers of Mekonnen’s rich and ecstatic saxophone. 

The name of the project derives from Haile Gerima’s 2008 film Teza, the story of an Ethiopian lab researcher who returns to his small village after long sojourns in both Germany and Addis Ababa.

With dragonchild, he gives voice to a new sound, hundreds of years of Ethiopian and American music all resonating at once.

Read more ... Bandcamp

Maple Glider - I Get Into Trouble

I Get Into Trouble

MAPLE GLIDER

Released 13 October 2023

Partisan Records / Pieater

****-

Zietsch continues her mission of self-emancipation through song. Her second album is a document of radical honesty and transparency. Listen, and free yourself alongside her.

For Tori Zietsch, who records emotionally direct and woozily romantic songs under the moniker Maple Glider, music has been an escape from a series of oppressive institutions: religion, enervating relationships, her own brain. Zietsch’s music has formed new pathways both literal and metaphorical; physical and neural, that have allowed her to step outside herself, and shake you - yes, you, the listener - by the hand.

At 14, Zietsch freed herself from her restrictive and deeply limited religious upbringing and at 15 - after learning to play guitar from a chord book - she played her first show, at a skate-park. After touring the open mic scene in Brisbane, moving internationally (to the UK), and returning to Melbourne, she released her critically lauded debut album To Enjoy is the Only Thing in 2021, which Rolling Stone described as “one of the most accomplished debut albums in recent years.”

I Get Into Trouble is a thematic expansion of her debut, going into greater and clearer detail, as she delves back into her Christian childhood while deconstructing her relationship to her body and her sexuality, alongside concepts of consent and shame.

Read more... Bandcamp