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YouTube | December 2022 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

YouTube | December 2022 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

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The Beatles - Revolver (Super Deluxe, 2022)

Revolver (Super Deluxe, 2022)

by The Beatles

Released 28 October 2022

Calderstone Productions


The Beatles’ career has been so exhaustively documented, chronicled and bootlegged, it can feel as if there aren’t many surprises left to uncover. But the footage in Peter Jackson’s recent documentary on the band, Get Back, certainly proved that assumption wrong … particularly the mind-blowing jam session where the band conjure the documentary’s title track out of thin air. Knowing the Beatles possessed unparalleled studio chemistry is one thing; seeing them nonchalantly chisel away at a musical idea and create greatness in real time is another thing entirely.

Revolver album artwork.
Revolver album artwork. Photograph: © Apple Corps Ltd.
A bonus disc on the new expanded, remixed and remastered box set of 1966’s Revolver offers an even more transformative experience: a jaw-dropping sequence of Yellow Submarine work tapes traces the song’s evolution from a fragile, sad wisp sung by John Lennon to its later iteration as a Ringo Starr-directed psych-pop goof. That the band steered Yellow Submarine from morose folk trifle to boisterous stoner singalong seems improbable, but the tapes don’t lie: through a combination of focused acoustic woodshedding and whimsical studio risks, the band arrived at the more familiar, upbeat Yellow Submarine.

Iteration and fearless experimentation were always Beatles hallmarks, but Revolver found the band accelerating headfirst into innovation. Part of that was life experiences seeping into their art after a whirlwind few years: 1965’s Rubber Soul – the studio album directly before Revolver – contained forays into psychedelic pop as well as sharply observed (if straightforward) original songwriting. But, for the first time since their global breakthrough, the Beatles took a break in early 1966, canceling a proposed film and taking four months off before heading into the studio. Revolver’s music is the result of the band members having space to breathe and reset their creativity.

Recorded between early April and the end of June that year, Revolver is a patchwork of moods and styles: psychedelic jangle, orchestral pop, R&B-influenced rock and robust folk. Yet the LP also represented the start of their studio wizardry phase – the dizzying tape loops swirling through Tomorrow Never Knows remain as gloriously disorienting as ever – and embrace of non-rock instrumentation; Love You To features George Harrison playing sitar alongside guest tabla player Anil Bhagwat, while descending strings lend gravitas to Eleanor Rigby.
Much of Revolver’s music and lyrics reflect the band’s experiments with mind-expanding drugs – She Said She Said was inspired by a pre-fame Peter Fonda interrupting a Lennon acid trip. But it also includes some of the Beatles’ most clever metaphorical character sketches: the pill-dispensing alter ego Doctor Robert and McCartney’s Motown-jaunty mash note to marijuana, Got to Get You Into My Life. And the album’s mood never stays in one place for long; the mortality permeating the emotionally sophisticated Eleanor Rigby contrasts nicely with the innocence of Good Day Sunshine.
As he did on other recent Beatles reissues, George Martin’s son Giles handles production and remixing duties on Revolver. The younger Martin wisely doesn’t calibrate the records for 21st-century ears by adding modern polish and trickery. Instead, his approach involves amplifying the existing nuances of the music from a contemporary perspective, meaning even familiar songs sound fresher. He worked with Peter Jackson’s audio team on “de-mixing” the original tapes, using cutting-edge technology to isolate the individual instrumental parts. This gave him an extra-blank canvas to create stereo mixes.

While Revolver doesn’t necessarily have the kaleidoscopic depths of the 2017 remix of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, that’s no slight. Instead, Revolver’s new details tease out deeper meanings in the songs. Now more prominent, the low-lit backing harmonies on Here, There and Everywhere remake the tune as an old-fashioned rock’n’roll love song; the piano bending out of key on I Want to Tell You mirrors the narrator’s insecurity; and McCartney’s booming walking bass on Taxman illuminates the biting, cynical tone of Harrison’s lyrics.
Beatles’ Revolver reissue shows the band in new light: ‘This is the record where we were each most ourselves’
The Revolver work tapes and demos are fascinating from an archival perspective. Although the band are certainly enjoying themselves – on one take of And Your Bird Can Sing, they charmingly collapse into giggles and can barely get through the song – many of the demos hint that Revolver could have been quite melancholy. A Lennon home demo of She Said She Said with a tweaked melody is stormier, while a more ascetic Here, There and Everywhere feels like the narrator is pining after someone unattainable. For era completists, various versions of the Revolver reissue also include sparkling updates of the 1966 standalone single Paperback Writer and its B-side, Rain; a session take on Rain played at actual speed makes a good argument that it’s one of the greatest Beatles songs.
In the foreword to a book included with the box set, Paul McCartney writes, “When asked what our formula was, John and I said that if we ever found one, we would get rid of it immediately.” That certainly explains the rapid sonic progression within the Beatles catalogue. But it also explains why Revolver still sounds so vibrant. With each studio album they recorded, the Beatles sought out new ways to express themselves and push their music forward. Revolver is the sound of them striving and laying the groundwork for even more ambitious music to come.

Source: The Guardian

Reuben James - Piano Love 1

Piano Love 1 (EP)

by Reuben James

Released 2 December 2022

Rufio Records


Fans of pop idol Sam Smith should be familiar with 29-year-old Reuben James‘ keyboard work for the ‘Stay With Me’ singer both in a live and studio setting.

Now, the Birmingham-born keyboard maven – who co-wrote the title track of Smith’s 2017 double platinum album The Thrill Of It All – releases his first album of solo piano recordings, Piano Love 1, a five-track EP.

Recorded at his home studio in South East London, James gives the listener an intimate recital that consists of three original tunes and two covers.

Of the latter, James serves up a gospel-infused and deeply emotive version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ – a song that Adele famously revived in 2008 – and a tasteful remake of the jazz standard ‘I’m Through With Love,’  a song that many associate with movie icon Marilyn Monroe.

James begins the EP with a warm seasonal number, the self-written ‘Love At Christmas Time.’ The EP’s exploration of love via music continues with the haunting ‘A Mother’s Love’ and the mellow ‘Love From The Other Side.’

Reflecting on his new release, the follow-up to his 2020 EP Slow Down, James says: “I wanted to release a solo piano album as my fan base, and anyone who has ever seen me live, know that piano is my first love. It’s been a record I’ve always wanted to make since I first started playing and I finally had the time and opportunity to sit down at my piano in my home and record love songs. I did three originals and two covers with each song dedicated to different types of love. They’re all ballads and all evoke different emotions in my heart. This album is a gift to my fans and anyone who loves the piano.”

Source: Soul and Jazz and Funk

Joel Ross - The Parable Of The Poet

The Parable of the Prophet

by Joel Ross

Released 15 April 2022

Blue Note Records


Vibraphonist and composer Joel Ross returns with stunning conviction, issuing his third release for Blue Note Records: The Parable of the Poet. Steadfast in his commitment to skewing perceptions of improvisation and written composition, the critics’ favorite explores new, more expansive territory with his eight-piece Parables band, bringing together young artists of sharply defined expression: Blue Note labelmate Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Maria Grand on tenor saxophone, Marquis Hill on trumpet, Kalia Vandever on trombone, Sean Mason on piano, Rick Rosato on bass, Craig Weinrib on drums, and returning special guest Gabrielle Garo on flute.

The album embodies Ross’ collaborative spirit. His lyrical aesthetic activates an ebb and flow from one movement to the next. Moments of intentional discourse drive sections of collective melody and spontaneous counterpoint. “This band is more than just the instruments,” says the Chicago-born, New York City-based artist. “Every person on here means something to me. They’re all my friends. Everybody involved committed themselves to the vision.”

Ross’ vision for the music is at once explicit and mysterious. He seeks to express themes present in parable tellings and retellings, while leaving each story’s particulars open to interpretation. Each title of the seven movement suite references an emotional decision or experience for Ross. But in the studio he focused on fresh interpretations, allowing his past experiences to exist without dictating the band’s present treatment of the music. “I told them, ‘This is what the music is and this is how I want you to approach it — let everything we play be inspired by the melody.’ Not much else was decided,” says Ross, who enjoys “blurring the lines between melody and improvisation,” in part, as a way to facilitate communication and meaningful musical discourse.

Obscuring divisions between scripted and spontaneous is more than a romantic notion. For Ross, it’s truthful and intrinsic. Each composition he explores on The Parable of the Poet represents a near intact improvisation, some dating back to 2017, all of which emerged during creative sessions with his friend and colleague, saxophonist Sergio Tabanico. “We would record it, then I would go back and flesh out the composition,” he says. “I tried my best not to change any harmonic information or add too much more than what was already there. I just tried to organize the information in a manner that would yield sensible improvised group interaction, while giving enough direction.”

That choice prompts striking moments of deep listening and self-orchestrating among Ross and his fellow artists. The first movement “PRAYER” sets a tone of rumination and collective inquiry. Apart from Ross’ tender solo introduction, the piece exercises restraint. “There’s no one person who’s taking the mic,” says Ross. “Everyone has a moment of playing the theme,” kindling shared navigation and discourse.

Source: Blue Note Records

The Smile - The Smile (Live at Montreux Festival, July 2022)

Live at Montreux Festival, July 2022

by The Smile

Released 14 December 2022

XL Recordings


Some live albums arrive in the thick of a band’s imperial phase and feel like a victory lap. Others are transparent cash-ins (you know who you are). The best ones serve as historic artifacts, commemorating a gig of rare significance: a star-studded farewell concert, say, or an extraordinary songwriter exorcising private grief in a public forum. 

The Smile’s new live album does not fit these categories. It’s more like a proof of concept, a flex. See? it tells you. It’s not studio trickery. These three blokes really can replicate this stuff live. Indeed, the band lock in to the wobbly 7/8 meter of “Pana-Vision,” recreate the wooly, tablature-resistant riffs of “Thin Thing,” and nail the careening intensity of “You Will Never Work in Television Again” (here rendered at a more breakneck pace) without breaking a sweat.

Comprising Radiohead veterans Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood alongside Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner, the Smile emerged as 2022’s little supergroup that could.

While Radiohead have long been ambivalent about the live album format, giving us just one (2001’s I Might Be Wrong) across a 30-year recording career, the Smile operate differently. Seven months after its excellent studio debut (and sunneversetsonmusic's favourite album of the year), A Light for Attracting Attention, the trio released its set (or part of it, at least) from last summer’s Montreux Jazz Festival. 

Since the beginning, the Smile have been dogged by an eminently reasonable question: How is this not just two Radioheads stacked in a trench coat? The answer is right there in the title of this release: This band plays jazz, see. They play at jazz festivals and have a jazz drummer. They recorded this live album at the long-running Swiss festival, just like Miles Davis and Nina Simone once did. They’re only one degree of separation from the legendary Impulse! Records.

These eight songs—all from their studio debut—don’t sound drastically different here, but Yorke and Greenwood seem invigorated by their drummer’s jazz pedigree. On the elegiac “Speech Bubbles,” Greenwood achieves the herculean task of plucking a harp with one hand while playing keyboard with the other, embellishing the song with an anarchic piano solo that faintly echoes the mother of all anarchic piano solos, “Aladdin Sane.”

On “You Will Never Work in Television Again,” they are joined by saxophonist Robert Stillman, whose shrieking accompaniment lurches towards a punk-jazz hybrid that’s more Nation of Ulysses than “The National Anthem.” 

Greenwood, as ever, brings new meaning to the word multi-instrumentalist; you may need video accompaniment to appreciate his mid-song leaps from piano to bass to manipulating said bass with a bow during “Free in the Knowledge.” On A Light for Attracting Attention, that haunting lullabye to self-delusion and “A Hairdryer” were two distinct tracks. In this performance, they are conjoined by an extended avant-noise segue, a fine overture for a rendition of “A Hairdryer” that’s sharper edged and more kinetic than the studio version by far. With Yorke on gloriously fuzzed-out guitar and Skinner unleashing a torrent of pitter-patter syncopations, it’s like the evil stepchild of “Optimistic.” 

It’s a Radiohead tradition to test-run new material on tour, sometimes years or decades before properly releasing it. (Recall the embryonic “True Love Waits” that appeared on I Might Be Wrong.) With just one album to their name, the Smile have embraced this tradition by necessity. At Montreux, the group performed four new songs, including a woozy slow-burner called “Bending Hectic,” which Yorke claimed to have completed half an hour earlier. 

Disappointingly, this live release omits the new songs. Perhaps Yorke and co. view them as works in progress. At 35 minutes, it’s more a sampler than a full set—essentially a bonus feature for one of the year’s finest rock albums. You already know that these three musicians have forged a thrilling chemistry amidst the chaos of the pandemic. That this live album exists indicates that they know it, too.

Source: Pitchfork

Donald Byrd - Live Cookin' With Blue Note at Montreux

Donald Byrd

by Live Cookin' With Blue Note at Montreux

Released 9 December 2022

Blue Note Records



Don Was, President, Blue Note Records: “Shortly after Mr. Byrd’s passing in 2013, we got an email from the noted British music icon, Gilles Peterson, inquiring about a legendary performance from 1973’s Montreux Jazz Festival. Inexplicably, the tapes had been tucked away in the Blue Note vaults. When we listened, we were knocked out: the 16-track, 2” analog master tapes revealed a more raw and gritty side of Donald Byrd’s 70’s music. As a special tribute to this Jazz Immortal and as a gift to the legions of aficionados who, like all of us at Blue Note Records, treasure the music he’s left behind, we are honored to present – on vinyl and CD for the first time – Donald Byrd, Live at Montreux from July 5, 1973.”

In July 1973, Blue Note Records headed to Montreux, Switzerland to showcase several of the label’s stars at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Produced by Blue Note President George Butler, live albums all titled Live: Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux followed from vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, organist Ronnie Foster, flutist Bobbi Humphrey, and vocalist Marlena Shaw, but one of the performances by Byrd remained unreleased in the Blue Note vaults, until now.

That summer, Byrd was fresh off the release of his hit crossover fusion album Black Byrd, the first of his innovative and incredibly successful studio collaborations with producer Larry Mizell. But in a live setting the band had a rawer, harder edge, as this searing set attests. Byrd led a 10-piece band that included Larry Mizell on synthesizers, Fonce Mizell on trumpet and vocals, Allan Barnes on tenor saxophone and flute, Nathan Davis on soprano and tenor saxophone, Kevin Toney on electric piano, Barney Perry on electric guitar, Henry Franklin on electric bass, Keith Killgo on drums, and Ray Armando on congas and percussion. The set list includes Larry Mizell’s tune “Black Byrd” along with otherwise unrecorded Byrd originals like “The East,” “Kwame,” and “Poco-Mania,” as well as an excellent cover of Stevie Wonder’s “You’ve Got It Bad Girl.”

Source: Blue Note

The Bamboos, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra - Live at Hamer Hall

Live at Hamer Hall

by The Bamboos, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Released 2 December 2022

BMG / Pacific Theatre


Melbourne funk/soul kings The Bamboos release Live At Hamer Hall recorded with the fifty-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the iconic Hamer Hall in 2021 during a short break between lockdowns, reimagining a selection of their most loved songs in the most incredible way possible.

With arrangements courtesy of Bamboos trumpet player Ross Irwin, the album doesn’t simply put strings behind the recorded versions but brings widescreen total re-inventions that add a new found drama and a cinematic sweep to songs from the bands twenty plus year career.

Bamboos guitarist and bandleader Lance Ferguson recalls that the show “truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Melbournians had just emerged from the city’s first major lockdown, the gift of seeing and playing live music again seemed to carry extra weight for everyone in the room. All of the raw emotion in the room, along with the incredible arrangements from our very own Ross Irwin, galvanised the band and the audience to make these shows count”.

Fans of the great works of symphonic soul such as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and the arrangements of legendary studio figures such as David Axelrod, Isaac Hayes and Charles Stepney will find much to enjoy here.

Already one of contemporary Soul Music’s greatest voices, Kylie Auldist shines here like never before on recent tracks like “Power Without Greed” (from their 2021 studio album Hard Up) and on their cover of London Grammar’s “Strong” to vintage crowd favourites such as “I Don’t Wanna Stop” and “Keep Me In Mind”. Tim Rogers makes a guest appearance and revels in the extra space in a version of “I Got Burned” while Ferguson delivers one of his greatest ever guitar solos.

Source: Folk Rsdio (UK)

700 Bliss, Moor Mother, DJ Haarem - Nothing To Declare

Nothing To Declare

by 700 Bliss, Moor Mother, DJ Haarem

Released 27 May 2022



700 Bliss is the forward-thinking duo of DJ Haram and Moor Mother. On their first full length release for Hyperdub, Nothing to Declare, the duo create an album of noise rap, one that ties together the raw edges of club music and hip hop with punk energy, jazz, house-party catharsis, loud percussion-heavy analogue sound design, and cheeky skits. Some tracks (“No More Kings”) are distinct experimental rap tracks with rolling hi hats and lyrical bravado while others (“Seven”) are poetry set to noise and sound collage.

Moor Mother and DJ Haram started collaborating in 2014 and eventually formed 700 Bliss, a blistering live act in Philly's DIY scene, releasing their 2018 debut, Spa 700 on Halcyon Veil / Don Giovanni Records. Since that time, both artists have grown global followings. Moor Mother is a prolific solo artist and collaborator, writer, and member of Black Quantum Futurism while Haram has been curating and creating radio shows, DJing, and producing (including an EP for Hyperdub in 2019).

Nothing to Declare is a smart, danceable revelation. The darburka drums of their 2018 debut, Spa 700, are present, but here they’re submerged into a chiseled soundscape of dive bombing bass, piercing bleeps, crunchy distortion, and wavering synth lines. On “Anthology,” Moor Mother pays homage to Katherine Dunham, the matriarch of Black dance. Elsewhere, her flow is sometimes processed and distorted into monstrous shapes, with Haram delivering a foil to her vicious spitting on “Bless Grips,” “No more Kings,” and the title track, “Nothing to Declare.”

Welcoming in a variety of voices from their extended, cross-genre scene, they also bring along a cast of collaborators, giving space for additional points of view and their own voices. Orion Sun lends her cooing vocals to the tough affirmations of “Nightflame.” On the dark grime of “Totally Spies,” Lawfandah's lead vocals are compressed into a metallic shimmer. Palestinian producer Muqata'a co-produces on “Candace Parker,” with a flurry of breakbeats and distortion. Vocalist Ali Logout from the band Special Interest barks a declaration of intent on “Capitol,” while writer M Téllez delivers a surreal sci fi monologue over a pounding kick drum on “More Victories.” Nothing to Declare finishes with the ground-down, malfunctioning “Lead Level 15,” Moor Mother's slow vocals distorted over lumbering synths, with Ase Manual delivering an urgent questioning verse.

Nothing To Declare is a take-no-prisoners, deeply layered rewriting of hip hop and electronic music that gives more with each listen. It's loud and frenetic. It's playful and fun. You won't hear another rap album like it this year or next. 

Source: Bandcamp

Daniel Avery - Ultra Truth

Ultra Truth

by Daniel Avery

Released 4 November 2022

Phantasy Sound/[PIAS]


In creating 'Ultra Truth', Daniel Avery went back to many of the things that had inspired him to first make music as a teenager - pensive, emotive records by Deftones, Portishead, Nick Cave or Mogwai, the exquisite darkness of David Lynch’s movies and - on tracks like Devotion and Higher - the thunderous energy of leftfield rave music.

“I’m working with an entirely new world of sound on this record. Every single influence from the last decade spent on the road plays a part. Things that have been in the back of my mind forever, warped, distorted and pushed to a new place.” 

'Ultra Truth' offers a very different listening experience to any of Daniel Avery’s previous records. It inhabits its own world of sound, a construct built in his Thames side studio with collaborative help from a host of friends: the production touch of Ghost Culture and Manni Dee, the vocals of HAAi, Jonnine Standish (HTRK), AK Paul and the voices of Marie Davidson, Kelly Lee Owens, Sherelle and James Massiah.

“Ultra Truth finds me in a different place to where I’ve been before. My previous albums have all focused on the idea of music being an escape or a distraction from the world but that’s not the case this time. For me this album is about looking directly into the darkness, not running away from it. There’s a way through these times but it involves keeping the important people in your life close to you and navigating the noise together. This is an intentionally heavy and dense album, the hooks often hidden in dusty corners. I’m no longer dealing in a misty-eyed euphoria. Ultra Truth is a distorted fever dream of a record: riled, determined and alive.”

Source: Bandcamp

The Bad Plus - The Bad Plus (2022)

The Bad Plus (2022)

by The Bad Plus

Released 30 September  2022

Edition Records


For the second time in 21 years, the Bad Plus release an eponymously titled album. The first was their 2001 debut with pianist Ethan Iverson, who left in 2017. The Philly-based pianist/composer Orrin Evans, a longtime pal of drummer Dave King and bassist Reid Anderson, joined in 2018 for the albums Never Stop II and 2019's Activate Infinity before he himself left in 2020.

As a result, the Bad Plus are a deliberately pianoless quartet comprising guitarist Ben Monder, saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed, Dave King, and Reid Anderson.

The quartet spent the summer of 2021 ranging through the founding duo's compositions and developing a group sound that is at once familiar and evolutionary.

Opener "Motivations II" is introduced by a propulsive, woody bassline before drums and guitar create a blurry, brooding atmosphere. Speed delivers the fragmental melody. The quartet expand on the tune's tonalities in creating tension and striated dynamics. Monder's warm solo is elegant, alternating spectral chord voicings and single string runs atop King's breaking tom-toms. The 7/8 "Sun Wall" opens with a knotty post-bop head played intensely in unison. It breaks into a circular chorus that makes use of Ornette Coleman's celebratory melodic sensibility. Monder delivers an edgy, raucous solo just above Anderson's inquisitive bass pulse and King's double-timed, syncopated kit work; Bad Plus offer this as a vanguard take on fusion. "Not Even Close to Far Off," is an instrumental prog jam with metallic overtones. Speed's vamp states the theme atop Monder's filthy, distorted riffs as the rhythm section power groove them forward. The sax solo is almost narrative atop the crunchy backing. "You Won't See Me Before I Come Back" is a midtempo jazz-rock ballad that alternately recalls Bill Frisell's tenure at ECM -- à la Rambler -- and the economic elegance of Monder's former boss Paul Motian circa Story of Maryam. "Sick Fire" commences with knotty, vanguard post-bop before ratcheting itself into fiery abstraction with skronky solos from Speed and Monder above wonky, dissonant chords from Anderson and constant rolling from King. "Stygian Pools" is a midtempo, minor-key ballad with energetic, harmonically resonant soloing from Speed. The intro to "In the Bright Future" is as reflective as it is sprawling. When the band gel, they establish a mournful yet dynamic straight-eight groove juxtaposing Eastern modes and prog metal. Closer "The Dandy" stitches together indie rock and loopy post-bop. The interplay between Speed's poignant yet elliptical lines, and King's splashy cymbals and tom-toms are framed by Anderson's massive woody, harmonic pulse and floating guitar chord. They erect a foundation for Monder's squalling psych solo before the band regroups in whispering it to a close. The Bad Plus offers a strikingly different sound and lineup, but retains its musical personality. The cooperative spirit, the canny interplay, the imaginative, boundary-less compositions and solos, and the dedication and sophistication to make music -- no matter how difficult or wide-ranging -- make The Bad Plus at once compelling and compulsively listenable.

Source: AllMusic

Oren Ambarchi - Shebang


by Oren Ambarchi

Released 30 September 2022

Drag City Inc.


Extended guitar hero Oren Ambarchi returns with Shebang, the latest in the series of intricately detailed long-form rhythmic workouts that includes Quixotism (2014) and Hubris (2016). Like those records, Shebang features an international all-star cast of musical luminaries, their contributions recorded individually in locations from Sweden to Japan yet threaded together so convincingly (by Ambarchi in collaboration with Konrad Sprenger) that it’s hard to believe they weren’t breathing the same studio air.

Expanding on the techniques used on Simian Angel (2019), we can never be entirely sure who is responsible for what we hear, as Ambarchi’s guitar is used to trigger everything from bass lines to driving piano riffs. Picking up from the staccato guitar patterns that ran through Hubris, Shebang’s single 35-minute track begins with a precisely interwoven lattice of chiming guitar figures, expanding Hubris’ monolithic pulse into a joyous, hyper-rhythmic melodicism that calls up points of reference as disparate as Albert Marcoeur, early Pat Metheny Group, and Henry Kaiser’s It’s A Wonderful Life.

Building from isolated single notes into densely layered polyrhythms, the muted guitar tones are joined by subtle touches of shimmering Leslie cabinet tones and guitar synth. Simmering down and funnelling into a single note, the guitar stew is soon thickened by Joe Talia’s propulsive ride cymbal, which blossoms into a beautifully flowing yet rigorously snapped-to fusion funk, whose ever-shifting details skitter across the kit – think 70s heavyweights like Jack DeJohnette or Jon Christensen. An unexpected entry of guttural bass clarinet licks from Sam Dunscombe begins the series of instrumental features that pepper the remainder of the piece. Soon we hear from the legendary British pedal steel player B.J. Cole (hopefully known to some listeners from his outer-limits singer-songwriter masterpiece The New Hovering Dog or, failing that, ‘Tiny Dancer’), whose languorous yet uneasy lines float in and out of a shifting rhythmic foundation supported by a single note bass groove, cut through with aleatoric synth articulations

Though single-mindedly occupying its rhythmic space throughout, Shebang’s dense ensemble sound is carefully composed while drawing on the free flow of improvisation, with individual voices momentarily coming to the fore and subtle changes in harmony and texture. Perhaps the most surprising of these shifts occurs around half-way through when the smoke of a buzzing synth crescendo from Jim O'Rourke clears to reveal something like a piano trio, with Ambarchi’s guitar-triggered piano patterns providing restless accompaniment to flowing melodic lines from Chris Abrahams of The Necks, while Johan Berthling’s double bass and Talia’s drums fill out the bottom end. Before long, things take another left turn as Julia Reidy’s rapidly picked 12-string guitar lines take centre stage, with O’Rourke’s monumental synth clouds hovering in the distance. The ensemble surges through a slow series of harmonic changes before the whole shebang dissolves into a delirious synthetic mirage.

Bridging minimalism, contemporary electronics, and classic ECM stylings, and bringing together a cast of preternaturally talented contributors, Shebang is unmistakably the work of Oren Ambarchi: obsessively detailed, relentlessly rhythmic, unabashedly celebratory.

Source: Bandcamp




Released 11 November 2022

Brownswood Recordings


Welcome to 'STR4TASFEAR’, Gilles Peterson and Jean Paul “Bluey” Maunick’s sophomore STR4TA album. A collection of songs, melodies, grooves and sounds that sit perfectly in the brand new music world it’s part of.

Gilles and Bluey are both men who emerged into the Brit-funk world. They were both part of this truly thrilling chapter in the story of homegrown music; which manifests itself here in a sumptuous mixture of twanging basslines, spacey synth melodies, clicking beats and wispy, ethereal voices. 

For this new set, they’ve got a few like-minded souls along to join the party, connecting legacy with a new generation of innovators on the music scene. As a core concept of the album, nostalgic reflection meets a pivotal desire to celebrate the present moment, expressed through key features on the record. Namely, multi-talented neo soul Godfather Omar, who in a shock plot twist, was enlisted to lay down his intricate wonky synth lines on ‘Why Must You Fly’. The legacy family collaborations ensue with celebrated vocalist, Valerie Etienne, on ‘Find Your Bounce’ co-written by Rob Gallagher (Galliano, Talkin’ Loud) emulating Brit-funk’s first wave.

Extending the family, catapulting STR4TA to a cosmic contemporary plane, is free-spirited musical polymath, Emma-Jean Thackray laying down her refreshing, breathy vocals and production acumen on ‘Lazy Days’. Also welcomed into the fold and garnering the admiration of Gilles and Bluey over his illustrious career, is Floridian trumpeter/vocalist Theo Croker, who breezed into the jam-style studio session encapsulating the innovation of future jazz with the soulfulness of a bygone era on ‘Soothsayer’ and ‘To Be As One’. Representing the dynamic US influences from the birth of Brit-funk and the current surge of multifaceted, jazz-trained artists exploring unchartered soundscapes. Plus Brighton duo Anushka, jump on ‘Bad Weather’, whose melting electronica sound gleefully displays its roots from that aforementioned era.

The epicentre of 'STR4TASFEAR’ still remains the ‘meeting of minds’ and treasured friendship between the band’s founders, a solid production duo whose clearly defined roles compliment and inspire each other. Gilles Peterson as executive producer, sonically enriching the production process with his extensive and encyclopaedic knowledge from Brit-funk and Electro-soul of the late 70s/ early 80s to ushering in a new wave of musicians over his esteemed career as a DJ, label owner and broadcaster. Feeding the creative flow of highly acclaimed musician and producer Jean Paul “Bluey” Maunick who in record-time, single-handedly produced ‘Night Flight’ following one of their inspirational sessions characterised by the TR808 drum machine. With the invaluable contribution of Mo Hausler, an instrumental figure in completing the soundscape of the album. The vision was finessed by the magic touch of legendary keys/piano player Peter Hinds (Atmosfear, Light of The World, Incognito), appearing throughout the record, and is at the pinnacle of paying homage to the incredible pioneering work of bands such as SunPalace & Freeez, paving the way of UK electro-soul for artists like Total Contrast & Stephen Dante (produced by Bluey in the mid-80s). This sound is now being revived by contemporary producers like Dâm-Funk, Zopelar & Space Ghost to name a few.

STR4TA is the new wave jazz funk project pioneered by Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick. Long-time friends and collaborators, STR4TA sees them mine new musical possibilities inspired by a shared formative era. Their debut album ‘Aspects’ was released in March 2021 to a rapturous reception, in the first material that Maunick and Peterson have released together in over a decade. With standout tracks ‘We Like It’ achieving over 1 million streams on Spotify, ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ exceeding 12 weeks on Jazz FM’s playlist, and a remix EP featuring Melé, Dave Lee, Greg Wilson, Dave Aju & more released at the end of 2021. Heavily supported by BBC 6Music, The Guardian, Wax Poetics, The Vinyl Factory, CLASH, Télérama (FR), Radio Nova (FR), KCRW (US), Rolling Stones Italy & Japan. STR4TA have performed electrifying live shows at We Out Here (UK), Primavera Sound (Spain) and headline show at The Jazz Cafe, London.

Source: Bandcamp

Gang Of Youths - angel in realtime

angel in realtime

by Gang Of Youths

Released 25 February 2022



The third full-length from Australia's ARIA Award-winning Gang of Youths, 2022's angel in realtime. is an album you won't easily forget. Largely inspired by the life of lead singer David Le'aupepe's Samoan-born father, who died from cancer in 2018, the record is literate, effusive, and full of a romantic empathy for the world. At the center of the album is the spare piano ballad "Brothers," in which Le'aupepe unpacks his father's enigmatic history. He sings, "We thought that he was only half Samoan/That his mother was a German Jew/But I went and found his birth certificate/And he lied about that too." It's made explicitly clear that his father's choice to lie about his racial identity (among other things) was born out of a desire to better his family's opportunities in a world often dominated by bigotry and class prejudice. From there, Le'aupepe delves into the personal trauma, tenuous familial relationships, and eventual reconciliations that came in the wake of his father's choices. It's a deeply personal and autobiographical album, but one filled with a universally relatable emotionality. Tracks like "In the Wake of Your Leave," "The Angel of 8th Ave.," and "The Man Himself" are infectious anthems that smartly evoke the novelistic work of artists like Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne while also deftly drawing upon the new wave and dance-rock of bands like U2 and New Order. These are exquisite productions where Le'aupepe's rich, throaty baritone is framed by wiry bass lines, artfully arranged orchestral sections, and spiraling guitar accents. There's a frankness to Le'aupepe's lyrics, as if he's talking directly to you. Yet, even in his most earnest, off-hand moments, he finds poetry. Or, as he calls it on "Forbearance," the "cosmic ballet." Remarking on his father's illness, he sings, "I was a troublesome young kid/I was a big piece of sh*t/But I'm hoping that/The days in the hospice/Atoned for some of it." Atonement and the uplifting grace that can come with it drive all of angel in realtime. As Le'aupepe sings on "The Angel of 8th Ave.," "There is heaven in you now."

Source: AllMusic

billywoods - Aethiopes


by billywoods

Released 8 April 2022

Blackwoodz Studioz


In creating 'Ultra Truth', Daniel Avery went back to many of the things that had inspired him to first make music as a teenager - pensive, emotive records by Deftones, Portishead, Nick Cave or Mogwai, the exquisite darkness of David Lynch’s movies and - on tracks like Devotion and Higher - the thunderous energy of leftfield rave music.

“I’m working with an entirely new world of sound on this record. Every single influence from the last decade spent on the road plays a part. Things that have been in the back of my mind forever, warped, distorted and pushed to a new place.” 

'Ultra Truth' offers a very different listening experience to any of Daniel Avery’s previous records. It inhabits its own world of sound, a construct built in his Thames side studio with collaborative help from a host of friends: the production touch of Ghost Culture and Manni Dee, the vocals of HAAi, Jonnine Standish (HTRK), AK Paul and the voices of Marie Davidson, Kelly Lee Owens, Sherelle and James Massiah.

“Ultra Truth finds me in a different place to where I’ve been before. My previous albums have all focused on the idea of music being an escape or a distraction from the world but that’s not the case this time. For me this album is about looking directly into the darkness, not running away from it. There’s a way through these times but it involves keeping the important people in your life close to you and navigating the noise together. This is an intentionally heavy and dense album, the hooks often hidden in dusty corners. I’m no longer dealing in a misty-eyed euphoria. Ultra Truth is a distorted fever dream of a record: riled, determined and alive.”

Source: Bandcamp

Carl Stone - Wat Dong Moon Lek


by billywoods

Released 8 April 2022

Blackwoodz Studioz


Avant-garde computer music pioneer Carl Stone's newest is a Max/MSP powered deep dive into unsettled dreamworld sampledelica, warping pitch-fuct pop garbles into hiccuping noise spirals and quasi-techno ethno-pop bumpers. Properly off the dial material that sounds like a plunderphonic take on the Sublime Frequencies catalog, or ABBA reworked by Oval.

'Wat Dong Moon Lek' might be the oddest missive we've heard yet from Stone. The Californian computer music vanguard has long been notable for his dissections of electronics, minimalism, world music and hip-hop, and this latest set melts his history into a barely discernible soup of chattering drums, veiled vocals and stuttered melodies. "Stone 'plays' his source material in the way Terry Riley's 'In C' 'plays' an ensemble," reads the press release - and it's not far off the mark. There's a freewheeling charm and humor to Stone's approach that's hard not to love, it's uncompromising and deliciously bonkers, but struck thru with a level of knuckle-crack'd expertise that lifts it a few inches from the ground at all times.

At its best, 'Wat Dong Moon Lek' sounds like a shortwave radio interrupting a skipping J-pop CD: almost aggrevatingly loopy but texturally inviting at the same time. And while the music is assisted and driven by software, it sounds organic and human, as if Stone is answering the ubiquitous algorithmic playlist age with an arched eyebrow and a double helping of glitchy mischief. Whether you're into John Oswald, Farmers Manual, DJ Screw or Steve Reich, this one's for you.

Source: Boomkat



by Brian Eno

Released 14 October 2022

Opal Music


FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE is Brian Eno's first solo album of vocal-based songs since 2005's Another Day on Earth (although he did sing on 2016's The Ship, which included a Velvet Underground cover).

Featuring regular collaborators such as Roger Eno (who plays accordion on a couple of songs), guitarist Leo Abrahams, and electronic musician Jon Hopkins, the record is mainly sung by Brian, with a few songs featuring other vocalists, including his daughter, Darla Eno.

Far from the moody, atmospheric pieces of Another Day on Earth or the more uptempo, gospel-inspired songs from Eno's 2008 collaboration with David Byrne, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE consists of slow, spacious meditations with environmentally conscious lyrics.

As Eno explained before the release of the album, he's expressing his feelings rather than writing protest music or telling his listeners what to do or how to get involved. He wonders if people will keep up unprofitable scientific research during opener "Who Gives a Thought," which nearly sounds like an ambient Underworld track. "We Let It In" is backed by breathing exercises and Darla's chanting of the word "sun." "Garden of Stars" seems to warn against environmental and societal collapse, with the ominous words "these billion years will end" accompanied by tense vibrations and dive-bombing explosions. The mournful "There Were Bells" is surprisingly close to Dead Can Dance-style ethereal darkwave, as birdsong leads into a dramatic elegy for "those who had to stay." While most of the songs are relatively brief, final piece "Making Gardens Out of Silence in the Uncanny Valley" lasts for over 13 minutes, with Kyoko Inatome's time-stretched vocals slowly disintegrating over glacially paced drone waves and more bird sounds. One of Eno's most sobering releases, FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE is a cautious reflection on the state of our planet and its future.


Source: AllMusic

Charles Stepney - Step on Step

Step On Step

by Charles Stepney

Released 9 September 2022

International Anthem


If you haven't heard of Charles Stepney before, it's not surprising. That said, you've definitely heard his work. Before his tragic death at age 45 from a heart attack in 1976, the Chicago-based vibraphonist, pianist, songwriter, and producer was behind massive hits for Earth, Wind & Fire, the Dells, and other legendary soul artists. Though his name remained obscure in the years following his passing, his work lived on, gaining popularity among DJs, rappers, and crate-diggers enthralled by the jazzy, deeply lyrical melodies and grooves he brought to albums like Ramsey Lewis' Maiden Voyage, Rotary Connection's Hey Love, and Terry Callier's What Color Is Love, among others. While Stepney never released a proper solo album, he regularly recorded demos in the basement studio of his Chicago home. Produced in cooperation with his three daughters, International Anthem's 2022 anthology Step on Step compiles many of these home recordings. Though intimately rendered with Stepney overdubbing piano, keyboards, and vibraphone over analog drum machine beats, the tracks on Step on Step still evince all of vibrant melodic creativity, improvisational flair and funk of his official studio work. Some of these tracks are early versions of songs he brought to other artists, including a poignant take on "Imagination," the shimmering ballad later brought to vivid technicolor on Earth, Wind & Fire's 1976 album Spirit. There's also a dusky and roiling Latin jazz number, "Black Gold," which Rotary Connection reworked into their 1971 psych-soul anthem "I Am the Black Gold of the Sun." Many of the tracks, including "Daddies Diddies," "In the Basement," and "Rubie & Charles" are not so much finished songs as instrumental sketches, ideas Stepney recorded to flesh out at a later date. Subsequently, they were titled here by Stepney's daughters, who also appear at various times on the album to offer warm memories of their father, such as his love of Star Trek and the physics of sound on "Funky Sci-fi" or how he enjoyed organizing his studio on "Business." All of this paints the picture of Stepney as a loving, deeply inspired performer who brought his deep Chicago roots and broad-minded musical passions to everything he did.

Source: AllMusic

Muriel Grossmann - Universal Code

Universal Code

by Muriel Grossmann

Released 2 November 2022

Muriel Grossmann


Since 2007, saxophonist and composer Muriel Grossmann has been releasing albums of uncommon quality and depth. After arriving in Ibiza from Barcelona in 2004, she has created a distinctively individual approach to spiritual jazz. Building on a sound developed in the 1960s by the Coltranes and others, Grossmann's approach joins African music, modal jazz, gospel, blues, free-jazz and Eastern traditions with a fluid, nearly elastic polyrhythmic sensibility.
The Paris-born, Vienna-raised Grossmann believes our evolution towards enlightenment is already engraved in our being, our humanity. While physical DNA evidences it biologically, our path according to Buddhist belief, no matter how many lifetimes we inhabit, always moves towards an awakening that transcends, and ultimately frees us from DNA's biological limitations. Music, a form of communication that exists beyond spoken language transcends its own formally notated DNA. Grossmann employs her experiential and learned musical and life knowledge, linking them to a profound desire to ease the suffering of others, and to encourage evolution toward enlightenment and freedom.
This music on Universal Code is long on contemplative, instrumental dexterity, as well as harmonic and rhythmic invention. Its spiritual aspirations are articulated via interrogative melodies, poignant solos, and interwoven grooves that resonate inside the listener's ears, mind, and body. Universal Code features Grossmann's quartet on six tracks that bookend three ("Transience," "Essence," and "Non-Duality"), with a quintet that includes double bassist Gina Schwarz. Belgrade-born guitarist Radomir Milojkovic has been working with Grossmann since 2002. His rounded tone and endless curiosity add immeasurably to the group's questing approach. Serbian drummer Uros Stamenkovic and double bassist Gina Schwarz (herself an Austrian bandleader and recording artist) joined for 2016's Natural Time, trademarking the collective's unique approach. In 2018, Hammond B-3 organist Llorenç Barcelo, from the neighbouring island Mallorca, joined the band, appearing on 2019's Reverence, 2020’s Quiet Earth and 2021’s Union.
The music follows a winding aural road from intention to impression to perception, and from awareness to transformation and ultimately, transcendence. "Resonance" commences with a tom tom break, probing guitar chords and a B-3 vamp. Grossmann's soprano enters on the second chorus as the ensemble's rhythms begin percolating. She rides the mode, creating an Eastern-tinged swing. Milojkovic's snaky guitar break engages blues and postbop. The B-3 bassline in "Clarity" is assertive atop glistening hi hat cymbals, a pulsing electric guitar vamp, and Grossmann's soprano in midflight. The quartet interlocks in a different cadence on the bridge before she delivers a serpentine sax solo that slides around her bandmates before emerging in the center. The urgent "Interconnection" offers counter rhythms balanced by guitar and organ in call-and- response fashion while Grossmann solos. Her skeins of notes flow before her band's incessant, driving motion breaks down into funky soul jazz while Milojkovic's solo channels Grant Green.
Schwarz's deep, resonant, woody tone introduces "Transience," atop syncopated rim shots and a wafting organ groove before Grossmann's wandering modal lyric offering modal statements from the Arab and Spanish worlds. Schwarz is a guiding presence on a glorious meld of modal jazz, spectral blues, spacious R&B, and polyrhythmic inquiry on "Non-Duality," culminating in Grossmann's authoritative, deeply expressive tenor. Schwarz adds a "walking" presence to "Essence" that transcends the trappings of 12 bar blues even as her bandmates revel in them.
The quartet returns with the more rhythmically propulsive "Liberation." Introduced by a circular B-3 bassline and a fluid guitar vamp, Grossmann's tenor delivers the head with Stamenkovic's kit flowing, filling and driving alongside her. Her tenor solo soars above the quartet's spacious, nearly breathing grooves. "Post-Meditation" finds Grossmann on flute as well as tenor. The loose minor mode provides a solid blues flavor that Milojkovic transforms into jazz-blues with a funky solo. Grossmann's knotty, labyrinthine tenor break traces his invention wedding both themes, accompanied only by Stamenkovic. Closer "Compassion" a nearly raucous party track, offers a lyrical, swinging midtempo ballad, alternating with a finger-popping rock with a soul vibe framed by marimbas, biting guitar and tenor sax. For Grossmann's band, this spiritual journey ends with the celebration of arrival. These musicians communicate an aural, instructive journey through emotions, spiritual states, doubt, and awareness collectively and individually. Universal Code is an achievement. It frames their utterances, questions and discoveries in a visionary yet warmly welcoming approach that exponentially extends the spiritual jazz tradition in the 21st century.

Source: Bandcamp

Fatoumata Diawara - Maliba


by Fatoumata Diawara

Released 10 March 2022

3eme Bureau / Wagram Music


The city of Timbuktu, in northern Mali, is home to a massive collection of manuscripts, some dating back more than 600 years. During the country’s armed rebellion of 2012, members of the militant Islamist group Ansar Dine seized Timbuktu and began destroying the artefacts on the grounds that they were idolatrous. Residents smuggled many of the treasures out of the city so that they could be hidden and dispersed into private hands. Ansar Dine were driven out in 2013, and since then projects to reconstruct the collections have proceeded. Fatoumata Diawara’s digital album Maliba forms the soundtrack to an online presentation of the manuscripts on Google Arts and Culture which tells the story of their preservation.

The Malian singer-songwriter started her solo career in 2011 with the irrepressibly joyous Fatou, and has combined music with acting: in Abderrahmane Sissako’s 2014 film Timbuktu, set during the 2012 occupation, she embodies the spirit of the city.

Her songs ripple outwards from the manuscripts, celebrating the city, education, the role of women, and national and global unity. “One day”, she sings in English before switching to Bambara, “We will realise/That the manuscripts in our possession/Have great significance.” Kamele ngoni prickles around the edge of the wistful crack in her voice; string glissandi swoop and glide unobtrusively in the background. On the title track, to a swaying hand-clapped rhythm and wah-wah guitar, she pleads “let’s help Mali become a developed country”. The rapper Master Soumy (familiar to Western audiences from the film Mali Blues) chimes in: “I owe my humanity and honour to Timbuktu/Mali, Africa, Europe, it belongs to everyone.” Other voices chime in, singing in Tamasheq, the language of the Tuaregs — a musical illustration of Malian unity.

“Kalan”, with a pretty acoustic figure and a deep bassline, defends the importance of education, especially for women. “Let our girls be educated, mother/They may become government ministers/One day they may become doctors . . . One day they may even be presidents.” A light haze of synth lifts the chorus, then a lyrical, contemplative piano solo. “Save It”, with a desert lope that kicks up midway through into a harder, more aggressive groove with curls of strings, deals uncomfortably with the legacy of slavery and questions surrounding which parts of heritage are worth saving. The traditional beat of “Yakandi” is carried on clattering percussion, guitar and basslines woven through polyrhythmically. “I don’t discriminate, we are all the same/The Bambara is black, you are white/Let’s unite and march together.”

Source: Financial Times

Sam Gendel - blueblue


by Sam Gendel

Released 14 October 2022

Leaving Records


blueblue is the latest full-length from multi-instrumentalist and all-around vibe wizard, Sam Gendel. The record, out October 14 via Leaving Records, is a concise, tightly wound song suite whose 14 tracks each correspond to a pattern within sashiko, a traditional style of Japanese embroidery. This conceit remains playfully ambiguous — to what extent, if at all, is Kagome (籠目, woven bamboo) meant to evoke the pattern of the same name, for example? But there is an intuitive sense, throughout blueblue, that Gendel has, in this instance, narrowed his focus. To say that blueblue feels richly textural might be a little on-the-nose, thematically, but alas…it does. There is an intimacy, a humility, and a strength at play here that typifies the work of a master craftsman. Only an artist could make it sound so effortless.
A Los Angeleno by way of Central CA, Gendel is by now an institution. Across a dizzying slate of solo releases and collaborations, he has amassed a reputation for not only virtuosic musicianship (primarily as a saxophonist, though the songs that would become blueblue were all initially composed on guitar), but also for his mercurial and prolific output — a corpus of work, which, while obviously indebted to jazz and hip hop (and the farther flung, experimental corners of both) is, in a word, unpindownable. In this regard, Leaving Records, with its cri-de-cœur of “All Genre,” is a natural home for Gendel.  
The bulk of blueblue was recorded in isolation in a makeshift studio built in a cabin floating atop a tributary of Oregon’s Columbia River. Having sketched out a set of guitar melodies, Gendel recorded the album in five-or-so weeks, during which time he became well-acquainted with the river’s tidal rise and fall. This organic rhythm, which daily lifted the house to meet the horizon, later setting it down gently upon the riverbed, permeates the record. There are pops and groans and artifacts, and, in Tate-jima (縦縞, vertical stripes)—one of blueblue’s more plaintive tracks—even the faint lapping of water.
Equally essential to the feel of blueblue is Craig Weinrib’s kit work. Gendel and Weinrib collaborated long-distance during Gendel’s time in Oregon, with Gendel sending Weinrib half-finished songs, and giving him carte-blanche to record percussion. The end result is a relaxed, confident exchange between two clearly simpatico musicians, particularly evident in Weinrib’s gorgeously attentive brush technique.  
blueblue is a conceptually sound, mesmerizing, evocative, and sonically idiosyncratic LP. In keeping with its name, blueblue functions as Gendel’s color study, conveying, through repetition and deviation, his devotion to a certain mood — unnamable, but certainly noirish, nostalgic, quasi-psychedelic, and existing in some permanent twilight.
Real ones know, and for those who don’t yet, blueblue is an accessible and intoxicating entry-point into Gendel's ever-expanding catalog.

Source: Bandcamp

Sarathy Korwar - KALAK


by Sarathy Korwar

Released 11 November 2022

The Leaf Label


The follow up to the politically charged, award-winning More Arriving is an Indo-futurist manifesto - in rhythmic step with the past and the present, it sets out to describe a route forward. KALAK celebrates a rich South Asian culture of music and literature, which resonates with spirituality and community, while envisaging a better future from those building blocks.

Recorded at Real World studios with meticulous production by New York electronic musician, DJ and producer Photay, who translates these communal rhythms and practices into a timeless and groundbreaking electronic record. There’s a spirituality and warmth at play in the polyrhythms, group vocals and melodic flourishes.

The KALAK rhythm is the fulcrum upon which the 11-track project balances. After an intense lockdown induced period of reflection and meticulous note-making, Korwar boiled this down to the circular KALAK symbol which he then presented to his band before recording began. With the symbol projected on the walls in order to de-code and improvise around, Korwar had utter faith in the musicians he’d assembled and conviction in the concept.

The final part of the KALAK project is realised in the cover artwork by New Delhi-based designer Sijya Gupta. Korwar and photographer friend Fabrice Bourgelle took a light sculpture of the KALAK symbol on a road trip around Southern India, through Chennai, Pondicherry and Auroville. The evocative shots appear on the cover of the various formats, with each one offering a different angle on the country, continent and culture that inspired the album.

Source: Bandcamp

Alex Bird, Ewen Farncombe - Songwriter


by Alex Bird, Ewen Farncombe

Released 4 November 2022



Welcome to the dynamic exploration of sound that is, "Songwriter".

The charismatic musical bond of 2022 JUNO nominees Alex Bird and Ewen Farncombe continues with their third original album in three years. This time a duo album.

With Bird at the mic and Farncombe at the piano, they have written 11 new originals inspired by the classic recordings of Tony Bennett & Bill Evans.

"Songwriter" is a precise and intensely intimate odyssey. It deviates from their work with their "Jazz Mavericks", as Bird believes in never giving an audience the same exact thing every time.

"Songwriter" is also the second album in a row fully funded by Canada Council for the Arts. "You Are the Light and the Way (2021) was also funded by Canada Council and was nominated for Best Vocal Jazz Album at the JUNO Awards in 2022.

Bird & Farncombe have taken centre stage on the Canadian Jazz scene. Creating timeless and heartfelt originals for a modern audience, this talented team have spent the past four years producing something that is completely unique. 2022 brought JUNO nominations, reviews from around the world, and even the crafting of "Canada's Thanksgiving Anthem" The Sweetest Moments, which was broadcast across the country with a national ad campaign & interviews on CBC, CityTV, and many other news outlets. Bird and Farncombe are making themselves known.

This is just the beginning for two of the brightest lights in contemporary jazz.

Source: Bandcamp

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