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YouTube | October 2022 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

YouTube | October 2022 SunNeverSetsOnMusic

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Favourites|October2022

SAULT - Angel (EP)

Angel (EP)
by SAULT

Released 10 October 2022

Forever Living Originals

*****

The enigmatic U.K. band SAULT have once again released an unexpected new track via their own (label) Forever Living Originals, this one clocking in at just over 10 minutes. Produced (like all their previous releases) by Inflo, “Angel” features London singer/songwriter Jack Peñate and Jamaican reggae artist Chronixx, according to its credits.
The song moves as though composed of three different songs, producing a total evolution over the course of just the one track. The instrumentation remains spare, with bass and guitar shifting into quiet piano as the track progresses. It often sounds as though vocalist Chronixx is singing into a large, empty hall, performing for an empty audience. “My little brother was an angel to me,” he repeats in the first third, on a track filled with tension about the gun-induced death of a younger brother, as a choir sings, “Run to save your life.” On the next portion, voices guide us toward Zion, producing a gentle, transitory interlude and continuing the storyline. Delicate harmonies make the spare arrangements seem softer, with the piano shifting into soft bass beneath a spoken-word part advising us to “Go gently, and find your way,” and easing the listener into the third part of the track. Here, the singer’s voice is raw and vulnerable, strong in that they are singing even though their voice might break at any moment. Even with simple repetitive lyrics, the story is told so intimately that it feels like it happened to someone you know.

Despite this personal feeling, SAULT are a band who keep an air of mystery. They have never toured in support of their music, nor released a music video, despite releasing music since 2019. Their music has amassed millions of listens, even as they break the mold of the traditional music industry. Spearheaded by producer Inflo, they work with groups of shifting, sometimes unnamed collaborators. They’re doing it differently, and it’s working.

Source: Paste

Lucrecia Dalt - ¡Ay!

¡Ay!

by Lucretia Dalt

Released 14 October 2022

RVNG Intl.

*****

Lucrecia Dalt's ¡Ay! was inspired by the bolero, salsa, and merengue music she grew up hearing in Colombia as a child. The album follows a science fiction story line about an alien visitor named Preta who visits Earth and attempts to make sense of the human condition. Much heavier on acoustic instrumentation than Dalt's previous albums, the record has a bit of a space-age exotica feel, giving the impression of an extraterrestrial's first encounters with Latin American music. Following the languorous stroll of opener "No Tiempo," the spoken "El Galatzó" is much more intimate and poetic. "Atemporal" is filled with clanky percussion and creaky organ melodies, sounding a bit like Tom Waits' later, more experimental work. Other tracks continue with this sort of woozy post-industrial cha-cha sound, with outlandish electronic processing, slapped hand percussion, and slithering basslines backing Dalt's clear, curious vocals. While much of the album is slow and murky, the brief "Bochinche" has a more playful, upbeat rhythm, though the organ and trumpet parts sound eerier the more you concentrate on them. After the tightly coiled tension of "Enviada," the album blissfully drifts out to sea with the glistening, vocoder-laced "Epílogo." With ¡Ay!, Dalt succeeds at constructing and exploring an elaborate sound world that resembles a surreal reflection of her past.

Source: AllMusic

The Brother Who Moves On - $/He Who Feeds You... Owns You

$/He Who Feeds You... Owns You

by The Brother Who Moves On

Released 28 Octover 2022

Native Rebel Recordings

*****

The Brother Moves On (TBMO) is a South African performance art ensemble from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Over the last decade and a half, The Brother Moves On have mutated from a loose Johannesburg-based art collective — the name, a mishearing of Michael Potts’s enforcer Brother Mouzone from The Wire, presupposed a shifting line-up — to a more stable band. Fronted by Siyabonga Mthembu, who recently convened the lions of South African jazz for Brownswood’s Indaba Is and has sung lead vocals for Shabaka and the Ancestors, the band released Tolika Mtoliki last year, a revisiting of the country’s jazz and protest music heyday. “You Think You Know Me”, its lead track, used Mongezi Feza’s “You Ain’t Gonna Know Me Because You Think You Know Me” as the base for a coruscating denunciation of the post-Apartheid settlement, from the enshrining of “Die Stem” as one of the country’s national anthems to the corruption of the Zuma administration.

$/He Who Feeds You . . . Owns You brings all that together. Shabaka Hutchings produces and adds flute and clarinet. The music still nods to the 1970s and 1980s, with the rolling grooves and growled vocals of Afro-fusion band Stimela and the breathy flute and bass rumbles of Philip Tabane’s Malombo. “Itumeleng Revisited” is a cover of the 1970s hit by Soweto group Batsumi, with electric piano shimmering underneath the interplay of flute and saxophone. “Bayakhala” has the cycling guitar of classic mbaqanga, its lyrics lamenting the state of the country — the title means “they are crying” in Zulu. Brass stabs eventually yield to an electric guitar solo and a repeated chorus of “Mntana onstundu khanyisa” — “child of the land come and be the light”.
The rhetoric of the liberation struggle echoes through “Sphila”, with its martial drummed opening. Where protesters during the government-declared states of emergency chanted “Amandla Ngawethu” (“power to the people”), the refrain here is “Amanga Awethu” (“the lies are ours”). The lyrics, about the deeply contentious and contested question of land rights, modify, twist and interrogate the sloganizing of this era. “We keep working for this land/the land is theirs, the land is theirs.”

The pretty melodies of “Puleng”, carried on saxophone, celebrate the rain and lament the disruption of migrant work. The narrator of “Sweety Love Oh”, with a hint of bubblegum pop, invites his lover to meet him at the taxi rank offering love enough to fill a bath. And the a cappella singing that begins the old funeral celebration “Hamba” captures stillness before the instruments lock in and the song ascends.

Source: Financial Times

Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn - Pigments

Pigments

by Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn

Released 21 October 2020

Merge Records

*****

A foreshadowing of Pigments took place in 2018 when Spencer Zahn released an abridged version of "Cyanotype" -- a tranquil, floating piece from his instrumental album People of the Dawn -- with sorrowful words and vocals added by art-pop whiz Dawn Richard. The lengthier and from-scratch collaboration here is a progression for both artists. Zahn is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and arranger who often cites the ECM label and Mark Hollis' self-titled solo album, inspirations that are as evident as ever on Pigments, particularly with its foundation in near-minimalist chamber jazz, and a sense that Zahn relates to Hollis' philosophy of "Don't play one note unless you've got a reason." To paraphrase another sage, Too $hort, Richard gets in where she fits in, vocalizing on just over half of the sections within the 37-minute composition. She appears sometimes sylph-like, pushed aloft by gentle coaxing from Zahn's upright bass and piano. During other moments, Richard is wholly human, basking in physical intimacy atop lapping drums, entreating through whirls of saxophone and strings, and on the finale, gathering strength over a partly mechanized pulse amplifying her ceaseless determination. Those most drawn to Richard when she's in high-BPM prancing mode might find it challenging to acclimate to the slow pacing and open spaces (with drums frequently absent). Moreover, Richard is not so much the primary voice as she is part of an ensemble, sharing the lead role with many of the eight players, such as saxophonist Jas Walton, whose fluttering tenor on highlight "Vantablack," undergirded by bass clarinet and dressed with acoustic guitar, resembles that of Waterfalls-era John Klemmer. Only on "Cerulean" does the singer let loose, and it's to confront and grieve ("Are you hurting like you're hurting me?!") with support from needling electric guitar, blasting reeds, and intense swells of electronics and strings. Still, each appearance she makes is halting and deeply felt. Everything provided and guided by her partner coalesces into a quietly powerful flowing sequence. Pigments is not necessarily built for movement, but it's as moving as any of Richard's previous output. No other album is quite like it.

Source: AllMusic

Burial - Streetlands (EP)

Streetlands (EP)

by Burial

Released 21 October 2022

Hyperdub

*****

Burial spoils us with his 2nd release of ’22, leaving the beats for dust and dialling up the ASMR ambient feels to tongue-tip, piloerect effect for lovers and lonely ravers.

Landing almost 15 years to the month since ‘Untrue’, the three durational parts of ‘Streetlands’ lend another panel to the widescreen ambient-cinematic tableaux that he’s been building for the past five years, or roughly since 2017’s ’Subtemple’, at least. Not gonna lie, we miss the beats, but are also more than happy to hear where he’s headed next with each turn, and this impressionist ambient phase is just pure magic. Isn’t it, though? Cynics be damned cos whatever it’s making us feel can’t be sniffed at.

Picking up where he left us with ‘Antidawn’ at the start of the year, he cooks up a proper endorphin rush with ‘Exokind’, lacing ‘90s prog-trance arps and gamer sci-fi pads along its spine, punctuated by incidental dialogue and nuff spidery webs of texture that help seal and secrete *that* feel. The cues are all patently late ’80s and thru the ‘90s, and sure to jerk the nostalgia nozzle for anyone who came thru in the UK back then, but u don't need to have lived that life to get it.

‘Hospital Chapel’ however pulls back from any overt cues to pure ambient inference, all noctilucent choral pads and crackle, feint hints of a lighter sparking off, and scuffled wet gravel. Lonely as fuck, it leads to his unique sort of devastating heartache and the 15 minute final scene ‘Streetlands’, with sylvan keys, dolphin calls and windchimes that vacillate its boss level tension with the tenderest romantic pangs of Enya-esque keen, monk chants and godlight pads on the cusp of sublime dread.

Source: Boomkat

Surprise Chef - Education & Recreation

Education & Recreation

by Surprise Chef

Released 14 October 2022

Big Crown Records

*****

Surprise Chef’s music is based on evoking mood; their vivid arrangements utilize time and space to build soundscapes that invite the listener into their world. The quintet’s distinct sound pulls from 70s film scores, the funkier side of jazz, and the samples that form the foundation of hip hop. They push the boundaries of instrumental soul and funk with their own approach honed by countless hours in the studio, studying the masters, and perhaps most importantly, the “tyranny of distance” that dictates a unique perspective to their music.

Hailing from just outside of Melbourne, Australia their first two albums, All News Is Good News and Daylight Savings amassed a die-hard fanbase and brought their sound from their home studio to every corner of the globe.

The band is now signed to Big Crown Records, joining a lineage of contemporary and classic sounds that have influenced Surprise Chef’s music since their formation in 2017.

Surprise Chef is Lachlan Stuckey on guitar, Jethro Curtin on keys, Carl Lindeberg on bass, Andrew Congues on drums, and Hudson Whitlock—the latest member who does it all from percussion to composing to producing. Their self proclaimed "moody shades of instrumental jazz-funk" have a bit of everything: punchy drums, infectious keys, rhythm guitar you might hear on a Studio One record, and flute lines that could be from a Blue Note session. But when you step back and take in the entirety of their sound and approach, you'll hear and see a group greater than the sum of its parts.

In many ways Surprise Chef embodies the idiom "the benefits of limits." They were limited in that there weren't many people making or talking about instrumental jazz/soul/funk in Southeast Australia, let alone putting out records. This left them to develop their sound and approach in a kind of creative isolation where a small circle of friends and like-minded musicians fed off each other. "Being in Australia, being so far away, we only get glimpses and glances of this music’s origins," Stuckey says. "But hearing a label like Big Crown was one of the first times we realized you could make fresh, new soul music that wasn't super retro or just nostalgic."

This approach is on full display throughout their new album Education & Recreation. Tracks like “Velodrome” pair chunky drums with an earworm synth line that has all the making of something you would find on an Ultimate Breaks & Beats compilation while numbers like “Iconoclasts” show their knack for tasteful use of space. From the crushing intro of “Suburban Breeze” to the floaty mellow bop of “Spring’s Theme” Surprise Chef has weaved together an album that takes you through peaks and valleys of emotion and provides a vivid soundtrack that will pull you deeper into your imagination. There is a beauty in the vast space for interpretation of instrumental music and they are adding a modern classic to the canon with this new album. Turn on the record and enjoy the ride, wherever it may take you. 
credits
 

Source: Bandcamp

Arctic Monkeys - The Car

The Car

by Arctic Monkeys

Released 21 October 2022

Domino

****-

The lead single from Arctic Monkeys’s seventh studio album, The Car, is uncharacteristically lush and melancholic, awash in strings, keyboards, and the gentle patter of Matt Helders’s drums. Sonically, “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” evokes vintage film scores like those of Piero Piccioni and the lounge pop of Burt Bacharach or Richard Hawley, while frontman Alex Turner croons in the upper reaches of his vocal range. The track centers around a failing relationship, as Turner imagines his final moments with his beloved are accompanied by light reflecting off of a mirrorball.

Much of The Car is filled with similarly lush, downbeat tracks that evoke a bittersweet nostalgia. While 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino also displays a yearning for the past, The Car diverges from its predecessor in both its earnestness and sonic grandeur. Many tracks here, such as “Body Paint” and “Perfect Sense,” are slow burners that luxuriate in their instrumentation.

Throughout the album, Turner sings in an upper register a fair amount, which, though effectively expressive and pained, can grow wearisome after a while. It doesn’t help that, despite creating a pleasant and enveloping atmosphere, some of these songs—the title track and “Big Ideas” in particular—suffer from a lack of dynamic momentum.

The psychedelic “Hello You,” on the other hand, buzzes along to a tropical rhythm and an infectious musical refrain that lodges itself into your psyche. The strings, synthesizers, and Turner’s vocals and keyboards swirl around each other as the song builds toward a swooning climax. Elsewhere, moodier tracks like “Jet Skis on the Moat” and “Sculptures of Anything Goes” are infused with traces of vintage soul, driven by slow, sinuous grooves.

Of all of the album’s tracks, the latter is most like Arctic Monkeys’s recent work, with its skeletal instrumentation, rumbling keys, and cryptic lyrics about drinking coffee with “not-long-since-retired spies.” But The Car barely acknowledges the garage-rock sound that made the band famous in the mid-2000s. The direction they’ve taken here finds them flexing their muscles in a way that sheds the cheeky irony of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino in favor of a more plaintive earnestness, while at the same time building on that album’s sense of adventure.

Source: Slant

Matthew Halsall - The Temple Within

The Temple Within

by Matthew Halsall

Released 26 August 2022

Gondwana Records

*****

When Matthew Halsall released Salute to the Sun in November 2020, his first new album in five years, he shared the first fruits from an especially fertile period of writing and recording, which also gave birth to the music released here as The Temple Within.

The recording sessions featured Halsall's then brand new band of hand-picked local musicians, brought together through weekly rehearsals and a monthly residency at Yes in Manchester, they forged an immersive, communal sound, drawing on spiritual jazz, the heritage of British jazz and progressive world music and electronica influences. Inspired by these monthly sessions, together, they created a body of music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations. For Halsall the music on The Temple Within perfectly captures the spirit of those sessions.

"I felt really excited by the connection that we were building, both together as a band, but also with the local community. People of all ages and types come to our monthly sessions and the energy of being able to write and rehearse and then perform new music each month is really uplifting. And this music is a perfect case in point. To me it really feels like a perfect pocket of music, a perfect moment. We thought about expanding it to an album, but in the end if just feels right as it is, and we wanted to share that energy of that moment with our wider community, not just people at our shows, but our fans and listeners around the world."

The title track, and first single 'The Temple Within' is a darker, heavier tune than anything on Salute to the Sun and has become a firm part of the band's live shows. The enigmatic title is taken from a quote by Alice Coltrane and expands on the idea that your spiritual space is within yourself and not the bricks and mortar of a church or monastery or Ashram. The hard-grooving Earth Fire features beautiful flute work from Matt Cliffe and inspired drums from Alan Taylor, and offers a emotional response to the horrendous bush fires that ravaged Australia. The Eleventh Hour is another dark-toned "banger" with a late-night vibe and with its incessant groove and fiery solos is another track to have found a regular place in the band's sets. Finally, A Japanese Garden in Ethiopia takes it unique flavour from both musical cultures and is one of Halsall's most beautiful wistful compositions.

The Temple Within features Matthew Halsall trumpet and electronics, Matt Cliffe flute & saxophone, Maddie Herbert harp, Liviu Gheorghe piano, Gavin Barras, bass, Alan Taylor drums and Jack McCarthy percussion. The Temple Within is produced by Matthew Halsall and Daniel Halsall, recorded by Matthew Halsall, mixed by Greg Freeman, mastered by Peter Beckmann of Technology Works and vinyl cut by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx. The distinctive artwork is by Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic,
 

Source: Bandcamp

Blue Note (Various Artists) - Blue Note Re:imagined II

Blue Note Re:imagined II

by Blue Note (Various Artists) -

Released 30 September 2022

Blue Note

*****

The inaugural Blue Note Re:imagined was as welcome as a compilation could be in the post-We Out Here age of well-foraged jazzlands; South London was a ground of such ceaselessly ostensive acclaim, new standards and improbable knockouts that it was only a matter of time until the music industry’s old guard chomped at the bit. But even the greatest cynic couldn’t deny that the label’s letterheads suited the likes of Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia – innovators whose compulsion and prolificacy spoke to a new age of artistry just as free jazz did at the birth of Impulse! Records. Re:imagined was more than a languid market grab or middle finger to Gilles Peterson’s bank account; it was a moment that the conversation became elevated from the insoluble tag of ‘up-and-coming’ to a sincere recognition of new modern jazz greatness. But good things end. 

Other than a few standout moments on Re:imagined II, the genesis of the compilation’s franchising is an instant dilution of everything that worked before. The curation is stretched, the players less a part of a palpable and bubbling scene, the invisible hand of boardroom executives more discernible. Genuine musical intrigue and interpretation goes side-to-side with your local café’s afternoon playlist one too many times for Re:imagined II to hold weight. Take the unconditional highlight in Theon Cross’ tuba rendition of Thelonious Monk’s bebop standard ‘Epistrophy’: an eerie jurisdiction lugs through Monk’s atonal brassy knots whilst both author and improvisor can be distinguished with alacrity. But by this point, we’ve just had two twee covers of Norah Jones, and now it’s time for a cover of a cover of ‘Harvest Moon’.

Source: Loud and Quiet

Stella Anning Trio - Stat

STAT (EP))

by Stella Anning Trio

Released 28 August 2022

Stella Anning Trio

*****

Hypnotising Melbourne guitar, bass and drum trio the Stella Anning Trio, release their debut EP ‘STAT’ on August 28th. The trio have been working on their eclectic jazz/blues grooves since pre-pandemic and are thrilled to reveal this chapter of contemplative compositions inspired by all things guitar. The EP is a glimpse of Stella’s life and musical diversity - from a comedic jazz bop about Stella’s cat, to an introspective rock-ballad about her newborn baby, STAT will take you on an instrumental journey through bluesy grooves with the freedom and improvisation of jazz. Joining Stella are acclaimed musicians Joshua Barber (Kerryn Fields) on drums and Claire Cross (Oh Pep!, Danika) on bass, to form this transformative instrumental trio that will surely get you betrothed and bewildered.

Stella has been steadily ingraining herself back into the Melbourne music scene after moving back from Sydney in 2018. The guitarist/composer has her hands in all musical genres, known for her bluesy guitar work in Lisa Baird’s Bitches Brew and as co-writer, guitarist and backing vocalist in neo-soul collective Push Portal. Her prominence as a performer has seen her perform alongside artists such as C.W. Stoneking, Guy Sebastian, Sarah Blasko, Thando and Ali Barter.

“For me, the sign of a truly great guitarist is the tone from the fingers that’s so honest and unique, you know who it is from the very first note. Without hiding behind tricky production or being muddied by effects, Stella boldly let’s her playing speak for itself on this EP and proves she is well on her way to being one of those greats” - Lloyd Spiegel

Source: AMRAP

Nakhane - You Will Not Die (Deluxe Version)

You Will Not Die (Deluxe)

by Nakhane

Released 16 March 2018

Kimhab Trading

*****

Nakhane Touré was only 9 years old when he came out as gay. Living in a small town on the Eastern Cape of South Africa in a community of strict fundamentalist Christians at the time, coming out meant the actor and musician was sent to conversion therapy, an experience that made him question his Christian faith altogether and turn to his own form of prayer for guidance. Eventually, following a controversial appearance in a queer South African film that prompted death threats, Nakhane relocated to London, where his music career has since flourished. It’s a life story loaded with enough affliction and triumph to make You Will Not Die, Nakhane’s deeply personal, grief-stricken shout of a debut album, an instant revelation on its own terms. With several stunning moments centering Nakhane’s crises of faith that give his supple voice room to strut and soar, You Will Not Die is a strikingly intimate album that succeeds despite some occasionally lead-footed pacing and stilted theatrics.

You Will Not Die was released in Europe last year, and it’s now being re-released stateside in deluxe form with five new tracks, featuring the standout song “New Brighton.” The victorious, upbeat track tackles the legacy of colonialist names and monuments conferred on towns in South Africa, with streaks of bright synths, rhythm guitar, and backing vocals by ANOHNI. “Never knew them before, don’t know them now,” Nakhane rallies proudly over the charging backdrop, “What about my mother and her sisters/Where was their name?” The song is a revelatory statement that twists the album’s recurring themes of religiosity and his personal history into bold new shapes.

Early highlight “Interloper” pulls off a similar trick, riding swaggering electric guitar licks and a rolling drum line as Nakhane details the clash between a clandestine tryst and his faith: “Good Lord, I see him now/Tell me what happened to the opium of your word,” he sings seductively, recalling Wild Beasts’ similarly wily and expressive Hayden Thorpe, “Let me put my finger in the cavern of his mouth.” Nakhane’s vocals throughout “Interloper” simmer under the surface until he lets them rise on the chorus, letting out a piercing clarion call halfway through that sets the song ablaze.

Nakhane’s voice is a deep and soulful instrument, and he employs it with both the delicacy of a feather and the weighty drop of a hammer. Yet the funeral march across You Will Not Die’s middle section undercuts Nakhane’s talent. Moody ballad “The Dead” plods into “Star Red” and “Fog,” both downcast and overly theatrical to the point of an Off-Broadway production. A few songs on You Will Not Die also feel perhaps overly indebted to ANOHNI, whether drawing from the solemn dramaturgy of Antony and the Johnsons (“Presbyteria”) or the pummeling electronics of 2016’s HOPELESSNESS (“Clairvoyant”).

Yet Nakhane proves he’s able to craft ballads while bringing his influences into play in a more intriguing way, dialing things down for a cover of New Order’s eternal, springy 1983 single “Age of Consent.” Suspended by sparse electric guitar, piano, and choral backing vocals, the cover is an opportunity for Nakhane’s voice to take center stage in unblemished fashion, climbing up to a falsetto and back down again while rendering the song completely anew. It’s a maneuver that, like “New Brighton,” offers up exceptional promise for Nakhane’s future, wherever it may lead.

Source: Assai Records

Momi Maiga - Nio

Nio

by Momi Maiga

Released 4 October 2022

Microscopi

*****

Nio means soul in Mandinka, the native language of the Senegalese musician, singer and composer Momi Maiga.

Nio is the result of various inspirations born from Senegal and expanding to new horizons with the arrival of Momi in Europe. The contact of his musical universe with the mediterranean roots and multiple varied styles is the backbone of his debut album, where the artist's musical and eclectic openness is appreciated in each composition.

A virtuoso of the kora, with impeccable vocal fluency and an amazing musical sensibility, Momi uses the twenty-two strings of the kora and the voice to carry us reflections on human values, as his family has done from generation to generation for centuries.

Nio is a dynamic and constant dialogue between cultures and strings. Kora, violin, cello and percussions from around the world forge the soul of this work. With lyrics in Mandinka and Wolof, traveling from bulería to ethno jazz, the album's ten songs evoke a range of emotions ranging from deep sadness, meditation and the joy of living.

To capture this musical universe on a record, Momi has the musical production of the polyhedral violinist Carlos Montfort and arrangements by the respected percussionist Aleix Tobias accompanied by the grooves of the virtuoso Martín Meléndez on his cello. In addition to having this team of exceptional musicians, some stellar collaborations are added to this trip, such as his renowned cousin Seckou Keita in the song Casamance, the Spanish singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz in Sidiya, and the guitarist Pau Figueres in Mansani.

A sea of ​​transcontinental sounds and rhythms that surprise in every second. Fusion and emotion are the pillars of this vibrant, energetic and profound album. Nio is the first work of an artist that will not leave you indifferent.

Nio is a co-production of Momi Maiga with La Marfà - Center for Music Creation, Fira Mediterrània de Manresa and Olot City Council.

Source: Womex

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava

Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava

by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Released 7 October 2022

KGLW

****-

born out of jam sessions where the band went into the studio with no preconceived notions other than preselected tunings and rhythms, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard prove yet again on Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava that they haven't run out of ideas even after releasing more records per year than most bands do in a lifetime. Despite its origins as a freeform workout, the final product actually has structure and purpose thanks to the editing job the band's Stu MacKenzie did and the overdubs that the rest of the gang added later. It's definitely not as directed as some of their concept albums; the main point seems to be getting loose and loud while delving into the vagaries of nature and their standby concern: global catastrophe. The songs are long, but don't meander much -- the guitars have more bite than a pit-full of snakes and MacKenzie made sure to add dynamic shifts and the occasional chorus as he went. It's nothing new for a band that has displayed no fear when it comes to stretching out past the ten-minute mark; they've never been tied to any rules and that's what makes them so freeing and inspiring to listen to. If they want to dip into some reggae-adjacent grooving ("Mycelium") that's totally cool. If they want to veer into cop-show jazz with wah-wah pedals, staccato bass runs, and silky flutes, more power to them. Murky Afropop blues jams -- "Magma" -- that unspool over nine tightly scripted minutes? Yes, that works. Heavy prog-jazz doom rockers -- "Gliese 710" -- that combine Brubeck-on-downers piano chords with blown-out, amp-inflaming guitars, and far-out sax blowing? Perfect! Also on point are rippling funk rockers ("Iron Lung") and ("Hell's Itch") that have the feel of Santana, -- if they were beach rats from Australia. The latter song really lets loose with some fret-melting guitar dueling that escapes being indulgent thanks to the sheer intensity of the playing. When the song ends after 14 sweaty minutes, the first instinct isn't to faint from exhaustion, it's to rewind the song to the beginning and jump back into the magical world they created. That's the feeling the whole album engenders. Unlike some of their efforts, which can wear out their welcome in spots, there isn't a moment of boredom or repetition here. Amazingly, it's another fresh start for the band that's on par with career high points like Butterfly 3000, Nonagon Infinity, or Flying Microtonal Banana. King Gizzard are restless and brilliant and listeners must follow everything they do like a hawk because they might unleash something classic, just like they did with Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava.

Source: AllMusic

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Laminated Denim

Laminated Denim

by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Released 12 October 2022

KGLW

****-

Not even a week removed from their last album King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are back with Laminated Denim. They’ve dubbed this the “spiritual successor” to their mysterious and seemingly-cursed 19th album, Made In Timeland, which only just arrived on streaming services after a limited vinyl release earlier this year. Like that record, this new one consists of two 15-minute tracks meant to be debuted as the set-break music for the band’s marathon shows at Colorado’s Red Rocks, and the two titles are anagrams of one another. That’s largely where the similarities between the two end, though.

Timeland is more an art-piece than album; an experimental collage of mostly-electronic music and beats built around the steady ticking of a clock. Laminated Denim, on the other hand, really bears more in common with last week’s Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, chasing that record’s same improvisational impulse down two new rabbit holes to captivating results.
As on the previous record, these tracks are pieced together and arranged by bandleader Stu Mackenzie from group jams before being augmented with overdubs and vocals, and on Denim the band sound even less encumbered with the idea of traditional songcraft – though they manage to craft a great pair of songs here. The production is more stripped-back, giving the listener an even closer feeling of being in the room with the band as they let loose over familiar stylistic territory. While it might not find them pushing into much new sonic ground, it does illuminate in almost real-time the way that catchy riffs and melodies seem to just pour out of this band. Take the “Teleportality/Teleport you and me” refrain they return to throughout “The Land Before Timeland” or the twin guitar riff that launches in around the 5:35 mark of “Hypertension”. King Gizzard really isn’t the kind of band to get “lost” in a jam and they keep things moving across these 30 minutes, letting each musical idea rise, fall, repeat and reform in their perpetual groove machine. 

Laminated Denim’s first track, “The Land Before Timeland” is the gentler of the two, with shimmering guitar harmonies and falsetto vocals over a sunny major-key bounce. At times the jam reaches moments of fluidity that point to further Grateful Dead-ification of King Gizzard, but they just as quickly pull away into something more jagged, and as the song progresses the descending guitar arpeggios and overlapping polyrhythms form into a hypnotic, dreamlike swirl. In its final three minutes, the mood is abruptly broken by a new bassline that shifts things into the somewhat sinister territory, building up into a combined guitar and synthesizer solo with Mackenzie’s vocals eventually floating in, sounding like Tame Impala being sucked into a black hole as the song hurtles towards its ending. 

“Hypertension” kicks up a bit more dust, quickly starting off with a more urgent groove and darker, grimier guitars that only grows more high-octane in the jams after the first two verses as the Gizz boys work their way into motorcycle-revving ‘70s rock riffage, channeling a mix of Hawkwind and Molly Hatchet. The aforementioned riff sends them into an extended musical workout that continually builds the tension into a sizzling double guitar solo that only breaks for one more verse before they launch back into an unstoppable freight train of a jam, in true King Gizzard fashion. Ever the masters of the delirious rave-up, the band seems impossible of letting up here, adding in group vocals with the catchy “I caught that hypertension” refrain that only escalates things further. The track is a beast and one of the finest results yet from Gizzard’s jamming ventures.

It may be a minimalist project in the grand scheme of the “Gizzverse”, one that Mackenzie has called “for the fans”, but Laminated Denim is a much stronger record than one might expect going in. The band foregoes experimentation to expand on some of the sounds they do best, and the listener gets to hear the exceptional chemistry of this band at their most free. They’ve never been having so much wanton fun on record, and any fear of the self-indulgence in releasing two fifteen-minute jams is assuaged by their penchant for shapeshifting melody and the energy that relentlessly seeps out. Where Made In Timeland felt perfectly composed as set break music, Laminated Denim’s two songs itch to be performed at full-throttle as King Gizzard whip their crowd into a frenzy, one can only hope they’ll soon make their way into the band’s live repertoire, that is unless their next record makes this all null and void. 

Source: Glide Magazine

KIng GIzzard and the Lizard Wizard - Changes

Changes

by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Released 28 October 2022

KGLW

****-

Can I level with you? When King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard lay out the music theory concept behind a new album, I often have to take the Aussie kitchen-sink psych-rockers at their word. I can grok the unique character of their microtonal explorations, sure, but when it comes to polyrhythmic prog or jams on the Greek modes, the finer points are lost on me (give me a few years; I’m still getting my minor pentatonic scale positions down). None of that makes it hard to be a Gizz-head, though, and neither does Changes, their 23rd album in 10 years. It’s their jazziest, potentially their most ambitious in theory, and in spite of that, the one I’m most likely to recommend to anybody not yet in the know about the band’s sprawling catalog of the five LPs they’ve released this year.

Changes’ 13-minute title track builds a dynamic overture on electric keys, hi-hat taps, and rushes of guitar, by turns thoughtful and thrilling as it spins out motifs and lyrical concepts through verses sung, half-rapped, and scatted. Then it splinters into a six-song cycle in which, with every chord change, the band bounces between notes from two different scales—D major and F sharp major, per their website—that coil like a harmonic double helix. The full record took five years to finish, essentially a lifetime in Gizz-years; think of it as a more robust take on the jazz fusion of Sketches of Brunswick East, though it also benefits from their more recent experiments, too (as on the driving standout “Gondii,” powered by Butterfly 3000 synths).

Chord changes parallel personal and social changes in the lyrics; change is elusive through cycles of life on the title track (“Is this what we consider changing for the better?”). It’s a source of uninhibited joy on the playful (if insubstantial) “Hate Dancin’.” It’s a destructive force against nature on the fluttery flute-and-keyboard jam “Astroturf,” and on “Exploding Suns,” a cosmic acoustic vision of nuclear armageddon. The abstract idea of change feels a little too slippery and all-encompassing to hang an album on, but the songs mostly stand up on their own, even as recurring melodies and teases string them together in classic Gizzard fashion.

Even I can feel the changes driving the kaleidoscopic scale runs of closer “Short Change,” but aside from the strong songwriting and tireless grooves, I appreciate the spirit of Changes most of all. As clearly and concisely as anything the band has ever put out, it makes expanding your creative horizons sound like a genuine pleasure in a way plenty of stuffier prog- and art-rock releases don’t. For King Gizzard, changing and pushing their artistic limits always seems to mean coming up with new frameworks to iterate fun tunes on top of, and even with this much work under their belts, they still sound like they’re having an absolute blast—still running up the “woo” counter, whatever keys they play in.

Source: Flood Magazine

Ishmael Ensemble - Versions of Light

Aligned

by Itzhak Ventura

Released 17 June 2022

Severn Songs

****-

Following a breakthrough year that saw the release of their second album “Visions Of Light” bring critical acclaim to the Bristol group led by producer & saxophonist Pete Cunningham - Ishmael Ensemble return with “Versions Of Light” - a collection of reworks, remixes and reimagined versions by an exciting line-up of friends and family from the wider Ishmael Ensemble contingent.

The aim of the project in Cunningham’s words “was to avoid just putting together another predictable club-centric remix package with a few extra kick drums added here and there, instead I’ve approached this record as an opportunity to further lean into the collaborative nature of Ishmael Ensemble, whether that’s asking friends to rework tracks or inviting new vocalists to add their story to the melting pot”

These include Rider Shafique's politically charged take on Empty Hands Grove’s twisted bashment version of Wax Werk. There are also clubby moments from London based House aficionado Medlar, who turns Soma Centre into a heady peak time banger, and Indian producer Sandune’s post-dubstep twist on the title track.

As well as appearances from bandmates Holysseus Fly, Rindill & takx - the record also features many of the original collaborators from “Visions Of Light” given free reign to re-contextualize their contributions including an otherworldly version of Looking Glass by the inimitable STANLÆY, an ethereal performance of The Gift by Tiny Chapter and a hazy lofi home recording of Morning Chorus by Cunningham and long term collaborator & vocalist Chris Hillier. 

Source: Bandcamp

The Shaolin Afronaughts - The Fundamental Nature of Being, Part One

The Fundamental Nature of Being, Part One (of five discs)

by The Shaolin Afronaughts

Released 30 September 2022

Freestyle Records

****-

The mysterious afro-­soul of The Shaolin Afronauts first echoed across the dance floors of Australia in early 2008, captivating audiences with a highly evolved and unique approach to avant-garde soul music matched with an improvisational pedigree that immediately setthem apart from their peers. In the almost fifteen years since the ensemble's debut they have released three albums on Freestyle Records and toured across Australia and around the world.

After an extended hiatus punctuated by rare live performances, The Shaolin Afronauts return with The Fundamental Nature of Being, an epic five album release that expands the sonic vision of the ensemble to towering new heights of burning afro-funk alongside esoteric and ethereal new sonic excursions. This expanded musical journey further explores the wide spectrum of the band's musical identity – with each of the five parts designed as both standalone records, while also offering a singular listening journey across the band's expansive musical world.

The 5-part project was recorded over just five days, drawing upon the band's rich influence of 1970s West and South African music, jazz, psych-rock & soul, while also exploring the transatlantic sonic intersection between the 1960s electronic avant-garde & spiritual jazz. Free and partially directed improvisation is employed as a central component of the compositions, with the musical works acting as frameworks for the collective musical enterprise that has developed over the ensemble's near fifteen years together.

The vast project is available as a strictly limited 5 LP box-set, with a deluxe booklet of extended liner notes, due for release September 16th 2022.

Each individual album also being made available for singular purchase, and on CD & digital formats, over the month following.
The Fundamental Nature of Being firmly re-establishes Shaolin Afronauts as one of the most interesting and innovative collectives of creative improvising musicians operating in the world today. 
 

Source: Bandcamp

Nok Cultural Ensemble - Njhyi

Njhyi

by Nok Cultural Ensemble

Released 14 October 2022

SA Recordings

****-

In addition to the physical, psychological, political, and economic anguish and destruction that the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonialism wreaked upon the African diaspora, these conjoined historical epochs have also made a dramatic and lasting impact on African diasporic culture. As the material summation of a people’s creative life, culture is both an indicator of where a people are and a determinant of where they might go. It is as the great Cape Verdean and Guinea-Bissauan revolutionary Amílcar Cabral once said: “Culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people’s history and a determinant of history.”

As the European empires of old overran West and Central Africa, the pillaging of artifacts from ancient indigenous cultures was common. One such culture, the Nok of Nigeria, was known for their beautifully composed terracotta sculptures which currently reside in French and English museums far removed from the people whose ancestors created them. In conceiving the Nok Cultural Ensemble’s debut album Njhyi, British-Nigerian drummer Edward Wakili-Hick meditated on and studied the Nok artifacts. The result is a collection of songs that are practically vibrating with the rhythmic, melodic, and emotional power of Africa and its diaspora.

Njhyi’s title track serves as both the album’s opener and a tone-setter. For the intro, the ensemble builds up a cloud of interplaying percussion, drums, whistles and the sprawling sound of a tape delay. After reaching a furious climax, “Njhyi” gives way to the slow, head-bopping rhythm of “Awakening.” The tubist Theon Cross (Sons Of Kemet) guests on “Awakening,” swinging subtly against the beat with breathy melodic lines. “Sang Awun” picks the tempo up significantly as hand drums play deftly alongside a steady, driving groove. Like much of the music throughout Njhyi, “Sang Awun” is primarily made up of percussion instruments. Despite this, the composition doesn’t lack in timbral color or in the complexity of its arrangement. As the piece’s rapid-fire snares enter and play off of the hand drums, it is evident that this is in no way limited simply because it is drum-centric.

Considering the countless lives, memories and culture lost due to the historical tragedies of colonization and enslavement, there is something healing and invigorating about this music. The rhythms that Wakili-Hick and the Nok Cultural Ensemble have conjured on Njhyi are not just music for the sake of music. These sounds are heavy with intention and aligned with the ancient African conception of rhythm as a conduit of information, tradition, history, and culture.

Source: Bandcamp Daily

Sun Ra Arkestra - Living Sky.webp

Living Sky

by Sun Ra Arkestra

Released 7 October 2022

Omni Sound

****-

Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra released Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy in 1967 in order to promote healing. The band name was temporary, following on from Sun-Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra and later the Le Sun Ra and his Cosmo Discipline Arkestra among many others. But the concept of music as a functionary and utilitarian resource wasn’t particularly widespread at the time. Sounds designed to sooth are hitherto ubiquitous, and music itself is tap-like in its usability.

Only Marshall Allen is still around from those sessions where he played alto sax and “astro space drums”, though fifty-five years later, the world could certainly do with some more healing. At the behest of Omni Sound’s Ahmet Ulug, who came out of retirement to found the New York / Istanbul label on which Living Sky is the inaugural release, Allen and eighteen other musicians including string players went into a studio in Philadelphia last June to record an album of cosmic tones in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s the Arkestra’s second outing without their titular leader, who relocated to Saturn twenty-seven years ago, and like 2020’s Swirling, this does justice to his remarkable legacy and is a fine addition to an unfathomably vast discography.

Where Swirling took steps forwards with one eye on the past, Living Sky is less overtly avant garde than its predecessor, and if the spirit and concept harks back to the aforementioned record from 1967, then the music here is grounded more in the 1950s big band version of Sun Ra, especially on tracks like ‘Firefly’. That said, the whole sound is also undoubtedly augmented with wild brushstrokes of astral whimsy throughout.

The much-loved ‘Somebody Else’s Idea’, first recorded with June Tyson in 1955, gets a run out here, as does Ra’s ‘Chopin’ jam. Elsewhere there’s a woozy cover of ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’, and the near title track ‘Day Of The Living Sky’ floats on a cosmic soundbed of plucked zither instruments. Though perhaps the highlight is ‘Marshall’s Groove’, which stretches itself sonically over an insouciant, walking double bass with percussion accompaniment, at least until the indomitable Allen, who hopefully celebrates his ninety-ninth entry day next May, takes the whole thing up a notch as other brass players pile on.


That Sun Ra’s music perseveres even beyond the lifespan of its founder might raise a bone of contention with some, but the Arkestra is not like other bands. As one of the key founders of Afrofuturism, Herman “Sonny” Blount brought much more to the world than simply a band. The Arkestra is a proto-Black Power movement and a philosophy in itself that transcends mere death and, Ra willing, it will outlive us all. In the meanwhile, Living Sky brings balm to the world even after the lowering of the Sun.

Source: AllMusic

Rebecca Vasmant - With Love, From Glasgow

With Love, From Glasgow

by Rebecca Vasmant

Released 4 June 2021

Rebecca's Records

****-

With Love, From Glasgow is a mesmerizing debut LP from Rebecca Vasmant, via her own imprint Rebecca’s Records. The Glaswegian musician, producer and DJ, has spent the last five years curating loads musical moments around the world, bringing a fresh new twist to dance music with her love for jazz. Beyond her eclecticism, Vasmant now showcases her talent in composing, producing and performing, delivering a strong piece comprised by eleven tracks that feature the breadth of the incredible jazz talent Glasgow has to offer.

Though known for its rich musical heritage, Glasgow is not a city perhaps synonymous with the genre. On With Love, From Glasgow Rebecca Vasmant proves that pre-conception wrong, as her cohort of hand picked musicians perform brilliantly. This debut is a smooth affair, filled with musical textures that co-exist in total harmony and peace. Through the ethereal, floating textures of LP opener “Start Of Time” via the the uptempo beats and horns of first single “Jewels Of Thought”, and the sombre, reflective sonics of tracks such as “Morning Mourning”, With Love, From Glasgow is an emotive and calming listen from start to finish. Available in vinyl and digital formats, for the collectors, this album is a crucial insight into the modern day sounds of a city which has already contributed so much to music culture.

Source: O Sotao

Hagan - Textures

Textures

by Hagan

Released 7 October 2021

Python Syndicate

****-

Staying true to the UK’s gritty and bass-heavy sound, whilst maintaining firm roots to his African background, Hagan is known for delivering Afro-Bass and tight-knit percussive energy to his music. Inspired by UK Funky but operating on an altogether more divergent plane, Hagan explores creating authentic melodies and bass lines, coupled with distinctive and dynamic drums 

Hagan shares his long-awaited debut album Textures with previously unheard fusion single ‘Telha ft. Luedji Luna & Sango’ - a sun-kissed percussive track with lush vocals dancing over sparkling guitar riffs and broken beats - out now on Python Syndicate.

A stunning debut that showcases Hagan’s carefully honed production skills - the product of a life in music - Textures is an homage to global sounds and influences, an expression of his journey of self-discovery and reflection on his British-Ghanaian heritage, and showcases his keen love for collaboration.

Recorded between London and Accra, the project draws out a range of Afro-influenced sounds while listing the collaboration of emerging talents across the vibrant landscape of contemporary African music, Aymos, Bryte, Meron T, Ayeisha Raquel, Griffit Vigo and more. A bold step into Hagan’s Afrocentric sonic realm and creative vision.

Source: Bandcamp

Donna Thompson - Something True (EP)

Something True (EP)

by Donna Thompson

Released 22 July 2022

PRAH Recordings

****-

Music has never left DONNA THOMPSON, but for a while she left it. There was no loss of love for the craft itself; instead it was the collision of trying to find space and time to create running up against the realities of having to pay rent and make a living.

And, as anyone who gives up something they love can attest, once you’re out it’s hard to get yourself back in.

Donna, however, is back IN. Skip forward a few years and she’s now a key figure and collaborator in the increasingly legendary Total Refreshment Centre, back in her groove as a musician and fighting hard for that creative headspace she once thought she’d lost.

She announces her debut EP Something True with "Matchstick", presented as a reminder to just breathe, be thankful and exist in the present, is shared today.

"Sometimes I get really stuck in my head and bogged down in things that take over my brain space and make me feel low. I took a step back and actually looked at my life and all the everyday occurrences and people that remind me that, actually, most things I experience aren’t too bad. I’m really grateful for these things."

Source: Bandcamp

Robert Glasper - Black Radio III

Black Radio III (Supreme Edition)

by Robert Glasper

Released 14 October 2022

Loma Vista Recordings

****-

Four-time Grammy winner Robert Glasper has reissued his 2022 album, Black Radio III, with a deluxe edition.

Black Radio III (Supreme Edition), divided into two discs, features the 13 tracks that appeared on the standard version released in February.

It includes nine additional tracks on side two, including the recently shared “Therapy pt. 2” featuring the late Mac Miller.

In a recent interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music, Glasper shared how the idea of the song came to life. “I was in another studio session and he called me one night like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘Actually man, I’m in the studio.’ He said, ‘Man, I’m in the lab too… I need to be inspired. Send me something!’ I was like, ‘Word, ok,’ so I just sent him the track I was working on and he literally sent that joint back in like 45 minutes to an hour.”
He added, “The whole song was done in 45 minutes to an hour. He was always like that, he always wanted to work. Few times he came and sat in with me, some of my shows, always talking about music. He just really lived off music. Music was literally his air. Gonna miss that dude.”

 

Additional new original songs on the album include “My Queen” featuring Luke James, “Voyage to Atlantis” with Bilal and Alex Isley, and the Emily King-assisted “Invitation,” to name a few.

Estelle also appears on the new version, while India.Arie, PJ Morton and BJ The Chicago Kid, who made the star-studded tracklist of the original version, make a recurring appearance on disc two.

Source: Rated R&B

Burnin Music (Various Artists) - V/A 5 Years Burnin Music Compilation

V/A 5 Years Burnin Music Compilation

by Burnin Music (Various Artists)

Released 14 October 2022

Burnin' Music

****-

5 years of hard work, it's time for Burnin Music to celebrate.

We have contacted all the artists that we came across in 5 years, whether they released on the label or not, and asked for demos.

The quality of stuff we received was so brilliant that we moved from releasing a digital-only compilation to a vinyl record!

We are pleased to introduce 8 tracks by 8 brilliant producers hailing from Cologne, Leipzig, London, Marseille, Munich, Paris and Tel Aviv.

8 artists, 8 definitions of electronic music but one sound philosophy:
Burnin Music.

To compliment the music we asked Theo Cerri, a talented artist living in Edinburgh, to design the cover.

Source: Bandcamp

Sean Shibe - Lost and Found

Lost and Found

by Sean Shibe

Released 26 August 2022

Penatone

****-

Scottish classical guitarist Sean Shibe has been digging into some seriously unusual repertoire over the past few years, perhaps most notably on his SoftLOUD album from 2018 which split the difference between pieces for the electric guitar (including an excellent performance of Steve Reich’s classic Electric Counterpoint), and Scottish lute pieces. This is his second CD for Pentatone, after his previous recital Camino that included the music of composers like Federico Mompou and Francis Poulenc.

Sean Shibe

Here Shibe has really pushed out the boat, and I suspect it’s not going to be to all tastes. He presents an electric-guitar-only recital that he describes by saying that we might imagine the album to be “something like an overflowing toybox… but what appears to be child’s play portends something darker and ecstatic, particularly when rendered through the post-modern chaos of the electric guitar”.

The repertoire leaps from Hildegard von Bingen to Chick Corea and Bill Evans, from outsider composer Moondog to Messiaen and Meredith Monk, and that’s without mentioning the younger composers here, too.

What caught my ear, though, was Shibe’s sometimes rather self-conscious performance of these works as electric pieces. One of the fantastic things about the guitar (electric or otherwise) is its ability to produce minute shades of tone colour, but Shibe is heavy-handed here. Hildegard von Bingen’s pure, ethereal O Choruscans Lux Stellarum ends up so dense with effects pedals that it put me in mind of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack. Likewise, Moondog’s jazz-inflected works suffer here as well. Moondog’s Sea Horse in its original format is played on a rather dry-sounding piano, accentuating the gaps in the phrases. Here, Shibe’s overdriven guitar is drenched in so much reverb that the tail of the previous phrase is still going by the time the next one kicks in, and the same composer’s delicate Pastoral II here edges alarmingly close to ‘80s new-age muzak. That being said, there are several new works that Shibe’s timbral explorations work well with; Leith’s Pushing My Thumb Through A Plate is a hazy reverb-ed exploration of tuning-key glissandos, while Feshareki’s Venus / Zohreh builds and builds over several minutes to a richly satisfying ending.

Still, I think the works where Shibe’s sound is less upfront showcase his wonderfully naturalistic playing much better. Both Bill Evans’ Peace Piece and two of Chick Corea’s Children’s Songs make the piano-to-guitar journey with ease, but while Meredith Monk and Olivier Messiaen’s choral works here are played with the sort of ease to the phrasing that most guitarists would kill for (and a beautifully recorded sound), I still found myself missing the richness of the vocal originals.

I love what Shibe is aiming for here in general, but I think there’s definitely a tonal middle ground between the rather raw overdriven electric guitars tailed with delays and reverbs, and the other end of the spectrum. Still, this repertoire is fertile (and incredibly under-explored) territory. I’m keen to see where Shibe goes next, whatever sort of sounds he’s making.

Source: Limelight

JD Allen - Americana, Vol. 2

Americana, Vol. 2

by JD Allen

 

Released 26 August 2022

Savant Records

****-

Saxophonist JD Allen bookends his latest celebration of the blues with strong moods and a repeated sultry riff. “Up South”, a nickname for Allen’s hometown Detroit, opens the album at a medium pace; the closer, “Down South”, a reference to Mississippi, delivers the slow blues as a field-holler cry.

In between, the saxophonist draws inspiration from the struggles and triumphs of “The Great Migration” of African-Americans from south to north. Personal reflections are in the mix alongside musings on how to achieve a post-pandemic “better place”. But it is the power of the blues that lights up the album, here delivered with vibrant sonic clarity and pared-down rhythmic heft.

As on 2016’s Americana: Musings on Jazz and Blues, drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Gregg August cushion Allen’s muse with sparse riffs and stripped-down beats. But here the chromatic saxophone twists gain from guitarist Charlie Hunter’s resonant authenticity and pull the blues further into a modernist shape. That opening track unfurls hypnotically without changing key and fine detail grips with each passing bar.

The first of two covers, “This World is a Mean World”, comes two tracks in. A lone voice sings the refrain, Hunter ghosts the line and Allen’s sax brings the song to life. The second, Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker’s “You Don’t Know Me”, showcases Allen’s warm heart on the ballad of the set.
Allen’s original pieces evoke movement and conflict while digging deep into the blues. “Irene (Mother)”, named after the great grandmother who migrated to Detroit, shimmers with guitar vibrato and preaching sax while the uplifting skirl of “Hammer and Hoe” celebrates sharecroppers on the march. And there’s a country flavour to “The Battle of Blair Mountain”, which remembers the armed conflict on the West Virginia coalfield in 1921.

Three trio tracks put the spotlight on the sculpted precision of Allen’s appeal. Here, sparse double-bass strums come with swished-brush support and plangent bowed-bass lines float on a bed of cymbal rolls. Allen’s melodic gift fills the gaps, delivered with power and a gorgeous tone.

Source: Financial Times

Various Artists - Here It Is A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

by Various Artists

Released 14 October 2022

Blue Note

****-

Beyond the gazillion artists who’ve tackled “Hallelujah” in his lifetime, the poetry of Leonard Cohen has been well and kindly celebrated by close collaborators and those most influenced by his words and work. Yet Cohen’s adroit musicality—the cunning nimble-fingeredness of his melodies that made up his tower of song—has never before been tested to the extent it is with the new various-artists comp Here It Is.

Producer and one-time Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock collaborator Larry Klein knows his way around eclectic, elastic jazz, and to that end welcomed a core band of guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Nate Smith (wiith Greg Leisz on pedal steel and Larry Goldings on organ) to manipulate the subtle majesty of Cohen’s music for a murderer’s row of vocalists on a varied, often less-than-obvious selection of tracks.

Brazilian jazz-chamber vocalist Luciana Souza appropriates the blunt cut of “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” as something more casual and relaxed-fit, as does Cohen’s folkie contemporary James Taylor on “Coming Back to You.” What’s interesting about hearing Taylor’s sand-and-smoke vocals wrapped around such coy and clever lines is that you’re reminded of how simply effective an interpreter of the shades of human emotion Taylor can be when he puts his mind to it. The same is true of the fine, flat-line readings of the soulful “Steer Your Way” from Norah Jones and the surprisingly cool serpentine of “Hallelujah” by Sarah McLachlan.

“If It Be Your Will” becomes gospelized, caramelized putty in the hands of Mavis Staples, while Peter Gabriel’s take on the title track never shies from Cohen’s own high watermark of spirituality and stateliness, with both tracks acting as exemplars of matching the perfect words and Klein’s sloe-gin fizzy arrangements to their correct voices. No one, though, is more aptly matched to Cohen’s deftly quick-witted and humorous sense of finality than Iggy Pop lending his existential Franco-louche-jazz touch to “You Want It Darker.”

All that voice and yet it’s two instrumentals on Here It Is that stand out the sharpest. While Frisell goes his wiry, yawning American wide vista thing across the slow plains of “Bird on the Wire,” saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins - a thoughtful, holy Coltrane for the 21st century - leads the wounded romanticism of “Avalanche,” its golden hills and conquered pain, through more emotionally driven sluices and valleys than imagined. Leonard Cohen probably imagined all of these possibilities, but that’s a query for another day.

Source: Flood Magazine

Andrew Bird - Inside Problems

Inside Problems

by Andrew Bird

Released 3 June 2022

Wegawarm Records / Loma Vista Recordings

****-

The political and social problems of the larger world were troubling Andrew Bird on his 2019 album My Finest Work Yet, and three years later, he's decided it's time to shift his thematic focus.

2022's Inside Problems finds him looking inward, claiming as inspiration the random thoughts that drift through his mind as he lies in bed, trying to get to sleep.

Given the often impressionistic nature of his lyrics, occasionally it's not immediately obvious that Bird is describing what's in his head rather than what's happening outside his door, but that's probably part of the point; as he wryly asks in the song "Atomized," "Is each of us an island, or more like Finland?" Bird's musings are his own, and they're also relatable, rooted in the very human struggle to find some sort of positive purpose in life's mammoth unpredictability. They aren't always perfect aphorisms, but Bird is smart enough (and emotionally healthy enough) to be asking the right sort of questions about who we are, what we do, and why we do it, and he manages to sound smart, thoughtful, and playful at the same time. His musings are a welcome match for the graceful blend of folk, indie rock, R&B, and jazz he and his band summon on this album. Bird's violin work is virtuosic when he wants it to be, but he's musician enough to know when to be subtle. The interplay between his fiddle (both bowed and plucked) and the easy, comfortable grooves created by his bandmates is never less than pleasing, making the most of his melodies while giving everyone the latitude and dynamics to explore the space around them. In its way, Inside Problems deals with weighty themes in a modest, manageable way, and that's one of its greatest virtues; here, Andrew Bird is a mildly quirky regular guy with some thoughts to share and a fiddle to help carry them across, and self-analysis is rarely as fun and rewarding as this.

Source: AllMusic

And for an October surprise, listen also to Bird's new single, a duet with Phoebe Bridgers an interpretation of Emily Dickenson's poem, I felt a Funeral, in my Brain​ (released 26 October 2022). 

The poem served as an inspiration for Bird’s album, Inside Problems, which was released earlier this year.

“[The poem] became an inspiration for the songs on Inside Problems. Who better to sing it with than Phoebe Bridgers? I sent her a demo and so, here we are,” Bird explains. “Thanks to Ms. Dickinson’s publisher at Harvard University Press for allowing us to use this poem. As I understand, her poems weren’t published as she intended them until the 1950s—that is, without the heavy hand of her male editors”.

Source: The VInyl Factory

Crown Heights Affair - Do It Your Way

Do It Your Way

by Crown Heights Affair

Released 12 April 1976

Sanctuary Records

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With one foot in disco and the other in soul/funk, the Crown Heights Affair had a very recognizable sound that effectively combined grit and gloss. The Brooklyn residents could get funky, but it wasn't the type of hardcore, gutbucket funk that Parliament/Funkadelic, Rick James, the Ohio Players, the Bar-Kays and the Gap Band were known for. And while Crown Heights Affair had plenty of disco appeal, it wasn't the type of Euro-disco that Cerrone, the Silver Convention and Donna Summer gave us. One of the band's best albums was Do It Your Way, which boasted the Top 20 R&B hit "Dancin'." While radio favored "Dancin'," clubs weren't about to play the single exclusively -- club DJs considered the entire album fair game, and they knew that infectious album cuts like "Music Is the World," "Love Me" and "Searching for Your Love" could easily bring a dance floor to life. 

Source: AllMusic

Henry Jamison - The Years

The Years

by Henry Jamison

Released 29 April 2022

Color Study / Ultra Records

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The trick to reading poetry, I've found, is to read the same poem many times. On the first read, my mind often skims across the surface. Extracting feeling and meaning requires deliberate attention and engagement. I found the same to be true listening to The Years, a new album from Burlington singer-songwriter Henry Jamison. If I let it, Jamison's soft vocals and typically gentle instrumentation fade to the background, like coffee shop tunes. But when I focus, I find lyricism that touches the questions that most plague me: What's the point of all this? Where do I go from here?

Jamison himself is a fan of the 20th-century poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and, like Rilke, he plumbs contradictory notes of joy and suffering, drive and ennui, progressiveness and nostalgia that define the human condition.

If that's a bit heady, here's a more practical description: The Years consists of 10 songs rooted in Jamison's acoustic picking and humming tenor. Think a less twangy Gregory Alan Isakov or a less experimental Big Thief.

Jamison's lyrics paint a portrait of a young person at a crossroads. This album was created during the pandemic, when he and other touring musicians were suddenly stuck at home. The resulting songs will resonate with people in all kinds of transitory situations.

Consider the title track, "The Years," which includes lines such as "Time flies even when we're not having any fun" and "See, reality is hiding in plain sight." Lyrics that could sound utterly depressing are, in Jamison's hands, contemplative and even hopeful.

He finds contentment in unanswered questions, such as on "To Ash," cowritten with composer Nico Muhly: "So I drove to Lakeside, parked my car and walked around / Looking for an answer, but I found nothing," Jamison sings. "...Still, I'd say the seeking must mean something."

On "Make It Out," Jamison collaborates with Maisie Peters, whose childlike voice and clever songwriting catapulted her to fame on YouTube and TikTok. Though the duet is intimate, focusing on a couple in a hotel room, Peters sometimes sounds like she's singing from a fishbowl, implying emotional distance between the two characters. Jamison's voice, not attention-grabbing on its own, grows and glows when joined with others'.

Speaking of TikTok, the Peters track made me curious about Jamison's presence on that app, where the future of pop-music tastemaking resides. Jamison doesn't appear to have an account, but other people have set his music behind montages of the mundane yet lovely details of their daily lives — latte art, walks in the woods, strawberries rinsed in the sink.

Like those videos, Jamison's songs show the way that art grounded in the personal can feel universal. For those who aren't exactly sure who they are or what they're doing here, it can be helpful to learn how others approach the confusion. As Rilke wrote in the poem "People at Night": "They say always 'I' and 'I' / And mean — they know not whom."

Source: Seven Days

Itzhak Ventura - Aligned

Aligned

by Itzhak Ventura

Released 26 August 2022

Riverboat Records / World Music Network

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NEY (an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Arabic music.) artist, composer, producer & live performer Itzhak Ventura honed his NEY skills growing up in the vibrant port city of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, his hometown and symbol of the resurgence of israel ethnic music.
Being widely regarded as a leading NEY player , he immersed himself in learning and exploring the Arabic, Turkish, and Persian NEY styles.
In addition to playing with The JERUSALEM ORCHESTRA EAST & WEST since its inception in 2009, he has played with renowned orchestras and musicians across a wide range of musical genres.
Ventura was inspired by some of the greatest NEY players in history and top Present day musicians to create a new hybrid that combines ancient NEY flute sounds and motifs with contemporary sounds and production while maintaining the traditional sensibilities he was raised with.
Featuring ten original compositions his debut album combines traditional motifs and virtuos​​ic expressions.
Accompanying Ventura are some of the finest musicians: Avri Borochov (double bass), Aviv Cohen (drums) and Yonatan Daskal (piano, keyboards), responsables of bringing a new updated sound that reflects the colorful diversity of local musicians.

Source: Soundcloud

The Djari Project - Natenela Mizrahi, Guwanbal Gurruwiwi

The Djari Project 

by Natenela Mizrahi, Guwanbal Gurruwiwi

Released 30 October 2020

Natenela Mizrahi, Guwanbal Gurruwiwi

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The Djari Project presents the collaboration of Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and Netanela Mizrahi, two exceptionally creative music-makers featuring music in Indigenous languages for chamber ensemble, voice (Guwanbal), yidaki and choir. Theirs is an artistic collaboration of four years of writing together – choral and chamber music in different ancient languages including Yolngu’matha, Hebrew and Old Norse. Their work represents their contribution to Reconciliation and Treaty in Australia, earning them in 2019, a nomination for a Northern Territory Human Rights Award for the impact of their musical works. They have also been commissioned by the Arafura Music Collective and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra.

Having made their inaugural appearance at the 2019 Desert Song Festival, Guwanbal and Netanela return in 2022 to present the Centralian Premiere of ‘Love and Dreaming’ – an innovative work that explores Indigenous stories of birth, death and dying and an appeal for Treaty and Reconciliation, bringing their different musical traditions to the creative process through a song sequence which will not only be very beautiful but will bring understanding, respect and appreciation for both Aboriginal and Western musical traditions.

Source: Desert Song Festival

Camilla George - Ibio-Ibio

Ibio-Ibio

by Camilla George

Released 30 September 2022

Ever records / K7 Music GmbH

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Saxophonist, composer, bandleader and innovator Camilla George makes a stunning return with her third album ‘Ibio-Ibio’ - a rich, cultural journey dedicated to her Ibibio tribe of south eastern coastal Nigeria, out 30th September on Ever Records / !K7 Music on black vinyl, CD, as well as a limited run of yellow vinyl.

The album is a heady mix of afrobeat, hip hop and jazz co-produced by Camilla George. Across eight tracks, Camilla’s virtuosic alto saxophone performance collaborates with a stellar line-up of some of the hottest players in London’s jazz scene including Daniel Casimir (bass), Shirley Tetteh (guitar), Winston Clifford (drums), Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet), Rosie Turton (trombone), Renato Paris (vocals), Sarah Tandy (keys), plus Senegalese kora player Kadialy Kouyate, acclaimed US drummer Daru Jones (Jack White, Pete Rock, Talib Kweli), and Birmingham’s finest MC Lady Sanity.

Camilla describes: “This album is a celebration of roots, creation and community. The Ibibio people, related to the Anang are the most ancient settlers in Nigeria. They stand for community and togetherness - something that in these increasingly strange times, gives me guidance, hope and comfort. I have dedicated ‘Ibio-Ibio’ to the Ibibio people and celebrate our creation and beliefs. Ibio-Ibio is a nickname for the Ibibio people, meaning brief / short, which is a reference to our quick and direct way of doing things and not our height!”

Source: Bandcamp

Ravyn Lenae - Hypnos

Hypnos

by Ravyn Lenae

Released 17 June 2022

Atlantic Recording Corporation

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Chicago High School of The Arts alumni Ravyn Lenae has been gearing up to release her debut album for a few years now, and standing tall at 16 tracks long, Hypnos is the sound of an artist that clearly does not want to fit into any box.

Statement opener ‘Cameo’ is the first instance of unconventionality on the record, with extravagant bass squelches that would normally be found on a new jack swing track in the ’80s, rather than a 21st century R&B record. Contrasted with the inherent slow tempo of the track and Lenae’s flair for all-encompassing harmonies, it’s an epic starter.

‘Cameo’ serves as the perfect introduction for following track ‘Venom’, one of the album’s highlights which is bold to present this early on in the track listing. It’s a glitchy bop that has the quirkiness of mid-’00s electronic indie (see the debut albums by Calvin Harris and Gwen Stefani), together with the gentleness of soulful R&B from the same era.

R&B is the thread that runs throughout ‘Hypnos’, with a modest handful of the tracks appearing on the record falling into the archetypal slow jam and love ballad territory. It’s in the more obscure areas where Lenae excels, like ‘M.I.A’, which sees her channel the attitude of Doja Cat against a disoriented Afrobeats backdrop, ‘Deep In The World’ which is so beyond ethereal it softly ventures into psychedelia, and ‘Xtacy’, where she toys with club beats and distorted vocals in a fluid and soul-searching groove. Although it is objectively left-field, it still fits in line with the inherently tender and considered disposition of the entire record.

Hypnos is a colourful and other-worldly debut, aligning with its obvious influences but also way beyond that, capturing the same unconventional essence as Janet Jackson in her ’90s prime. Ravyn Lenae is invigorating and distorting R&B, fit for her Gen Z digital milieu.

Source: Loud and Quiet

Rory Block - Ain't Nobody Worried

Ain't Nobody Worried

by Rory Block

Released 30 September 2022

Stony Plain Rights Management

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Seven-time Blues Music Award winner Rory Block makes magic happen just by playing the songs she loves on her new album Ain’t Nobody Worried.

The record is a set of covers tunes by legendary female artists that Block puts through her personal acoustic blues machine to arrive at new versions that will entertain and inspire. It may well be the most ambitious release of her lifetime. It features Block having her way with hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s by Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples, Mary Wells, Tracy Chapman, and other formidable women. It’s a big departure from the Robert Johnson/Bessie Smith sound she’s known for but her leap of faith into this material paid off handsomely.

Ain’t Nobody Worried is the third installment in Block’s Power Women of the Blues series of albums. She co-produced it with Rob Davis and their sessions went down at Kentucky Studios in Sandy Hook, Kentucky. Block played all the guitar, bass, and percussion parts and sang all the vocals, making the record a true one-person show.

“The inspiration for this recording was born during the dreaded shut-downs,” Block said. “Being quarantined led us to the idea of Home Broadcasts, which soon blossomed into two concerts per week over two years with an incredible following of viewers from around the world. We were all hungry for togetherness and music, and found ourselves clinging to the idea that some form of normalcy still existed, somewhere, almost certainly in music. After covering just about every blues, folk and Old Timey song I ever knew, the idea popped into my head to reach into the iconic songbook of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Rory Block is considered by many to be the finest acoustic blues interpreter alive today. She learned her blues directly from many of the genre’s originators. Her father ran a sandal shop in Greenwich Village during the 60s folk boom and young Rory was influenced by people like Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, and John Sebastian. She left home at age 15 to seek out the last of the old blues masters, including Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, and Son House, and gain firsthand knowledge of their traditions. Block has since released more than 30 albums, won countless awards, and become a respected figure in the blues community.

Every song on Ain’t Nobody Worried is one you know by heart and the set quickly becomes a profound singalong. Block opens by honoring the great Mavis Staples with a cover of her eternal gospel crossover hit “I’ll Take You There.” She makes no attempt at recreating the original track but captures its essence and vibe, instead. Block isn’t here to make replicas but to recall and celebrate the memories and emotions these songs hold for so many of us and get them back into circulation.

One of the best moments on Ain’t Nobody Worried is Block’s ultra-soulful take on Gladys Knight’s radio smash “Midnight Train To Georgia.” The song adapts to the acoustic setting amazingly well and Rory puts every bit of herself into it. She does fine work on all the vocal parts and lays down a subtle, funky guitar pocket that will set you in motion.

Block does an equally outstanding job on Tracy Chapman’s 80s classic “Fast Car.” She adds some deep blues to Chapman’s folk/rock flavor, including some wonderful slide guitar licks that send the song in a more Southern direction than its original arrangement. It’s a great example of how small changes can reshape the emotions of a familiar song.

Other highlights on Ain’t Nobody Worried you won’t want to miss include Martha Reeves’ “Dancing In The Streets,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend,” and Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train.” Block claims them all in the name of love and she overflows with affection and respect for each one. Rory Block is the best there is at what she does and Ain’t Nobody Worried is the pure soul medicine so many of us need right now. Spin it once and let your healing begin

Source: Rock and Blues Muse

Alana Diane - Looking Glass

Looking Glass

by Alana Diane

Released 14 October 2022

Alana Diane, Naive

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We are shaped by the events in our lives, and for Alela Diane, one of those events was reading Lewis Carroll, whose book, Through the Looking Glass, helps evoke the two meanings of her new collection, Looking Glass. Initially, a looking glass was nothing more than a mirror, yet after the 1871 novel, it also became a term meaning “the opposite of what is normal or expected.” As Diane notes, “Looking Glass refers to both meanings. It is a portal to past and future, and a reflection on all that lies between.”

The album was born in a September windstorm as historic wildfires swirled through the America’s west coast. Sitting down at the piano in her backyard, what began as a meditation on the disaster changed into a fever dream on the volatility of contemporary life. “Howling Wind” became the metaphor for examining the collective fears and sorrows of recent times. If we have been going through a great reckoning, as she points out, “These (are) days of uncertainty, of fragility, of war, of disease, of brutality, of grief, but also hope, beauty, and love. ‘Howling Wind’ is a song for that feeling, whatever you call it.”

Finding shelter becomes a constant theme running through Looking Glass. One that plays out in “Dream a River.” A professed homebody, at the age of 19, her parents divorced, and the house she’d grown up in was sold. Sixteen years later, the house was up for sale again. On a trip to the old homestead in Nevada City, she found no one at home, but the front door was open, inviting her in. She entered to find her old memories. Using a soft-focus piano, the track plays out memories of a time thought to have been gone forever. She finds herself ‘a trespasser in the place she once called home.”

Recalling her own brush with death during the birth of her daughter, “Camellia” spells out the “February bloom, February blood, Camellia.” Listening to the track it almost feels too personal, yet that chorus pulls you through with its beauty and love. It’s a point of demarcation where it becomes clear that despite events that are intensely personal, there are lessons we can all learn from them. While the piano of Diane may be sombre, Heather Woods Broderick’s flute provides a gorgeous counterpoint.

Transforming moments from her life into songs that we can all relate to, Alela Diane’s Looking Glass reveals a songwriter whose depth is undeniable and whose performances create unforgettable memories.

Source: Folk Radio

Carmen Lundy - Fade To Black

Fade To Black

by Carmen Lundy

Released 30 September 2022

Afrasia Productions

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“Fade To Black,” the 16th album from the multi-talented and multi-faceted Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Carmen Lundy, is a stunning and provocative song cycle created during the turbulent and often isolating times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Featuring 11 tracks all written by Carmen, “Fade To Black” explores such themes as the rethinking of our personal values, loss, a woman’s right to vote and choice, the invasive culture of modern technology, commitment – both to oneself and to one’s partner, and police brutality. (Just a few key points of discussion!) “Fade To Black” will be released September 30thvia Afrasia Productions with tour dates to accompany including a New Year’s Eve engagement at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

 

Jazzy, passionate, introspective, thoughtful, smart, kind, honoring and loving, Carmen has crafted an album without borders that transfixes its listeners. Carmen explains, “I approached the writing of these compositions from being in this moment. Not necessarily looking back, but observant of the times we live in NOW. Traditional Jazz composition involves understanding its evolution and the spirit of improvisation. I wanted to explore different approaches to harmonic progressions, extended forms, and subtle rhythmic concepts while providing plenty of space where lyrics and melodies sing and tell stories without necessarily feeling the need to represent preconceived ideas about vocal jazz, harmonies or rhythms.”

A stellar group of musicians accompany Carmen on “Fade To Black” including Kenny Davis on acoustic and electric bass, Giveton Gelin on trumpet, Morgan Guerin on tenor sax, Terreon Gully on drums, Curtis Lundy on acoustic bass, Andrew Renfroe on guitar, Wallace Roney Jr. on trumpet, Julius Rodriguez on piano, Camille Thurman on tenor sax and keyboard prodigy Matthew Whitaker on organ and keyboards. Carmen, of course, sings all vocals and also plays keyboards, guitar and percussion.

All songs on “Fade To Black” were written and arranged by Carmen and the album was produced by Carmen and Elisabeth Oei. It was recorded and mixed by Don Murray at Stagg Street Studios and Afrasia Studios, and mastered by Eric Boulanger at The Bakery Mastering Lab.

As well as being a celebrated singer, Lundy is also a critically acclaimed visual artist (check out a gallery of her work on her website www.carmenlundy.com). Her extraordinary art graces the cover of “Fade To Black”, with one of her works illustrating the album title. Several of Carmen’s multi-media sculptures will be featured as part of the upcoming Shifting The Narrative: Jazz And Gender Justice exhibit opening at Detroit’s Carr Center October 14th. Curated by Terri Lyne Carrington, the exhibit is an artistic, biographical, and academic narrative that spans the past, present and future of jazz and considers a more equitable cultivation of the art form through a variety of multi-disciplinary mediums. The exhibit exists at the intersection of history, corrective work, gender, race and innovation.

Also a burgeoning filmmaker, Carmen’s first documentary, “Nothing But The Blood – The True Story Of The Apostolic Singers Of Miami,” will world premiere at the DTLA Film Festival (Los Angeles) on Saturday, September 17th. The Apostolic Singers (featuring singers from several generations of Carmen’s family) have performed for over 40 years in the Florida area and never made a studio recording documenting their incredible gospel voices until December 26, 1991. A true labor of love, “Nothing But the Blood” documents the taping of their first recording session ever, complete with interviews.

“Fade To Black” was funded by a New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America (CMA). The commission was granted in 2019 and was written during the challenging months of the pandemic. “My hope is that these songs reflect this time of great loss, sorrow, healing and hope for a brighter, more inclusive future for us all,” said Carmen, “Thank you to CMA for their dedication and support for the arts and Jazz Composition in particular.”

Source: Carmen Lundy

Jade Imagine - Cold Memory

Cold Memory

by Jade Imagine

Released 21 October 2022

Milk! Records

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Melbourne three-piece jade imagine return with their sophomore album Cold Memory due October 21st via Milk! Records / Remote Control Records.

Cold Memory was written and recorded between Melbourne, Warrnambool in regional Victoria, and Fremantle, Western Australia, offering ten songs exploring notions of connection – to self, to nature, and to others.

Since their first release, jade imagine has secured numerous notable support slots, including shows with 80s royalty The Pretenders (UK), Angel Olsen (US), Benjamin Booker (US), Alvvays (US), Lucy Dacus (US), Stella Donnelly, Julia Jacklin, Pond and Phantastic Ferniture. In March 2018 the band travelled to the US to showcase at the prestigious SXSW music conference in Austin, as well as playing key shows in Los Angeles and New York City.

Dive into jade imagine's 'Cold Memory' and let the swirling melody wash over you.
Credits:
Tim Harvey - guitar, synth, vocals, percussion, piano
Jade McInally - vocals, guitar, synth, percussion, piano
Madeline Lo-Booth - bass
Marcel Tussie - drums
Jane Harvey - extra vocals on “Instinct”, “Cold Memory” & “I Guess We’ll Just Wait”, Synth on “Lines”
Vocals on Grow Taller by Nile Marr
Guitar on Get Light by Thomas Taranto
 

Source: Bandcamp

Batida - Neon Colonialismo

Neon Colonialismo

by Batida

Released 21 October 2022

Batida | Crammed Discs

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Neon Colonialismo is the new album (the first under his own artistic persona since 2014) by Batida aka Pedro Coqueñao, the Angolan born, Lisbon-raised artist who is viewed as a major catalyst of the Afro-electronic scene.
Carried by subtle and refined electronic production, the ten tracks alternate between vocal and instrumental songs and travel across the  Portuguese-speaking world, from Portugal to Angola through Cabo Verde and Brazil.
The album features many distinguished guests: DJ Satelite, Bonga, Mayra Andrade, Poté, Nástio Mosquito, Ikonoklasta, Octa Push, Lia de Itamaracá, DJ Dolores, João Morgado, Botto Trindade, Pedro da Linha & Branko.

Source: Bandcamp

Marlon Williams - My Boy

My Boy

by Marlon Williams

Released 9 September 2022

Virgin Music

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On My Boy, Marlon Williams has a little more pep in his step than on previous outings. It may not be the equivalent of an ANOHNI going disco revelation, but to his credit, he got the voice right. Those two albums are still very different, but what Williams does manage to capture, more than on any other album he’s released, is jubilance. As a New Zealander, Williams has always had more than a surprisingly adept knack for country music, and when flexing his baritone in his cavernous and minimalist production, he was able to elicit his own brand of isolated mysticism. That croon is still evident on his newest album, but what’s new is his seemingly ineffable swagger.

Even on a track like “Princes Walk”, which attempts to extricate his retro sheen in favor of something more melancholic, Williams can’t help from injecting it with a celestial atmosphere that brings it closer to someone like Dent May than to any of his previous work. Even the similarly mellow “Trips” has a reverence that feels both regal and biting in a way he rarely divulges. Williams expertly marries the disparate styles with an overarching, rich production, and that binds the light, effortless pop tracks to the headier numbers while remaining true to himself as the mouthpiece. The only real misstep comes on “Morning Crystals”, where Williams, in his quest for to provide himself with more “fun” songs to play on stage, kneecaps some stellar instrumentation and inspired verses, with a chorus so inane and silly it threatens to torpedo the rest of the album.

Instead, Williams smartly bookends the track with a couple more cerebral cuts and focuses the audience’s attention on the album as a whole. In that respect, My Boy is a success, an album that rebrands its creator in a genuinely bold new way, something that is attempted often but is rarely this effective. It may not be his strongest outing, but it’s easily his most rousing.

Source: Glide Magazine

CARRTOONS - Homegrown

Homegrown

by CARRTOONS

Released 20 April 2022