With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for brand-new music to drop online and go overlooked. To help prevent this, we’ve picked five new releases you may have missed but need to hear — stream music from Kinkajous, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, mindswimmer, Resavoir and Damon Locks – Black Monument Ensemble. If you like what you hear, hit the links and support the artists.
Kinkajous – Hidden Lines
Here we have the long-awaited debut LP from Kinkajous. Across the nine tracks, the band bring together their diverse experiences from across the musical spectrum – orchestral to jazz, world and electronic into what they define as a “transcendental exploration of sound and time”. ‘Black Idiom Pt I and II’ flow gently together to create a long, diverse, and exciting piece. ‘Dotah’ takes you through an emotive soundscape riddled with bursts of sax and woozy electronics. If the vibrant energy of ‘Loke’ does not enthral you, then the strong bass clarinet line and intricate drum patterns, of ‘Jupiter’ certainly will. A fine debut album, press play and bask in the glorious sounds of Kinkajous. There’s so much to discover here.
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble – Be Known Ancient / Future / Music
Kahil El’ Zabar’s spiritual afro-jazz outfit Ethnic Heritage Ensemble delivers a dazzling new album. Alongside ElZabar on multi-percussion and vocals is Corey Wilkes on trumpet, Alex Harding on baritone sax and Ian Maksin on cello. Be Known Ancient / Future / Music channels a deep and cosmic synthesis of Afro-jazz. Wonderful.
mindswimmer – the new line of demarcation
Chicago future jazz outfit mindwimmer continues to impress with the third in the band’s 12 releases. Arguably their best offering to date, the album is powerful and dreamy at the same time. An explosion of warm electronics, intricate percussion, and jazzy improvised greatness topped off by evocative vocal stylings of shev rock. From the downtempo-inflected opener ‘bridges not walls’ to the searching ‘spiritual gravity’ to the deep funk grooves of ‘backpedallin’ and ‘funk sermon’, the album’s extended emotional arc comes to a cathartic crescendo on ‘jericho’. Sit back and relax and this wonderful album below!
Resavoir – Resavoir
Will Miller leads a stellar cast of musicians for this 9-track album. Collectively known as Resavoir their self-titled album presents a juicy suite of elegantly-orchestrated lo-fi jazz instrumentals germinated from home recording experiments by Miller. The core lineup features Irvin Pierce on saxophone, Akenya Seymour on keys/vocals, Lane Beckstrom on bass, Peter Manheim on drums, Jeremy Cunningham on drums and Miller on trumpet/synths. Superbly played, and put together, tracks such as the mid-tempo ‘Resavoir’, and ‘Taking Flight’ glid elegantly. ‘Phantasy’ is more intricate, whereas album closer ‘LML’ is warm and melodic. This is brilliant psychedelic soul jazz on the forefront of the Chicago jazz scene. Highly recommended.
Damon Locks – Black Monument Ensemble – Where Future Unfolds
“From Little Acorns Do Mighty Oaks Grow”. Beginning as a solo work of sound collages by Damon Locks, this project blossomed into a fifteen-piece group called Black Monument Ensemble. Captured live and in the moment at Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory in Chicago, Where Future Unfolds is crammed packed with poignant civil rights samples, fierce drum machine grooves, thundering percussion, and spirited gospel harmonies. Recalling the positive messages of black empowerment once expressed by Phil Cohran, Eddie Gale, Archie Shepp, and Public Enemy, the album presents an inspired, innovative and immediate intersection of gospel, jazz, activism and 808 breaks. Throughout the performance Lock and the Black Monument Ensemble deliver a rousing and heartfelt message. An electrifying project that has me eagerly awaiting their next move.