With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. Each week we select five new releases from across the musical soundscape, that require your attention. Stream music from Collocutor, Alabaster Deplume, Jeremy Cunningham, Cosmic Neighbourhood and MHYSA. If you like what you hear, hit the links and support the artists.
Collocutor – Continuation
London-based quintet Collocutor return with their album ‘Continuation’. The six-track record is said to be about coping with grief, loss, and bereavement, and looking at the aftermath of the unexpected loss. It follows 2016’s ‘The Search’ which gained the considerable support of Mulatu Astake and Gilles Peterson among others. Collocutor’s 5-member band includes Tamar Osborn (baritone sax, bass clarinet & flute), Mike Lesirge (tenor sax & alto flute), Suman Joshi (bass), Marco Piccioni (guitar), and Maurizio Ravalico (percussion). Josephine Davies performs tenor sax on three cuts. Shifting from a septet to quintet for the new LP. The change in line-up creates space for the musicians to express themselves through the shades of ‘Continuation’s movement making it an exciting, and unpredictable album with plenty of individual inspired moments from each player. Led by Osborn, the band effortlessly combine modal, and spiritual jazz, with a pinch of ambience and funk thrown in for good measure to create a unique album that is a true delight to the ears.
Alabaster Deplume – To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1
London-based artist Alabaster DePlume makes a more than welcome return. To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1, combines tracks collected from his Copernicus, The Jester and Peach LP’s plus a few new tunes featuring Dan’ Danalogue’ Leavers of The Comet Is Coming and Sarathy Korwar alongside a host of talented musicians. The 11-track collection is dedicated to Cy and Lee two men with learning difficulties who he worked with at Manchester-based charity Ordinary Lifestyles for ten years. Helping them and their friends to socialise they would make melodies together, humming tunes in various settings. DePlume would record these impromptu sessions in his phone, then go to the studio and use the material as starting points for songs. Some artist make music that is beyond categorisation and DePlume is one such artist. It’s a deeply meditative listening experience so if you’re feeling weighed down from negative thoughts, stress, and the tensions of modern life grab your headphones, put them on, sit back, relax and listen to this sublime piece of work. To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 is an incredibly charming album that will enchant and uplift in equal measure.
Jeremy Cunningham – The Weather Up There
Chicago-based drummer, composer, and improviser Jeremy Cunningham just dropped his new album, titled The Weather Up There, via Northern Spy Records. Co-produced by Jeff Parker and Paul Bryan (Aimee Man), the LP features stellar collaborators from Ben La Mar Gay, Jaimie Branch, Tomeka Reid, and Makaya McCraven among others who all help to enrich the album. The ten-song record was written in response to the loss of Cunningham’s brother Andrew who was tragically killed with an assault rifle during a home invasion robbery. It’s a deeply personal album, the writing of which acted as Cunningham’s way of dealing with the loss of his brother. Cunningham explains the album in his own words: “I wrote The Weather Up There to confront the loss of my brother Andrew to gun violence, who died in a home invasion robbery some 10 years ago. My brother was a kind soul, and I used those warm memories of him to illustrate his life as a counterpoint to the pieces that confront his tragic end. Recorded accounts from my family and friends appear throughout the album to show just how far the ripple effect of gun violence extends through a community.” Tracks worth a special mention are ‘Sleep’, ‘All I Know’, ‘1985’, ‘Hike’ and the title cut. If you do nothing else this weekend, then listen to this emotionally charged, bittersweet album.
Cosmic Neighbourhood – Library Vol 1
From the creative musical mind of York-based illustrator and musician Adam Higton, aka Cosmic Neighborhood comes a dazzling collection of library music. The album finds Higton sonically straddling new and old, taking modular electronics, flutes, bells and softly pattering drum machines, before colouring them all with the amber glow of some forgotten, psychedelic kids’ TV programme. Sixteen vignettes (all songs under 2 minutes each), which are brilliant and effectively addictive. Each of the tracks is a tightly packed musical adventure unto its own. Cosmic Neighbourhood is an extraordinary talent. There is no denying it and Library Vol 1 is a wonderful breath of fresh air.
MHYSA – NEVAEH
MHYSA follows her 2017 debut ‘fantasii’ with ‘NEVAEH’ an album she describes as “a prayer for Black women and femmes to be taken to or find a new and better world away from the apocalypse”. NEVAEH finds MHYSA exploring sex and sexuality, self-love and self-discovery, black empowerment and lineage. From covers of classics such as Nas’ – ‘If I Ruled the World’ and a reprise of ‘When the Saints’ to the melancholic R&B sounds of ‘Brand Nu’ and ‘w_me’, and the wicked swagger of ‘Sanaa Lathan’ this album is a true breath of fresh air. If you want some beautifully intimate music for these dreary and cold nights, then this is the LP for you. Anyway who couldn’t love an album with a track entitled: sad slutty baby wants more from the world?