With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. Check out our weekly mini-guide to the best new records you need to hear. Happy listening – and don’t forget to hit the links and support the artists.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Mosaic of Transformation
West coast composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith recently unveiled her eighth album The Mosaic Of Transformation. Like her 2016 album Ears, this project marries otherworldly modular synths, with her ethereal tones and this time out she celebrates electricity and how it flows through us and in nature. Tracks worth a special mention are ‘The Steady Heart’, ‘Carrying Gravity’, ‘Remembering’ and the epic 10-minute closing suite ‘Expanding Electricity’. This is her best offering to date.
Fools – Fools’ Harp Vol 1
Ambient improvisations, minimal electronics, and exotic jazz experiments from Grizzly Bear founder member, Christopher Bear. ‘Fools’ Harp Vol. I’ find Bear breaking free from the more traditional ‘song’ and the concept of an album to create a free-flowing collection that he feels is “almost more like a mixtape than an ‘album’ per se.” Created during six-weeks of solo jam sessions where Bear would record each instrument himself and then experiment over his own recordings. There’s such a diverse array of sounds going on throughout this album, it’s impossible to pigeonhole, but his ear for detail and the dreamy, new age and ambient influences make it a truly calming listening experience. Quick shout out to The Slow Music Movement for putting us on to this release. Seriously, this is utterly lovely, and headphones are mandatory!
Awkward Corners – Dislocation Songs
Drawing on otherworldly ambient soundscapes, mellow beats and the uplifting vibes of devotional music, Awkward Corners provide the soothing musical balm that our ears need right now. Awkward Corners is the project of multifaceted Chris Menist, who among many other things is the percussionist for The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band and co-founder of Paradise Bangkok record label. The album titled ‘Dislocation Songs’ was initially started as a reaction to the UK post-Brexit vote and move towards isolation. But, it also feels hugely relevant right now as the world struggles in this unsettling time with the global pandemic. ‘Dislocation Songs‘ is a collection of 9 Mäkynen-penned originals ranging from the minimal, hypnotic compositions such as opener ‘Drawing A Blank’ to the lush, rhythmic production of tracks such as ‘I’ll Do It Tomorrow’. The albums most beautiful moments both feature Sarathy Korwar on tablas. ‘Just Around The Corner’ is the epitome of chilled out sounds as Korwar’s tablas taking centre stage alongside the exquisite sounding Shahi Baaj. The slowly evolving John Dillinger’s Death Mask Parts 1 & 2 is both chilling and comforting as Menist mingles dark, twisted beats with soft tabla that’s hidden behind an array of sounds—highly recommended.
Błoto – Błoto
The sublime debut album from Polish jazz / instrumental hip-hop quartet Błoto. The group consist of musicians from EABS including Marek Pędziwiatr aka Latarnik (keyboards/synthesizers), Paweł Stachowiak aka Wuja HZG (bass), Marcin Rak aka Cancer G (drums), and Olaf Węgier aka Książę Saxonii (tenor saxophone). Part jazz, part hip-hop, part beats, the ten tracks that make up the album were created late in August 2018 as a result of collective improvisation between the quartet at Grzegorz Skawiński’s Maska Studio in Gdańsk. According to the press release: “The music is deeply rooted in brutal hip-hop grooves, referring quite loosely to the sound of the 90s. Dirty and uncompromising, this music’s strength lies in the drums and bass. Radical in a sense, it also captures the atmosphere of the times in which it is created. The times of distinct social divisions, hate speech, growing nationalism, police brutality, nepotism, political deals and the dismantling of legal state structures. All this is happening before our eyes. Our soil is eroding right now.” Personal favourites for me are ‘Mady’, ‘Kałuże’, ‘Glina’ and the RZA-esque production of ‘Czarne ziemie’. Essential stuff for any self-respecting jazz and hip-hop head.
Hania Rani – Home
Hania Rani has just released ‘Home’ her second album with Manchester label Gondwana Records. “I feel like ‘Home’ is a second part of the same book, that the start was in ‘Esja’, a musical prelude to a real plot says Rani. “I feel ‘Home’ is a story with an ending, so the next book can tell a totally different one. I am constantly looking for new ways of expression. I am curious where ‘Home’ will lead me and my music”. The thirteen-track LP features Rani’s new band, bassist Ziemowit Klimek and drummer Wojtek Warmijak who appear on some of the albums stand out moments, the beguiling single ‘Leaving’, the title track ‘Home’, atmospheric ‘Tennen’ and the beautiful ‘I’ll Never Find Your Soul’. While ‘Esja’ was full of fresh and exciting solo piano pieces, ‘Home’ is more creatively adventurous with the added instrumentation giving her a more panoramic sound. Amazing album! This is what the world needs right now, thirteen soothing musical journeys.
Sarada Shashidhar – Rahu
Another winner from Leaving Records! Rahu is a thoroughly chilled and ethereal six-song journey from Sharada Shashidhar. Listeners are exposed to the full breadth of Shashidar’s technical prowess as a jazz singer, and with the help of Jamael Dean, her tones float exquisitely atop of some of the dreamiest nu-jazz and soul. The meditative lead single ‘Messages’ sets the tone for what’s to follow. Tracks like the atmospheric ‘Luckiest Shar’ or ‘Present’ with its mellow cosmic backdrop are soothing and utterly captivating. Musically the EP registers between R&B, soul, nu-jazz, and future beats, but the critical thing that marks out Shashidar is her staggering vocal range; and how effortlessly it spans all the various influences. Often smooth, sometimes energetic (‘Vexed’ & ‘Rotate’) Rahu will provide the perfect accompaniment for all those either currently working/studying/chilling at home.This is pure eargasm!
Sanjib – Underwater EP
After releases on Lett Records and Warok Music Lyon-based producer Sanjib lands on Russian label Secret Domain. Two years after his excellent first long-format production ‘From Earth to Heaven’, we’ve five tracks showcasing his unique ambient dub-techno sound. Tracks like ‘Dark Seaweed’ and ‘Underwater Movement’ bring a moody, and dark energy to the project, while the lighter and melodious tracks like ‘Blue Pole’, ‘Aquatic Sphere’ and ‘Blue Hole’ bring a sense of calm within his music. The Underwater EP finds Sanjib perfectly balancing the otherwise opposing styles with aplomb. An EP that gets better with every listen.
L’Eclair – нощта
Swiss groovers L’Eclair return with a new EP! Over four tracks the band deftly blend the raw energy of psychedelic funk with the mediative grooves of post dub and driving rhythm of afro. The record opens with ‘Cebando’, a swirling percussion-led groove built around some dubby effects. Third track ‘Dallas’ is an unmistakably funky adventure, while ‘Carousel’ comes packed with minimal synth sequences and unconventional cold post-dub rhythms. As for the title, we’ve no idea what it means, but we do know that нощта is a highly stimulating listen.