With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. No lengthy write-ups as who reads those anyway? We keep it short and to the point because you’re here to listen to the music! Check out our weekly mini-guide below and if you like what you hear, click the links and support the artists.
Chouk Bwa & The Ångstromers – Vodou Alé
Afro-Caribbean voodoo polyrhythms meet bass-weight dub electronics on Vodou Alé, the debut full-length collaboration between Haitian six-piece Chouk Bwa and Belgian production duo, The Ångströmers. The traditional and contemporary collide on this nine-track merger of distinct Haitian mizik rasin (roots music) and rumbling electronic production, forging a thrilling and hypnotic dialogue between minimalist sound design and Afro-Haitian drum talk. Now, all we need is for gigs to return so we get to see these guys live as that would be a killer. Essential listening.
Azu Tiwaline – Magnetic Service E.P.
Bringing the heat with each new release is Azu Tiwaline. On her new EP for she Livity Sound explores the intersections of Amazigh music, dub culture and techno hypnosis across four enticing tracks. Magnetic Service finds Tiwaline collaborating with musician and sound artist Cinna Peyghamy on two tracks, continuing her exploration of hypnotic percussion and the mystique of the Tunisian Sahara, that we first heard on her debut offering Draw Me A Silence back in May. Although it’s more stripped back than its predecessors, there’s still tremendous energy running throughout to keep you on the edge of your seat. Quickly cementing herself as one of this year’s most exciting new artists, we can’t wait to hear what’s to come next!
Tomotsugu Nakamura – Literature
This is the fifth album in seven years from Tomotsugu Nakamura – yet this is my first time listening to his music. Literature by the Tokyo-based musician and graphic designer is definitely an album that rewards those that take a little time out and get fully immersed in the atmospheric soundscapes. Full of gentle, glistening compositions and instrumentation, I think this new album by Nakamura is really quite stunning. Expect minimal acoustic, electronic tones and some field recordings. Hit play and enjoy some fabulous, warming electro-acoustic vibes.
Wu Cloud – Pulse Rimba
Based in Melbourne, his music hovers between ambient and psychedelic, bubbling with drops of exotica and lush fielding recordings. This album is the great result of an experiment in improvisation and freeing oneself from vast amounts of studio gadgetry and painstaking programming. For his debut album, he retreated to the Sumatran jungle armed with only the minimalist of gear that included an iPad, Korg Monotron space delay and duo, an Electroharmonix 720 Loop pedal, a Zoom h2n portable recorder and a locally brought Angklung. Gentle in its approach, from the moment the gorgeously enticing tropical soundscape of ‘Weh Island’ starts to the rich jungle noises and of closing cut ‘Merak (Fading Ankling)’ this album is a world of warmth that is easy on the ear. With the world on edge, this is definitely a record you’ll want to spend a lot of time with.
Speaker Music – Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
A seemingly out-of-the-blue release from Speaker Music in response to recent events. Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry like SAULT’s recent LP is a powerful, and timely body of work that captures the anger felt in black communities in the US and all the world over. The album explores Zimbabwean poet Tsitsi Ella JajiI’s concept of “stereomodernism,” or as she describes: “dubbing in stereo for solidarity.” Rhythmanalyst DeForrest Brown Jr.’s second release for Planet Mu as Speaker Music is one that can challenge and entertain the listener in equal measure. Press play and be greeted by a barrage of skittering electronics, free jazz, industrial rhythms and harsh techno intertwined with spoken word pieces, samples of police radios, news clips and more. It may take several listens to allow the genius of this album to sink in, but this one features all kinds of ear-splitting brilliance. The 11 -track album also comes with a PDF booklet designed by Make Techno Black Again which is well worth a look. All label profits from this release will be donated to beam.community and m4bl.org.
Park Hye Jin – How Can I
Seoul-born DJ, producer, rapper and singer 박혜진 (Park Hye Jin) makes a welcome return with a new EP, titled How Can I. Created in transit as Hye Jin travelled around Europe, North America and Australia while on tour during 2019 the project is full of worldwide sounds. The six-track EP sees Hye Jin blending dreamy house, techno, hip-hop and footwork music with pop melodies and her super smooth vocals smothered on top. Park Hye Jye is spreading her musical wings, from the pumping techno of ‘NO’ to footwork inspired ‘How come’ she continues to cement herself as a key new player in club culture. It’s a wonderful EP that was well worth the wait – listen below.
Extra Soul Perception – New Tangents In Kampala, London & Nairobi Vol. 1
Extra Soul Perception, is a new collaborative project connecting artists from the UK, Kenya and Uganda. The collective is made up of Faizal Mostrixx (Ug), Hibotep (Ug), K15 (UK), Karun (Ke), Labdi (Ke), Lex Amor (UK), Lynda Dawn (UK) and Maxwell Owin (UK). Funded by the British Council’s New Art New Audiences initiative, the eight artists got together late last year for a week-long writing camp at Nairobi’s Supersonic Africa studio. The first EP of music made in Nairobi featuring five tracks by all eight artists in different combinations and three cameos. Hard to pick a favourite but Lynda Dawn and Bes Kept’s smooth soul on ‘Roses’ harks backs to 80s boogie in the most refined way possible. Pure niceness all the way through. Roll on Vol.2!
Mansur Brown – Tesuto
Next up on Soulection Records, the LA-based label welcomes London guitarist Mansur Brown with his new EP ‘Tesuto’. The 23-year-old artist comes through with a three-track project of instrumental pieces that span R&B, hip hop, electronic and ambient music. The title of this deeply personal project means “test” in Japanese and Mansur describes the EP as “representative of life and the struggles everyone universally goes through and looking at these obstacles and challenges as tests.” Such is his virtouso skills Brown is he’s able to paint vivid stories through picturesque soundscapes, where words are not needed. Essential listening.