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.
Julianna Barwick – Healing Is A Miracle
As promised, Julianna Barwick has unveiled her transcendent fourth full-length LP Healing Is A Miracle into the world, and as expected – it’s incredible. Enlisting the help of three guest musicians – Sigur Rós’s Jónsi, Nosaj Thing and Mary Lattimore the eight-song record began life in spring of last year when Barwick sat down with her vocal looping set-up and began sketching out some ideas for new solo material. It’s amazing how Barwick can conjure up such a far-reaching sound using just her voice and a few select instruments. Easily one of the electronic albums of the year.
Vanessa Worm – Vanessa 77
Following three much-loved single releases, the lockdown-delayed debut studio album from Vanessa Worm lands via Optimo. Titled Vanessa 77, the New Zealander’s first full length skips tantalisingly over a myriad of styles embracing everything from psychedelic-house music to disco-punk, synth-pop and beyond. It’s an album where anything can happen musically and often does not everything works, but when she gets the mix right, as on recent single ‘In Heaven We Are’ it works a treat! If you’re a fan of RAMZi, Sweet Whirl and CS + Kreme give this album a try.
Kutiman – Wachaga
Travelling to Tanzania in 204 armed with a few microphones, video recording equipment and his inquisitive mind Kutiman recorded the surroundings and ‘Wachaga’ is the stunning result of that adventure. Spliced with recordings made with saxophonist Shlomi Alon, trumpeter Sefi Zisling and trombonist Yair Slutzki, alongside his playing and studio wizardry the mix of field recordings with spiritual jazz, psychedelia and global beats is a wonder to behold. If the music isn’t enough to pull you in (it should be) each of the nine tracks is accompanied by a colourful video. Definitely an album you’ll want to spend some time with.
Zara McFarlane – Songs of An Unknown Tongue
Some artists like to play it safe releasing carbon copy music year on year, but not Zara McFarlane. Songs of An Unknown Tongue, her fourth studio album sees McFarlane take another progressive step in both songwriting and sound. Over ten tracks Songs of An Unknown Tongue has that unique and exciting quality of keeping you on the edge of your seat; never quite knowing what direction the next song will take you. While her last album Arise, drew on reggae as its main influence here she pushes the boundaries of jazz adjacent music via an exploration into the folk and spiritual traditions of her ancestral motherland, Jamaica. The production from Kwake Bass and Wu-lu is futuristic with their otherworldly grooves and cosmic beats providing the backdrop for her rich vocal tones which of course steal the show. Seriously, her vocals on ‘Native Nomad’ and ‘Roots Of Freedom’ are simply heavenly and will have you hitting repeat. Essential.
Otis Sandsjö – Y-OTIS 2
The purveyors of exceptional musical flavours from around the globe We Jazz Records keep the goods coming! The Helsinki-based label stops off in Germany for their latest cutting edge release from Berlin-based saxophonist Otis Sandsjö. The 10-track record titled ‘Y-OTIS 2’ takes the concept of beat-driven “liquid jazz” created by Sandjsö and his close collaborator producer/bassist Petter Eldh onto the next level. The core group also includes Dan Nicholls on keys and Tilo Weber on drums. With a sound that pulls in so many different directions that is not quite sure whether it’s coming or going, Y-OTIS 2 is the perfect genre-bending and forward-looking soundtrack to these strange days. Ten tracks of utter musical goodness on the always brilliant We Jazz!
Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – Chicago Waves
Back in 2018 life-long Los Angelenos and musical collaborators Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson flew to Chicago to contribute to Makaya McCraven’s album Universal Beings. While in the “Windy City” their creative juices started overflowing, and the pair concocted this beautiful album. Recorded at International Anthem’s Chicago HQ, Niño spontaneously dubbed by the impromptu session ‘Chicago Waves’. It’s ambient music at its core but with so much more built around that framework. Be sure to wrap your headphones on tight when you listen to this one on; you won’t want one droplet of the outside world to invade your headspace. Over eighty minutes of music, you can get lost in. Lovely stuff.
Anna Homler & Alessio Capovilla – Vasi Comunicanti
Breadwoman’s Anna Homler and Italian composer Alessio Capovilla conjure up dreamlike sounds on their collaborative project, titled Vasi Comunicanti. The 5-track record invites us into her world of subtle beauty, with Capovilla taking care of synths, drums programming and audio engineering, and Homler singing in her melodic phonetic language, mixing unique voice and sound effects. From the quasi-dub rhythms meet whistle and soft vocals of opener ‘De’ la Cocce’ onto the meditative ‘Ricordo’ and closing with the intense vibes of ‘Mem’ this collection delights from start to finish. On repeat this this evening and into the early hours.