Between The Cracks: Essential Releases You Need To Hear

With so much good music coming through thick and fast, it’s easy for albums to drop online and go overlooked. So many great releases floating around it’s time to check out the musical delights that have graced our ears in the last seven days. Happy listening – and don’t forget to hit the links and support the artists.

Rob Mazurek – Exploding Star Orchestra – Dimensional Stardust

This new album by Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra project isn’t out yet, but we thought we’d get in early. Marking his third album for the Chicago label, Dimensional Stardust was recorded between August 2019 and March 2020, over a handful of dates and saw Mazurek collaborate with some incredible musicians such as Damon Locks, Jeff Parker, Jaimie Branch, Mikel Patrick Avery, Tomeka Reid, Chad Taylor, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and more. Fans of ensemble work by Horace Tapscott and Sun Ra need to get their ears around this avant-garde jazz adventure.


Randy Kerber & Jowee Omicil – Y PATI

Recorded at the Studio Pigalle in Paris a few months back this album from Randy Kerber and Jowee Omicil is an absolute joy! Y Pati consists of thirteen pieces of pure improvisation, fleeting moments, the desire to play, lengthy dialogues, rambling duos, jazz antics, a nod to Miles, blues fantasies, a tribute to Jowee’s father or a tender gesture for Randy’s daughter. Of the thirteen tracks, only three are currently available to stream at the time of writing, but if the rest of the album is as good, it’s going to be a real treat!


Subvert Labs – Subvert Vol 1

We love this album concocted by FarFetched, Smoke Signal Studios, and CTWO (Center for Third World Organizing). The album we’re talking about is Subvert Volume 1 a collaborative project full of honest, thought-provoking lyrics, killer hooks and vibes. FarFetched founder, Damon Davis’ centres the album around the integration of music and activism showcasing artists on the forefront vigorously involved within their communities. Right from the start, the music touches you in the most heartwarming way with ‘Fight For It’ a mix of soothing rhythms and A’Viana Naree’s lush vocals. Big up St. Louis, big up to all involved.


Pan Amsterdam – HA Chu

The one and only Pan Amsterdam returns with a new album. Following his brilliant debut, The Pocket Watch, one of our favourite albums of 2018, the rapper comes through with another masterpiece. Once again, he creates a perfect blend of jazz and rap there’s also some fascinating and funny interlude skits taken from interviews on the road (the album was written while touring with Iggy Pop). Sitting somewhere in between Open Mike Eagle and Jon Wayne, you have everything from the menacing ‘Dried Saliva’, to the minimal, finger-snapping swagger of ‘Script’. With an eclectic array of guest including Iggy Pop, Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson and Doves’ Jimi Goodwin this is not to be missed!


Sauce and Dogs – Sauce and Dogs

We’ve had our ears on Sauce And Dogs ever since we heard a track on Worldwide FM a few months ago. Shrouded in mystery the anonymous band crave out a potent mix of dance-punk-funk-jazz vibrations with an undercurrent of Brazilian swagger! All we know is that Gilles Peterson is involved and Earl Zinger created the artwork (check out the affiliated Instagram account). Oh, there is a live show coming soon so as they say-watch this space! Anyway, regardless who’s in the band these folks are seriously onto something. Essential!


Trees Speak – Shadow Forms 

‘Shadow Forms’ is the third album, and second this year for Soul Jazz Records, by Trees Speak. The Tuscon, Arizona brother-duo come correct once again with their Can, Neu!, and influenced motorik rhythms and New York No Wave vibrations. Their music also flirts with the 1960s and 1970s soundtracks (think Italian prog-rock Goblin and John Carpenter horror movies, and Morricone. If you like your music to come in different flavours and for an album to have a sound and style very much of its own, then this Shadow Forms is for you.



Claremont Editions Vol 2 – Various

Every bit as ace as Vol 1 if not a little better, Claremont 56 founder Paul “Mudd” Murphy has curated a swift follow-up. From the blissful warmth of ‘Norway Storms’ to the psychedelic Latin rhythms and languid electric guitar solos of ‘Brillo De Luna’ this is another bright and alluring Balearic soundtrack to warm us up on these cold and dark winter days. Equally as beautiful as the music is the stunning cover artwork by legendary illustrator Jim Woodring.



Yazz Ahmed – Polyhymnia Remixed

Yazz Ahmed’s stunning ‘Polyhymnia’ LP gets the remix treatment from three talented underground producers DJ Plead, Asmara and Surly. The collection of reworks also features a lovely reinterpretation of ‘Barbara’ by Ahmed and trumpeter Noel Langley. 



STR4TA – Aspects

We already shared this release a while back in our Isolation Meditations #25 feature. Still, we thought we’d give it some extra love. Incognito’s Bluey and Gilles Peterson connect once again on this brilliant project. Reminds me of Dancing In Outer Space but with a potency and freshness that is future-facing. The Britfunk revival starts here!


And there’s more… 

Angel Bat Dawid & Tha Brothahood – Live

Common – A Beautiful Revolution {Part 1}

A Certain Ratio – Sextet

Afrikan Sciences – Survivors

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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