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. Each week we select new records, from across the musical soundscape, that require your attention. Happy listening – and don’t forget to hit the links and support the artists.

Jimi Tenor – Aulos

Aulos’ is Finnish saxophonist Jimi Tenor’s second outing on the Philophon label. Taking its name from an ancient Greek woodwind instrument, the LP is packed full of groove-based music with African-style bass lines. Once again like his ‘Order Of Nothingness’ album, ‘Aulos’ sees Tenor teaming up with percussionists Ekow Alabi Savage and Max Weissenfeldt. It’s ace but we already know it was gonna be brilliant!

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Matthew Halsall – Salute To The Sun

‘Salute To The Sun’ is Matthew Halsall’s first album as a leader since Into Forever back in 2015. The album features a brand new hand-picked ensemble featuring some of Manchester’s finest young musicians: Matt Cliffe (flute, saxophone), Maddie Herbert (harp), Liviu Gheorghe (piano), Alan Taylor (drums), Jack McCarthy (percussion) and long-time Halsall collaborator, Gavin Barras(bass). Inspired by ambient field recordings of jungles and rainforests – the music here is earthy and organic. One of the most soothing and meditative records this year.

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Sarathy Korwar & Upaj Collective – Night Dreamer Direct​-​to​-​Disc Sessions

Having released one of 2019’s standout jazz albums with ‘More Arriving’, London-based multi-instrumentalist Sarathy Korwar returns with more fire! Working with the UPAJ Collective his new project is the seventh release in Night Dreamers incredible direct-to-disc session series which has seen recordings by Emma-Jean Thackray, Etuk Ubong, and Baba Zula to name a few. Across five tracks, you’ll hear authentic Indian classic music sitting alongside celestial, spiritual jazz resulting in a fascinating fusion project!

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Danalogue x Alabaster dePlume – I Was Not Sleeping

Holy shit! This collaboration between Danalogue and Alabaster dePlume is even better than expected. In their music, the pair seek to find utopia amidst a real-world reality of austerity, divisional politics and a UK lurching towards the right-wing. The title of the record I Was Not Sleeping addresses this explicitly. Weaving experimental electronic around the sounds of hip-hop, lo-fi, cosmic jazz, and spoken word, this is a dizzying affair. There’s not a duff track, but if I had to choose a favourite, then ‘Broken Tooth Skyline’ featuring the always brilliant Joshua Idehen is truly sublime. Absolutely recommended.

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Teno Afrika – Amapiano Selections

Teno Afrika’s Amapiano Selections gives us a tantalising glimpse into South Africa’s ever-evolving Amapiano music movement. “Amapiano is a genre that I chose because I have a passion for it,” says Teno “I started following amapiano in 2016 because I wanted to explore how it’s produced. It was not taken seriously in our country.” Four years on from discovering the music Teno Afrika delivers a masterclass in Amapiano music with eight mid-tempo cuts that nod their head to house, jazz, gospel and kwaito. This is a wild ride, but an exciting one, and a must-listen for all those craving a night out in a sweaty club on the dancefloor. 

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Jabu – Sweet Company

Where Jabu first LP, Sleep Heavy, was an unflinching exploration of grief, dark and disembodied, Sweet Company’s deep, sedative soul feels like more of a lovers’ outing: optimistic, becalmed, looking outwards as well as inwards, and longing for the kind of human connections where ego and self-consciousness might dissolve. It’s a record to lose yourself inside wholly. If you don’t grab a copy after the first listen, then I suggest buying some Otex Express.

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Reissues

Leila – Like Weather (Remastered Edition)

Leila’s classic debut album ‘Like Weather’, originally released on Aphex Twin and Grant Wilson-Claridge’s Rephlex label in 1998 gets it’s long deserved reissue. Newly and painstakingly remastered by Rashad Becker and available for the first time on any format for more than 20 years. Like Weather encompasses thirteen tracks (plus two bonus cuts) that travel across many corners of the musical universe from R&B, drone pop, experimental, electronic, and beyond. A musical journey that 20 or so years later, I am still not tired of listening to – a bonafide, timeless, classic.

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EP’s

Surgeons Girl – A Violet Sleep EP

The thoughtful and immersive otherwordly synth explorations of Surgeons Girl’s ‘A Violet Sleep’ EP mark a stunning, dream-like debut for the Bristol-based artist to close a tumultuous year. Across four tracks she weaves emotive and enveloping sounds from her instruments, taking cues from the likes of Suzanne Ciani, Laurel Halo and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Of the four tracks, closer ‘Sympathetic Cycle’ has the vibe that hits me every time.

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Five more worth your ears… 

Sun Ra Arkestra – Egypt 71

CS + Kreme – Reel Torque 20

Time Cow – Time Cow’s Live Prog Dancehall From Home

Jneiro Jarel – After a Thousand Years 

Mr Bongo Record Club 4

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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