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.
Menagerie – Many Worlds
You might remember we posted about Australian 9-piece spiritual jazz group Menagerie, back in 2018. They dazzled us with The Arrow of Time, which you can stream here, and return with a follow-up album called ‘Many Worlds’. Led by renowned producer Lance Ferguson, the new album features some of Australia’s finest musicians, including pianist Mark Fitzgibbon, drummer Daniel Farrugia, renowned saxophonist Phil Noy (The Bamboos). Musically the 6-track LP is inspired by the post-Coltrane generation of the ’70s and the many resurgent jazz scenes worldwide. If you were impressed by their previous album, then this will be a joy to your ears – wonderful soul-jazz goodness for troubling times.
Stimulator Jones – La Mano
A more than welcome return after three years from multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer Stimulator Jones. Drawing on a myriad of influences from jazz, funk, blues, boogaloo, Latin, fusion, dub reggae, and psychedelic music, ‘La Mano’ features 13 striking collages of sonic hues. I love the way he effortlessly bounces around so many styles. Highlights are the lo-fi hip hop sounds of ‘Stoned Sneakers’, the improvised, swinging percussive patterns heard on ‘Drama Time’ and the smooth funk of ‘Cupcakes’. Incredible artistry and quality from beginning to end.
Goodparley – Canvas
Found this album randomly while Bandcamp surfing last weekend. Cardiff-based musician Oli Richards aka Goodparley new album is an exciting sonic experience that uses many lilting, jazz-inflected chord progressions sampled on acoustic guitar by long-term collaborator Il Bradipo as a canvas. Fantastic guitar work with so many reflective moments, gorgeous textures and varying moods.
Conny Frischauf – Die Drift
This album gets better and better and better with each spin. Conny Frischauf’s music takes in various influences from Kraut, ethno-dub, leftfield electronica to synth-pop. She playfully shines new light on retro sounds to create a fresh, contemporary sound. It’s hard to pick a favourite track, but Auf Wiedersehn gets it for its quirky disco grooves topped off by her deadpan vocal style. Also, the upbeat Roulette is pure audio goodness! Highly recommended.
Ralph Heide – Relief
Yet another brilliant album from the good folks at Kryptox Records. Part of Berlin’s avant-garde circles that mixes modern jazz, contemporary classical, electronica and experimental ambient music, Ralph Heide provides the perfect soundtrack for lockdown daydreaming. Relief explores raw beat structures, emotive horn lines, strong harmonical tensions and dramatic build-ups that are best enjoyed with headphones.
Elori Saxl – The Blue of Distance
Only three tracks are currently available at the time of writing, but that’s more than enough to excited about this release from Elori Saxl. Her new material’s strength shines bright on the teaser tracks, especially on the lovingly layered, dreamy soundscape of Wave II a song that gradually intensifies over time. On The Blue of Distance, the New York-based artist balances perfectly between organic and digital sounds. A breath of fresh musical air.
The Far East – New York Is For Lovers
A gorgeously easygoing mix of reggae, dub, and lover rocks, from the NYC-based quartet’s aptly titled New York Is For Lovers EP. It came out late last year, but it would be a shame for something this good to be passed by. Taking a classic song and making it your own isn’t easy but they breath new life into Evelyn “Champagne” King’s 1981 track, ‘I’m In Love’. A modern lovers rock masterpiece and the best records of its kind last year. This EP is hitting all the right sweet spots today.
|||||||||||||||||||| – Public Adamu Show
|||||||||||||||||||| or barcode (ˈbɑːkəʊd) is an artist shrouded in mystery. We know he or she is from Germany but that’s about it and we’re totally fine with not knowing who’s behind these wondrous sounds. Great work from barcode as he moves between post-dubstep and ambient realms keeping both head nodders and feet shufflers happy at the same time. Deep and warm music – love it.
Various Artists – Spiritual Jazz 13: NOW! Part 1 & 2
If you only buy two jazz compilations this year then make it Spiritual Jazz 13: NOW! Part 1 & 2 on Jazzman Records. The ‘Spiritual Jazz’ series has covered the genre from the ’50s to the ’80s, but now the label takes a deep dive into the contemporary scene. ‘Spiritual Jazz 13: Now, Pt. 1 & 2 explore the new wave of artists making forward-thinking jazz and includes Cat Toren, Shabaka & The Ancestors, Chip Wickham, Jimi Tenor, Vibration Black Finger, Wildflower, Angel Bat Dawid and more. There’s also music from veterans Steve Reid and Idris Ackamoor, providing a vital link between the past masters and the new generation. Tip!