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. 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.

Albums

Duo Brothers – Cookie Stars

Following last year’s self-titled debut LP, the Duo Brothers are back with a new full-length, called Cookie Stars. Visionary Tel Aviv artists Sol Monk (drums) and Yonatan Levy (guitar/bass) have taken the cool from their debut album to another level, lifting off into “spaceship jazz” territory. Think Khrubangin meets psychedelic jazz, groovy synths, soft riffs, and flowing beats all effortlessly bounce off of one another, masterfully spaced and minimalistic, leaving each room to breathe. Highly recommended…

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Bailmaya Project – Wolo So

Balimaya Project, the 16-piece supergroup featuring Kokoroko and SEED Ensemble members, has have unveiled their debut album, ‘Wolo So’. Released on Jazz re:freshed, the seven-track album sees the band blend driving collective polyrhythms, blazing frontline horns, and virtuosic kora stylings with traditional Mandé music/culture and contemporary jazz music. Armed with an array of interesting instruments, Wolo So is a delight from start to finish.

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Trippers & Askers – Acorns

Inspired by Octavia E Butler’s dystopian novel ‘Parable of the Sower’, the debut Trippers & Askers LP ‘Acorn’ blends spiritual jazz and traditional styles in ways that pose fundamental questions about the nature of ‘American’ music. As the world descends into madness and anarchy, this delicately played music will provide momentary calming relief.

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James Brandon Lewis, Patrick Holmes, Ches Smith & Josh Werner – Resilient Vessels, Live At The Cell

A beautifully improvised and enchanting jazz journey from four killer musicians. Bassist and visual artist Josh Werner is helped by James Brandon Lewis, Ches Smith, and Patrick Holmes for a live recording that draws inspiration from Don Cherry, Roy Ayers, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Tribe Called Quest, and downtown art-rock vibes.

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Joel Culpepper – Sgt Culpepper

If you’re looking for some soulful sunshine in your life, Joel Culpepper’s got precisely what you need. Combining warm, vintage elements of soul, funk, and r&b with London’s contemporary musical landscape, his music feels timelessly classic and incredibly modern. ‘Sgt Culpepper’ is packed with upbeat energy, charismatic storytelling, clever pop melodies, masterly production, and, of course, his magnificent, soulful voice.

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Clair – Earth Mothers

New age minimalism combines with neo-classical soundscapes, and that’s only part of the story. Glasgow-based producer Clair only started making music to cope during the first lockdown, yet her sound came fully formed like an old pro. The seven-song album she styles as coming from “a place of healing through nature” features everything from field recordings, random objects ranging from sex toys to a mini sewing machine to jewellery tools, and even a blow torch. Immerse yourself in the colourful and vivid atmospherics of ‘Earth Mothers’ below.

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Blood Wine Or Honey – DTx2

Self-described hypno-tropicalia duo multi-instrumentalists James Banbury and Joseph von Hess, aka Blood Wine Or Honey, return with their second album. Unlike its predecessor, DTx2 features various co-conspirators, including KT Tunstall, Zoë Brewster, Preservation, Paul Morley, and Janice Lau. If you’re looking for something fun, fresh, and vibrant, then look no further, as DTx2 has it all.

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Aaron Dilloway & Lucrecia Dalt – Lucy & Aaron 

Following last year, self-explanatory Field Recordings in the Forest of Colombia experimental music titans Lucrecia Dalt and Aaron Dilloway create hypnotic, immaculately designed avant-garde soundscapes on Lucy & Aaron. Never one to sit still, the experimental collaborators move in strange new directions creating a genre-blending opus full of weirdo pop and hypnotic electronica. Oh, and I love the cover art by Pieter Schoolwerth.

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DJ Plead – Relentless Trills

Armed with his trusted Yamaha’ Oriental’ keyboard, Australian producer DJ Plead presents a slow-grooving album of minimal dancehall riddims. ‘Relentless Trills’ fuses middle-eastern mystic with mellow percussive rhythms over six tracks that keep you on the edge of your seat from the very first note. Dubwise electronics ranging from the autotuned, bass bumping ‘RT1’ to the dark, smoky aesthetic of ‘RT4’ to the hypnotic, spacey vibes of ‘RT5.’ Future ‘Album Of The Week’ for sure. Take a listen below; it’s really something. 

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Reissues

Okyerema Asante – Drum Message

Here’s a little taste of the seminal, long-lost Afro jazz/funk album ‘Drum Message’, recorded in 1977 and unavailable until now. The brilliant ‘Mother Africa’ features Gil Scott Heron collaborator Brian Jackson on flute and Plunky Nkabinde (Oneness of Juju) on sax for a dancefloor Afro-jazz workout combining Ghanaian percussion and a hypnotic bassline. Essential!

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CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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