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.
The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band – Expansions
The mysterious German steel pan outfit The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band return with their third album. It features some fantastic cover versions, which they flip with their signature style, expanding on the originals, with cuts from Slum Village, Grace Jones, Minnie Riperton, and many more. No duff tunes, just pure heat all the way.
Stimulator Jones – Low Budget Environments Striving For Perfection
Following up on his 2018 debut album ‘Exotic Worlds And Masterful Treasures’, Virginia-based hip-hop producer Stimulator Jones delivers a gritty instrumental beat tape titled ‘Low Budget Environments Striving For Perfection’. Jones simply describes the album as “tape hiss, turntables, and THC”, and its title was inspired by Ego Trip’s Book Of Rap Lists… A fine head-nodding, hissy way to end to the week.
D.zúk – Ishkhan
There’s nothing out there quite like the debut album from Yerevan producer D.zúk (“dzook” =” fish”). We find him dabbling in aquatic soundscapes on his fine first outing as he swims through a reflective mix of Armenian vocals with dub, ambient, and bass music. A fantastic album for those searching for something quirky and marvellous!
Maarja Nuut – Hinged
There is some excellent experimental music coming out of Estonia, and Maarja Nuut is leading the charge. Check out the consistently probing, quirky ambient electronics, distorted vocals, scattered beats and offbeat pop sounds of Nuut’s eclectic album. Bringing in an array of instruments, be it the violin, modular synths, live drums, and even a church organ, Nutt’s ever-changing soundscape will constantly hold your attention. If you haven’t yet, get acquainted with Estonian artists such as Ruum, Andres Lõo and Ratkiller; they also make fascinating music.
Salamanda – Allez
If you need an audio head massage, then leftfield ambient duo Salamanda have got you covered. Let the environmental sounds, delicate electronics and ethereal harmonies wash over you and rid you of any negative energy. Fetch your headphones and let this dreamy album unfold – another excellent release from the ever-reliable Good Morning Tapes.
Rachika Nayar – Fragments
The latest instalment of THERE, Commend’s ongoing series of music recorded beyond but inspired by the communal efforts of RVNG Intl. ‘s Lower East Side space, arrives courtesy of New York sound artist Rachika Nayar. Fragments is an EP of sonic miniatures Nayar constructed from guitar loops and in the familiar comforts of her bedroom. Headphones at the ready!
Kafari – Blanket of Black
Evocative, experimental, ambient piano explorations borne out of pandemic sadness and the rediscovery of an old hard drive full of healing sonic therapy. Float into the early evening with the gentle loops, delicate beats and cinematic sounds of Kafari’s all to short Blanket of Black album.
Nat Birchall – Ancient Africa
Nat Birchall travels to ‘the motherland’ to deliver a spiritual jazz gem. Ancient Africa is a beautiful, spacious, improvised collection that uplifts and elevates as soon as you hit play. A sublime showcase of his talents, everything you hear was written, produced, and played by one of the UK’s best-hidden jazz secrets. Birchall delivers yet again!
Foat, Heinola, Åkerblom – Gone To The Cats
What else is there to do when stuck in a small cabin in snowy pre-covid Norway? You could make improvised beat-laden jazzy soundtrack jams! Greg Foat teams up with the Finnish musicians Aleksi Heinola and Teemu Åkerblom for some killer 70s soundtrack and library music business. This is one of those albums where you can just sit back and let the music take you to another place. A fantastic record from the trio; here’s hoping they collaborate again real soon.
John Carroll Kirby – Cryptozoo: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Los Angeles based pianist, producer, and songwriter John Carroll ventures into the world of film soundtracks for his newest masterpiece. Press play, then repeat.