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.

On-Ly – Yurodivy

I’ve been meaning to listen to this album by pianist and producer Joshua Smeltink, aka On-Ly, for some time, and I’m glad I finally did. It is a superb album of jazz, beats and neo-classical sampling with a powerful concept that delves into Russian classic folk music and honours those who fought to protect and advance it against the powers that be. On-Ly’s music is at times bonkers, and it’s clear he is an artist making the music he wants without compromise. A unique and absorbing listen.

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Herbert – Musca

Born of intimacy and collaboration, Musca features eight singers, Verushka Grebenar-George, Siân Roseanna, Allie Armstrong, Bianca Rose, Melissa Uye-Parker, Daisy Godfrey, Yakoto Kieck and Joy Morgan – all of whom he had never worked with before or met face to face. It also features musicians Nick Ramm, Tom Herbert, Tom Skinner, Finn Peters, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Leo Taylor, who, like the singers, all self-recorded and in isolation from each other. This album is so perfect, blown away once again by the genius Matthew Herbert.

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Moor Mother- Black Encyclopedia Of The Air

US poet, activist and musician Moor Mother releases her seventh LP, Black Encyclopedia Of The Air. It is a musical blend of ethereal sounds, chilled beats, hip-hop, poetry, and rap. Producer Olof Melander provides the downtempo soundbed to which Moor Mother lays down her thought-provoking and constantly explosive words. If you love this, then look out for her new album with free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements. 

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Onipa – Tapes of Utopia

Onipa’s Tapes of Utopia is a reimagination of mixtape culture that blends analog tones of Afrobeat, Highlife and Soukous with Afrofuturism, rap, and electronics, evoking the days of African cassette tapes sold on street markets. They effortlessly transition between different styles while their politically astute lyricism is precise and overflowing. Tales of Utopia is a thrilling, 29-minute romp.

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 Vanishing Twin – Ookii Gekkou

‘Ookii Gekko’ is the third studio album by the London band Vanishing Twin and features Afro-funk and freeform jazz influences. It’s an exciting smorgasbord of psychedelic-pop tropes, with elements of jazz, library music, afro-funk, and Kosmische thrown in for good measure. It’s hard to pin down their sound, but it’s so easy to love.

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Kit Sebastian – Melodi

On their new album, Kit Martin and Merve Erdem take the listener on a trip from the beaches of Bahia to the streets of Istanbul and Paris as they weave a psychedelic tapestry of global influences, vintage synths, and melancholy élan. With references to world cinema and dusty records, the new album finds the pair expanding on the psychedelic jazz sound that distinguished their 2019 debut. Spend some time listening to the beautiful sounds of Kit Sebastian, and let your mind wander.

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Compilations

Various Artist – For The Love Of You, Vol. 2

Sam Don does it again with the second volume of the Lover Rock covers compilation ‘For The Love Of You’. First-class interpretations of tunes by Grover Washington Jr., Midnight Star, Meli’sa Morgan and Simply Red, and loads more. Strictly soul covers and strictly for the lovers!

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Reissues

Masabumi Kikuchi Quintet – End For The Beginning

French label Superfly Records has reissued the super rare Japanese jazz album from 1973 by the Masabumi Kikuchi Quintet. Beautiful modal and spiritual sensibilities, released in collaboration with Universal Music Japan and Production Dessinee. A seriously deep album – don’t miss!

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Takeru Muraoka Quartet – Takeru

Another beauty from Paris’s Superfly Records in collaboration with Universal Music Japan and Production Dessinee. This is a reissue of the sought-after Japanese modal jazz rarity ‘Takeru’, originally released on Philips Japan in 1970. Don’t miss out – it’s incredible!

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EP’s

Church Andrews & Matt Davies – POLLEN

Church Andrews & Matt Davies drop their second EP on Health. Across the EP, the duo explores the conversation between their instruments over four contrasting tracks using Davies drum performances to trigger Andrews synthesis setups. The pair has created a unique sound combining jazz, hip-hop, and dub techno using timbres, tunings, time signatures, and temporals.

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CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

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