Between The Cracks: New Albums, Compilations & EPs That Need Your Attention

 

Albums

Horace Andy – Midnight Rocker

Jamaican reggae legend Horace Andy returns with a new album entitled Midnight Rocker, produced by Adrian Sherwood. The famed On-U Sound man put together a stellar team of players and spent many months perfecting arrangements and mixing. They created a stunning suite of tracks with superb musicianship, an expertly crafted production, and Horace’s beautiful vocals. The album includes ten new songs alongside re-workings of classic Andy track ‘Mr. Bassie’ and a version of Massive Attack’s ‘Safe From Harm’. Hats off to Andy and Sherwood for this immense album.

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Cleveland Watkiss – The Great Jamaican Songbook 

With his latest project, ‘The Great Jamaican Songbook’, Cleveland explores the rich history of Jamaica’s pioneering musical sounds, from mento to ska to reggae to dub. The project pays homage to and showcases some of the most classic and influential Jamaican songs ever written. It features tracks by legends like Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, and Delroy Wilson, among others. Cleveland Watkiss will please reggae fans and music lovers in general with his new album.

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Ibeyi – Spell 31

Ibeyi’s Spell 31 is their most daring offering yet, an antidote to the apathy we see in the world today. Richard Russell’s expert skills refined the album into a sublime rawness, blended into their signature harmonies infused with gospel, electronic neo-soul, and synthesised to create astonishing clarity. The album sees the twins hook up with collaborators including Owen Pallett, Jorja Smith and Gambian-British rapper Pa Salieu.

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Obongjayar – Some Nights I Dream of Doors

Steven Umoh, a London-based artist known for his work with Pa Salieu, Danny Brown, Little Simz, Sarz, and numerous EPs since his debut in 2016, has shared his first Obongjayar LP. Afrobeat, hip-hop, soul, and spoken word integrate cleverly with his distinctive voice on ‘Some Nights I Dream Of Doors’.

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Yves Jarvis – The Bug

We haven’t been keeping up with Yves Jarvis since the release of his 2019 album The Same But By Different Means. It’s now time to rectify that since Jarvis has just released his fourth album, which marks a new creative peak for the musician. Psychedelic, jazz, folk, and R&B influences combine in his mythic songwriting style and whisper-soft tones. His most impressive work to date.

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Shoko Igarashi – Simple Sentences

Japanese musician, composer, and arranger Shoko Igarashi has unveiled her debut album, ‘Simple Sentences’. She has woven disparate influences from jazz street scene, meditative folk, psych kitsch, and pop into her sound world, but as the title suggests, they’re all executed by Soko with simple efficiency. This album, from the YMO, inspired opener ‘Sand Dungeon’ to the playfulness of ‘Anime Song’, the aptly titled ‘Lovely Song’, and the melodious harmonies of ‘Comfy Place’, is full of bold and vibrant musical choices.

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Ilmiliekki Quartet – Ilmiliekki Quartet

Helsinki’s acclaimed and long-standing Ilmiliekki Quartet dropped a brand new album a few months back. Consisting of Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen, Olavi Louhivuori, the quartet has been steadily developing their sound for nearly two decades now. Excellent, melodic and bold contemporary jazz and improv demonstrate the band’s growth as a unit. It’s an album for when you need to relax, take your time and listen.

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Kahil El’Zabar Quartet – A Time For Healing

Chicago’s legendary spiritual jazz shaman Kahil El’Zabar delivers yet another epic double LP’s worth of ancient/future music that seeks to inspire and uplift. From swinging jazz that sings of his Chicago pedigree to talking drums and soothing spiritual grooves that reconnect Black Classical Music with its African roots, this is another essential album from El’Zabar. There is much to be thankful for in A Time For Healing, a much-needed respite from these tumultuous times.

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Compilations

Papé Nziengui Et Son Groupe – Kadi Yombo

Known for fusing traditional ceremonial music with modern instrumentation and innovative performance styles, Papé Nziengui’s work is showcased in this fantastic compilation from Awesome Tapes From Africa. Enjoy some distorted Bwiti harp music from the forest regions of Gabon.

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EP’s

MNTH – IMINENTE

There’s a lot to discover on this brand-new album from São Paulo-based producer and musician Luciano Valério (a.k.a. MNTH). If you caught his self-titled album from last year, you’d know that Valério’s music is eclectic, thrilling and boundless! This EP features two pieces recorded initially in August 2020 for a Brazilian documentary film and remixes of those tracks. Expect to hear cut & paste electronics, layered improvisation, atmospheric trip-hop, piercing synth riffs, Caribbean steel pan melodies, etc. 

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CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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