We’re back with a new Between The Cracks selection to soundtrack your weekend. As always, 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.
Alfa Mist – Variables
London-based jazz musician Alfa Mist recently released his latest album, ‘Variables’. The album consists of 10 tracks, each showcasing his signature style of blending jazz with hip-hop and neo-soul. The album features collaborations with two talented artists, Kaya Thomas-Dyke, and South African folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla. Both of whom add another layer of depth to Alfa Mist’s already rich and textured sound. Not for nothing is the record called Variables, as Alfa Mist demonstrates his versatility and ability to adapt to different styles throughout the album. Each track showcases another side of his musical personality, from boom-bap beats to emotive piano melodies to post-punk guitar lines. Once again, he’s proven himself to be a master of his craft, cementing his place as one of the most exciting musicians on the contemporary jazz scene.
Qwalia – Sound And Reason
New London quartet Qwalia, led by drummer Yusuf Ahmed, blends a multitude of musical styles on their debut album. Drawing inspiration from jazz, funk, soul, and rock, the quartet creates a familiar and wholly its own sound. Ahmed’s skilful drumming is at the heart of the quartet’s sound. Tal Janes on guitar and vocals, bass from Ben Reed and Joseph Costi on keys complete Qwalia. The band members come from contrasting backgrounds, including Pakistani, Italian, Venezuelan, Jewish, and English. This diverse group of musicians has come together to create something that transcends their individual experiences, a form of expression more significant than the sum of its parts – a solid debut, and I feel there is even better to come.
Rarelyalways – Work
Grand, fresh and ambitious were the three adjectives springing to mind when I listened to the 4-minute opener on this debut solo album from Rarelyalways. Across the 14 tracks, his music comes filled with energy, creativity and an infectious swagger. Both jazz and grime are genres saturated with similar sounds, and his singular approach stands out. The young Londoner is an artist who continually pushes the boundaries and creates something new.
Arp Frique – Analog People Digital World
Find yourself reacquainted with Arp Frique through his eclectic bundle of fun, Analog People Digital World. The refreshing album seamlessly merges elements from various genres, forming the perfect exploration of lo-fi funk, highlife, zouk and reggae. If there’s one album you listen to today, make it this one.
Paul St. Hilaire – Tikiman Vol. 1
What a great new album from Paul St. Hilaire (AKA Tikiman) as he raids the vast collection of tunes he’s made since his last album back in 2006. Hilaire’s music is completely self-produced and infused with the dynamic sounds of both Berlin and Dominica, two music scenes in which he is deeply immersed. influenced by the vibrant music scenes of Berlin and Dominica., The album showcases St. Hilaire’s multifaceted artistry, ranging from the groove-heavy ‘Little Way’ to the experimental ‘Keep Safe’ with guitar-heavy digi dancehall. One of the standout tracks on the album is ‘Ten to One’, which has a subtle hypnotic quality. Overall, the album is a triumph for St. Hilaire and a testament to his continued relevance in the world of experimental electronic music.
Mark Barrott – Jōhatsu (蒸発)
Mark Barrott bathes listeners in the glorious sounds of Balearic chillout and Japanese new age on his new album. A director hired Barrott in 2019 to compose the score for their upcoming documentary, ‘Jōhatsu (蒸発) … the art of Evaporation’. The movie hasn’t been released yet, (post-pandemic funding issues), but Barrott has gifted us the music. Overall, ‘Jōhatsu (蒸発)’ is a masterful fusion of traditional and modern sounds that captures the unique essence of Japan. Barrott has once again proven himself a talented and innovative artist unafraid to move in new directions.
Nico Motte – The Missing Person
Balearic, dub and Martin Denny-style Exotica all meet on the new Nico Motte album. The result is a collection of tracks that transport you to a faraway tropical island, enveloping you in a warm, hazy soundscape. The dub influences are particularly evident in the song, ‘The Dub’, with its heavy bassline and echoing reverb, while ‘‘Wev Nave’, channels tropical synth-pop. Throughout the album, Motte’s meticulous attention to detail is evident, with each track slowly unfurling to reveal new layers of sound and texture. It’s an album to get lost in, with each listen revealing something new and unexpected.
Wacław Zimpel – Train Spotter
If you subscribe to The Quietus Sound & Vision plan, you probably already know the delights of Wacław Zimpel‘s album Train Spotter. The album unveiled last September was recorded exclusively for Quietus subscribers’ Autumn Equinox release. A sprawling and intense album, Train Spotter captures Warsaw’s sounds. The album’s production is stunning, with songs having a rich and layered sound that creates an immersive listening experience. Train Spotter explores a range of styles and emotions, from upbeat and energetic tracks to unhurried ones. Across its six tracks, Train Spotter fuses Warsaw’s unique sounds with Zimpel’s electronic production flourishes to form a seamless blend. He creates an intriguing soundscape by incorporating tramlines, baggage carousels, and bouncing basketballs into his compositions. I highly recommend it.