It’s Friday, which means it’s time for a new Between The Cracks, so once again, we select eight releases for your musical enjoyment. We’ll give you a mini review of each release, so you can decide which ones you want to check out. Tune in below to hear the music, and if you like one or more of our picks, click the links and support the artists.
Mike Reed – The Separatist Party
Mike Reed’s new album ‘The Separatist Party’ is a captivating sonic exploration of isolation and loneliness in today’s world. Recorded in Chicago with an eclectic cast including Ben LaMar Gay, the album’s inspiration came from a New York Times article about a man who died alone in his apartment with his body left undiscovered for a week. Known for leading avant-garde bands, Reed brings together collaborators who seamlessly blend spiritual jazz, krautrock, and global influences into propulsive, groove-heavy tracks. The music veers from euphoric to melancholy. Though ruminating on disconnection, the album reaches for communion through disparate voices in conversation, like on the lush midtempo groove of ‘Floating With an Intimate Stranger’. As a longtime community-builder in Chicago’s arts scene, Reed assembles empathetic improvisers who find unity despite differences. Offering genre mashups and thoughtful commentary on modern alienation, ‘The Separatist Party’ both soothes and provokes, imparting a sense of hope about bonds created through music.
Kaleiido – Places
Guitarist Anna Roemer and saxophonist Cecilie Strange join forces as Kaleiido. On their latest collection, Places, the pair takes listeners on an atmospheric journey through the solar system with its dreamy soundscapes and introspective lyrics. Spanning ten tracks named after planets, the album envelops you in wandering sax lines and finely plucked guitar strings as it explores feelings of isolation. Standouts include the hypnotic ‘Mercury’ and the ever-changing pulse of outer planet tracks like ‘Uranus’ and ‘Neptune’. Elsewhere, ‘Earth Part I’ and ‘II’ will fill your mind with thoughts of the unknown. The album closes with the haunting ‘Pluto’ where vocals drift into a void. With its cosmic concept and transportive music, Places establishes Kaleiido as masters of atmospheric jazz not jazz. Let it wash over you in one sitting, pulling you into its orbit.
Nick Walters – Marine Moods
Nick Walters’ latest release ‘Marine Moods’ is a captivating contemporary jazz album that immerses listeners in the ocean’s mysteries. From the unfathomable depths of ‘Challenger Deep’ to the bubbly currents of ‘Gulf Stream’, Walters crafts dramatic soundscapes that echo the sea’s tranquil allure and untamed power. The journey concludes with ‘Journey For Joan’ a melodic finale offering resolution after the album’s musical odyssey. Demonstrating his artistic mastery, Walters blends haunting melodies and complex rhythms into a seamless contemporary jazz symphony. Overall, ‘Marine Moods’ is Walters’ most cohesive and compelling work yet, transporting listeners into the endless beauty and mystery of the ocean’s depths.
Modern Nature – No Fixed Point In Space
Modern Nature’s latest release, ‘No Fixed Point In Space,’ is a sonic exploration of improvisation and repetition. Across seven immersive tracks, bandleader Jack Cooper, who sounds more and more like Mark Hollis (that’s a good thing, btw) guides his ensemble of skilled musicians through hypnotic journeys that gracefully rise and fall, much like the rhythmic tides. ‘Tonic’ opens the album with trance-inducing rhythms and cascading guitar lines. ‘Murmuration’ lives up to its name, evoking the swooping, swirling motions of starlings flocking in the dusk sky. The aptly titled ‘Cascade’ brings a rush of rippling guitars, drums, and strings. Modern Nature strikes a masterful balance between carefully constructed frameworks, and spur-of-the-moment flourishes throughout the album. The music never stays still for long, morphing in unexpected directions like a fast-moving weather system. Yet there are moments of tranquillity, too – the meditative tones of the legendary Julie Tippetts on ‘Ensõ’ bring the album to a graceful, zen-like conclusion. For the open-eared listener, ‘No Fixed Point In Space’ offers an engrossing voyage into the possibilities of collaborative improvisation.
Jonathan Fitoussi & Suzanne Ciani – Golden Apples of the Sun
The new collaboration between electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani and French composer Jonathan Fitoussi is a hypnotic journey into the natural world. Recorded facing the Pacific Ocean in California, Golden Apples of the Sun seamlessly blends the white noise of synthesizers with the sounds of waves, wind, and the environment. Tracks like ‘Coral Reef’ and ‘Oceanium’ directly channel the energy of the sea with pulsing rhythms and swirling melodies that evoke the ebb and flow of the tides. ‘Rainbow Sequence’ and ‘Spirit Rock’ are more meditative, transporting the listener inward with dreamlike textures. Yet, throughout the album, the music feels organic and improvised, responding to the living elements around it. Ciani’s decades of experience with electronic instrumentation shine through in the expert modulation and panning of tones, while Fitoussi’s compositional flair provides structure. The result is a transcendent listening experience, a sonic embodiment of nature’s mystery and beauty.
Kuusumun Profeetta – Kukin Kaappiaan Selässään Kantaa
Ektro / Full Contact Records has re-reissued Kuusumun Profeetta’s fantastic album from 2001, ‘Kukin Kaappiaan Selässään Kanta’. It’s like a blast from the past that’s still burning brightly! This record is seriously incredible! It’s a beautiful blend of delicate folk, jazzy vibes, laid-back psych, and indie goodness. Oh, and don’t even get me started on that incredible track ‘Kovin Lentäen Kotiin Kaipaan’. Trust me, you need to give it a listen – it comes highly recommended!
Ellen Zweig – Fiction of the Physical
Ellen Zweig, a renowned poet from the US, skillfully blends unconventional spoken word with ambient and fourth world minimalism. This unique combination is showcased in this curious release, ‘Fiction of the Physical’, which features previously unpublished works from the 70s and 80s. Exploring Zweig’s artistic evolution during this pivotal period is an exciting opportunity you want to take advantage of.
Kayla Painter – Ambient Owl Core
If you need some musical balm, look no further than this soothing offering from Kayla Painter. Let Painter transport you to a starry night sky with graceful owls gliding through the trees. The beauty of nature inspires each song and will leave you feeling relaxed and enthralled. This EP offers instant relaxation, but you should whack on the headphones for the whole experience.