While A New Day may remind you of hazy nights lost sometime in the mid-nineties its impact is purely 2022 (plus). First off the kick is a thing of smouldering beauty, which in itself transports you to other places, add to that soulfully charged keys, propulsive bass, vocals hinting at meaningful melody and you will find yourself at a emotionally satisfying location. Thorne Miller supplies the remix giving it all a cool, deeper slant. Next, Lotus compliments care off smooth Rhodes reflections, while The Rhodes Again does as the title says washing over you in a sea dancing chords. Leaving the irresistible rhythms of Untitled with Zulu^Yasabeka to end on a disco flavoured high, albeit a tastefully subtle one.
Beauty in simplicity. Could almost be the beginning and end of the review but that would miss out talking about the haunting, yearning vocals and how they combine effortlessly with the pulsating bassline, alongside captivating guitar motifs and a gentle swirl of intense pads escaping from side to side. It all combines to produce this richly intense production that reaches the word excellent. Then comes the Madmotormiquel remix which adds a grainy sense of analogue into the rhythm section with additional percussion only fuelling the fire while aiming towards an energetic, melodically charged eight minutes.
Hungry Ghosts immerses you in the language of the past being disconnected. That the future has been plugged into. Yet listening to the albums opening Oxygen Beat feeds the imagination with images of explorations in Jazz and radical electronics, both incidentally from the 1950’s and 60’s, so you can’t help but feel that the music is as much about the ever evolving organic nature of sound itself just as it is about the otherworldly reach of dynamic, synthesized tones.
Proceeded by the wildly calming Body Language whose free-form approach to improvisation perhaps says much more about the creative mind-flow of an artist rather than formal analysis could ever put into words. Much like the following Serotonin does – clues appear to come in the form of names. As you continue along the path you rapidly realise that the impact of the sounds and the way then have been loosely arranged around themes has produced something quite extraordinary. Cosmic in the way it is mind-expanding, vigorous in the way it stretches out time to realise resilient atmospheric consequences, there is a robust elegance to be discovered at every turn.
Sometimes edges are torn such as on the explosive Human Regression, at others they are glued back together again as Ceremonism sequences pulses of exaltation via a series of repeating arpeggios. Perhaps, Hungry Ghosts is about snapshots of independent thoughts alongside the rhythms of life’s conflicting motions revealing themselves. You only have to witness Samuel Rohrer playing drums to see it written large across his face. Either way this is resolutely strange, remarkable and utterly compelling series of musical pieces for equal parts: mind, body, soul.
People come. People go. In the same direction, in opposite directions with different intentions. Those moments occupying the spaces in-between time and are the ones seeking out something fantastical as evidenced here. R.Cleveland Aaron’s journey into the expanse relies on copious investigations into the now and an escape to further beyond. His music can be fractured or provide a blurring of vision, much like life does, but can also be soulful and beautiful as particular occurrences are cherished. Try hearing the title track for a start which features all of those things alongside a wondrous use of stereo prompting smile forming inquiry.
One of the many reflective points that intrigue me about music is its innate ability to evolve into something quite different. Something unexpected surprising you with new-born ideas. This series of albums does that. The evidence lies within the sonic evocations hardwired to the human consciousness craving more radical experience. Listen to the quietly exhilarating Twelve.Three.Three.Three containing a rush of voice plus repeating minimal motifs that refreshes memory and word. A seemingly increased use of drums also appears with unsuspecting mannerisms on numbers like In Order to Funktion. Then providing contrast Shifting Perspectives challenges orthodoxy as waves of pads breach the soul while, Outro – Memoirs from My Inner Voice departs with a sense of good grace and the thought that heaven may just be possible.
These are just words written by me, suggested from elsewhere, as a Consequence of listening to A Matter of Light and Depth. If music is more than the sum of purely nostalgic parts for you, when the allure of melody has lost some of its sting, then I’d sincerely suggest you try this as an alternative.
Let’s start with the Art as the cover is the very first thing to grab your attention. Designed by Lyon-based street artist, Brusk the incendiary nature of the image matches the driven rhythms occupying Cook Strummer’s excellent selection inside. What sets this compilation aside is the exciting diversity of the music along with the different moods and atmospheres realised. Vocals are touched upon, heavy drums explored and futuristic synthesizers expanded all in the course of this explosive journey that never loses sight of the dancefloor, or for that matter the emotional thought process underlying it.
Like walking backwards in time this compilation follows the path explored by Lux and Ivy pointing you in the direction of the unknown in all its late-night wonder. Sounding like every piece of cinema you’ve ever fallen in love with these ode’s to lost love and off the beaten track suggestion provide a journey every bit as wondrous as the others in their quest to unearth or to reacquaint the listener with the joy of jazz, celluloid and perhaps the occasional illicit encounter. If that suggestion turns you off you are missing out on some equistite sounds from the Buddy Collette Septet’s classic Taboo to the John McFarland Sextet’s grainy yet beautiful strains of Tangerine, to Stan Kenton’s explosive Latin flairs to Bill Russo’s travels through the Seven Deadly Sins which prove to be conceptual and robustly realised. Put simply, more joy to behold.
Also important to note the music has been remastered from the original sound sources, with wonderfully expressive sleeve notes provided by MOJO’s Dave Henderson.
Release: September 16
Steeped in a history that’s currently sparking renewed interest in the UK’s take on the integration of Jazz and Funk these two gems from bands furtive early-eighties period set pulses racing. The trademark intensity still rings true as quick-fire drums and sparkling basslines underpin sultry vocals alongside cool, energised keys which all sound so resolutely refreshing in so many ways. For me it’s Mariposa which stands out head and shoulders espousing beautiful, dancing melodies breezing so elegantly across the grooves.
Release: September 16
Sometimes records remind me of the 1990’s in good ways that illicit scores of hot, tribal rhythms and thoughts of wide-eyed revolution. Love Triangle does that plus a little bit more with its creative use of contrasts setting blazing drums against deeper, evocative voices alongside curious musical tones that breath in enticing, haunting ways. Yet despite all of this the track is more simply about explosive occasions primed with an infinite twist which also come accompanied by an irrepressible, notably fierce Beats Dub Mix. Excellent.
Three sizzling tracks from this relatively new artist ignites the airwaves with a combination of hot-wired cool and emotional soulfulness. Bayethe, teases you with staccato synth lines that soon evolve into something altogether more musical as atmospheric piano chords alongside mournful strings are heightened by the addition of cool percussion, plus a biting kick drum, resulting in the arrangement quietly propelling itself skyward. In ways many Gumbawelele continues that same theme although is perhaps more traditionally uplifting in the process, leaving Mythical Groove to supply a tougher more intense rendition which again touches upon heart and soul.
Release: September 16
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Where will it all end. This journey into the deep recess of atmospheric beauty is both a radical and exciting one leaving you with the celluloid impression that you’ll never know quite what lies around the bend. Travelling in excess, hot-wired into a future of the possible is after all much more tempting than regurgitating yet more rusty old disco vinyl from the late 1970’s and consequent decade. Composed by the collaborative mind-set of Arno Volker and Simon Birkenfeld this electrifying creation of events feels perfectly poised and yet out of control diving into another world of imagination that is defiantly / relatively unconnected to the past.
Begin with the teasing, Jazzy free-form renditions that form 6 Tracks One Bottle, which quite simply takes your breath away across its entire 16.38 mins timeframe. Followed by the bubbling, undulating funkiness of HO HO HCO. From thereon in movements remain modular in nature producing a fierce escape from the conventional that is so very tempting to these ears. The frisky, up-tempo rhythms of No Return deliver the type of intensity people dream off as unnerving voices alongside fizzy electronics pull you apart in multiple directions. Ending on the blissfully indiscreet Orchestra Krell (Outro) set to only exist in an provocative, notably short timespan that perhaps states in words all that needs saying.
This is only the second part of three sections of the album which extends its reach into a wealth of different styles. I just happened to particularly love this landscape to get lost in.