Inspired by two peripheral characters in Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Klara and The Sun, Brendon John Warner’s new single explores the dissonance of reconnecting with society after years of separation; a theme expanded on by Alex Botton in his visual accompaniment to the song, framing the odd behaviours among and between random individuals in public spaces. Evoking both the awe-inspiring neon-soaked soundtracks of Vangelis and the earthily raw, visceral power of Vladislav Delay’s Rakka, Coffee Cup Lady & Raincoat Man is extremely impressive.
South Carolina-based Contour lands on London’s Touching Bass with Onwards!, billed as “an evocative, twelve-track journey through black art both past and contemporary with soul, electronics and archival material at its core.” Nigga Won’t Reach Mars is enjoyably downbeat, and sounds like a lost Dummy-era Portishead b-side, albeit with Contour’s smooth vocal replacing Beth Gibbons’ harrowing wail.
Ingredient is the collaboration of Toronto poets, composers, producers and friends Ian Daniel Kehoe and Luka Kuplowsky. Released last week, their self-titled debut came together over the course of six months in their shared home studio they frequented daily, with vocal contributions from Thom Gill and the alto sax Karen Ng. Sitting somewhere between the 80s soft rock of John Moods and the dreamy alt-r&b of Toro Y Moi, Ingredient is melodic escapism of the very highest order.
Canto Ostinato is the new volume of classical minimalism from musician and producer Erik Hall. Written for four pianos in 1979 by Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt, the piece is freshly framed as an intimate, hour-long solo performance consisting of multitracked grand pianos, electric piano, and organ, with Sections 17-30 out now ahead of the full album. For fans of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and meditative modern classical in general.
While producing his new album Meeting with a Judas Tree, Duval Timothy made a point of being in nature as much as possible, immersing himself in various habitats from South London and the hills surrounding Bath to scrubland in Ghana and the woods of Sierra Leone, taking recordings of birds, insects, monkeys, bats, plants, trees, stones on his phone, many of which made it into the final version. The result is a deeply immersive, meditative album which flits between electronic experimentation, jazz and modern classical, culminating with the sparse beauty of Drift.
I’m not sure what the weather’s doing wherever you happen to be reading this from, but here in the south west of England it is bleak. Cold, windy, raining, depressing; so thank fuck for John Mood’s new album The Great Design and its soft warmth and positive vibes to lift all our spirits. Moods stays true to his MO of soft rock, synthpop, 80s stylings throughout, with the thoughtful, melancholic Awfully Close is a particularly evocative instrumental delight.
Released today, Weyes Blood’s new album And In the Darkness. Hearts Aglow is the second in a planned trilogy of album’s that began with the release of 2019’s Titanic Rising, and explores themes of trying to find meaning and hope “in a time of instability and irrevocable change.” Like much of the album, Grapevine wears its emotions firmly and proudly on its sleeve, with soaring melodies and Mering’s rich, powerful vocal leading us, patiently, hopefully towards a better place.
There’s something immediately, hauntingly arresting about the scratchy, low-fi guitar strumming on this that I was sold even before Wright’s broken, beautiful vocal comes in. Then the beat drops, the melody surges, and I’m melting.
I don’t often just copy in release hype for posts, but this is an important one, and gives you an indication of the tone of the album better than I ever could, so here you go…
“Blue Scar Vol I , is the first installation of a long form album. This tapestry of songs is a personal mythology of love and survival, I have been patiently writing and working on this since 2013, the year I almost died because of intimate partner violence.
“This body of work brought me back to my body, and continues to do so everyday, my prayer is that it does the same for all trauma survivors, that this music is a place we can tend to our personal and generational wounds as well as a place to honour our scars. This is for youngest selves , for my child self and my god self, who always seek to protect and heal me – this is a quest to relearn what love is.”
Lugubrious, meandering alt-pop-meets-folk-meets-americana from the Australian artist who released her new album of the same name via her own Kallista Records imprint last week.