Here’s something of a throwback, at least in terms of the kind of music I listen to these days. Michael Claus’s new album Lavender Palace is deep house. Like actual deep house. No urgent basslines and catchy vocal samples here! It’s a throwback to the days when this was pretty much all I listened to, with shades of Moomin, Francis Harris, even Larry Heard; a beautiful, sad, dusty old collection of house music that absolutely doesn’t want you to dance, and would strongly prefer if you listened to it by yourself while feeling extremely, paralysingly melancholic about something. Works for me!
The South Indian-Canadian artist on the unrestrained joy of a US saxophone icon.
The premise of One Track Mind is pretty simple: I ask artists to pick one track that means a lot to them – either something they’ve discovered recently, something that’s been with them for years, or one that reminds them of a specific time in their life or career – and tell me what makes it so special to them. I get to talk to the artists I love, and they get to talk about the artists they love. Love all round!
Thanya Iyer is an enigmatic songwriter who crafts sparkling experimental pop music. Her live trio, with Pompey and Daniel Gélinas, wields acoustic and electronic instruments to flesh out her serene, spiritual compositions.
Her wonderful 2020 album KIND was inspired by years of touring and connecting with community in a live setting. Released earlier this year, new latest EP rest is more reflective and introspective, composed predominantly during the pandemic, and explores existential themes through the prism of contemplative pop, folk and jazz.
For her One Track Mind selection, Iyer has selected a life-affirming jazz cut from the American saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter.
Post-Drive analogue synth-a-thon Destiny is a duet with Bree’s long-time collaborator Princess Chelsea, with its release marking the 20th anniversary of Lil’ Chief Records, the New Zealand based record label Bree formed with friend and musical collaborator Scott Mannion. For Xanax-fulled days and nihilistic nights.
Brooklyn-based visual artist, poet and musician Xena Glas released her new Movement EP last week, including To the A: a restrained and beautiful slice of electronica heavy on choral vocals and atmosphere. Xena employs content from a single field recording of her walking from her Crown Heights apartment to the A train, and then off the train to the Hudson River in Manhattan, which adds a flavour of the mundane in this otherwise ethereal track.
Earlier this month Dawn Richards teamed up with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Spencer Zahn on Pigments: an extraordinarily good album that explores themes including “the power of self-expression through living art, through motion”. A hypnotic mix of classical, jazz, soul and electronica, it flits between being deeply meditative and intensely rousing, often within a single song, before segueing seamlessly into the next . A truly impressive body of work.
Nosaj Thing has just released the best album of his career. Or my favourite at least, which is my little self-obsessed world amounts to the same thing. Continua sees him lean harder into collaboration than ever before, and with a very impressive range of artists; serpentwithfeet, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Toro Y Moi not least among them. Picking a focus track is a tough ask as the album flows so beautifully – with a consistent tone and feel yet with enough variation to avoid coming across as one note – but here’s the incredible Woodland with the aforementioned serpentwithfeet to hit you right in the feels.
Alice Boman’s new album The Space Between is an extremely relaxing way to start your day. Stripped back and subdued and sitting somewhere between folk and very chilled electronic pop, Bowman has cited Brian Eno, Thom Yorke and Angel Olsen (amongst others) as artists who influenced the LP, which should give you a pretty decent idea of what to expect. Honey actually out a couple of months ago, but it’s the album opener and my favourite, so here it is.
Quinton Barnes’s fantastic new album For The Love Of Drugs landed last week, and while my overall takeaway from the LP is that Quinton has bascially had enough of everyone’s shit, there are a few gentler, borderline romantic moments, of which Fuck On U is arguably the strongest. Boasting the crunchy synth lines that characterise much of the album’s production paired with some truly gorgeous piano, it sees QB showing his vulnerable side to powerful effect.
I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a track more than this in the last few months. Just listen those pads! Ridiculous. Taken from her new “mini-album” (EP?) Racing Heart, which is also great.
NNAMDÏ’s head-spinning new album Please Take A Seat takes great delight in wrong-footing you. Relatively straightforward rap one second, it will turn sharply into chaotic electronics or jaunty pop before throwing in the kind of guitar riffs more at home in 80s stadium rock. I’m not sure it always works, but it is highly ambitious and enjoyably eccentric. Anti is one of the more straightforwardly enjoyable moments, but it’s really worth checking out in its entirety to get the full effect of its undeniable power.