Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I hear Sweatshop Soundsystem doing their thing and doing it well. I hear Ocen’s Eleven, Cowboy Bebop, Ash Walker, and Yazz Ahmed‘s excellent horn playing, all coming together to create a smokey jazz mood that can either be played late at night in a London club or late at night during a London chase scene.
“Sweatshop Soundsystem’s debut 12″…We’ve been in love with Ash’s music since day one whilst he’s been quietly killing it in the underground. Coming in with heavy dub pedigree Ash’s sound taps the veins of Soul, Jazz and Funk, fusing them into a suspicious Trip Hop tapestry. Both tracks feature the killer horn work of Yazz Ahmed, one of the freshest artists to rupture the Jazz world with her psychedelic Arabic rhythms. And RUDEBWOY visuals come courtesy of Sophie Bass, the dopest illustrator in the UK right now.”
When someone describes your music as “Sade in Space,” you listen. It’s not a perfect analogy (no one but Sade can sound like Sade in space), but it’s great for us how close London duo Silk Cinema gets with its latest single “Disappear.” Music to feel lonesome and beautiful to and to live for tonight. Looking for trouble but already found beauty. Reminds me too of Rhye’s mysterious grooves. Beat-driven music you can enjoy in a club and also in a car. Would love to hear more new music soon.
Check out a more upbeat band remix of “Disappear” here.
Westerman does not demand your attention – his songwriting does that for you. The West London crooner takes that pleasant Spring sun feeling Real Estate perfected and emphasizes the melancholy of feeling sad on a beautiful day. The delivery is understated and restrained, the kind of writing that rewards multiple listens. Very excited to see what Westerman does next. Check out more via Blue Flowers Music.
“Describing people’s incessant urge to document their everyday lives, Westmeran asks “is it right to lay it all out like that?” Questioning whether we’re recording our lives or just feeding into narcissistic performances, “Keep Track” is a thought provoking and poignantly delicate song.”
Theo Alexander: if My Bloody Valentine tried writing a piano ballad
“Haunting” is a lazy and inaccurate way to describe one’s sound, except when you’re talking about London composer Theo Alexander. Layers of piano echo on top of each other to create an ancient, claustrophobic sound that sounds eerie and beautiful – imagine if My Bloody Valentine tried writing a piano ballad. Alexander is currently based in Prague and has taken inspiration from the Charles Bridge and Kafka to heart and to excellent results. Haunting, indeed.
“‘Points of Decay’, is an album of deconstructed piano pieces that have been manipulated and re-spliced through a series of tape loops. Each piece makes use of a recording technique that runs a single recording through a seccession of different mediums, to achieve a heavily degraded sound that is unfamiliar to most piano recordings.
As each layer reveals or obscures another, textures are heard that would not otherwise be possible without the experimental studio techniques that drove production and writing respectively.
A major inspiration for album was the portrayal of memory in Samuel Beckett’s ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’.”
Avital Raz: “Making people uncomfortable since 1996…”
When I listen to Avital Raz, I hear the traditional folk storytelling of artists like Bob Dylan with a modern twist and some dark humor. The Israeli singer-songwriter, now based in Sheffield, tells poignant stories with simple acoustic playing and some nice orchestral touches. Read up on her fascinating career so far here.
“a vocal artist who travels across many genres. Her songs may resemble old English lute songs, Indian Classical Ragas, Cabaret, Blues or Eastern-European Jewish melodies. A multi-cultured get-together of many strange characters, all rolled up into one quirky singer-songwriter.”
‘Tanzania’: a revision of one of Kink Gong’s best experimental field recordings
Kink Gong (Laurent Jeanneau) is an artist who records ethnic minority music, mostly in Southeast Asia, and recomposes the original recordings into experimental soundscapes. ‘Tanzania,’ released two years ago via Discrepant, a London-based label that aims to “deconstruct, distort and re-assemble the lore of (un)popular music,” brings Jeanneau to the namesake country and offers reinterpretations of the field recordings he made there in the late ’90s.
From Laurent Jeanneau via Bandcamp:
”December 1999, Tanzania. I had an appointment with James Stephenson an American friend from the 90s in NYC, he used to skip the American winter every year to be with the Hadzas bushmen and other Tanzanians tribes in Tanzania. Whilst there, James and I lost completely track of time and did not give a shit about what day Christmas was, or New Years for that matter- with the majority of the planet knowing they were heading into the 21st Century.At some point end of December or early January 2000(?) we asked a group of
At some point end of December or early January 2000(?) we asked a group of Hadzas we were hanging out with, “what’s the date today?” None understood the question but one Hadza who had been sent to school in the early 70s answered that we must be in 1975! Tanzania in 1999/2000, this intense trip away from all the millennium bullshit celebrations. I gathered all kinds of sounds, not only music, that expresses proximity and that was the first time I decided I was going to remix those raw recordings into a decent soundscape. It was also the first time I was pleased with the result- to go into a direction of redefining world music, away from the commercial clichés. This has been the direction I’ve taken and focused on ever since with the recomposing of my Asian recordings.”
Tanzania in 1999/2000, this intense trip away from all the millennium bullshit celebrations. I gathered all kinds of sounds, not only music, that expresses proximity and that was the first time I decided I was going to remix those raw recordings into a decent soundscape. It was also the first time I was pleased with the result- to go into a direction of redefining world music, away from the commercial clichés. This has been the direction I’ve taken and focused on ever since with the recomposing of my Asian recordings.”
Auntie Flo is Brian d’Souza, a UK artist who’s been praised by The Guardian for his insightful and educational fusion of electronic and world influences. Check out his diverse body of work here.
I had never heard d’Souza’s music before, but after hearing “The Soniferous Garden,” it feels like I’ve been waiting for this kind of mixture ever since this website began – something that immediately hits you but then reveals more texture and color on repeated listens.
“Produced and arranged over an intense, collaborative two day session at the Santuri studio as part of the Ugandan Bayimba arts festival in Kampala in September 2015, the project draws on Senegalese Sabar drumming, the plaintive notes of the Adungu (a Ugandan 10 string harp) and the vocals of Gio Kiyingi, underpinned by d’Souza’s arrangements and drum programming for two tracks clocking in at a healthy quarter of an hour each.
The title ‘The Soniferous Garden’ is taken from the writings of Canadian composer and environmentalist R Murray Schafer, a concept he defines as ‘a garden or place of acoustic delights’ – an aural space of retreat from the oppressive overabundance of acoustic information that characterizes the modern industrial world.
The two compositions are a response to this idea – drawing the listener into meandering, ever-evolving themes that weave in and out of a rhythmic base that is equal parts traditional percussion and electronic production.
The title track showcases the virtuoso Adungu playing of erstwhile Burnt Friedman collaborator Hakim Kiwanuka, and vocals from regular Highlife World Series contributor Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi whilst Rainfall on red earth (inspired by the vivid colours of the landscape around the studio) pushes the talking drum of Mama N’Dieck Seck Thiam to the fore.”
Mercury-nominated British soul singer Laura Mvula filmed her “Phenomenal Woman” music video in the colorful and historic Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town, South Africa. Mvula’s artistic direction in her outfits and dancing matches her adventurous, idiosyncratic take on the good but safe-ish retro-soul that made her debut, Sing to the Moon, a hit three years ago. As the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis writes in his review of The Dreaming Room, Mvula writes pop music as if she has no idea or interest in what pop is supposed to sound like. Instead, we have a song and video that is bold, aggressive, beautiful, and empowering.