Spanning baroque, electronica and soul, here are our favourite music releases from the last month
Album of the month: From This Place by Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny is one of those artists whose stream of creativity just never seems to run dry. The legendary jazz guitarist has been making music for four decades now, and his body of work includes 20 Grammy awards in 12 separate categories. This latest album is a sort of culmination of his impressive oeuvre, blurring boundaries and music styles like only Metheny can.
A sumptuous, atmospheric ode to jazz fusion, From This Place is an intoxicating concoction whipped up with the help of exciting guests and trusted long-time collaborators, including drummer Antonio Sánchez (whose credits include the neck-break soundtrack to Birdman) who knocks it out of the park with his ridiculously punchy fills; or British pianist Gwilym Simcock who twists and twirls around Metheny’s guitar like a seasoned dance partner.
It’s a thickly layered, thoughtfully paced, delectable record that dares to go into slippery territory, owning every step along the way, taming and hemming in the most avant garde of concepts, resulting in a strong, sometimes rapturously frenzied sonic experience.
Aloha by Son Little
American musician Son Little returns guns a-blazing and doing what he does best on his new album, Aloha. A smooth, buttery record rooted in classic soul, it features playful, yearning and flirtatious songs about, you’ve guessed it, love. And while it may not surprise you with anything particularly ground-breaking (most lyrics amount to “Turn the lights now, sugar, let’s get it on”), you should definitely find room for it on your playlist anyway for Son Little’s satisfyingly raspy, James Brown-esque vocals and lulling melodies that’ll get your foot a-tapping.
U Kin B the Sun by Frazey Ford
Frazey Ford’s often-syrupy style may sometimes sound like the soundtrack to a non-descript Noughties romcom, but boy, is it a good soundtrack nevertheless. If you’re familiar with the dreamy Canadian soul singer’s previous work you’ll know her vocals are an unmistakable thing of wonder. Lilting, creamy and laidback, it’s the kind of voice you’d welcome on a relaxing evening after a long day at work or a rainy Sunday morning. Her new album lets these vocals shine with simple but tuneful compositions and lots of sonic space for the gentle melodies to grow and bloom.
The Long 17th Century: A Cornucopia of Early Keyboard Music by Daniel-Ben Pienaar
A special, two-and-a-half-hour treat for piano music lovers, this 36-track album covers the period from the late 1500s to the early 1700s, an era noted for forward-thinking individuality and invention in all areas of life. It’s a fascinating study of early keyboard music, a lot of which has never been recorded before on a modern piano, and the perfect thing to try out if you’re looking for something new in the serious music department. The pieces are vibrant, emotive and incredibly varied, spanning a number of different styles and genres.
Systems Up, Windows Down EP (12” vinyl edition) by HAAi
And to finish off, a special treat for all the house-heads out there: ultra-cool Aussie DJ HAAi’s monster EP came out on vinyl this month and it’s the perfect (if slightly angry and coked-up) music to dance into Spring to. Featuring heavy basslines, popping percussion and a host of delightfully diverse, obscure sound samples (including the revving of a Sixties Mustang engine, ritualistic vocals and all kinds of clips collected from trips around the world), it’s a pumping, eclectic and deliciously multi-layered EP that really got us excited for a full blown LP from HAAi.
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