It turns out that Bohren & der Club of Gore with a drum machine instead of a drummer... doesn't feel all that different. Patchouli Blue is another album full of ultra-noir, low tempo jazz meditations. They're still one of the moodiest bands on the planet, whether in a more traditional jazz form (Sollen es doch alle wiesen) or a textural "post-something" mode (Total falsch).
Long Arm is one of my favorite sample-musicians. His music has a real emotional edge to it but without relying on genre clichés — a heavy jazz influence shines through and his sounds are always original and interesting.
Downtempo electronic with a diverse sample palette and silky production.
It's a Madlib and Oh No collab. A little heavy on the interludes for my taste but Madlib's production is exactly as good as you expect and the lyricism is strong.
Blips and bloops with a warm, analog feel. It's mostly head-nodding stuff but Leon, a delicate ballad with Sofia Insua, is a nice standout.
A slick, funky record built on top of primarily jazz samples. Although Needledrop has some "deep" tracks that come close to background music territory, there's a lot more going on in its drum funk (No Sky, Blue Sound), or spy-jazz soundtrack (Jazzbeat 7) modes.
What an absolute shredfest. Three insane covers from R&G (Slayer, Megadeth & Metallica), you must give this a spin if you like their other stuff OR if you like metal.
I guess this technically came out in 2019 on Nocturnal Sunshine's album Full Circle (that's Maya Jane Coles' alias for her more experimental music). But I wasn't complaining when this track popped back up in my feed, it's a melancholy, bubbling tune that reminds me a little bit of Burial. Music like this makes me want to walk around the city at midnight with headphones on.
New to Me
Where has this been all my life (or the last two years of it, anyway)? Dhafer Youssef is an oud player with an adventurous range and on Sounds of Mirrors he explores an Indian fusion with none other than Zakir Hussain. I thought this album was absolutely riveting.
Can you tell I was on an oud tangent this month? It's hard to classify the sound of this record but it is a haunting, thought-provoking, gorgeous listen. Check out the page on ECM's site for some fascinating context around the music.
Hannah Epperson's music is structured around recording each song twice: once in her poppier "Amelia" personality and once by the more minimalist "Iris". It seemed like a gimmick to me at first, but the songs make sense in both modes and the album was fascinating. The "Amelia" stuff is synth-y and soaring at times but it never becomes too sugary and the "Iris" versions have some killer string arrangements, with both versions revolving around Hannah's quirky and delightful vocals.
A crazy interesting record, putting a mega-futuristic edge onto sounds of the African diaspora. Title track Black Noise with Tenesha the Wordsmith sounds like spoken word dubbed over a Raster-Noton track. Yes: as good as you are imagining.
Psych rock with sitars! Sign me up, please!
I first heard HashFinger on his 2020 collab with Butta and MC Synergy and then checked out his solo production stuff. This is a brilliant example of instrumental hip-hop, one crackly vinyl banger after another.
Silk Road Ensemble is Yo-Yo Ma's world music collaborative. I enjoyed the record, but was surprised to find that some of the music here was actually quite a challenging listen.
An album that falls somewhere between shoegaze, techno and pop. It reminded me of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's EARS but with more of a punk influence maybe?
A drums-bass-piano trio that weaves through explorations of repetitive, cinematic figures. Spin it if, like me, you dig GoGo Penguin, Portico Quartet, Cinematic Orchestra, etc.
A piano trio who play dense, tricky stuff with a sense of humor. Reminds me of The Bad Plus, with maybe slightly less of a free-jazz sensibility.
Trilogy 2 shows off not just the technical mastery of these three legends, but also how comfortable they are playing together. It's a double album that deserves to be; there's a wide range of compositions and the improvisation never gets boring. Check out Glide's article for a more in-depth review.
I was equally psyched for all three artists on this bill! Arms and Sleepers and il:lo were both a little more high-energy live than on their records and Blockhead headlined with a great DJ set. I loved hearing some of his classics, but he was weaving them in with newer stuff, some heavy bass, and best of all: a bunch of old-school hip-hop mashups.