Sawa / Sawa

This blend of modern jazz, chamber, and Iraqi folk music is about as enchanting as an album can get. The Sawa trio—comprised of the Arabic vocals of Alya Al-Sultani, pianist Clemens Christian Poetzsch and cellist Shirley Smart—are three facets of a gem that refracts gorgeous light. That Poetzsch utilizes a fluid piano on certain tracks only adds to the intrigue. The microtonal instrument makes good use of non-Western tunings, providing a stark range of expressions on an album that already had plenty to start with.

 

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Slavic Soul Party plays Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite

There’s a certain synchronicity in play when Slavic Soul Party!, an oddball brass band that embodies the adventurous spirit of Gypsy jazz, performs a rendition of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite, an oddball album triggered by Ellington’s long and winding road of overseas tour stops. The nonet of SSP doesn’t restrict itself to its foundation of Balkan music any more than the legendary Ellington restricted his orchestra to, well, anything. And that’s a good thing, because in the same way the harmonic textures and melodic shaping speak to the complexities inherent in this whip-smart music, the thick grooves and catchy melodies that drive it evoke a festive atmosphere.

Knowsum // Play God & Shit Happens (Money $ex Records)

New vinyl release on Money $ex Records by Knowsum!
Out december 2016!
Tracklist:
A Side:
1) Robots are better (00:00)
2) Birds and Bees (01:46)
3) Shower (03:40)
4) Friend called lonely (05:26)
5) Mocontrupsolism (07:02)
6) Centepede (08:49)
7) Buy (10:23)
B Side:
8) Run (11:01)
9) Funk isn’t dead it just smells funny (13:00)
10) Touching after midnight (14:39)
11) Playing god (16:25)
12) Shit happens (18:10)
13) Humans are better (19:53)
14) Change (21:40)

GUTS. Every Generation

On first listen you’d be forgiven in thinking that go-it-alone producer GUTS‘ forthcoming album Eternal is one of those magic represses collating a bunch of 1970s diamond-in-the-ruff tracks you knew nothing about. The textures are beautifully rich, bringing in elements of funk, soul, hip-hop, Cuban, African and Russian sounds; but rather than stick to GUTS’ usual method of pitting five-second samples against his own beats machine production, the upcoming album showcases tracks that unite around a common theme of live instrumentation from a superstar collective of musicians and singers.
Recorded via intense studio sessions whilst GUTS was on tour around France and Europe, the album darts between strong melodies and hybrid blends of genre, with each track forming a different universe to step into and let the groove wash over you.
Today we’re premiering our favourite track off the LP; a wild soul-jazz gem that pulls on the ears instantly with voluptuous saxophonist trills and a disco-inclined female choir melody line that seems to have fallen right off of a dusty 1970s rare vinyl. The summer-morning horn lines ring out with bold distinction, the sweet bassline purrs in the background and live rhythm sends ripples of groove in every direction. With Fender Rhodes keys dancing amongst anthemic vocals that trickle through and ring out like a dusty disco classic, ‘Eternal’ seems a very fitting album title.
GUTS’ Eternal is available in the UK on July 29th via Heavenly Sweetness.

Steve Lehman. Are You In Peace

Lehman’s music has always drawn from disparate sources in distinctive ways, but with Sélébéyone, he takes an unexpected turn: drawing, from modern jazz, Senegalese rap, live electronics, and underground hip-hop, to create a unique form of urban experimentalism. The project stands apart from almost every other jazz/hip-hop collaboration that has preceded it: this is not an album where live musicians imitate repetitive samples in 4/4 time. Instead, the musical elements – shifting rhythms, electro-acoustic harmonies, and contemporary sound design – are wholly integrated with the lyrical content. Add to that the unique juxtaposition of English and Wolof that permeates the record, and one gets the sense of the development of a whole new musical universe.

And though the music on Sélébéyone may seem like a radical departure from Lehman’s more recent ensemble work, it is actually the product of his long-standing engagement with experimental hip-hop and its surrounding community. Lehman’s critically-acclaimed octet has released arrangements of seminal hip-hop tracks, like Wu-Tang Clan’s “Living In the World Today” and Camp Lo’s “Luchini.” And his professional ties with Meshell Ndegeocello and other pioneering members of the contemporary R&B community date back to 2004: most recently Lehman was a featured soloist on Ndegeocello and Jason Moran’s 2014 Blue Note release All Rise.