We’re only a month away from the release of Captured Spirits, the fourth album from instrumental outfit Mammal Hands. After sharing the magnificent first single ‘Chaser’, the drums/sax/piano trio of Jesse Barrett and brothers Jordan and Nick Smart and are enticing us again with new single ‘Ithaca’. Wrap your ears around it now.
Fela Kuti drummer and Afrobeat founder Tony Allen and South African legendary trumpeter and political activist Hugh Masekela wanted to make an album together for a long time. In 2010 they toured the UK at the same time and producer Nick Gold (Buena Vista Social Club) seized the opportunity to record their original compositions. The recording sessions were unfinished when Masekela passed away in 2018 but intent on bringing this collaboration to life, Allen and Gold finished recording the album last summer with the help of Tom Herbert (Acoustic Ladyland, The Invisible), Joe Armon-Jones (Ezra Collective), Mutale Chashi (Kokoroko) and Steve Williamson. Finally earlier this year year, Allen and Masekela’s collaborative album, Rejoice, was released before Allen’s passing last April. British electronic composer Matthew Herbert, as a tribute to Allen, has given the remix treatment to the closing track ‘We’ve Landed’. He comments:
“It was already a tough brief to remix two such important and wonderful musicians. Before Tony died I was trying my best to make it upbeat and celebratory. But after his sudden passing, all I could hear was his absence. I started on the night I heard the sad news. The mix is in memory of Tony, an inspiring and generous musician.”
A longtime favourite of ours, Suuns boast excellent musicianship reflected and augmented on live shows. The Montreal based quartet have to date released four excellent albums, including one of our Album Picks of 2016, and a collaborative one with Jerusalem In My Heart which made it to our Album Picks of 2015. Suuns’ second album, Images Du Futur, released in 2013, featured a song called ‘2020’, which according to them, “was a prediction that in the year 2020 we would discover alien life.” The band have further stated:
“Today, living in 2020, the idea of discovering life outside our planet, as huge and as awe-inspiring as that would be, seems almost quaint. There is a sentiment that if we were to discover other life, then it would somehow unify humanity. Witnessing the disparities in our own backyard begs the question as to what we would be unifying around.
This year has not been about looking into outer space, but rather, looking into oneself. This year has further underscored to us the enormous privilege that we enjoy as a band of four white guys—the freedom we enjoy touring around the world with relative ease and security, in stark contrast to the way some of our neighbors live day in and day out, just a few doors down the street. This year, having your head in the stars isn’t going to cut it.
Like it or not, in the future, ‘2020’ will be the song that people remember Suuns by. And the year 2020 will be the year that we didn’t discover aliens, but instead discovered another part of our humanity.”
Suuns have invited other musicians they admire to remix ‘2020’, and will release these digitally on Bandcamp over the next few weeks on a Pay What You Can basis, with all proceeds going to the NAACP. A first instalment has been unveiled and features stellar remix contributions from producer and multidisciplinary artist Kelman Duran; Vive La Void, the solo project of Sanae Yamada (co-founder and keyboard player of Moon Duo); Deerhoof’s drummer and composer Greg Saunier; post-punk musician, producer and Shimmy Disc founder KRAMER, and singer/guitarist Brian Case of FACS and Disappears. For a taste of what’s on offer, here’s the first remix to enjoy, courtesy of Kelman Duran.
Swedish musician and composer Anna von Hausswolff has announced the release of a new album, following 2018’s Dead Magic. Entitled All Thoughts Fly, the new record, unlike her previous material, is a solo instrumental affair devoted and derived solely from the sounds of a single pipe organ, situated in Gothenburg. Set for release on September 25th through Southern Lord, All Thoughts Fly is inspired by a 16th Century garden in Italy, called Sacro Bosco (“Sacred Grove”). Anna explained its influence on the album:
“There’s a sadness and wilderness that inspired me to write this album, also a timelessness. I believe that this park has survived not only due to its beauty but also because of the iconography, it has been liberated from predictable ideas and ideals. The people who built this park truly set their minds and imagination free. All thoughts fly is a homage to this creation, and an effort to articulate the atmosphere and the feelings that this place evokes inside of me. It’s a very personal interpretation of a place that I lack the words to describe. I’d like to believe Orsini built this monumental park out of grief for his dead wife, and in my Sacro Bosco I used this story as a core for my own inspiration: love as a foundation for creation.”
‘Sacro Bosco’ is also the title of the first single to be unveiled, an otherworldly track offered with an accompanying video directed by Gustaf and Ludvig Holtenäs. Watch it now.
Earlier this year, Jaga Jazzist announced their return with a new single, ‘Spiral Era’, and a new album, Pyramid. Initially slated for an April release, Pyramid had to be postponed due to the global pandemic and will now arrive on August 7th through Brainfeeder. The Norwegian iconic octet have just shared a new single, ‘Tomita’, which pays homage to Japanese composer and pioneering synth player Isao Tomita. ‘Tomita’ comes with an accompanying video directed and animated by Jengo, who had this to say about it:
“The upbeat pace of the song felt fitting to have the character run the whole time, tearing through the desert barely stopping to appreciate the view, with the warm hues of the desert echoing the strong red color of the album cover. Stylistically I knew it had to feel epic and grand yet very minimal and clean, so I was looking at video games for inspiration, mostly Zelda and Journey, some anime and some 70’s sci-fi book covers for the scale and the surrealist feel.”
With a vast body of work under his belt, including live performance, film scores, sound design for interactive gaming, and audio installations, Chicago based electronic composer Brett Naucke has been dabbling with modular synthesis for a long time. Well versed in various synthesizer types, Naucke has collaborated with bands like Bitchin Bajas, Pulse Emitter, TALSounds, Michael Vallera, and Ryley Walker, and has also been a member of avant-art collective ONO since 2013. He has announced the release of a new solo album, EMS Hallucinations, the fruit of a residency at EMS in Stockholm. A paramount electronic studio, created in 1964, the Elektronmusikstudion aka EMS has hosted notable composers and musicians over the years such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Philip Glass, Morton Subotnick, Mark Fell, or Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley. Every year, EMS continue to host their artist-in-residency program, with Naucke being one of the recent resident guests. There, he composed two side-long pieces, recorded on two rare synthesizer systems, a Buchla 200 and a Serge Modular. On the forthcoming album, and as the press release describes, “the intimate is the music, its instrumentation, the journey it took to get there.”
EMS Hallucinations is set for release on September 11th through American Dreams Records, and Naucke is offering a preview of the album in the form of the deeply immersive and mesmerizing ‘Hallucinations IV’, an edit from side one. It comes with an accompanying video directed and edited by Nick Ciontea of brownshoesonly. Take a look below and let yourself be carried with it.