The Cradle announces new album Laughing In My Sleep

There’s a new album on the way from The Cradle, the solo project of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paco Cathcart. Entitled Laughing In My Sleep, the 21-track album was recorded a couple of years ago and taps into different feelings, reflecting the experiences Cathcart had in 2017 and early 2018, which, according to him, was “a dense time with some healthy personal upheaval and a lot of traveling”.
Similarly, Laughing in my Sleep amalgamates different Cradle styles, and as Cathcart described, it is “a summary album of sorts that would give someone listening to my work for the first time a little taste of everything.”

The album is set for release on August 21st through NNA Tapes but we can already hear the lead single, ‘One Too Many Times’, a song full of haunting beauty combined with Cathcart’s emotional and evocative storytelling. “It’s a lament about miscommunication, and the difficulties of being vulnerable and clear with one another,” Cathcart explained, “It’s about feeling desperately apart from the “vanguard,” that is, those who are fearless and true with their language, politically and personally.” ‘One Too Many Times’ features Lily Konigsberg (of Palberta) on backing vocals and you can listen to it below.

Watch the new live Betamax video from upcoming Nightports w/ Betamax record

We’re just a day away from the release of Nightports w/ Betamax, the new Nightports album, this time in collaboration with drummer and percussionist Betamax. Following the rhythmically wild, relentless and hypnotic single ‘Hydro’, they are giving us another taste of the upcoming record with new single ‘Sparke’, offered with a live video recorded at Betamax’s studio ‘The Shard’. Check it out.

Nightports w/ Betamax is out on June 12th through The Leaf Label

Laurence Pike set to release third solo album, Prophecy, in July

Photo: Mclean Stephenson

It’s no secret we love Laurence Pike. The incredibly inventive percussionist and composer, who for the last two decades has recorded and played with an array of bands and artists intersecting with the realms of electronic and jazz music, has dazzled us time and again for over a decade now with numerous projects and collaborations. 2018 saw him release his celestial debut solo album, Distant Early Warning, followed last year with the tantalizing Holy Spring. Both records made it to our 15 Album Picks of 2018 and 2019 respectively, and both remain active favourites. So we’re excited to know Pike has a new album on the way. Entitled Prophecy, the record came to life as a reaction to the catastrophic wild fires in his native Australia. He shared a few words about it:

“The music on Prophecy was made during an intense period of climate-related disasters in my home of Australia last summer that seemed to represent the beginning of a strange new way of existing on Earth.

The pieces were developed in the space of four weeks at my home, and then captured in a single day of studio performances. As a result, the music is as much an assemblage of moments from the days leading up to the recording (stepping into my garden to be greeted by a dark pink sun against a brown sky, and ash gently raining on me) as it is a reflection of how I felt in the moment playing them live in the studio.

In the short time since, we’ve gone from staying inside and wearing face masks because the city was completely surrounded by fire, and the air filled with acrid smoke, to staying indoors to stop the spread of a global pandemic…

Prophecies often foretell of the end of the world, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say things have felt a little apocalyptic down here for the last several months. Yet, despite decades old studies predicting catastrophic bushfire seasons in Australia, we’ve been living in an era where science seems be have become an ideological choice for those elected to represent our best interests.

Put simply, I believe recent events are all part of the broader theme of sustainability. In the face of this, it’s inevitable to question the very purpose of making music, and how it can contribute to the discourse at a time like this. I’m not a scientist, nor a policy maker. I don’t even consider myself to be an activist. I’m a musician. Music has been the prism of my existence as long as I can remember, and I think at its heart music should be a form of storytelling.

It seems to me that humans are inherently dynamic in nature, and that our current culture in many ways has stalled in its dynamism. We’re searching for a narrative to direct us in the face of an uncertain future. For some this means retreating to the past, turning inward, and for others, it means looking forward, opening up. I’ve come to realise that the pursuit of performing solo over the last few years has been my unconscious response to the feeling of cultural stasis that’s pervaded the world as a result.

I often think of something that the great saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter said: “Play and write music the way you want the world to be”. If nothing else, I’d like my music to present the possibility of a way a being; a space that is dynamic in its intent – drawing on the language of the past, yet responsive to the moment, interpreted with tools of the present, and open to the narrative of the future being one that has yet to be told.

Despite the seismic shifts that society is currently experiencing, I sense an exciting opportunity for progress rather than retreat, and as an artist, I can only contribute the best way I know how; to make music in the way I want the world to be.”

Prophecy is set for release on July 24th through The Leaf Label and ahead of it, Pike is enticing us with first single ‘Nero’. Director Clemens Habicht, who had previously worked with Pike, has paired the single with a visual accompaniment. Watch it below.

Joseph Shabason reworks Erik Satie’s ‘Gymnopédie No. 1’

We fell for Joseph Shabason‘s music through his brilliant and beautiful debut album Aytche. Listening to his follow-up works, in the realms of ambient and jazz, has completely captivated us every time. So news of a new single from the talented composer and multi-instrumentalist is wonderful news. Prompted by Western Vinyl‘s new series Composure: Classical Reworks for Modern Relief, that sees them invite artists to cover their own influential classical compositions, Shabason picked Erik Satie’s ‘Gymnopedie No. 1’. The French composer, who became an inspiration to modern ambient music, composed the Gymnopedies, consisting of three short piano pieces, in 1888.
Shabason’s take on ‘Gymnopedie No. 1′ saw him collaborate with string player Drew Jurecka and use tape-manipulation to create an eerie, relaxing and reflective track that feels like a salve for these times. “When Satie premiered this piece for the first time, he gathered all of Paris’ music critics and musicians into a theater, and had a big cocktail party with a piano player playing background music”, Shabason explained. He continues:

“Off to the side there was a concert space with a stage, piano, and chairs. After the party everyone filed into the concert space and found their seats. Satie got on stage and told everyone that the background music they just heard over drinks was his new material, ‘thank you and have a good night.’

I wanted to capture the loneliness of playing something that’s musically meaningful while people just talk over what you’re doing and what you’ve created. It’s something that every gigging musician has experienced, and it’s fucking awful…but there is also a kind of warm loneliness to it. You know that no one cares about your music, and in that knowledge you are left with the feeling of doing something just for yourself…which further solidifies your resolve and investment in what you’re doing.”

Now wrap your ears around the staggering and haunting beauty of this cover.

New Kamaal Williams’ album, Wu Hen, arrives in July

Photo: Glauco Canalis

Kamaal Williams aka Henry Wu had promised new music later this year, following the release of his improvised live album, Live At Dekmantel, back in February and now news of a new record have emerged. The South London’s multi-talented musician, one of finest jazz musicians on the UK jazz scene for a few years now, will release his new album, Wu Hen, on July 24th through Black Focus. With groove at the centre again, the album incorporates celestial jazz, funk, rap and R&B, as the press release describes, “reinforced with the beat-heavy attitude of grime, jungle, house and garage – a self-styled fusion Kamaal describes as ‘Wu Funk’”.

The man himself had this to say about the album’s themes:

“This is a revolution of the mind. A spiritual rebellion. To reach new heights requires separating ourselves from the material world and finding power in what’s intangible. That’s what music and art is for – whether it’s a primitive emotion or something deep, you feel it. And there’s a subliminal element that resonates throughout my work. If you’re painting, it’s what you’re feeling as you’re painting. And the person looking at that artwork or listening to that music, they can feel it too, because it’s sincere.”

Wu Hen saw Williams enlist the help of Greg Paul (of Kalayst Collective) on drums, Rick Leon James on bass, Quinn Mason on saxophone and Alina Bzhezhinska on harp, and it also features Miguel-Atwood Ferguson on strings.

Ahead of its release, we can already hear ‘One More Time’, serving as the first exhilarating single. Take a listen below.

Pat Keen announces third album Cells Remain

Photo: Jesse Johnson

Minneapolis based singer/songwriter Pat Keen has announced a forthcoming album titled Cells Remain, following 2017’s Albatross and 2015’s Leaving. He has also introduced the record by sharing ‘Cell Song’, the gentle and melodic opening track awash in a sea of serenity and light. Keen has shared a few words about it:

“I wrote Cell Song visiting my parents cabin/now home in northern WI. I was sitting on the dock on a summer night, contemplating yet again what my relationship is with my family. That same place is where I’ve written countless songs. I also recorded most of my previous record, Albatross, up there.

The lyrics embody my normal “subconscious sound-poetry turned into meaning later” formula. That being said, they ended up being about digging deeper to find the good in people even if you can’t always see it and not losing your own plot while doing so. Hence the “cells remain” part.”

We’ll have to wait until August 7th for Cells Remain to be out through Birdwatcher Records and if it is as engaging and captivating as the first single, we can’t wait for it. ‘Cell Song’ comes paired with a video directed, shot, and edited by Dustin Houston. Here it is.