Listen to C. Diab’s second single ‘Quatsino Sound’

After enticing us with the stunning and enveloping ‘Lunar Barge’, Canadian bowed guitarist and multi-instrumentalist C. Diab has shared a new single titled ‘Quatsino Sound’. The track is lifted from his upcoming album, Imerro, which arrives on February 16th through Tonal Union. ‘Quatsino Sound’ takes its name from an inlet on Northern Vancouver Island where Diab grew up and you can listen to it below.

Hani Mojtahedy and Andi Toma unveil new project, HJirok; announce debut album

HJirok is the exciting new project of producer Andi Toma, also known as one half of electronic music pioneers Mouse on Mars, and Iranian-born Kurdish singer and artist Hani Mojtahedy. Comes March 8th, the fruits of their collaboration will be released in the shape of an album called Hjirok, through Altin Village & Mine. Described as a mythical figure, HJirok was devised by Mojtahedy as a fictional character. Their upcoming record combines field recordings collected in their travels to Iraqi Kurdistan and other places, with recordings of Sufi drum rhythms and setar melodies, as well as her unconventional vocal techniques and polyglot lyrics upholding her memories. “The project is rooted in the figures of the Sufi dervishes and thus a culture that precedes today’s political, social, cultural, and religious systems,” Mohtahedy explained. “The Sufi sound travelled around the entire world. I like to think of it as a dialogue between peoples – one based on the rhythms of the drums and the sound of their voices.”

Mojtahedy, who stands out as a staunch advocate for the rights of the Kurdish people and women under oppression, cites Kurdish writer Ebdulla Peşêw as an inspiration. “At their core, these are about that day on which violence and fear become a thing of the past; what they tell you is to not give up, to keep hoping.”

HJirok have shared ‘Jin Bo Chie’, serving as the first entrancing and gripping single from the album. Take a listen below.

Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble announce 50th anniversary album, Open Me, A Higher Consciousness of Sound and Spirit

Photo: Christopher Andrew

In celebration of Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble‘s milestone 50th anniversary, Spiritmuse Records has a special release from them on the way. On March 8th, they’ll release a new album titled Open Me, A Higher Consciousness of Sound and Spirit, described as “a visionary journey into deep roots and future routes, channeling traditions old and new”. The record features originals like ‘Barundi’, ‘Hang Tuff’, ‘Ornette’ ,and ‘Great Black Music’ as well as other modern compositions which El’Zabar arranged, including an interpretation of Miles Davis’ ‘All Blues’.

Alongside the news, Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble are giving us the first phenomenal taste from the album in the shape of lead single ‘Compared To What’, a protest song originally written by Eugene McDaniel which was first recorded by Robert Flack in 1969, and later, Les McCann and Eddie Harris. Of the track, El’Zabar says:

“Compared To What’ was my father, Clifton Blackburn Sr’s favourite tune. On Saturdays, he would play jazz all day, and later in the evening, he would scat, sing rhythms, and then he and I would improvise together on the grooves that he taught me. It was all ‘Compared to What.’”

‘Compared To What’ comes with an accompanying video and you can watch it below.

Early Life Forms announce eponymous debut album featuring Marc Ribot

Photo: Olympe Tits

A rising star in the music firmament, Vitja Pauwels has made a name for himself playing with bands and artists like Naïma Joris, Bombataz, Warm Bad and Lara Rosseel, and also as a solo artist, releasing his debut album, Day at Half Speed, in 2019, and the critically acclaimed follow-up Drift By, Sink In in 2022. Pauwels has unearthed Early Life Forms, his new quartet also comprising Frederik Leroux (baritone guitar), Laurens Dierickx (Hammond organ) and Casper Van De Velde (drums). Following an invite by the BRAND! Festival in Belgium, the multi-instrumentalist put together his “dream” band, including his hero Marc Ribot. Ahead of the festival, Pauwels wrote a few songs for the show with the caveat that there would be no rehearsals in advance, only a brief soundcheck with Ribot. “The music was played and heard for the first time, and it felt like a birth of something that needed to be alive”, Pauwels explains. “We felt connected in the right state of mind – relaxed and focused – and it all happened in a rush of shared energy. No ego’s or fear, only connection and the music”. Speaking about the collaboration with Ribot, he comments:

“Marc’s commitment in the music was better than I could have hoped for. What he played was with 200% intention, putting the rest of us in a state of hyperfocus. Given the fact that it was a one-time thing and a recording, we took risks without ‘overplaying’ or overthinking it. Right before the gig, we felt an urge to play, Marc said, “Let’s rock!!” and we hit the stage”.

Their one-off performance was recorded and comes January 26th, it will be released as a self-titled record marking their debut album. A melting pot of sounds and influences, Early Life Forms fuses together musical genres such as latin, jazz, cuban, and rock with a touch of exoticism and cinematic explorations, and other than Marc Ribot, the quartet cites Ry Cooder, Henry Mancini, Los Lobos and Ennio Morricone as influences.

To tease the release of the upcoming album through W.E.R.F. Records, Early Life Forms have just shared ‘Groove Encore’ and we can’t stop playing it. Listen to it below, and check out the previously released single, ‘Latin Dancer’, straight after.

GaBLé return with new album We LooK aWay

Seven years removed from the reease of JoLLy TRouBLe, French DIY-pop trio GaBlé are back with a brand new album titled PiCK THe WeaK. Thomas Boullay, Gaëlle Jacqueline and Mathieu Hubert, who make up the band, composed and recorded the album over the last couple of years, upholding their singular, fun and unpredictable quirks.
PiCK THe WeaK is set for release on February 2nd through Figures Libres and ahead of it GaBLé have shared the first single, ‘We LooK aWay’. The track is offered with an accompanying video directed by Johann Van Aerden and Mathieu Hubert, and you can watch it below.

Kjetil Mulelid announces new album, Agoja, and shares first single ‘A Prayer For Peace’

Photo: Jenny Berger Myhre

Norwegian pianist and composer Kjetil Mulelid has announced the release of a new full length-album. Entitled Agoja, it will see the light of day in March 2024 through Odin Records. Speaking about his upcoming album, Mulelid comments:

“For a while, I’ve had a wish to step into the studio and create an album under my own name, where I can do exactly what I want without worrying about the end result and the musical expression the music should convey. In 2022, I had the plan as ready as it gets and asked many of my good friends and favorite musicians if they wanted to be part of this unfiltered journey. I booked the studio not knowing all the details, but in the subsequent days, a musical world took shape, becoming clearer with each recorded stanza. The result was on its way to becoming a melancholic reflection of life, mixed with a playful tribute to my upcoming next generation – parallel to the album process, I became a father for the first time. “Agoja” was the first approximate word I heard my son say, and I have therefore chosen to name the album just that.”

Ahead of the album’s release, Mulelid has shared the first single ‘A Prayer For Peace’. He shares some insight about the track:

“It was written in the early morning of February 24, 2022, just after Russia invaded Ukraine. It was never my intention to release this song as a single, as I feel it stands out a bit from the rest of the record, but today it feels more relevant than ever and giving it extra space felt like the only right contribution I could make amidst the world’s hopeless disagreements.

With me on this song I’ve got some incredible musicians. I first got to know Signe Emmeluth when we both studied at the somewhat legendary “jazzlinja” in Trondheim, and later through several musical projects. She has a completely raw energy and presence in the music, and an inspiring musical personality that is not afraid to take up space and push the boundaries. At the same time, I really wanted Trygve Seim’s big and melancholic sound to influence this song – a musician I have looked up to for several years. I concluded that a combination of these two very different players would result in a very interesting melodic interplay. Andreas Winther on drums and Bárður Reinert Poulsen on double bass make up the rest of the band on this song. They are two of my closest musical collaborators, with whom I have collaborated for several years, for example in Kjetil Mulelid Trio (Andreas) and Wako (Bárður).

As a band, we had never played the song together before, but a brief introduction to my thoughts and wishes for the song, led to the first run-through bringing a tear to my eye – this is the version you are about to hear.”

Now lend your ears to ‘A Prayer For Peace’.