Brandon Coleman | Alias | Øyonn Groven Myhren | Jacob Collier | Sampha
Unwittingly, I’ve made this the week of collaborations. Almost every track I’ve selected features several guests with the one notable exception being Sampha (who is all the musician you need all in one.)
In total, 14 artists are credited on the tracks reviewed below (I haven’t done them all on track three – I just can’t be arsed!) so don’t ever say I leave you short-changed!
And I think it’s fair to say it’s made for one of the most diverse and unusual weeks I’ve done.
Pick your way through these…
1. The ‘Charm Offensive’ | Brandon Coleman, Patrice Quinn, Techdizzle: Giant Feelings
Earlier this year, jazz wunderkind Kamasi Washington released Heaven and Earth – essentially a concept album chronicling mankind’s ascension to a more spiritual place.
On ‘Giant Feelings’, Washington’s keyboard player Brandon ‘Professor Boogie’ Coleman has essentially built on the most epic moments of that album (the sweeping strings, the choir-of-angels backing vocals, the breath-stealing key changes) and added balls-out-of-the-bath SWAG.
You a fan of Thundercat? Then listen to this. You dig the loose-as-hell drums from early Jose James records? Then listen to this. You someone who’s simply in the mood to ‘git doooowwwn’? You know what to do, my friend.
2. The ‘Military Coup’ | Alias, Doseone: The Deadener
Sadly, Alias – otherwise known as Brendon Whitney – died in March of this year at the age of 41, meaning the record from which ‘The Deadener’ comes, ‘Less is Orchestra’ will be his last.
But, fair play to him, this is one hell of a way to go. ‘The Deadener’ is a madcap mix of schizophrenic Die Antwoord vocals, trap beats and opaque lyrics that give more than a few hints about where Whitney – along with collaborator Doseone – believe their souls might be headed;
Devil can have that mic
And all my Facebook likes,
Skin and inner light
Just make sure my skull gets striped…
Musically, it’s far more ambitious than it may first appear, switching tack several times across its four minutes with everything bar the beat dropping out at one point. It is a subtly impressive, complex and rewarding listen and a fine testament to one of hip-hop’s visionaries.
3. The ‘Peaceful Protest’ | Øyonn Groven Myhren, Bugge Wesseltoft: Svikefull Jomfru
‘Svikefull Jomfru’ is Norwegian for ‘Deceitful Virgin’ (believe me, my browser history will never recover after Googling that!)
And were one to try to conjure up a motif for such a person, one could do a lot worse than this little number.
Though jazz musician and pianist Bugge Wesseltoft is the big name on the ticket here, it’s undoubtedly his more traditional Norwegian folk musician friends who take centre stage.
In particular, we’re led through the piece by Øyonn Groven Myhren’s breathy, searching voice and seljefløyte (willow flute) but the track really takes off, for me, when Anne Hytta’s beguiling Hardingfele (Norwegian fiddle) enters late in the track.
What is the mood? It’s hard to pin down. Plaintive or meditative? Devious or devout? I guess that is the point. And it makes it so well.
4. ‘Guerilla Warfare’ | Jacob Collier, Metropole Orkest, Jules Buckley: With the Love in My Heart
Blokes who write and record everything themselves often frustrate me because I find that all the multi-tracking and metronoming required to basically be an entire sweaty-arsed collection of musicians in one single human-being saps the energy out of the music.
Not so with Mr. Collier. Part ‘You Can Call Me Al’-Afro-funk, part dalek spasm, (huge) part future-jazz freak-out, “With the Love in My Heart” is an explosion of ideas and sheer shit-eating charm.
And this lad’s not stopping there; his upcoming album “Djesse” will be a 40-song, four-volume epic released over the next few months!
5. The ‘Quiet Riot’ | Sampha: Treasure
Mercury-award winning Sampha returns with his first new music in four years. For those of us who have been long-standing lovers of London’s finest, we can’t allow ourselves to get too excited just yet… he’s not teasing a new album; ‘Treasure’ is a one-off, created as part of the soundtrack to the upcoming film ‘Beautiful Boy.’
The film itself documents a father’s struggles in supporting his son while he spirals into drug addiction. Sampha – who has had to endure his own tribulations with his parents over the years – clearly dredged from his own depths on this as Treasure’s lyrics rival even his revered “(No-One Knows Me) Like The Piano”:
Watch the heavens just recline
Watch the heavens, lest the sun die
And breathing even is a challenge
‘Cause I don’t want to lose, brother
I need it, gotta have it
Too stuck in the loop
So stuck in the loop
Too stuck in the loop
So stuck in the loop
Maybe we should be getting excited after all.
And so we reach a cease-fire for this week. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. I can’t listen to every new track released each week so all recommendations from like-minded readers are most welcome too.
The silence is broken again next week when I’ll return with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you for reading and go in peace.
– SV –