Hello again friends, freaks and fans of future-jazz.
Well, I buggered off on holiday, leaving you lot in charge of the country and look at what a fucking mess you’ve gone and made of it.
Still, the benefit of being corona-confined to my house is that I’ve been able to spend some quality time annoying my wife and child with the sort of ‘random, tuneless nonsense’ (wife) that London afrobeat collective KOKOROKO specialise in and the ‘naughty-sounding man’ (daughter), Nxwrth.
No accounting for taste.
Elsewhere this week, we’ve new music from flamenco/pop revolutionary ROSALÍA, Antipodean jaw-dropper Jordan Rakei and equally exotic Manchester trio GoGo Penguin.
Enjoy sampling them in between sending one email per hour in a vain attempt to convince your boss you’re still ‘working’…
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THE CHARM OFFENSIVE
GOGO PENGUIN: ATOMISED
Manchester classical/jazz/electronica trio GoGo Penguin will release their self-titled sixth album on 1 May and, intriguingly, it promises to be more mature, more complex and more “sophisticated” than previous full-lengths.
Atomised is the first single off it and it is as gloriously serene and sublime as anything the Penguins have previously done. Replete with glistening, shimmering waterfall piano lines, piston-firing drums and enough light and space to allow everything to slowly evolve and breathe, it is simply beautiful.
Further reading: this interview and preview of new album GoGo Penguin.
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THE MILITARY COUP
NXWRTH + DARKOVIBES: CUPID
Nevermind the fact that I haven’t a scooby-do how to pronounce his name, I’m also not quite sure why Nxwrth is often lumped in with the emerging Afrobeats genre, the hallmarks of which are sunny, good times vibes. Nevertheless, the Ghanaian producer and member of the La Meme Gang collective otherwise known as Ahmed Froko has been extremely busy of late, releasing a string of singles (six in total) in support of his upcoming NASA: Thanks for Flying album. Each one has been as awesome as the last.
Don’t get the wrong idea from the title – there’s nothing cute and lovey about Cupid. Unless the sound of glitchy trap beats and angular synths gives you a semi. Which it sorta does in my case. And, well, this is one of the finest examples of glitch-tronica I’ve heard in a long time.
Further reading: this profile piece on Nxwrth’s love of the extra-terrestrial and, um, Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.
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THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
Hispano-pop superhero ROSALÍA has released her second new track of the fledgling year, prompting muchos excitement that she may be about to drop her first full length since smashing her way into public prominence with 2018’s El Mal Querer.
Dolerme translates as ‘hurt’ but (and maybe this is just me) this song doesn’t convey deep pain to me. The strummed acoustic guitars and lazy hip-hop beat give the track a breezy, upbeat vibe that – combined with an unexpected dose of good weather and time at home – have made me feel very much like Summer’s on its way.
Further watching: this brilliant ROSALÍA documentary by Billboard / Honda.
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KOKOROKO: CARRY ME HOME
London jazz/afrobeat tribe KOKOROKO follow up last year’s debut eponymous EP with a new single which sees de-facto band leaders Sheila Maurice-Grey and Cassie Kinoshi (trumpet and tenor sax respectively) and guitarist Oscar Jerome on fine form.
Carry Me Home feels like a genuine evolution in the band’s sound. Continuing with their previous quirkiness and jitteriness, this track feels somehow more rounded, smoother, more fully realised. It makes it more versatile and more melodic than before and the track is all the better for it.
Further watching: this breathtaking Sofar KOKOROKO performance.
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THE QUIET RIOT
JORDAN RAKEI: BEST PART (BBC MAIDA VALE SESSION)
Aussie/Kiwi funk phenomenon Jordan Rakei has released a deluxe version of last year’s Ninja Tune record, Origin and as a little extra reward, he’s added a few ‘Session’ tracks that prove he’s even more compelling in person than on tape.
Famous for his ‘midnight mischief’-inducing music to bump uglies to, Rakei goes all crooner-y on us on Best Part. And, you know what? He does it bloody well. A cover of Daniel Caesar & H.E.R.’s track, it’s tender, gentle and thoroughly full of a sheer basic love of humanity. Which is actually exactly what the world needs right now.
Further watching: see Rakei doing his day job in this NPR Tiny Desk concert.
You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the Future Jazz 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. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –