TASH SULTANA | KARI FAUX | SHADOW COMMUNITY | AGAINST ALL LOGIC | SAM SURI + ARUNESH + JACKSON BOSCO
Hello again friends, freaks and fans of future-jazz.
A good buddy of mine told me this week that one of his favourite parts of this blog was the writing. Literally, that is the first and only such time that that sort of feedback has been given and received.
And while it is bloody lovely to hear, it does now mean I feel under immense pressure to be even more humorous, clever and cool than normal. Or at least a little less prosaic, ill-informed and, well, 35-year-old white male.
Fortunately, the musical choices this week come from a cast of colourful characters.
Opening up, we’ve got an act that is often described variously as both a “one-person powerhouse” and as “they”. Work that one out.
And picking up the baton from them is the one-woman fashion show that is Little Rock rapper Kari Faux.
At three, we have a bloke whose name is completely unknown, who’s never played live and who wears a rabbit head in publicity shots.
And he’s followed by a musician, in Against All Logic, who’s now released two albums in the space of little over a month – one a floor-filler, the other more suited to burying people under your floor (Fred West style) to.
Thankfully, seeing us out this week is a musician who lets his fingers do the talking – producer Sam Suri combines Eastern and Western influences to breath-taking effect on his track Aval Pol.
If you, dear reader, would like to send any feedback akin to my mate Damo’s above please feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@45rpm_reviews). If you’d like to tell me I’m a smug little twat, please do feel free to email your comments to the bloke who did Against All Logic’s patio for him.
So, without further ado, hear more here…
– 1 –
THE CHARM OFFENSIVE
TASH SULTANA: PRETTY LADY
Not to be confused with the pale green, oval seedless grape varietal of the same name, Sultana first appeared on my radar a couple of years ago when they (Sultana identifies as non-binary) released the superb Cigarettes from debut LP, Flow State. Now the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist returns with single, Pretty Lady, the (quarantine-recorded) video for which taught me:
1. Sultana has got cooler mates than me
2. … and more of them
3. Even some babies are better dancers than me
Sultana is kinda like the Aussie Jack Johnson for the 21st Century, specialising in the kinda hazy, bluesy, funk-pop that I imagine is a soundtrack staple of a million surf movies. And Pretty Lady is 100% in that wheelhouse.
All harmonised vocals, finger-picked guitars and sweepy strings (as well as a signature tempo change part-way through) it’s perfect chill music.
Homework: Post your own dance video using #prettyladychallenge and let’s stop ‘Thank You Baked Potato’ popping up all over my Twitter timeline.
– 2 –
THE MILITARY COUP
KARI FAUX: WHILE GOD WAS SLEEPIN’…
Kari Faux unveils her latest mixtape, Lowkey Superstar hot on the heels of last year’s Cry 4 Help EP. And you’ll not be surprised to hear that the internet-rap artist, notoriously extravagant dresser and Childish Gambino and Pivot Gang collaborator raises more than just a few eyebrows with her lyrical content.
There’s nothing fake about Kari Faux. For those of you who don’t speak French, that was a hilarious joke. But also a true statement. After all, a quick skim through her lyric-video to While God Was Sleepin’… sees her laying it all out there – including references to period blood, kleptomaniac parents and a deity who has better things to do than Facetiming with his followers. Clearly, he’s not in lockdown like the rest of us.
Further viewing: Kari Faux’s Instagram feed to see more of those exotic aforementioned fashion choices – as well as rather more of her flesh than you might have anticipated!
– 3 –
THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
SHADOW COMMUNITY: RESTLESS SONG
I bloody love this guy. Shadow Community is the new project headed up by the anonymous madcap genius behind psych-inflected folktronica outfit Mid-Air Thief. It was they who managed to score a cult hit with 2018 album Crumbling without a shred of PR. Now, ‘Mr Thief’ returns with an unnamed vocalist and two brand new tracks, including this one, Restless Song.
You’ll note that I’ve, helpfully, found a lyric video for you above. In Korean. You’re welcome. So, obviously, I haven’t the foggiest what the words are about but what I love about the music in Restless Song is that it’s sneakily a bit of a Ronseal (“it does exactly what it says on the tin”) job.
In my review of These Chains [from the aforementioned Crumbling] I described this musician’s sound as being musical décopatch – a “collection of tiny fragments of brightly coloured things [stuck] next to each other”. And that’s still true here. But what’s added is an extra layer of, yes, restlessness rumbling just below the surface. There’s added distortion, added dynamics and added drama… and it’s all the more damn beautiful for it.
Further reading: this Paste article, if only to find out why ‘Mr Thief’ requested NOT to be nominated for a South Korean Music Award.
– 4 –
AGAINST ALL LOGIC: FANTASY
Less than a month ago, Nicolas Jaar was releasing his excellent, dark ambient record Cenizas under his real name. On the album 2017 – 2019, released under his dancefloor alias, he puts out a collection of tracks that couldn’t be more opposite in terms of tone, yet in terms of technical prowess is absolutely Cenizas’ equal.
Opening track, Fantasy pitches Japanese koto-like sounds with sawn-off shotgun electronic beats and Beyoncé (yes, you read that right) sampled vocals. Even for the man once described as a writer of “music that sounds like it’s trying to break out of itself”, it’s a feat. With its funk beats and liberal use of distortion you’ll barely know whether to engage in head-bobbing or head-banging; either way, you’ll not be disappointed.
Further listening: for something altogether different, try Mud from Jaar’s Cenizas, complete with this thoroughly disquieting video.
– 5 –
THE QUIET RIOT
SAM SURI + ARUNESH + JACKSON BOSCO: AVAL POL
Producer Sam Suri unveils his latest offering, this time featuring the lyrics of Arunesh and vocals of multi-award winner and British Tamil superstar Jackson Bosco.
Aval Pol – which translates as “There is No-one Like Her” – was originally written around 10 years ago by Arunesh as a song for him to sing to his wife at their wedding. And so it seems to me an absolute bloody disgrace that Suri put together this arrangement for it; after all, the bride should be the centre of attention at her wedding and this track’s cynically gorgeous orchestration and ostentatiously beautiful instrumentation are clearly designed to steal the limelight under all circumstances in which it’s played.
Listen to that tasteful percussion. Feel those piano lines bouncing off every surface like sunlight reflecting off the leaves of an early morning’s dew-drenched flower. Marvel at the sarangi interlude around 2:30 and the subsequent layered vocals that bring the beat back in. I mean, come on, Sam; the rest of us musicians have families, man!
Further watching: See Sam Suri in action on his YouTube channel.
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 –