Hello again friends, freaks and fans of Future Jazz.
In the week that the UK government unveiled their completely coherent and eminently memorable new Coronavirus slogan, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, But Feel Free to Sunbathe in your Local Park” I’ve unearthed five tracks whose mission statements couldn’t be more clear: get a load of this, ya big facking beauties.
‘Alerting’ your attention is a Brooklyn singer with a big personality and an even bigger message. Ian Isiah’s track N.U.T.S is a gay rights anthem disguised in suitably dancefloor-ready disco drag. It’s also your Charm Offensive choice.
Very much ‘staying home’ is London rapper Little Simz. Her song Might Bang, Might Not is the best thing to come out of lockdown since those pics of your mates with partially-shaved heads. That’s your military coup.
Providing your Peaceful Protest and saving – if not lives – then certainly the eardrums of Hungary’s Bakony hills wildlife is András Dés. The drummer and his Rangers quartet recorded their entire new album without a kick drum to speak of and the result is one of the best marriages between nature and jazz you’re likely to hear.
Not so much ‘controlling the virus’ as wrestling it to the floor and beating it to death with a comfortable slipper is LA Producer Daedelus [pictured]. His track Sunflower Stems is rave music for raging introverts and that’s why it’s your Guerrilla Warfare selection.
And finally, not so much ‘protecting the NHS’ as bestowing upon us a Puerto Rican panacea, are trouble-making twosome Buscabulla. Their track Mío is – to paraphrase Barry White, my past, my future, my everything. It’s also my Quiet Riot this week.
And so if any of that sounds like your idea of a lovely rest in a pandemic plagued playground, by all means, hear more here…
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THE CHARM OFFENSIVE
IAN ISIAH: N.U.T.S
JULIET RECORDS / EONE MUSIC
The sex-obsessed, self-described genderless, one-human-hippodrome of GHE20G0TH1K hedonism that is Ian Isiah is lining himself up to launch his “grown and sexy” debut album AUNTIE – a follow up to 2013’s The Love Champion and 2018’s Shugga Sextape (Vol. 1). The latest release to get us all hot and heavy is the Chromeo-produced N.U.T.S.
‘Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud’, or so goes the quote. And rarely has the dichotomy within that phrase been so evident. Because for all Isiah’s bombast and seeming swagger, the things that speak loudest in N.U.T.S are quite possibly the elements you’ll hear last.
And yes, I’m talking about the homophobic slurs that are shouted at Isiah from far in the distance. But I’m also talking about the quiet confidence with which he navigates through them. “You’ve got to make some room for people who wanna love you” Isiah swats in the chorus. And when a message comes through so loud and clear, need you say more?
Further watching: check out the trailer for N.U.T.S (official video not yet available) for funky street-dancing and even bible verse.
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THE MILITARY COUP
LITTLE SIMZ: MIGHT BANG, MIGHT NOT
Anyone feeling they’ve accomplished little-to-nothing during lockdown should probably beware Little Simz’ latest EP, Drop 6. Written and released in response to the quarantine, London’s nimblest lyrical ninja has knocked out another mini-masterpiece in the time it’s taken for you and I to work out how to use the clippers.
And while each of the EP’s five tracks contorts and constrains under the weight of Simz’ claustrophobia, none do so more than Might Bang, Might Not. Her caged animal demeanour is palpable as she refuses to “get my foot off your neck” over chopped and screwed drum’n’bass beats, gut-punching bass lines and police siren counterpoints.
Further reading: check out my review of Little Simz’ Offence.
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THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
ANDRÁS DÉS RANGERS: LIFE SINGS ON
It takes a lot of balls to release a record called The Worst Singer in the World. Granted, it’s not so risky when your instrument is the drums, but what does take cojones of pretty Herculean proportions for a drummer is setting out without your beloved snare, cymbals and sticks – replacing them with whatever you can find around you. Oh, and recording your album in the forest. In two days.
Nonetheless, that’s exactly what Vienna-based percussionist András Dés and his Rangers quartet did on latest album (and Worst Singer… follow-up) einschließlich.
The result is a record of astounding beauty; organic both in the wonderful earthy textures sound engineer Viktor Szabó has managed to capture, and also in the intricate and intimate ways in which the band interact. On Life Sings On, guitarist Márton Fenyvesi and saxophonist János Ávéd share melodic duties, while double bassist Mátyás Szandai gives the piece its pulse and, in imitating sounds such as the flapping of wings, Dás’ rhythms help the track take flight.
The linear notes for the record contain a lovely phrase: “On this disc, everything is essential. The murmurs of the forest become music, and the music becomes part of the forest.” It is the perfect encapsulation of this most perfect of collaborations.
Further watching: check out this fascinating ‘making of’ video.
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DAEDELUS: SUNFLOWER STEMS
DOME OF DOOM
When LA Producer, Greek mythology enthusiast and former jazz double bass student Daedelus (known to his Mum as Alfred Darlington) released the accordion-heavy Experience in 2002, not even in his wildest dreams could he have foreseen how Madlib would take his introverted little ditty and turn it into inarguably the best sample in all of hip-hop. In 2020, Darlington’s days of being quiet and unassuming are way behind him, of course, but latest album What Wands Won’t Break could be his loudest yet.
Lead-off single Sunflower Stems is as manically muscular and brilliantly belligerent as the new album comes. As a drummer, I revel in getting wrangled up in its labyrinthine polyrhythms and precious pauses as Darlington pushes his Ableton to the brink of its abilities. As the artist himself has described his latest work, it is “stripped back raw rhythms that only momentarily dawdle in melody… Let the mystical be plain to see, but only implied, as the only whisper on this loudly album.” Whatever the fuck that means.
If you like this: check out my review of Lorenzo Senni’s Discipline of Enthusiasm.
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THE QUIET RIOT
RIBBON MUSIC / LLC
When I’m introduced to any band whose name means ‘rabble-rouser’ they automatically get a headstart on the competition for me. So when Buscabulla released their debut record Regresa this week and every track bristled with the restless spirit of adventure and experimentation, I knew I was on to something special.
Recorded after the husband/wife duo of Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle returned to their native Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, like chewing gum, the music stretches the limits of what has hitherto been considered possible with Caribbean music and creates something completely fresh.
On Mío, Berrios and Del Valle combine a traditional Cuban Guajira folk rhythm with syrupy synthpop production, percussion that creates its own counter-melodies as it pulses around your brain, breathy vocals and even what sounds like an asthmatic having a giggling fit. What more could you ask for? It is from the earth as much as it is from another planet; as timeless as it is transcendent.
If you like this: check out my review of Lido Pimienta’s Eso Que to Haces.
That’s your lot 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 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 ‘Noiseletter’ email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
Until next time, love and noise.
– SV –