Hello again friends, freaks and fans of Future Jazz.
In the week that McDonalds managed to make Britain’s previously-barren roads resemble their customers clogged up arteries quicker than you can say ‘quarter-pounder with cheese’ 45 RPM returns with five tasty morsels of future jazz guaranteed to satisfy even the biggest cravings.
Providing the proverbial Happy Meal is Melbourne’s Bananagun. Their afro-funk freak-out People Talk Too Much is your Charm Offensive choice.
Banging out the Big Mac is Canadian musician Asuquomo. His latest single Yahweh combines hip-hop with plenty of world elements and some amazing drums. That’s your Military Coup.
Refreshing the palate like a fizzy sip of a sparkling beverage is electronic experimentalist, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith [pictured]. Her new song Expanding Electricity is your Peaceful Protest this week.
Yielding more surprises than a Smarties McFlurry is Paris-based Quartetto Minimo. Their harp-core jazz provides your Guerilla Warfare selection.
And finally, serving up something altogether more wholesome, like the token Apple and Grape Fruit Bag you desperately try to convince your kids tastes better than chips is Nitin Sawhney. His latest incarnation of new single You Are – this time an ‘Instrumental Economy’ mix – is your Quiet Riot.
And so, my friends, if you fancy Super-Sizing any of those orders, by all means, hear more here…
– 1 –
THE CHARM OFFENSIVE
BANANAGUN: PEOPLE TALK TOO MUCH
FULL TIME HOBBY
The nu-jazz hotbed that is Melbourne strikes again with up-and-comers, Bananagun, whose debut LP The True Story of Bananagun drops on June 26th.
The convivial five-piece led by Nick van Bakel recorded the album during a string of late-night practice jams at producer John Lee’s Phaedra Studios and the energy and ebullience of the sessions comes across in every animated note.
While much of the conversation around the band tends to focus around their 60s and 70s psychedelic sound, People Talk Too Much is a slice of pure Fela Kuti-esque West African rhythms teamed with Brazilian tropicalia.
What I love about the track are the saxophones of Pierce Morton and Miles Bedford while a cheeky bit of harpsichord from van Bakel himself is a rarely heard, if very welcome, addition.
If you like this, try: my review of Sinkane’s Everybody.
– 2 –
THE MILITARY COUP
A matter of months after dropping O.T. Riddim, Nigerian-Canadian artist Asuquomo releases the first taste of his debut project DIOBU.
But anyone expecting more of the dark, grime-inspired sounds of February’s mini-mixtape has another thing coming.
… In fact, they’ve got a lot of things coming because Yahweh takes the afrofusion elements upon which Asuquomo’s built his reputation and turns them up to 11.
Combined with the organic (and frankly orgasmic) drums and Asuquomo’s Obongjayar-like vocals, they create a track that manages to feel full of life while also cool as fuck.
If you like this, try: my review of Obongjayar’s God’s Own Children.
– 3 –
THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH: EXPANDING ELECTRICITY
One of the most exciting experimental electronic musicians of the last decade, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith returns with her eighth album, The Mosaic of Transformation.
My sister in law (bless her) is developing something of a habit of offending me by saying things she thinks are nice about my music. The other day she told me Buscabulla were ‘nice background music’ and today she told me The Mosaic… reminded her of being in a Spa. In fairness to her, she isn’t listening to either on headphones, which – really – is the only way both records can be fully savoured.
In the case of Expanding Energy, only headphones can really reveal the individual timbres of the percussion, the subtle stereo effect on the vocals and the spiralling electronics as they expand and contract to fill the space between your ears.
So, yes, there’s a Spa-like element to the music. But I tell you what, I feel far more relaxed listening to this in the comfort of my home than with a large-bellied, scantily clad bald man’s genitalia swaying about a foot away from my head.
If you like this, try: my review of Tanya Tagaq’s Snowblind.
– 4 –
QUARTETTO MINIMO: BLUE COSMOS
Quartetto Minimo have always stood out even in the notoriously experimental world of jazz. Their restless and free-flowing approach to genre and tempo ensured that their first four albums gained a cult following.
But when they returned from a four-year hiatus having added a harp as a core instrument, the Madrid-born, Paris-based band must have known they’d struck gold.
Latest single, Blue Cosmos showcases everything their 2018 come-back record Atlantico did so well with multiple mood and time changes. And all the while, of course, Norma Mugnier’s stringed assassin adds a lightness of touch rarely heard in such music.
It’s fast-changing, fleet-footed and damn-well the best bloody fun you’ll hear a band having for a while.
If you like this, try: my review of Platimo’s Hope Valley.
– 5 –
THE QUIET RIOT
NITIN SAWHNEY: YOU ARE (INSTRUMENTAL ECONOMY)
POSITIV LLP / SONY MUSIC
20 years ago, when I first borrowed an album from my drum teacher called Beyond Skin by a little-known artist called Nitin Sawhney, the world was a very different place. I listened to the record on a Sony Discman on my way into school while my mate Anton spread crazy rumours about a music player from the future that would have enough memory to hold every album I owned.
And while the discman has long since become a relic and even Anton’s iPod has now been surpassed, one thing that that album opened my eyes to, and that has only gained in prominence in the years since, is the debate around UK immigration.
It is apt, then, that Sawhney’s upcoming album, called Immigrants, should focus on the issues faced by such people around the world; showcasing works inspired and contributed to by artists who either identify themselves as immigrants, are from immigrant heritage or wish to express support for those international immigrants who have found themselves judged or disadvantaged by pure accident of birth.
In preparation for the release of the LP, Sawhney has released two tracks this year – Down the Road and You Are – drip-feeding instrumental and remixed versions of both pieces as he goes. This ‘Instrumental Economy’ version of You Are is the latest and, while it might be logical to assume that the message of the song might be somewhat lost without YVA’s vocals, its actually conveyed even more loudly for me.
The hope but also the heart-wrenching despair of the original comes through in the descending piano lines, the wandering flute melodies of Ashwin Srinivasan and the violin pedal points of Anna Phoebe.
It is serene, it is unbearably sad and it is incomparably special.
If you like this, try: my review of Sam Suri’s Aval Pol.
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 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.
Until next time, love and noise.
– SV –