GONZALO RUBALCABA + AYMEE NUVIOLA + CIMAFUNK | TARIK + LAURA MVULA | THE BREATHING EFFECT | NÍDIA | NNAMDÏ
Hello again friends, freaks and fans of Future Jazz.
In the week that UK government officials revealed that a trip to a local beauty spot is, in fact, a cure for ailing eyesight, 45 RPM assembles five songs that could fix even the most tone-deaf of ears.
Starting the engine in our car that can do more than 500 miles on one tank of petrol is not one but three leading lights of the Cuban music scene. Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, singer Aymee Nuviola and funkmeister producer Cimafunk combine on Azúcar Pa’ Tu Café – a track so sweet, it had to be the Charm Offensive this week.
Sticking the boot in like former footballer Gary Neville is NYC rapper, Tarik. His track Everything I Am VI is an anthem for the resilient and the relentless. It’s also your Military Coup.
Attempting to assuage the situation as smoothly as a relatable home story is California’s The Breathing Effect. Their track Heliotrope combines psychedelic elements and freeform jazz to make your Peaceful Protest.
Getting weirder than some of the Trip Advisor reviews of Barnard Castle is batida producer, Nídia. Her track Popo is a richly percussive take on electronic music, combining flavours from Brazil and her native Portugal. It’s also your Guerrilla Warfare choice.
And finally, cocking a head to one side and looking as absolutely dumb-founded as Sky News Journalist Beth Rigby, is Chicago musical polyglot NNAMDÏ. His track Flowers For My Demons is the acoustic guitar jam no camp-fire singalong could contain. It’s also your Quiet Riot.
And so, my friends, if any of that has you Cumming in your trousers, by all means, hear more here…
– 1 –
THE CHARM OFFENSIVE
GONZALO RUBALCABA + AYMEE NUVIOLA + CIMAFUNK: AZÚCAR PA’ TU CAFÉ
TOP STOP MUSIC
Classic- meets contemporary- Cuba as serial Grammy nominees Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aymee Nuviola get a little ‘sugar’ added to their ‘coffee’ by one of the island’s rising stars, Cimafunk.
And Azúcar Pa’ Tu Café is the best of all worlds, combining Rubalcaba’s winding piano lines with Nuviola’s vocals. Cimafunk – as he always does – brings the piece grooving and grinding into the modern day by adding subtle electronics, trap beats and funk guitars.
Sizzling hot rhythms combine with brass that’s as saucy as a ‘ropa vieja’. This is Caribbean funk at its absolute finest.
If you like this: check out my review of Aggua by Roberto Fonseca.
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THE MILITARY COUP
TARIK + LAURA MVULA: EVERYTHING I AM VI
Not to be confused with Tariq Luqmaan Trotter (AKA Blackthought from The Roots), the wisely mononymous New York rapper Tarik (with a K) Lee Trotter has been bubbling under for a while, amassing a cult following through his mixtapes T.R.I.G.S. and Here To Stay. All the while, he’s been dropping singles under the “Everything I Am” banner intermittently. Episode VI is the latest.
Trotter’s reputation is being built on his painfully honest, autobiographical lyrics. A young man with a troubled past, perhaps the most heart-breaking part of his back story is the fact that his mother gave birth five times but only Tarik lived past day one. Everything I Am VI finds the rapper in defiant mood.
“There’s really no stopping me” he says.“I came out the mud; the quickest of sands couldn’t drown the weight of my plans.” And later, “I am not a victim. I know life’s happening for me and not to me. You don’t know me – you knew me.”
Its music with edge but also eloquence and, in his refusal to be held back we can see exactly where Tarik gets his resilience from.
If you like this: check out my review of PROM/KING by Saba.
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THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
THE BREATHING EFFECT: HELIOTROPE
ALPHA PUP RECORDS
L.A. duo Eli Goss and Harry Terrell have been honing their sound as The Breathing Effect over four years and three releases. Now they drop new EP, Photosynthesis – in the pair’s own words, “a synthesis of psychedelic sound design, progressive songwriting, and meticulous production.”
And that is nowhere better embodied than on Heliotrope. For the most part a spiralling melange of atmospherics, the production is lush and languid. And yet it’s anything but background. In fact, the track is quietly epic, swelling and subsiding with the turning tides of Terrell’s fluid drumming.
It’s a warm bath of a track – one that compels you to relax into it, but actually energises upon emerging from it.
If you like this: check out my review of Tom Misch + Yussef Dayes’ What Kinda Music.
– 4 –
There can surely be few genres in World music that are more exciting right now than batida. Emanating from the impoverished suburbs of Lisbon, it mixes African kuduro, zouk, batucada, kizomba and tarraxinha rhythms with grime, baile funk and footwork sensibilities.
And since her last album – 2017’s Nídia é Má, Nídia é Fudida – Portuguese producer Nídia Sukulbembe has been one of the leading lights. Now she releases her second LP, Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes.
The title roughly translates as, “Don’t talk about her or you’ll end up lying about her” (from a poem by Jorge de Sena) and the turmoil and angst wrapped up in the record as a whole is never more present than on Popo. Twinning melancholy flutes with jagged, edgy percussive stabs on a range of instruments, the piece is far darker than anything on Nídia é Má…
And while the first album was more suited to the dancefloor, the new work benefits from being more cerebral and more reflective. As creepy as it is beautifully crafted, Popo rewards multiple listens.
If you like this: read this Pitchfork article on the rise of batida.
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THE QUIET RIOT
NNAMDÏ: FLOWERS TO MY DEMONS
A lot has changed in the three years since Chicago multi-instrumentalist and self-styled ‘feckin weirdo’ Nnamdi Ogbonnaya first caused enough of a ruckus for this writer to sit up and take notice of his brilliant collaboration with Thrashkitten and Mal Devisa, dOn’t turn me Off. For one, he’s sacked off the last name. But in all other respects, everything I fell in love with on previous record Drool – the playful, percussive super-freakishness – is back with a vengeance on new LP, BRAT.
Album opener Flowers For My Demons symbolises Ogbonnaya’s restless spirit. Initially a simple guitar and vocal piece, it always feels faster and more furious than other musicians would make it. Sure enough, it quickly escalates to incorporating multiple voices, guitar overdubs, swelling strings and ultimately rolling drums.
It is boundlessly energetic and imaginative, a multi-coloured canvas borne of a free-drawn sketch.
If you like this: check out my review of Anything Goes by NVDES.
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 weekly.
Until next time, love and noise.
– SV –