FIGUEROA | SCARY GOLDINGS + LOUIS COLE | SEBA KAAPSTAD + QUELLE CHRIS | YAZZ AHMED + DJ PLEAD | NEIL COWLEY | BROTHERLY + DONNY McCASLIN | SUPERLATIVE + MR SCRUFF | SONGHOY BLUES | TUNE-YARDS | IBRAHIM MAALOUF
Hello again friends, freaks and fans of Future Jazz.
In the week that the ‘tiers of a clown’ (Boris Johnson) hit the North of England hard, 45 RPM returns with 10 Future Jazz tracks that will keep you smiling even while your Bradford-dwelling Nan cries herself to sleep inside her increasingly desolate care home.
This week’s Future Jazz Offensive contains new music from Ibrahim Maalouf, Neil Cowley, Yazz Ahmed and Mr Scruff.
We’ve also got some songs you might not have heard from a band with scary pockets who say they suck, the Tuareg Reservoir Dogs and the Tune-Yards (that last one’s the band’s actual name).
– 00:00 –
FIGUEROA – BACK TO THE STARS
It’s a good thing I wasn’t camping out in the northern California woods with Amon Tobin 10 years ago. Not least of all because that would prompt some serious questions about how I’d managed to get over there and why I’d abandoned the life I had hitherto been building for myself in the UK. But also because, if I’d known he was writing tracks like ‘Back to the Stars’ back then, I’d have never let him leave the cabin he was self-isolating in (ahead of his time) until he’d bloody-well finished the pieces and put them out into the world. Alas, the Brazilian visionary has now released the collection of what is being described as ‘electronic folk’ tracks, but – to my ear – sounds like a glorious mess of middle eastern music meets Western psychedelia. The album’s called ‘The World As We Know It’ and this track – the album’s closer – is wickedly wonderful.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Jama Narenji’ by Kefaya and Elaha Soroor.
– 05:49 –
SCARY GOLDINGS + LOUIS COLE – LOUIS COLE SUCKS
I like dropping a bit of Louis Cole early in an episode. It feels a bit like picking your nose on a first date. Like, if you can’t accept that this is what I do now, is there really any point in us pursuing this any further? Sorts the wheat from the chaff, I reckon. Clearly, Scary Goldings (a combination of the funk collective Scary Pockets and pianist Larry Goldings) feel the same. After all, if you call a song ‘Louis Cole Sucks’ and then feature Louis Cole on it, you’re expecting a certain level of commitment from your listener before they even hear a note. Fortunately, I am that committed listener. KNOWER producer, Louis Cole is a personal favorite of mine (he’s actually one of only three drummers who I’ve banned myself from listening to in the car, for reasons I’m sure I’ll go into another time). And so, while I can completely understand if you, dear reader, agree with the sentiment that he does, indeed, suck, that’s fine – there’s plenty more fish in the sea for me.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Levitation 21’ by Tigran Hamasyan.
– 09:55 –
SEBA KAAPSTAD + QUELLE CHRIS – OUR PEOPLE
MELLO MUSIC GROUP
The South African / Swazi / German powerhouse that is Seba Kaapstad rolls on, bringing along the keyboard-caressing talents of Quelle Chris for the (suitably smooth) ride. As always, their nu-soul sound is sprinkled with African vocals and general good vibes. The track comes from a new album, Konke, due out on 13 November.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Chills’ by Jax Beats, Blk Ozwald and Rosie P.
– 12:55 –
YAZZ AHMED + DJ PLEAD – RUBY BRIDGES
Some time ago I had the absolute privilege of seeing Yazz Ahmed live at the Jazz Café in London. In the posh seats we were (have I told this story before? If not, I must emphasise that we were in the posh seats!) She did an experimental electronic set that was heavily-spiced with her usual ‘high priestess of cosmic Arabic jazz’ (or whatever it is, lazy journos always describe her as) flavours. This ‘Ruby Bridges’ remix is the closest I’ve come to finding music that is the equal of what I heard on that night since. The collaboration with Aussie producer, DJ Plead is, of course a marriage made in heaven, given the latter’s penchant for blending ‘Western’ music with that of his own Lebanese roots and the former’s melding of jazz with sounds from her own Bahraini background.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Popo’ by Nídia.
– 18:20 –
NEIL COWLEY – MOSFELLSBAER
I feel like it’s a contradiction in terms to describe music that is fundamentally ambient in nature as ‘catchy’ but, I swear to God, this is the first track I’ve heard that merits such a designation. Listen to ‘Mosfellsbaer’ in isolation (“how else are we gonna listen to it nowadays, SV?!”) and I guarantee you’ll be humming that little pattern over and over and wondering how the hell it got into your head. It comes from the former jazzman-turned-ambient keys-tickler Cowley’s latest EP, entitled Building Blocks Pt. 3, released last week.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Chapter’ by Penguin Café.
– 22:33 –
BROTHERLY + DONNY McCASLIN – DTs
This morning I apologized to my three-year old daughter after I realized that she hadn’t, in fact, lied to me when she told me that her Mum had said she was allowed to jump in muddy puddles in her new shoes (FFS, SMH and other juvenile abbreviations). So used is she to being ‘in the wrong’ that it was almost as if she didn’t know how to react when her Dad had admitted he was at fault for something. In a similar sort of way, when Anna Meredith is remarking on your “bonkers and brilliant drum programming” you’re probably doing something either very right or very wrong and it might be hard to know how to react accordingly. I happen to believe that nu-jazz / broken beat / dance stalwarts Brotherly are doing something very right on ‘DTs’ and the fact that they’ve got legendary saxophonist Donny McCaslin on their side for this remixed version of a 2007 track, simply strengthens my conviction. The track’s been released as part of the promotion behind the group putting their back catalogue out on vinyl for the first time in December.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Thunder of Silence’ by Da Lata.
– 28:54 –
SUPERLATIVE + MR SCRUFF – READ ALL ABOUT IT
RHYTHM LAB RECORDS
I love the story behind this collaboration. Essentially, the Rhythm Lab (originally an Arts Council-funded) project was devised to bring together musicians from diverse backgrounds, challenging them to write and record a new piece of music in just four hours. This particular blending of 23-year-old Bolton rapper Superlative with a legendary Manchester producer and DJ who’s twice his age is a testament to what can be achieved when two musicians are supremely talented and share the common language of flippin’ good music.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Not Nice’ by MckNasty and Kojey Radical.
– 31:15 –
SONGHOY BLUES – ASSADJA
Like a Tuareg Reservoir Dogs, Malian desert troubadours Songhoy Blues stride confidently towards the camera on the cover of their new album, ‘Optimisme’. Not even their scarves / headbands waving nonchalantly above their heads can dull their effortless cool (well, not that much). And all that devil-may care charisma bleeds onto every single track as opener, Badala (which apparently means ‘we don’t give a fuck’ in Songhay) rumbles into Assadja (which probably means something massively more prosaic like, um, ‘leather driving gloves’.)
If you like this check out my review of ‘Ben’ by Compro Oro.
– 33:56 –
TUNE-YARDS – NOWHERE, MAN
Californian duo, Tune-Yards’ music has always felt ever so slightly on the brink. So you can imagine what they sound like when the shit (politically-speaking) really hits the fan. Or you can simply live through the last six months or so and then listen to ‘Nowhere, Man’ – the band’s first new music in more than two years. It’s a track which frontman, Merrill Garbus has said he hopes “brings energy and a strong wind of encouragement to those who are shouting and singing loudly for justice right now.” So now you know.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Faith’ by Young Jesus.
– 37:22 –
IBRAHIM MAALOUF – BLACK AND RED LIGHT – DUO VERSION
“Once a man has been hit in the head with a frying pan, he may appreciate the beauty in experiencing a paper cut.” So goes the ancient Chinese proverb that I’ve just made up. Anyone whose ears have been blessed by hearing the original ‘Red and Black Light’ (from Maalouf’s 2015 album of the same name) will know it for all its visceral, beautiful, daemonic drama and love it for it. And yet, hearing this newly-released, stripped-back ‘duo’ version (recorded with Belgian guitarist François Delporte as part of an album released to celebrate the French-Lebanese trumpeter’s 40th birthday) reveals it in a new, but no less majestic, light.
If you like this check out my review of ‘Kōsetsu’ by Maria Chiara Argiró and Jamie Leeming.
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 –