SEVEN ESSENTIAL VERSION
By Bandcamp Daily Staff June 17, 2022
Welcome to Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the albums we can’t stop playing and think you need to hear.
If, like me, you only know Barbie Bertisch as the co-founder of the fantastic Brooklyn-based dance label Love Injection, your first time at Prelude can take you by surprise. Rather than quickening the pulse, the album drifts like a dream – misty layers of synth moving slowly, like fog on the surface of the ocean. It’s no wonder that one of the album’s first champions was the legendary Anna Domino – there are moments on Prelude which recall the same mysterious synth compositions she was doing for the Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule in the mid-80s. Prelude is an album you can’t turn away from, a hypnotic collection of hushed electropop that casts its spell slowly but powerfully. On “After the Storm,” the hazy chords are topped with a three-note synth pattern that sounds like someone slowly tapping the sides of a triangle. When the beat finally enters 90 seconds, it’s just a quiet bass pulse, pushing the rest of the song along like an old shepherd gently nudging a young lamb. Bertisch unfolds his voice like another instrument throughout the album, exhaling a wordless melody in “Woman of Contrasts”, drifting like a ghost in the back of “Spirits Lifted”, appearing in the foreground to offer a phrase or two before disappearing again. Every second of the album is mesmerizing – the kind of music that brings you back there again and again so you can bask in its warmth and comfort, and an album that I’m sure to declare one of the best ever. year.
–J. Edward Keyes
Love & Fire
Jamaica and New Zealand are nearly 8,000 miles apart, but the cultural connection between the two countries runs deeper than you might think. From the late 1970s, reggae exploded in popularity on its shores, thanks in large part to the genre’s patron saint Bob Marley, who performed a landmark concert in Auckland in 1979. The hype swelled. has been somewhat extinct since then, but the reggae scene continues to kick in, carried by passionate bands like Wellington’s The Black Seeds, who have been creating feel-good jams since the late 90s. trivia: Their song “One By One” was the soundtrack to an, ahem, “kitchen scene” on “Breaking Bad”.) The band’s latest record, Love & Fire, is a polished, confident effort that affirms their status as the South Pacific’s premier modern roots reggae band, featuring frontman Barnaby Weir’s honeyed vocal melodies alongside warm, screeching guitars and perky dub riddims. It’s a testament not only to the enduring strengths of the Black Seeds, but also to the global influence of reggae – the latest product from an unlikely creative source that deserves more attention.
Misty sour cherry
If you, like me, are tired of the low-effort guitar pop that hangs around like a weary toddler on a sugar crash or a boring and anxious boring teenager, the latest Tokyo popkids Hazy Sour Cherry is the opposite of all this. strange world is a record as deliciously tart as the band’s name, full of vinegary energy and tons of surf-inspired guitar heroics that blast their songs from planet Earth to planet Claire. From the bubblegum sticky pop pop of the title track to the after-all post-punk world of ‘Hot Dub Summer Night’ (plus Japanese and English lyrics throughout), Cherries sound like they’re having so much fun , which doesn’t seem like too much to ask of rock bands these days, but it is. Oh, and underneath the cute pie exterior, this band can really to play, which also doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.
Heroes are gang leaders
Jazz ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders was formed in 2014 shortly after the death of writer (and co-founder of the Black Arts Movement) Amiri Baraka. Baraka was a militant black nationalist in the 60s and 70s, later embracing Marxism, and produced works in poetry, music criticism, drama, fiction and beyond. (Although some of his earlier work includes some reactionary bigotry, including anti-Semitism, it is something he reconsidered and publicly repudiated.) In addition to this vast body of groundbreaking work across literature, he is also credited with breaking down some doors for important people in the publishing world. TheAutoKingOgraphy is, of course, named after Baraka’s first alias, LeRoi Jones (he was born Everett Leroy Jones). This moving collection of pieces was performed in Paris in 2019; the core duo of bandleader/poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis is of course here, as well as the bassist Luke Stuart (of Irreversible entanglements), violist Melanie Dyer and a host of others – poets, singers, musicians – performing originals alongside Baraka’s work. The music is fiery and vital, free jazz that seems less a framework for the spoken word than a fluid translation of those words into music right next to it. There are also tender moments, like on the title track, built around a superb vamp piano and a soulful voice; while Baraka’s work was fiercely political, it was also highly personal and, at best, took a thoughtful look at the interactions of ordinary black people with each other as well as with systems of oppression. There is room for sadness and grief, like on “Mista Sippy”. But there is also room for joy; you can hear throughout the album how much fun the band has playing with each other and reinterpreting these lyrics. (Every resistance movement must be able to find these moments because it wouldn’t be sustainable otherwise.) Beautiful and vibrant work any time of the year, but especially poignant on June 19th.
Hostile utopia, the latest effort from British producer Low End Activist, feels less like an album and more like a travelogue. Inspired by his youth growing up in the Blackbird Leys housing estate, Hostile utopia brings together a captivating array of electronic music variants to create a record that hits hard and hits often. This, in fact, is Utopiadefining quality of: its physicality. From the kind of jagged hardcore synth music that Atari Teenage Riot used to make to loud grime and brass knuckles garage, every second of Utopia practically shakes you to life. On “Mercenary,” Mez spits out a breathless verse over distorted electronics and a gasping beat, while “Exotic Possibilities” is breathless chase music, a queasy bass tone stretching to swallow choppy drums. as a brutally distorted voice crackles above. “DFRNT STYLE” Turns Dub Upside Down; Killa P provides the track with acrobatic dancehall vocals, under which Low End Activist pumps out a moaning bassline and all sorts of eerie crackles and squeals. It’s a beautifully invigorating listen, the kind of album that never stops moving. From the techno-industrial rattling of the title track to the mysterious synth-goth of “Wild Roses”, Hostile utopia is a runaway train that takes you on a thrilling journey.
–J. Edward Keyes
West African Birdsong Guide
Do you like electronic music? Want to help save endangered birds? Then I have the compilation series for you. Launched in 2015 by DJ and producer Robin Perkins (aka El Búho (“The Owl”, in Spanish), the Birdsong project is a global and environmental call to action that challenges artists from a given region (South America , Mexico, America, Caribbean) to create original music around samples of endangered bird songs native to this region, with the ultimate goal of raising funds and awareness for the plight of our feathered friends. To that end, all proceeds from the project benefit animal and habitat conservation organizations; the current total stands at $50,000, a huge win for bird enthusiasts everywhere.The third entry, A Guide to the Birdsong of Western Africa, is perhaps the most dynamic to date, with 10 musicians, including Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, Senegalese band Wau Wau Collectif and Nigerian producer Sensei Lo, bringing us closer to rare birds of paradise like the gr black crowned hornbill, yellow helmeted hornbill and Timneh parrot. net proceeds will go to three West African nonprofits fighting to save the same birds we hear on the record. It’s time to tune in, turn up the sound and save the birds. Who is with me?