Spaceship jazz. These guys have coined a perfect term for themselves. We have free jazz, dark jazz, all sorts of jazz, but this release by France’s Massive Suits Quartet has to be one of the most enjoyable ones of 2019.
There are touches of that ur-spaceship jazz cat Sun Ra, a wee bit of percussive hip-hop beats far off in the distance, and a vibe that would not feel too out of place in a cocktail lounge.
MSQ have left a very good impression.
Jorge Luis Borges is highlighted in this film directed by Philippe Molins and written by the nearly-as-profound author Alberto Manguel.
Sam Beam hit his peak with this album. From the heartrendingly beautiful The Trapeze Swinger to his folksy cover of New Order’s Love Vigilantes, the album is a warm, relaxing listen perfect for my cold Beijing day.
French sound artist and engineer Félix Blume produces something voyeuristic and creepy, yet engaging and life-affirming at the same time. This album is a collection of brass music played at funerals in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
According to the website, there are featured in these ‘performances’ 15 dead, 15 funerals, 16 funeral processions, 1 procession with no dead, 5 churches, 1 cemetery, 1 wake, all recorded, including the wails and sobbing of those who lost their loved ones. There is a feeling that death has been conquered and mocked, however, in the same way New Orleans funerals tend to be.
This is field recording at its most engaging, at least for me.
Avant-garde bebop seems to be the most fitting way to describe this release featuring saxophonist Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi (drummer Chris Corsano and bassist Darrin Grey) along with pianist Masahiko Satoh. No less than Jim O’Rourke gushes over the the musicianship of this improvisers, but this isn’t a racket-filled noise blast. The musicianship is astounding, free, and engaging, something a lot of improvisers can’t seem to make happen unless they’re truly something special. It seems that Sakata has been making music since the 1960s, so I have a bit of exploring to do on his previous work.
This week’s guest host, Aly Gillani, plays a lot more soul and R&B influenced music that I’m used to hearing, but it’s a fine opportunity to learn about genres I definitely missed out on.
Check out the Bandcamp Weekly program here.
Jeremy Dutcher is a Canadian tenor and composer of Wolastoq hertiage. He has done an amazing service in preserving the cultural heritage of his people, and the interpretations of this music remind one, as is described on his Bandcamp page, as having the same feeling of Antony and the Johnsons as well as the works of Rufus Wainwright’s more operatic moments. I look forward to Jeremy digging deeper into his roots.
Metamodal | Sokratis Sinopoulos Quartet to stream in hi-fi, or to download in True CD Quality on Qobuz.com
Source: Metamodal | Sokratis Sinopoulos Quartet
Casablanca, Morocco isn’t the first place I would think of as being a global melting pot, but that is because I didn’t ever have a chance to deeply explore the city. It turns out that there is a tremendous amount of influence, not only of local culture, but that of West Africa, Asia, and even elements of music from the United States like jazz, blues and hip-hop. Enter saib., a guitarist who manages to flow easily from genre to genre, making this album sound like a combination of North African groove, a touch of bossa nova and mellow jazz, underpinned by a meaty loops.
Gizeh Records is a very interesting label. I can’t say I adore every single release, but I have come to the realization that artists like Aidan Baker and Christine Ott will produce solid release after solid release. TABU features one of the most brilliant instruments ever designed during the 20th Century, the ondes martenot, and Ott uses it to full effect, creating soundscapes whose feel verges on the oceanic. A heavy, lovely release.