Influential jazz collective Idris Ackamoor and The Pyramids return withShaman!’, featuring a new line-up including original 1970s Pyramids member Dr. Margaux Simmons on flute, Bobby Cobb on guitar, long-term associate Sandra Poindexter on violin, Ruben Ramos on bass, Gioele Pagliaccia on drums and Jack Yglesias on percussion.
"The band transitions from the political and social commentaries of 2018’s acclaimed ‘An Angel Fell’ into more introspective themes. “I wanted to use this album to touch on some of the issues that we all face as individuals in the inner space of our souls and our conscience,” explains Ackamoor. “The album unfolds over four Acts with personal musical statements about love and loss, mortality, the afterlife, family and salvation.”
Evolving around Ackamoor’s intricate compositions, the album takes us effortlessly across moods and emotions through a series of expansive, extended pieces. Starting with ritual, soul-searching, and masculine vulnerability on the title track, the band explores timeless existence on ‘Eternity’ and mourns the sudden loss of loved ones in the prescient ‘When Will I See You Again?’, a track which gains new relevance amidst the current COVID-19 crisis. Ackamoor pays tribute to his mentor Cecil Taylor on the angular ‘Theme For Cecil’ and renders homage to the ancestors on ‘Salvation’ and ‘The Last Slave Ship’, recalling the last ship to bring slaves to the US from Africa, the Clotilda. The superb ‘Virgin’ is an anthem of forgiveness, new beginnings and self-healing."
On their first album together since Maze of Woods (2015), Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) further their creative curiosities as Inventions.
"Beginning with a trace of uncontrollable laughter that shifts into the driving atmosphere and unfolding elation of opening track “Hint and Omens,” Continuous Portrait is an album of strange hypnosis, punctuated by songs that venture quite far from the respective oeuvres of Cooper and Smith. The spry, playful layers of “Calico” bounce against a steady thrum of rhythms and samples from everyday noises, while the dancing lightness of “Outlook for the Future” is met with a storm of emotional resonance. Both tracks emerge as distinctively different directions for Inventions, and it is that very sense of exploration, pleasure, and ceremonial melancholia which informs the entire album from front to back.
Inventions has always been the product of two friends who find comfort and inspiration in the genuine surprise of creating and combining sounds. Continuous Portrait whirls and hums like Cooper and Smith want us to invoke our inner playfulness and welcome a greater joy into our lives, if only for a moment. The result is a portrait that continuously embraces the completely foreign and familiar, and evolves with each successive listen."
‘Planet’s Mad’. Never were truer words written. Mind you, the title of the sophomore album from Baauer isn’t really in reference to planet Earth - rather, it’s a loose concept record that revolves around a new world appearing within sight of ours.
"After some cinematic synth work, opening cut ‘PLANCK’ snaps into the kind of ground-shaking hip hop beat that has brought Baauer so many comparisons to TNGHT and Rustie down the years. ‘GROUP’ and ‘PIZZAWALA’ both do something similar, the latter while running at a skittering halftime.
However, while a commitment to maximalist dance sounds is the guiding principle for Baauer once again here, this aesthetic proves to be pretty elastic in terms of genres and beat patterns. ‘YEHOO’, for instance, has the drive of hard drum and possibly also Batida and these styles are also in the mix on ‘REACHUPDONTSTOP’. Meanwhile Baauer goes harder than ever on the mid-section one-two of ‘HOT 44’ and ‘AETHER’ - while the former features some juddering techno rhythms sampling Headstrong Records producer Randomer, the latter’s monstrous bass and crashing breakbeats sound like a long lost joint from The Prodigy’s golden age.
‘HOME’, towards the end of the record, also features vocals from Manchester’s Bipolar Sunshine as well as co-production from Hudson Mohawke."
Romare returns with his third studio album via Ninja Tune, ‘Home’ one for u if u like Bonobo.
"Romare’s music has always sat comfortably in both the dancefloor world and a more relaxed environment, ‘Home’ being no exception. With euphoric, uplifting moments on ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Heaven’ through to more meditative and melancholy moments on ‘Deliverance’.
“For me, the sweet point in music is when happy and sad come together,” comments Fairhurst. “When they meet in the middle, that’s what I try to create”. Both previous albums have received impressive press pick up across the board."