INDISPENSABLE NEW MUSIC PICKS
Oct 31, 2023
Bernie Worrell, Cindy Blackman Santana, & John King
Back in 1994, composer/guitarist John King was in the mood for a bit of experimentation. Enlisting jazz drummer Cindy Blackman Santana (Pharoah Sanders, Cassandra Wilson, Lenny Kravitz) and legendary P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Culled from a day-long jam session, these recordings are seeing the light of day for the first time. Spill Magazine calls it “a celebration of unfiltered creativity.”
FEATURED TRACK: “Unfunkingstoppable”
London-based producer Max Cooper is known for creating rich multimedia experiences with light and sound. The music is an amalgam of electronic textures infused with jazz with improvised vocals courtesy of Australian singer/songwriter Kathrin deBoer. The stunning visual media for this project was created by motion designers Michael McAfee, Nick Motion, and others.
FEATURED TRACK: “Forgotten Places”
For All These Years
Canada continues to export incredible musical talent. Hailing from Ontario, Billy Raffoul is a singer and songwriter with a growing reputation. Following in his father Jody’s footsteps, Raffoul lent his smoky voice to a Kid Rock session his father was working on back in 2013. His own debut single appeared in 2017, and after releasing an EP and full-length album, he earned the SOCAN Songwriting Prize for the single “Western Skies.”
FEATURED TRACK: “I Can't Love You Anymore”
Working under the name Hauschka, German pianist and composer Volker Bertelmann is well-known for his soundtrack work and music for “prepared piano,” employing the use of objects like nuts, bolts, erasers, or other materials between the strings, a technique attributed to John Cage. The Irish Times notes that Philanthropy exhibits optimism in its compositions through, “rolling arpeggios of Diversity, harnessing a wistful minimalism, and the elegant mischief of Inventions.”
FEATURED TRACK: “Loved Ones”
The Montreal-based avante-garde composer Markus Lake, aka Markus Floats, has released his latest, Fourth Album, offering compelling experimental electronica with a post-classical tinge. Over the course of the album, guest musicians appear playing more traditional instruments like violin and saxophone. Lake has been a lynchpin of the Montreal music scene with groups like Elle Barbara’s Black Space and Egyptian Cotton Arkestra and is the founder of the music venue Drones Club.
FEATURED TRACK: "C (Featuring the Voice of Fred Moten)"
What began as a solo musical project for Philly designer Russell Edling in 2016 morphed into a full-fledged group over the past few years. Initially functioning more as a collective with local
musicians from bands like Amanda X, Year Of Glad, and Cave People joined. Stereogum likened “Waiting For A Cloud” to “a starry-eyed piece of fuzz-pop” while Brooklyn Vegan noted its “swirling blend of jangle pop guitars, sunshine pop harmonies, and a psychedelic haze.” “Sugarfire” is the latest single.
FEATURED TRACK: “Sugarfire”
Some refreshing, straight-up rock and roll reminiscent of the late 70s/early 80s Judas Priest or pre-Dickinson Iron Maiden. The Vancouver trio has over a decade to hone its craft. For its latest release, written during the pandemic, the band lets loose once again. Tinnitus nails it: “a rip-roaring fusion of electric hooks, hip-swaying grooves, and choruses to be sung along til the world collapses!”
FEATURED TRACK: “Light It Up”
With her smoky, emotive voice rising above a backdrop of music adorned by jazzy piano and lilting steel, Jolie Holland’s latest album is an intimate affair. Collaborating with Big Thief’s Buck Meek (who also released his own Haunted Mountain this year) on several songs and another with Emily Clement, Haunted Mountain treats the listener to a haunting array of songs with lyrical depth from Holland’s trio.
FEATURED TRACK: “Orange Blossoms”