Here’s an overview of the music that soundtracked my year. Most of my 2016 listening was about inspiration, comfort and looking forward rather than dwelling on the past. I hope you discover some new sounds… and bear with me on the opening track. Kanye West often out-2016nd the running year, and deserves his place. Now go, listen, and get back to me with a reaction.
01. kanye west ft chance the rapper – ultralight beam
02. jeff parker – cliche
03. jameszoo ft. arhtur verocai – flu
04. kamaiyah – I’m on
05. anderson paak – the waters
06. terrace martin – think of you
07. ondo fudd – blue dot
08. archy marshall – arise dear brother
09. jamila woods – stellar
10. marquis hill – fly little bird fly
11. bullion – unless
12. duke hugh – loft nights
13. randomer – woodwork
14. cliff curry – let love come in
15. daniel schmidt – and the darkest hour is just before dawn
The subway ate my homework, the dog was closed and the railway crossing was late. It’s a monday alright.
Plant your feet on the ground, breathe down to your diaphragm and put the needle to the record for a dubwise antidote. Bim!
Gently hypnotic paeans from the Indian Ocean.
Alain Peters (1952-1995) was a French composer, poet and singer from the little-known island of Réunion.
While he started his career as a “regular” rock musician, and was in and out of bands in the sixties, seventies and eighties, it is his more experimental solo work that has caught my ear.
Fusing the Réunion Maloya and Sega with eastern instruments and his own particular brand of saudade a individual genre of music was born: Alain Peters. “Rest’ La Mayola” compiles hard to find and previously unissued recordings from a man whose music combines European, African and Eastern culture.
Use it to light a small autumn fire in your heart.
On the occasion of the release of the first proper Dexter Wansel anthology, I was reminded of:
- Dexter Wansel‘s work has aged gracefully, and an anthology of the work of this musician/composer/arranger was overdue.
- 1979’s “The Sweetest Pain” has it all: melody, hooks, crisp production and a sweeping sense of drama. Time for a rewind – or perhaps, a first encounter?
- Composing “Nights over Egypt” should be enough to guarantee being awarded the keys to a medium-sized city.
…apparently. The title of this post comes from one of the songs on this 1955 calypso lp. Since a good part of the world seems to be on fire, have an aural antidote. Nothing like calypso to provide some old-fashioned perspective on what’s what. Take it away, George!
Ladies, meet music lovers. Music lovers, meet four talented musicians.
These four records are excellent and deserve a widest audience. So after some heavy rotation on both headphones and speakers, it is time for a quartet of recommendations. Oh and that title? Nina.
khadja bonet – the visitor (from “the visitor EP“, 2016)
maki asakawa – boro tu furutetsu (from “maki asakawa“, 2016)
kamaiyah – i’m on (from “a good night in the ghetto“, 2016)
joanna brouk – majesty suites: entrance of the queen of winter dawn (from “hearing music“, 2016)
Khadja Bonet is an LA-based singer and musician operating on a different astral plane. Listening to “The Visitor” is removing yourself from the rational 24hr news cycle and connected way of life. That hurried mindspace is reclaimed by awe and wonder about love and life. Musically, Bonet is slippery but reference points are early Jill Scott, Minnie Ripperton and the Ladies from the Canyon.
Maki Asakawa has long been a cult figure, but the hard to find work of the Japanese singer has only now been compiled for Western ears. Thank you, Honest Jon’s! Their eponymous collection is an adventurous listen, taking in blues, ballads, exorcism, buddhist chants and the modal jazz vibe of the track featured here.
Kamaiyah is on course to have a great and profile-boosting 2016, but in case you missed it: “a good night in the ghetto” is the perfect summer rap tape, and the fact that the MC at the helm is a 21-year old female from Oakland only adds to that.
Rounding out the musical quartet is Joanna Brouk – an original composer, poet and aural designer. Brouk has turned out to be one of the originators of what would become the New Age genre. “Hearing Music” collects highlights of a cassette-based discography (and adds some unreleased bits). Don’t expect flutes, bells, whistles and chants: this is stark and elegant music that does a very good job of approaching a (or the) core. Check out this 1972 interview if the track above makes you curious.