Contemporary music from everywhere


Here is edition two of The Moderns OSMR. As I explained last week, my goal here is to share as many new releases with you as I can. At the same time, I hope these one-sentence reviews help our artists friends promote their work at a uniquely difficult time.Be well, and be good to one another.

3Phaz – Three Phase: Egypt’s shaabi music has been a pop culture phenomenon since the 1970s; 3Phaz is repackaging it for global, digital consumption.

Ahmed Abdullah (Diaspora & Afro Horn) – A Music of the Spirit / Out of Sistas’ Place: Sun Ra Arkestra alumnus Ahmed Abdullah has produced an ambitious, powerfully human record that reminds us how much today’s jazz greats owe their predecessors.

Lakecia Benjamin – Pursuance: The Coltranes – A sincere, sharply produced tribute to John and Alice; Benjamin is absolutely one to watch.

Chicago Underground Quartet – Good Days: Two decades after their debut, CUQ is back with a boldly confident, at times frenetic follow-up.

Chicago Yestet – Not There Yet: Next-level conscious-raising big-band hip-hop jazz.

Gerald Cleaver – Signs: Not content to be an internationally respected jazz drummer, Gerald Cleaver has produced an inspiring album that helps us understand how electronics can be applied to America’s great art form.

Avishai Cohen – Big Vicious: This jazz interpretation of Massive Attack’s Teardrop could have gone wrong in multiple ways; it goes very right.

Constantina – At Home With … (Songs for Solitude): Part of a new social-distancing-friendly series from La Petite Chambre Records, Brazil’s Constantina delivers a pair of tender, nicely chilled instrumentals.

Matt Elliott – Farewell to All We Know: Leonard Cohen-dark singer-songwriter magic.

Beatriz Ferreyra – Echos +: An awe-inspiring collection of three Beatriz Ferreyra compositions, a giant of modern-day musique concrete.

Bernard Fort – FRACTALS / Brain Fever: For those of us who’ve never visited a South Indian forest, Brain Fever is a kind of sound art snapshot – exactly as colourful and surprising as it should be.

Patrick Graham & John Sellekaers – Unnatural: Unsettling more like it; and I do like it.

Erik Griswold – All’s Grist that Comes to the Mill: Composed for The Piano Mill in New South Wales, a building designed to house 16 antique upright pianos, each of them in various states of disrepair.

Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas: The inward-looking cover art captures this album’s content perfectly – thoughtful, warm and intensely human.

Jacaszek – Music For Film: Music is often described as cinematic because of its ability to conjure images; Jacaszek’s scores produce pictures that move.

kERN and Batia Hasan – Kaczynski Tape Sessions – The Commercial Tape: A distinctly uncommercial split seven-track cassette – thoughtfully crafted ambient noise.

Jake Liebezeit with Burnt Friedman and Joao Pais – Eurydike Split EP: Four Jake Liebezeit pieces – two in collaboration with Burnt Friedman and two with Joao Pais – each them a small world of percussive wonder.

Luxus Varta – Born Sad: Produced to capture that moment we enter adulthood and begin to understand the world as it is; will appeal to lovers of smart post-industrial electronic music.

The Necks – Three: Album #21 finds the Australian trio at the top of their game – jazz music that will sooth your mind and send it racing all at once.

ranter’s bay and Pablo orza – ειμαρμενη: Field recordings, electronics, guitars, pedals, amplifier and a variety of found sounds and tools; a world-class example of modern cassette sound art.

Philipp Rumsch – µ: of Anxiety x Discernment: µ are in for one lovely surprise after another.

S.hel – Disconnect: This breathtaking ambient recording wasn’t intended as a commentary on the state of the world right now, but it makes for a suitably reflective soundtrack.

Bruno Sanfilippo – Piano Textures 5: Who says serious music can’t be accessible?

Sangam & Pixelord – City High Fantasy: Intricately detailed beats over top rich waves of moody synth – we want more from this talented duo.

Schrecken & Peter Kutin – The Trouble With Being Born: A soundtrack that combines sweet singer-songwriter vignettes with evocative electronic compositions; one of those that make you want to seek out the film it accompanies.

Patrick Shiroishi – eye for an eye: You will forget you’re listening to a saxophone.

Nick Storring – My Magic Dreams Have Lost Their Spell: A gently touching tribute to Roberta Flack from one of Toronto’s most impressive new music composers.

Christian Tamburr – The Awakening: Inspired by the sculptures of Seward Johnson, 10 original jazz compositions – inspiring in their own right – for 10 sculptures.

Michael Vallera – Window In: The most unguitar – and beautiful – guitar recording we’ve heard this year.

Various Artists – Profile of the Lines: A six-track, mostly ambient compilation built with a distinctively urban sensibility.

Various Artists – Söng Söng: Polychrome Sounds from the Underground: A dozen artists, 14 pieces of deliciously modernist cabaret.

Kevin Press

The Moderns, vols. 1 and 2, by Kevin Press are available exclusively from Amazon.

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