Over the past year, there’s been a significant shift in the way people consume music. Patrons of the digital platform Spotify are now listening to more music on the weekend than in pre-pandemic times, and relaxing genres are rising in popularity across the board. But there’s no need to rely on corporate streaming service algorithms for your soothing sounds—we’ve got the quality control on lock ova here.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the reopening of large venues with COVID-19 secure measures in place. There will be a 10 percent capacity limit for venues with over 10,000 capacity, and seating will be socially distanced. Sounds like a trial run for public spaces opening up all over the country. After a year spent indoors, being unable to attend sporting events, live music shows, and DJ gigs large or small, Gov Cuomo’s words feel hopeful.
“The success of this, and similar events in approved venues over the coming weeks will help inform the re-opening process for smaller venues in the future,” stated the lawmaker. “Cities have taken a real blow during COVID, and the economy will not come back fast enough on its own—we must bring it back.”
No matter the result (fingers crossed!) one fact remains; studio releases are the only version of music that has remained non-stop during these quar-times. So here we go, giving you the skinny, the business, and the 415 about what is cherry, on the horizon, and that you can’t afford to miss.
REST IN POWER CHICK COREA!
Gilles Peterson has linked up with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, a former member of Brit-funk bands Light of the World and Freeez, and current member of Incognito, to bring back a slept-on but very key part of Black British musical history.
Under the moniker STR4TA, the two are reconsidering that striking period of music, and its imagination-fueling energy. Self-taught artists with a DIY zeal and fearless passion drove the sound, which was a cousin to the no-wave interpretation of jazz-funk and pop, with just a little sprinkle of post-punk.
Aspects, their nine-track record, is full of expansive boogie-funk, slap-bass attack, plucky groove with four/four disco heat, and wonky goodness. The feel is played by ear, not elaborate charts.
Lead track “Rhythm In Your Mind” is a silky ’70s pluck bass traverse, with shell-game change-ups, squiggly keys, cool water vocals, and a chunk drum break adorned with leading congas that give into a sinewy guitar solo. It cooks with mainframe glide, like much of this upcoming album.
Rhythm In Your Mind is slated for release on Brownswood Records this March 26th, but you should pre-order now—it will sell out.
MARK DE CLIVE-LOWE AND GHOST—”COSMIC RIDE”
From 1998-2008, Mark de Clive-Lowe, the half-Japanese, half-New Zealander, LA-based pianist, producer, live remixer, and composer was at ground zero of Londonʻs broken beat movement. Through collaborating with producers Bugz in the Attic and 4Hero, giants of humid swing, he became a vet at lining up electronic music, funk, jazz, and percussive low-end beats from the African diaspora into a connected frequency.
His collaboration with French DJ and producer Ghost, “Cosmic Ride”, a broken-beat funk attack with vocal similarities to Capital A, has just that little bump of grit to keep you pushing on. Straight up heat being dealt. You can purchase it here.
NUBYA GARCIA—”THE MESSAGE CONTINUES” (MARK DE CLIVE-LOWE REMIX)
Mark de Clive-Lowe’s remix for UK saxophonist Nubya Garcia reimagines a track from her quartet album Source as a dance floor workout. The release features a steady build that keeps spiraling upwards, presenting the original arrangement in a much broader context. An undeniable groove permeates through these six minutes.
Mark de Clive-Lowe is working in top form these days—these stellar projects deliver the facts.
I was bopping around the internet and found that JWORDS made a track called “sonic cleanse *feels good*.” I had to check it—we all need that cleanse these days.
Moving like a digital waterfall or spring well, the song made the air around me a little less heavy. With overactive keys moving about in a double-time trance it comes from Sonic Liberation, JWORD’s self-released albums on Bandcamp that open all the electronic music lanes, posting a sign that says “come on in” and boom, we’re off. Errrrythang is up in here. Electro seems to be the genre-conduit connecting all the possibilities. But even that gets thrown out the hatch on tracks like “time passin’,” which takes the form of a digital meltdown.
I’m always interested in finding out what happens to music when the beat stops, and the music keeps going. Sonic Liberation is on to something here, and I want more of it!
JASON HOGANS—’MALLET CREEK’
Michigan artist Jason Hogan’s first release of 2021 will be the Mallets Creek EP off of Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label. Hogan has previously dropped records on Planet E, Third Ear, and Moods & Grooves. Mashed, tripped-up soul and sound-distortion abstraction with urban funk is how this one moves. It’s available for purchase here.