There is a lot of jazz and jazz-adjacent material on this week’s Timely Tunes playlist. When I mentioned that to my girlfriend, she opined that I have probably been drawn to jazz lately as a calming force in a seemingly increasingly distressing world. I hope that these playlists give you, at the least, a distraction from the world’s chaos.
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Land of Talk “Loving” (From “Life After Youth”)
Is 2017 the year of resurrected Canadian indie rock? Like fellow northern souls Broken Social Scene, it’s been seven years since the last Land of Talk album. During that hiatus, Elizabeth Powell reportedly lost a whole solo record’s worth of work due to a crashed computer: art tossed into the digital void. Featuring swooning backup vocals from Sharon Van Etten and ending on a crescendo of eviscerating guitar, “Loving” is the sound of reinvigoration.
Taylor Haskins “Circle Theory” (From “Gnosis”)
Trumpeter Taylor Haskins combines jazz and electronic music in an oft-thrilling way on his latest album, “Gnosis”, integrating a diverse but symbiotic camaraderie of analogue and synthesized instruments. One of his collaborators is the electric pianist Henry Hey, who has also worked with David Bowie. On “Circle Theory”, the closest antecedent I can think of might be the jazzier outliers in Squarepusher’s discography.
Kamasi Washington “Truth” (From “Harmony of Difference”)
Washington has quickly risen to the top of the pack of modern jazz composers, pushing the form forward while retaining a tangible attachment to his predecessors. His last album, 2015’s “The Epic”, lived up to the title, containing nearly three hours of consistently engaging and revelatory music. Everyone, including me, seems enraptured at the moment by Kendrick Lamar’s new album, and it’s worth noting that Washington contributes string arrangement on the track “Lust”. “Truth” is another epic achievement: a thirteen-plus minute, rapturous exploration of joy through the power of a large-scale jazz ensemble. Timeless.
Jorge Reyes “Plight” (From “Miracle Steps (Music From the Fourth World 1983-2017)”)
In 1980, trumpeter and composer Jon Hassell collaborated on a project with Brian Eno that was the genesis for a type of music he dubbed “Fourth World”, with a stated objective “to describe the possibility of music in global terms beyond First World, beyond Third World, beyond High-Tech Art classical, beyond pop”. This new collection of tracks explores the disparate strains of Fourth World music, and shines a light on how influential these sounds have been on the more outré artists involved in electronic music today. This particular track is from cult Mexican artist Jorge Reyes, who utilizes pre-Columbian instrumentation, chanting, and ghostly synths to achieve a strikingly dark, yet meditative sound.
Actress “CYN” (From “AZD”)
Over the course of five unpredictable albums under the guise of Actress, English producer Darren Cunningham has continued to push back against any easy categorization. Aggressively experimental, constantly evolving, and heady, his music draws from both club music and the far reaches of the avant-garde at the same time. The sampled voice of late New York artist, graffiti writer, rapper, and polyglot theoretician Rammellzee peeks through the static haze, connecting Cunningham’s work to the influence of the former’s Afrofuturism and attempts to alter the perception of language’s role in society
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 44
1. Waxahatchee “Bonfire”
2. Land of Talk “Loving”
3. Yuck “Get Away”
4. Squarepusher “Circular Flexing”
5. Taylor Haskins “Circle Theory”
6. The Jazz Crusaders “Out Back”
7. Kamasi Washington “Truth”
8. Brother Ah “The Sea”
9. Laraaji “The Dance No 1”
10. Jorge Reyes “Plight”
11. Jon Hassell “Empire iii”
12. Rammellzee & K-Rob “Beat Bop”
13. Actress “CYN”
14. Autechre “Goz Quarter”
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