This week, Timely Tunes features new music from Kasai Allstars, Nite Jewel, Eric Schaefer, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Full of Hell. Plus, another brand new playlist to give you a head start on the weekend. Enjoy!
Kasai Allstars “Kapinga Yamba” (From “Around Felicite”)
“Around Felicite” is the soundtrack to Alain Gomis’ lauded film about a single mother struggling to provide for her child as a bar singer in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The vibrant soundtrack is largely provided by Kasai Allstars, a 25-piece Congolese musical collective, who also act as the backing group in the film. The entire soundtrack is worth your time, as the band’s music is absolutely hypnotic in larger doses and is also interspersed with beautiful arrangements of Arvo Part orchestral works by Kinshasa’s Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste. “Kapinga Yamba” is a sunny highlight.
Nite Jewel “The Answer” (From “Real High”)
Ramona Gonzalez has been releasing dusky, sleepy underground pop music as Nite Jewel since 2009. 2012’s “One Second of Love” was one of my favorite records of 2012, but “Real High” is even better. The album is heavily indebted to nocturnal R&B from the early ‘90s, but “The Answer” is a bridge between the past and the present (and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Solange’s last album).
Eric Schaefer “Kussa Karu Otome” (From “Kyoto mon Amour”)
A fantastically in-sync interpretation of a Hiromu Handa piece by Berlin-based drummer Eric Schaefer accompanied by Kazutoki Umezu on bass clarinet, Naoko Kikuchi with inspired koto work, and tethered to the subtle anchor of bassist John Eckhardt. The whole record is a symbiotic fusion of western and Japanese music that is both spontaneous and disciplined.
Ryuichi Sakamoto “Life, Life” (From “async”)
The first solo album from Japanese polyglot artist Ryuichi Sakamoto in eight years (after a battle with cancer) is a sublime work of measured ambience, patient melodicism, and deceptive simplicity. Sakamoto reunites with frequent collaborator and enigmatic vocalist David Sylvian on this meditative track: a recitation of a poem by Arseny Tarkovsky. If this piques your interest, and you have somehow never heard it, also seek out Sakamoto’s immortal “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”, from the David Bowie-starring 1983 film of the same name. It is one of the most divinely beautiful pieces composed in the 20th century, and the soundtrack was recently reissued on vinyl.
Full of Hell “Trumpeting Ecstasy” (From “Trumpeting Ecstasy”)
Full of Hell’s untethered brand of blackened grindcore has quickly made them one of the most exciting, and experimental, extreme metal bands in America. Their latest is, for the most part, a 23 minute onslaught of unrelenting brutality, but this penultimate track is an airy, rapturous, and unnerving respite during an apocalypse. The song is a collaboration with the subversive pop artist Nicole Dollanganger, and she ushers the album into a brief moment of unsettling beauty before everything crashes back into oblivion. Full of Hell have made the most of collaborations with both Japanese noise god Merzbow and terrifying sludge metal band The Body in the past, but this is their biggest creative risk yet. And it pays off.
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 47
1. Paul Simon “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes”
2. Kasai Allstars “Kapinga Yamba”
3. Tim and Foty “Ndola-ngo”
4. Ananda Shankar “Cyrus”
5. Nite Jewel “The Answer”
6. Benoit Pioulard “Margin (Zachary Gray Remix)”
7. Jack Nitzsche “We Have to Stay (Demo)”
8. Tony Scott “Gambang Suling”
9. Eric Schaefer “Kussa Karu Otome”
10. Antonio Adolfo “Venice”
11. David Arden “Wasserklavier”
12. Ryuichi Sakamoto “Life, Life”
13. Lawrence English “Somnambulist”
14. Full of Hell “Trumpeting Ecstasy”
15. Harold Budd “The White Arcades”
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