MUSIC | Records – Jazz & World ALSO RELEASED
Jerusalem in My Heart
EDITORS In Dream (PIAS) ●●●●●
Once again it’s best not to grudge Editors their own existence, such is their excellent range of influences and obvious passion. ‘No Harm’ sounds like Nick Cave crooning over Tangerine Dream, ‘Life is a Fear’ is a kind of goth Communards, and the influence of club music rings through ‘Our Love’ and ‘All the Kings’. However, efforts to involve Coldplay in the mix are less inspiring. (David Pollock) LUSHES Service Industry (felte) ●●●●●
Brooklyn duo Lushes have created a sort-of concept album about quitting your job. It starts off in pleasingly cathartic fashion, with the churning riffs of ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ seeming to promise that when singer James Ardery says ‘this will hurt’ you won’t even feel it. Despite an ode to housework in ‘Bleach’ and some more similarly tortured riffs here and there, the urge to get stoned and curl up on the couch appears too great. (DP) BATTLES La Di Da Di (Warp) ●●●●●
GOLDEN TEACHER Sauchiehall Enthrall EP (Self-released) ●●●●●
The latest 12” from the mighty Golden Teacher is a belter: tropical club music dragged into a dank Glasgow basement. Breaking glass and metal-on-metal effects punctuate the stark dancehall riddims of ‘Shatter’, while ‘No Hemos Vivido’ and ‘On The Street’ are trippy re-imaginings of Afro- futurist Portuguese electronica. (SS) JERUSALEM IN MY HEART If He Dies, If If If If If If (Constella- tion) ●●●●●
Montreal-based Radwan Ghazi Moumneh’s innovative take on traditional and modern Arabic music continues to impress and beguile. ‘A Granular Buzuk’ is a resonant dialogue between lute and pulsing electronics, while ‘Lau Ridyou Bil Hajiz’ sounds like an abstract Lebanese take on the moody R&B of The Weekend. (SS) JOHN LEMKE Nomad Frequencies (Denovali) ●●●●●
Battles inject that most strenuous of genres, math-rock, with a healthy dose of fun. La Di Da Di might not feature anything as infectious as the aspartame chipmunk choruses of 2007’s Atlas, but it positively fizzes with day-glo synths and fidgety guitars, all underpinned by John Stanier’s athletic drumming. (Stewart Smith) The second album from Glasgow- Berlin producer John Lemke is an elegant, if slightly dated, take on ambient. Lemke’s best when he stretches himself: the breakbeats and sighing synths of ‘Grass Will Grow’ recall LTJ Bukem’s classic ‘Atlantis’, while the echoing seagull saxophones of ‘Corroder’ bring an ECM jazz feel. (SS)
72 THE LIST 3 Sep–5 Nov 2015
JAZZ & WORLD MDOU MOCTAR Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (Sahel Sounds) ●●●●●
A Saharan homage to Purple Rain and The Harder They Come, Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai is the world’s first Tuareg language feature film. Its star is the young Agadez guitar hero Mdou Moctar, who also provides the soundtrack. The relatively clean producti on opens up more space for the psychedelic shimmer of Moctar’s fluid Stratocaster licks, behind which drummer Aboubacar Ibrahim Mazawadje works up driving syncopated grooves. Short guitar interludes are interspersed with full band performances which range from the panoramic desert rock of ‘Iblis Amghar’ to the fiery rave-up ‘Jagwa’. SK KAKRABA Songs of Paapieye (Awesome Tapes From Africa) ●●●●●
SK Kakraba is a master of the gyil) a traditional Ghanaian xylophone. The sound is warm and woody, with strange overtones of buzzing insects and twanging rubber bands. Listeners could be forgiven for thinking there’s some Konono-style electronic processing involved, but the gyil is entirely acoustic. Kakraba’s mesmeric interpretations of traditional Lobi songs make the most of the gyil’s sound, with bass patterns gently throbbing under the gorgeous melodies and polyrhythmic improvisations.
VARIOUS Highlife On The Move: Selected Nigerian and Ghanaian Recordings from London and Lagos 1954-1966 (Soundway) ●●●●●
Soundway’s latest compilation documents the movement of Highlife between Lagos and London between 1954 and 1966, as Ghana and Nigeria transitioned to independence. The three early Fela Kuti tracks are a major draw, but they’re only the tip of a very funky iceberg. By capturing a period of evolution in West African pop, Highlife . . . is of historical interest, but it’s also a joy to listen to, as Cuban and jazz influences blend with African traditions. SONS OF KEMET Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do (Naim) ●●●●●
Sons of Kemet’s 2013 debut Burn minted a fresh UK jazz sound, blending Barbadian and Jamaican traditions with elements of grime, gospel and fiery free jazz. Lest We Forget continues their exploration of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, with drummers Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford cooking up trance-like grooves under Shabaka Hutchings’ reeds and Theon Cross’s sinuous tuba. While bursting with memorable tunes and irresistible rhythms, the album has serious cultural and political intent.
AMIR ELSAFFAR Crisis (Pi Recordings) ●●●●●
Cultural hybridity also animates this outstanding new album from trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, an American of Iraqi descent. A non-hierarchical fusion of Iraqi maqam and jazz, Crisis is a work of rare beauty and power. Tareq Abboushi’s buzuq and Zafer Tawil’s oud add tension and bite to jazz pieces like ‘Flyover Iraq’ and delicacy to ‘Aneen (Weeping)’ and ‘Love Poem’. The solo trumpet lament ‘Taqsim Saba’ is followed by ‘El-Shaab (The Prophet)’, a driving group performance which pays oblique tribute to the Arab Spring.
SNJO & MAKOTO OZONE Jeune Homme (Spartacus Records) ●●●●● Makoto Ozone’s re-imagining of Mozart’s 9th Piano Concerto benefits from a lightness of touch in both the playing and arrangements. Ozone is a graceful and witty pianist, whose bluesy twists on Mozart sound natural. While there are occasional lapses into syrupy Romanticism, the 15-piece Scottish National Jazz Orchestra comes to life in the third movement, ‘Rondo/Presto Be-Bop’. (All reviews by Stewart Smith)