Our favourite new vinyl releases this week (17th July)

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Celestial ambient, psychedelic koto, shimmering soul and more.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Gabriela Helfet, alongside Jesse Bernard, Lucie Stepankova, James Hammond and Emily Hill.


Singles


Shelley Parker / Peder Mannerfelt

Decouple ][ Series

(OOH Sounds)

Buy

OOH Sounds’ fourth edition in its Decouple ][ Series splits the 12” between Shelley Parker and Peder Mannerfelt, with their rhythm-centric pieces aligning “around the desire to create music from the simplest set of sounds”. In Shelley Parker’s case this means a set of excerpts that draw their entire sound palette from the movement of dancers bodies and their interaction with a performance space. Neatly sampled and phrased, these pieces are a fitting taster of her work with choreographer Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome and their commitment to dance as a political expression. On the flip side, Peder Mannerfelt’s idea of simplicity mechanises Steve Reich’s score for “Music for Pieces of Wood”, transcribing the classic work of minimalism via a DAW, and then programming the results into a TR-909 drum machine. – JH


Jimmy Riley

‘Gunman of JA’

(Dubplate Mix)

Buy

Jimmy Riley’s 1978 classic is well deserving of a reissue, setting the tone for what would follow in the UK in the late ’70s and ’80s when the Windrush Generation began to come of age. ‘Gunman of JA’ is fairly typical of a reggae hit, but it’s Riley’s raspy voice which gives the record that edge – funnily enough it’s a voice he also passed down to his son, Tarrus. – JB


Mr. Ho and Mogwaa

義理

(Klasse Wrecks)

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Channeling ’80s electro hues in fine fashion, 義理 sees Klasse Wrecks co-founder Mr. Ho collaborate with Seoul producer Mogwaa. Across its 4 zippy tracks, the duo explore varying realms of glitch-fuelled, dance ready pep. Proof that you can turn virtually anywhere into your own d floor, as long as you’ve got the right tunes to keep you moving. – GH


 

De Ambassade

‘Standhouen’

(Knekelhuis)

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Synth trio De Ambassade return to Dutch label Knekelhuis, diving even further into the darker side of their versatile tones of wave – in many respects the music is a reflection of the current situation, as many exist consumed by the darkness of isolation. The 7″ ‘Standhouen’ – comprising of two tunes – brims with anxious energy, harking towards eerie synth lines and heavy metallic crunches. ‘Verwijder Jezelf’ has the feel of a menacing theme park ride, jarring chords whizz repeatedly, whilst the definitely ’80s post-punk drone of the vocals reverberates menacingly over the top. The title track ’Standhouden’ follows a similar path but instead peels back the pace, with a stripped back melody bearing a similar kind of menacing chord sequence akin to a little shop of horrors. – EH


Anna Homler & Alessio Capovilla

Vasi Comunicanti

(Gang of Ducks)

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Italian composer Alessio Capovilla and L.A-born anthropologist, linguist, performer and vocal artist Anna Homler (aka Breadwoman) deliver a haunting collaborative five-tracker on Capovilla’s own Gang of Ducks multimedia imprint. This comes as a welcome follow-up to their 2019 collaboration for Präsens Editionen’s Deliqium in C that sees Homler showcase her versatility both as a vocalist and improviser. Vasi Comunicanti sits on the border between primal dub (pulsing away on ‘De la Cocce’), soft-edge shamanic drumming (‘Riccordo’ and ‘Bread Dance’) and time-expanding ambient (as heard on ‘Be’ya Sa’di’) in anticipation of the conclusive lament ballad ‘Mem’. It is a journey transcending time and space, overlapping into territories beyond waking life and laying the groundwork for visions of dream-like worlds. – LS


LPs


Zara McFarlane

Songs of an Unknown Tongue

(Brownswood)

Buy

The latest offering from Brownswood Recordings sees Zara Mcfarlane up the levels, partnering with fellow south Londoners Kwake Bass and Wu-Lu on the production. Following on from her last release Arise, Songs of an Unknown Tongue explores the folk and spiritual traditions of Jamaica through the lens of jazz. The electronic sensibilities help create a bridge to a futuristic sound, but its Zara’s writing and voice that keeps it anchored to past traditions and rituals. – JB


Sharhabil Ahmed

Habibi Funk 013: The King Of Sudanese Jazz

(Habibi Funk)

Buy

The King of Sudanese Jazz Sharhabil Ahmed gets the reissue treatment in Habibi Funk’s latest compilation of the same name. Ahmed drew on both traditional Sudanese music as well as western influences from ‘60s rock, jazz and samba during the course of his career, dedicated to bringing together sounds both familiar and more far flung. The result is an uplifting collection of sonic sunshine, where twanged out guitar riffs dance through bubbling horn choruses to joyous effect. – GH


Laraaji

Sun Piano

(All Saints)

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The sun has been an ever-present force in Laraaji’s music (and indeed clothing when his love of orange is taken into consideration), and its recent titular presence on his LPs continues with Sun Piano. Once again drawing upon his primary celestial muse for a set of fittingly ebullient improvisations, Sun Piano sets aside the electrically transformed zither that he’s oft associated with and adopts a “no-frills” and disarmingly simple approach to the piano. As one of the first instruments that Laraaji studied, there’s a return to source feeling throughout these pieces, and with his work at its most stripped back, it’s a release that no fan of Laraaji or ambient will want to miss out on. – JH


Lianne Le Havas

Lianne Le Havas

(Warner Records)

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Lianne La Havas returns with her first album in 6 years, and it’s been worth the wait. The self-titled record’s 10-tracks revolve around themes of the life cycle of nature, inspired by the deterioration of a romantic relationship. Throughout, it explores the ability to thrive and ultimately come back stronger than before – you have to hit the bottom before you can rebuild yourself. Previously released single ‘Paper Thin’, gave a glimpse into both the narrative that unfolds on the album, as well as its sound. The song was ultimately conspired from a dream that La Havas had, with its laid back, and minimal production style influencing the wider aesthetic of the album during its creation. Co-produced by Mura Masa and recorded in South East London, it’s no secret that Havas has a singularly soulful voice, and she hasn’t held back. –  EH


Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai, Hozan Yamamoto, Sadanori Nakamur, Tatsuro Takimoto and Takeshi Inomata

Jazz Rock

(Mr Bongo)

Buy

Japanese funk-fuelled spiritual jazz fusion masterpiece Jazz Rock gets the reissue treatment via Mr Bongo. Inspired by traditional folk Min’yo music the album is both meditative and elevating, rich with psychedelic koto courtesy of the power couple that are Kazue and Tadao Sawai and Hozan Yamamoto’s energetic shakuhachi sequences entwined in the landscape of breakbeat drum work of Takeshi Inomata. With a sprinkle of soulful guitar, organ, piano and some vocal interventions, it is a timeless sketch of 21st century Japan reaching out towards the West while strongly holding on to beloved traditions. – LS