This week: leftfield art-pop, hard-hitting techno, cybernetics and allure

By in Features





Essential weekend listening.

This week’s rundown is by VF’s Kelly Doherty and Becky Rogers, alongside contributors Annabelle Van Dort, Emily Hill and James Hammond.

Arlo Parks

My Soft Machine



Arlo Parks is a one of a kind, Grammy-nominated, Mercury Prize and BRIT Award-winning artist who presents a phenomenal follow up to her debut album in the shape of My Soft Machine. The 12 track body of work acts in some ways as a memoir and representation of a young woman growing and just trying to navigate her 20s. Through trauma and joy, it recounts the painful process of growing up, pulling the artist into new different realms of sonic possibility.–EH

Kevin Morby

More Photographs (A Continuum)

(Dead Oceans)


In 2022, singer-songwriter Kevin Morby released his spellbinding seventh album This is a Photograph. A captivating meditation on the transience of time and memories, Morby’s hazy folk-rock carried the sun-stained hues of a faded photograph—bittersweet and drenched with nostalgia. On More Photographs (A Continuum), Morby reimagines and rearranges tracks from This is a Photograph, reframing his retrospections within a darker framework. ‘This is a photograph/ A dark horse from your past galloping back’ sings Morby on opener “Photograph II”. Gone is the rose-tinted lens that varnished much of This is a Photograph, instead Morby confronts the shifting perspectives that come with the passing of time—however unwelcome they may be.–AVD

Soundwalk Collective

All The Beauty And The Bloodshed

(Analogue Foundation)


Soundwalk Collective team up once again with artist and activist Nan Goldin to soundtrack All The Beauty and the Bloodshed, Laura Poitras’ Oscar-nominated documentary about Goldin’s battle to hold pharmaceutical giants, the Sackler family, accountable for the opioid crisis. Soundwalk Collective’s work here is beautiful in its grandiosity. Packed with emotional swells, haunting vocals tones and, despite its size, a sense of enduring tenderness throughout, All The Beauty and the Bloodshed does what a documentary score should do, serving as a signpost that what it accompanies is important and urgent, a fitting tribute to Goldin’s work.–KD

Julius Eastman


(Frozen Reeds)


Released digitally by Frozen Reeds in 2016, this live recording of Julius Eastman’s Femenine has played an integral role in the rediscovery of Eastman’s ground-breaking works with the piece’s perpetual motion and inherent beauty having spurred on varying ensemble performances in recent years. As the prime source material for Femenine, this recording took place at Composer’s Forum in Albany, New York in 1974, with Eastman on piano and the S.E.M ensemble working up the vibrant repetitions and subtle variations of the piece on vibraphone, cello and flute, alongside the insistence of mechanised sleigh bells. A first vinyl edition for a classic of ‘70s minimalism.–JH


For Spirits

(A Long Strange Dream)


Timedance label boss Batu, Bristol’s pride and joy, begins a new chapter with a fresh new imprint–A Long Strange Dream. Kicking things off is a self-released five-track EP packed with some spicy psychedelic leaning flavours. The new venture offers the talented producer space to explore and experiment with curious club focused sonics, evoking emotions of pure trance euphoria levelled with hard hitting techno pulsations. It is an exciting next step for the acclaimed producer and another notch in his journey of creative expression following the roaring success of his debut album.–EH


The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte



Get back into the wild minds of the Mael brothers with Sparks’ new album, The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte. Across its 14 tracks, the avant-garde duo genre-hop between glitch-pop, hearty electronica and dancefloor filler-meets-thriller cuts, never ceasing to impress however extreme their experimentation. Though their 26th album, The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte marks a poignant moment in Sparks’ timeline with their return to Island–the label that saw them through their ‘70s beginnings. Now over 50 years later, the duo have cemented themselves as top of their game. This is how you do art-pop.–BR

Daniel Blumberg




After the ensemble approaches of 2020’s On and On and his award-winning soundtrack for The World to Come, Daniel Blumberg pares back his alluring song forms for this deeply personal suite. Playing all instruments himself and keeping voice and breath at its core, Blumberg rendered Gut’s vocals in one uninterrupted take that moves in refrains and dialogue with bass harmonica. Looking to the human condition and his own suffering with intestinal disease this one’s an affecting and potent listen.–JH

The Orielles

The Goyt Method



The Goyt Method pulls samples from The Orielles’ fourth album, Tableau, to forge an unrecognisable collection of glitching electronic richness. The Yorkshire trio used an online roulette wheel to pick the starting sample stems, to then enter true experimentation within cybernetics, discordance and cinematics. Though leaving the end product down to chance, The Orielles consolidate their place within leftfield electronica with The Goyt Method. With each spin, the EP becomes less of a remix collection and instead a solid standalone release.–BR

Kassa Overall




Seattle musician, rapper and producer Kassa Overall dabbles across the spectrums of hip-hop and jazz on Animals. Enlisting an all-star cast including Danny Brown, Wiki and Laura Mvula, the Warp release moves with a sense of auteurism, filled with lyrical left-turns and instrumental experimentation. As the lines between hip-hop and jazz increasingly blur thanks to a new generation of artists bringing their connections to the fore, Kassa Overall showcases the freedom and thrill that comes with exploration. An intriguing and rewarding listen from an undeniable talent.–KD


A Way Of Life (35th Anniversary Edition)



Within Suicide’s esteemed discography, the duo’s third record, A Way of Life is often overshadowed by Martin Rev and Alan Vega’s earlier works— the incalculably influential Suicide (1977) and its extraordinary follow-up, Suicide: Alan Vega and Martin Rev (1980).  With the arrival of this 35th Anniversary reissue via Mute/ BMG, A Way of Life shows itself to stand up with Suicide’s best. From the throbbing electro-funk grooves of ‘Dominic Christ’ to the Twin Peaksian Doo-Wop of ‘Surrender’, A Way of Life retains the grit and ingenious experimentalism of its predecessors.  Featuring five bonus tracks, including an unreleased cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’, this 35th Anniversary edition is a must listen for all Suicide fans.–AVD