Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 17 April 2020.
Roots artist The White Buffalo – real name Jake Smith – has just released his long-awaited sixth studio album, On The Widow’s Walk.The album is a loosely linked collection of dark thrills produced by two-time Grammy Award winner Shooter Jennings, who also provides piano and keys. Over a sonic canvas laid by Jennings, Smith utilizes the theme of water and the ocean to tackle topics such as deep longing, living for the moment, the insidious march of technology, the brute force of Mother Nature, and more. The 11 tracks comprise his most collaborative, organic, and sonically rounded offering to date.
Following up on the singles “Under A Summer Night’s Sky” and “Spring”, Jesse Madigan has unveilled his debut LP, Nothing Better Than a Journey to You. The 10 track album was largely recorded in Madigan’s Newcastle home studio. The release marks a new era for Madigan, as he branches out on his own as a solo artist. The album explores seasons and transitions, inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the NSW coast, particularly Newcastle. Nothing Better Than a Journey to You is out now through Spunk Records.
Saxophonist Jayden Blockley is regarded as one of Australia’s upcoming jazz talents. Originally from Perth, Jayden has recently completed his undergraduate studies at the prestigious James Morrison Academy in Mount Gambier. In 2018, Jayden was the winner of the prestigious James Morrison Scholarship. Now he’s released his debut album as bandleader, I Wrote A Song For Her, For Me on ABC Jazz. It features mostly original compositions and boasts a lineup of some of Australia’s most unique and sought after jazz musicians.
Afro/Indigenous/Colombian/Canadian/punk/folklorist/traditionalist/transgressive/diva/angel – Canadian-Colombian singer Lido Pimienta is a woman of many layers. Her new album Miss Colombia takes her ecstatic hybridity to a new level, building on the “nu” intersection of electronica and cumbia established by her first two albums, Color (2010), and the Polaris Prize-winning La Papessa (2016). Matt Smith, a.k.a. Prince Nifty, serves as producer on Miss Colombia. Pimienta expresses an affinity for acts like A Tribe Called Red and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, but her work also resonates with British-Sri Lankan rapper MIA and she draws unabashed inspiration from rap queen Cardi B. Miss Colombia has the effect of expanding the narrative about her dual Colombian/Canadian identity to her family’s mixed roots in the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Wayuu communities, while establishing an ambitious new sonic palette that brings her closer to home.
Desutsche Grammophon have released John Adams: Must The Devil Have All The Good Tunes? featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic and pianist Yuja Wang. Premiered in LA in March 2019 and recorded later last year in November 2019, the over-25-minute new composition by John Adams was also commissioned by the orchestra. The work was inspired by an article with the same title about Dorothy Day in the New Yorker. Adams noted: “That’s a good title just waiting for a piece. The phrase suggested a ‘Totentanz’, only not of the Lisztian manner, but more of a funk-invested American-style.” The album is available now as a digital audio album and will be released on LP in audio and as a visual streaming album on 21 August 2020.
Remote Control and Boss Battle Records have released the video game soundtrack AER: Memories Of Old by Cajsa Larsson. ‘AER: Memories of Old’ is an open world exploration adventure game with focus on narrative and atmosphere. You play as a shapeshifter called Auk who has the ability to turn into a bird, and you explore the world to save it from destruction. Since it’s release it has gathered over half a million players. The gods of old are forgotten, lost in the events that shattered the world, leaving only fragments of islands in the sky. This mystic world of endless skies, colorful islands and ancient ruins is in danger of falling into darkness. As one of the last few shapeshifters, you are sent on a pilgrimage to the Land of Gods. Uncover the secrets that will help save reality itself.
Cajsa Larsson is a musician and video game sound designer based in Karlshamn, Sweden. She co-founded game development company Forgotten Key (and On The Outskirts), and co-created AER: Memories of Old. Additionally, she works for companies such as Ubisoft Massive. The soundtrack explores ambient, indie and folk elements through both guitar and synths to create a calming, uplifting body of work.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television