Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 2 October 2020.
Platinum-selling singer, songwriter, producer, and activist Aloe Blacc has released his newest album, All Love Everything via BMG. Inspired by his family, the new album is shaped around Aloe not only as a husband, but his journey as a father. The result is a heartfelt, artistic synthesis of family, activism and perseverance that traverses the tender details that make up life and refuses to be pinned to one genre of music. All Love Everything is his first new album in seven years.
Shiver is the boundary-pushing second record from LA-based Icelandic musician Jónsi (of Sigur Rós). Co-produced by A. G. Cook (PC Music, Charlie XCX), it comes a decade after his debut, Go, was released. The new album features tracks with Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins) and pop icon Robyn. Jónsi had made a career on sweeping music that plumbed the depths of the human experience and our connection to the natural world. Cook’s production exists at the opposite end of the spectrum: synthetic, sometimes abrafolksive, and often on the cutting edge of experimentalism. On paper, their collaboration is surprising, but Shiver is a beautiful record that pushes Jónsi’s otherworldly voice into startling new territories.
Renowned guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela have established themselves as powerhouses in the world of music, and their eagerly awaited new album METTAVOLUTION only confirms that. Through relentless touring and terrific word-of-mouth support, Rodrigo y Gabriela have established themselves as a hugely in-demand live act, particularly in America, where they sold out the Hollywood Bowl and the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2018. They have also sold out multiple nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Le Zenith in Paris and Radio City Music Hall in New York, not to mention venues in Australia, Japan and Europe. With career album sales well in excess of 1.5 million worldwide, Rodrigo y Gabriela have established themselves as globally successful artists who are eager to write new chapters in their already illustrious story.
Transparency is the new album from the Dafnis Prieto Sextet. Led by Cuban-born drummer, composer, educator, and 2011 MacArthur Genius Fellow Dafnis Prieto, the sextet features a top-shelf lineup, including Román Filiú (alto sax), Alex Norris (trumpet), Peter Apfelbaum (tenor sax), Alex Brown (piano), and Johannes Weidenmueller (bass). Transparency is the third release by the Dafnis Prieto Sextet, following 2008’s Taking the Soul for a Walk and 2015’s Triangles and Circles. The album includes nine tracks, with all new compositions by Prieto and an arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie’s classic, “Con Alma”. The music embraces transparent ideas, communication, and relationships in music and life, valuing clarity of intention and celebrating moments fleeting and fragile, simple and beautiful.
“An outstanding album”, was Gramophone magazine’s verdict on the Arod Quartet’s last release, a programme of Schoenberg, Zemlinsky and Webern. Remaining in Vienna, the young French quartet goes back to the time of Schubert. The album seeks to explore several stylistic phases in Schubert’s life. The centrepiece is his gripping Quartet No 14 (‘Der Tod und das Mädchen’/‘Death and the Maiden’), written in the final years of his short life and complemented here by the Quartets No 4 and No 12 (‘Quartettsatz’).
None of us are made for isolation. And yet, some of us find portals of escapism. Okay Kaya’s peculiar, imaginative, bedroom soul seems ready-made for these tragicomic ‘strange and uncertain times’. Holed up in a Copenhagen apartment after the remainder of her European and North American tours were cancelled, Kaya Wilkins began demo-ing with her friend Nature Boy. The session quickly developed into a fully-fledged and stunning new collection of songs, aptly titled Surviving is the New Living. Rather than an addendum to her 2020 album Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, Surviving… stands as its own bold statement and underscoring of Kaya’s songwriting prowess.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television