Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 12 February 2021.
Mia Doi Todd’s 12th album, Music Life, was recorded in her native Los Angeles. The album features guest performances from Jeff Parker, Money Mark, Fabiano do Nascimento, Sam Gendel, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Laraaji. Ever since her debut release in 1997, the singer-songwriter has created a body of work that is intensely personal and unique, with a rich variety of cultural and creative influences. A solo artist with an innate sense of connecting links between other musicians, Mia has stepped into the role of composer on Music Life. The album, produced with husband Jesse Peterson, embraces the themes of motherhood and the creative life of the artist. The songs, autobiographical with a splash of mythology, continue her lyrical journey, from the deserts of Rajasthan to the coast of Bahia, from existential questions on mortality, sexual assault and overdose to the wonder and joy of caring for a young child.
Dronegazers Nonconnah return with their third full-length release, Songs For And About Ghosts. Zachary and Denny Wilkerson Corsa hereby share their most ambitious sonic tapestries yet, spun across four extended tracks of swirling guitars and haunted static frequencies, and joined by special guests Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy, The Arcade Fire) and synthwave juggernaut Jenn Taiga.
It’s only natural that Jeremy Pelt’s voracious curiosity would lead him to investigate the West African Griot tradition where stories, reminiscences and accomplishments from times past are handed down as oral histories. Researchers such as Art Taylor, William Russell and Alan Lomax have preserved interviews with older jazzmen but for his Griot odyssey, Pelt turns to his own peer group to record their thoughts on creating jazz, playing jazz and experiencing the life of a jazz musician of color in our own time. Each brief interview is followed by a composition by Pelt which perfectly captures the sentiments and emotions of its spoken-word prelude. To help him bring his vision to life, Pelt has assembled a hand-picked group of colleagues, featuring vibraphonist Chien Chien Lu, pianist Victor Gould, bassist Vicente Archer, harpist Brandee Younger and others. Pelt says, “I want people to understand that this is for everybody,” that the project was undertaken to perhaps help them “understand that whatever they might be going through, their perspectives might run parallel to those of people who are generations apart from them. Maybe, to a certain extent, these younger people will find themselves in these stories.”
The Flex Ensemble piano quartet is characterized by a desire to experiment, as well as the search for new ways of mediating between music, musicians and the audience. The ensemble are the founders and artistic directors of the Chamber Music Festival Rheinhessen, which has been taking place annually since 2014. Since the 2016/17 concert season the ensemble has been organizing its own series of concerts under the motto “imPULS” in Hanover. Their new record is Inside Eroica, an arrangement for piano quartet of Beethoven’s Third Symphony(!). In the days before recordings, it was common to hear and play transcriptions. It was a way to get to know the latest symphonic works, even if you lived nowhere near a major centre. So even though the idea of transcribing symphonies wasn’t new, it offered a totally different and fresh perspective on a very familiar piece of music.
After a brief postponement, Summer in the Domain is back on. Acts include headliners Vera Blue with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; plus Ball Park Music, Mallrat, Hayden James, Thelma Plum, Client Liaison and more. Capacities and tickets are very limited and tickets go on sale on Monday, 15 February 2020 at Midday (12pm AEDT) via Moshtix. These are all ages shows.
Dates and acts:
Ball Park Music & Thelma Plum – Thu 18 March
Hayden James, Mallrat & Sycco – Fri 19 March
Client Liaison, Confidence Man & Touch Sensitive – Sat 20 March
Vera Blue with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – Sun 21 March
Over the course of their extraordinarily accomplished discography to date, Django Django have constantly headed left where others have gone right. Described by The Guardian as “capable of making music that sounds close to perfection”, they are known for their genre defying eclectic sound and their new album Glowing in the Dark heralds, once again, the beginning of a thrilling new era for the band. Glowing in the Dark has a running theme of escape: from despair, from constraints, from small town life, and even, in dreams, from the Earth.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television