Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 1 December 2023.
Sarah Goldstone has been touring the past few years playing with boygenius, Lucy Dacus, and Hurray for the Riff Raff and is now releasing her debut album, Waving. This group of songs shows a subversive grasp of melody and harmony, gleaned from years of playing, listening and remaining open. And openness is key here, because these songs are deceptively complex, but generously available to anyone who presses play. It’s a magic trick, and like all magic tricks you’re not allowed to ask how it’s done. There’s a joy in just letting it hit you.
“The man who invented the 80s”, legendary producer Trevor Horn, presents Echoes: Ancient & Modern, a new album which sees him collaborate with some of his favourite singers to create newly-minted versions of songs he loves. The album features 11 tracks, performed by Tori Amos, Seal, Iggy Pop, Marc Almond, Rick Astley, Andrea Corr, Steve Hogarth (from Marillion), Lady Blackbird, Jack Lukeman, Toyah Wilcox & Robert Fripp and Trevor himself.
A fusion of tradition and innovation, Reload is the new album from the Vintage Orchestra big band. The record presents eight original compositions, written and arranged by leader Fabien Mary. Fabien is well-known and lauded for the quality of his compositions, his accomplished arrangements and for the viruosity of the soloists.
Session Victim’s fifth studio album ‘low key, low pressure’ feels like an anathema to today’s fast-paced, industry-driven musical landscape – and for all the right reasons. Having released two intense, dance floor-focused 12“s on Rhythm Section and Delusions Of Grandeur over the past year, their return brings out their trippy, heady side once again. And despite the pandemic downtime being over, Hauke and Matthias remain holed up in the studio, jamming, head nodding to drum breaks, and churning out records like this one.
Igor Levit’s new double album Fantasia features a wide range of works spanning a period of almost two centuries from 1720 to 1910 and showcases key compositions by Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni, Johann Sebastian Bach and Alban Berg. The starting point of the four paradigmatic works featured on the double album is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Levit has chosen Bach’s exceptional Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor and combined it with Liszt’s B minor Sonata, a highly charged piece that at the time of its composition looked far ahead into the future (which Levit is currently performing to great acclaim all over the world), together with Busoni’s Fantasia contrappuntistica, in which Busoni perpetuated the Bach tradition, and Alban Berg’s only Piano Sonata. These four major works are complemented by four shorter pieces including Alexander Siloti’s arrangement of the famous Air from Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite, Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s song Der Doppelgänger, Busoni’s Nuit de Noël and an early piano piece in B minor by Alban Berg.
The new album Albion has starker, darker hues than former Midlake singer Tim Smith – now performing as Harp – is typically renowned for. That shift lifts Albion to new heights in his canon; likewise, the level of personal revelation. These are songs about the human condition, from love – both lost and found – to faith, anxiety to joy, fear to acceptance, all couched in a highly distinct poetic language. The lead track “I Am The Seed”, a song about creativity and helplessness, is a perfect entry point, sounding simultaneously blissful and haunting whilst capturing the changes that Smith has gone through since he went solo.
Years in the making, Battleship Potemkin: Original Re-score was composed by Morricone Youth for a live scoring of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 Soviet silent film. The score was first performed on June 14, 2015 at the Flux Factory in Astoria, Queens and recorded from 2016 to 2020; and is now available via Country Club Records. Morricone Youth is a collective of musicians founded in New York City in 1999 reinterpreting over 100 film and television themes and cues all over the world, from CBGB’s and on top of the World Trade Center to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, MassMoCA, Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Sydney Festival.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
New music round-up (for w/e 24 November 2023)
New music round-up (for w/e 15 December 2023)
New music round-up (for w/e 29 September 2023)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television