Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 1 July 2022.
Innovative string trio Time For Three have released their new album Letters for Future with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Xian Zhang on Deutsche Grammophon. The album comprises world premiere recordings of two technically demanding and musically virtuosic concerti for trio and orchestra by two Pulitzer Prize-winning composers, written fifteen years apart but both commissioned for the group: Jennifer Higdon’s 2007 Concerto 4–3 and Kevin Puts’s brand-new Contact.
The roots of Naima Bock’s music are far reaching. Born in Glastonbury to a Brazilian father and a Greek mother, Naima spent her early childhood in Brazil before eventually returning to England and various homes in South-East London. This heritage combines with more recent pursuits in Naima’s music; from the Brazilian standards that the family would listen to driving to the beach, to the European folk traditions she tapped into on her own, and the pursuits that interest her today – studies in archaeology, work as a gardener, and walking the world’s great trails – Naima’s music draws from family, the earth and the handing down of music through generations. Naima’s debut album Giant Palm is undoubtedly infused with the Brazilian music of her youth and regular family visits. She found inspiration in “the percussion, the melodies, chords – and particularly the poetic juxtaposition of tragedy and beauty held within the lyrics”.
The exemplary & well-traveled cornetist Kirk Knuffke introduces a bold new trio – with bassist Michael Bisio & pianist Matthew Shipp – on his intimate and expansive new double album. Gravity Without Airs features the three world-class musicians on both Knuffke compositions and in open form, together creating a tour-de-force of poetry and verve.
Multi-award-winning contemporary folk aficionado and self-proclaimed globetrotter Kaurna Cronin has been leaving his mark over the past few months in the lead up to the release of his brand new album Harsh Beauty (out now). Previously named Folk Alliance Australia’s ‘Artist Of The Year’, Kaurna Cronin is known for invoking intense emotional responses through his stirring folk storytelling, celebrated as the recipient of the APRA-AMCOS ‘Emily Burrows Award’, as well as being known for his extensive tours around Europe and Australia. Now, delivering his eighth album since his debut, Kaurna Cronin aims to reflect on the environment’s effect on humanity with an 11-track exploration into how we broadly perceive ourselves and the lands we live – and how this land influences our beliefs and ideals.
Shiva Feshareki is a British-Iranian composer, artist, and turntablist, described as “one of the most astonishing acts of musical alchemy of the last decade” (BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service). As a musical thinker and experimenter she is fascinated by the materiality of sound, fearlessly warping time and space itself through the boundless possibility of her turntables. A self-described ‘sonic architect’, Feshareki’s intrepid exploration of a 360-degree soundworld also encompasses composition for acoustic, ‘note-reading’ ensembles, where she re-theorises relationships between performer and audience, dissolving physical, historical, and sonic boundaries. In Turning World, Feshareki uses the turntables to ply and wield a multitude of strands together, combining her own composition with that of pioneering electronic musician Daphne Oram in a collaboration that interconnects different moments of time and history.
The songwriter, composer, vocalist, poet, and educator Camae Ayewa spent years organizing and performing in Philadelphia’s underground music community before moving to Los Angeles. She released her debut album as Moor Mother, Fetish Bones, in 2016, and has since put out an abundance of acclaimed music, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with other musicians who share her drive to dig up the untold. Her new record, Jazz Codes is her second and latest album for Anti- and a companion to her celebrated 2021 release Black Encyclopedia of the Air. Jazz Codes uses free jazz as a starting point but the collection continues the recent turn in Moor Mother’s multifaceted catalog toward more melody, more singing voices, more choruses, more complexity. In its warm, densely layered course through jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, and other Black classical traditions, Jazz Codes sets the ear blissfully adrift and unhitches the mind from habit. Through her work, Ayewa illuminates the principles of her multidisciplinary collaborative practice Black Quantum Futurism, a theoretical framework for perceiving and adjusting reality through art, writing, music, and performance, informed by historical Black ontologies.
Tresor (Treasure) is Gwenno Saunders’ third full length solo album and the second almost entirely in Cornish (Kernewek). Written in St. Ives, Cornwall, just prior to the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and completed in Cardiff during the pandemic along with her producer and musical collaborator, Rhys Edwards, Tresor reveals an introspective focus on home and self, a prescient work echoing the isolation and retreat that has been a central, global shared experience over the past two years. The wider project also includes a companion film, written and directed by Gwenno in collaboration with Anglesey based filmmaker and photographer Clare Marie Bailey.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up (for w/e 26 November 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 22 April 2022)
- Seeker (Mikal Cronin) – music review
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television