New music round-up (for w/e 12 January 2024)

Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 12 January 2024.

The LA-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Nailah Hunter has been recording mystical folk and ambient-inspired music since 2019, releasing a series of singles and two EPs: Spells and, most recently, Quietude. Now signed to Fat Possum, Lovegaze is Hunter’s debut full-length, an enthralling album that draws listeners into her enchanting cosmology. To make Lovegaze, Hunter decamped to a small coastal city along the English Channel where she began recording demos with a borrowed Celtic harp. After being introduced to London-based producer Cicely Goulder, Hunter returned to England a year later to further develop the songs. The resulting collection, Lovegaze, is a bewitching testament to the resiliency of the natural world.


GRAMMY® Award winner Kali Uchis has released her fourth studio album, Orquídeas. Marking Uchis’ striking return to Spanish-language music, the project features a superstar lineup with Karol G, Peso Pluma, El Alfa, and JT. Inspired by the sensual allure of Colombia’s national flower, the orchid, Orquídeas traverses multiple Latin genres including reggaeton, dembow, bolero and salsa furthering Uchis’ connection to her Colombian roots.


When children play, they pretend. They try out different personas, give themselves arbitrary constraints to force themselves into creativity, and move in as many fast and exhilarating ways as they can. Play is a test of our imagination and abilities, and although we can play alone, it’s much more fulfilling and interesting to play in a group. It’s fitting that the English verb for making music is ‘to play’, and other languages like Mandarin and French agree. For his new album, Charles, Play!, Charles Chen wanted to play with some of his favorite jazz legends. The album features Chen on piano, with Ralph Moore on tenor saxophone; Peter Washington providing the bass and Kenny Washington at the drum kit.


Thirty years after their formation, the veteran post-rock band Kreidler, the second most famous band in Dusseldorf, releases their seventh album Twists (A Visitor Arrives) on Bureau B. Featuring guests such as Khan Of Finland, Maxim Bosch, Natalie Beridze, Timucin and Dundar, Kreidler’s smoky, stateless sound combines electronic pop music, krautrock, post-punk and polyrhythms from around the world.


Fusing the passion of folk music, the precision of classical, and the spontaneity of jazz, Cigány Weaver create a rich and vibrant atmosphere for both the heart and mind. Front woman, Jo Davie’s soaring vocals and enchanting gentle demeanour combine with the fiery violin, dynamic guitars and driving rhythm section to create a purely acoustic group that effortlessly navigates the musical nexus between intimacy and raucousness. Their second album, Episode II: Still Water, is out now.


Whereas Prokofiev was captivated by Romeo and Juliet, Ravel had shut himself away a quarter of a century earlier in Levallois Perret to compose Gaspard de la nuit, inspired by Aloysius Bertrand’s collection of poems subtitled Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot. In 1973, the Uzbek composer Dilorom Saidaminova paid tribute to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and composed The Walls of Ancient Bukhara , which offers a sonic view of the historic centre of the Central Asian city founded four or five centuries before the common era. Her compatriot Behzod Abduraimov was keen to pay tribute to this little-known composer and record her music, which, like the other two works on his new album, Shadows of My Ancestors, is evocative and colourful.


Big Sigh sees Marika Hackman leave the carnal days of her 20s behind, crafting a beautiful and complex piece of work which is less a photo-real documentation of the moment, but more like an artist peering through a gap in a door to reassess her former life. It is an edifying blend of sadness, stress and lust, but mostly – and crucially – that of relief.

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