Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 22 September 2023.
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids are back with their first major new studio album in over 3 years, an epic, sprawling new work exploring the future, the past and the urgent reality of the present, Afro Futuristic Dreams. Recorded between San Francisco and London and brought together by the genius of Malcolm Catto at his analogue Quatermass Studio, the new recording represents another bold step in Ackamoor’s ever-evolving journey in jazz, adding full, intricate scores including string sections and choral elements to the Pyramids’ trademark spiritual Afro-jazz sound.
Melody Federer has shared her newest collection of songs, Chapters from the Fairy Tale. Federer’s music is at once enigmatic and candidly charming. Texas-born with a nomadic soul, she honed her craft in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Nashville, Seattle, and back to Nashville where she continues to gain recognition as an up-and-coming talent in the world of Indie and Alt music. A noted solo artist as well as an accomplished writer for various musicians, her style is genre-agnostic, and her stage presence is effortlessly versatile. She can capture a room with just her voice and guitar or with a full band, and she holds her own standing in as a guest with legends of the industry.
In the post-pandemic desolation of Los Angeles, 3TEETH re-materialize as an enigmatic force of cybernetic entropy, unveiling their most incisive revelation of technosocial disintegration ever: EndEx. Alexis Mincolla, the cryptic provocateur and his accomplices escalate their own sonic insurgency with the bewildering rupture of the vanguard single, “Merchant of the Void.” Delving into the commodification of identity, hyper-consumerism, and the primacy of technology as drivers of ideology and human behavior, they lay bare the foundations of our disintegrating reality.
Reference Recordings has release Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in a significant new interpretation from conductor Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It is coupled with Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet, newly arranged for large orchestra by Manfred Honeck and Tomáš Ille. This album was recorded in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound. Maestro Honeck honors us again with his meticulous music notes, in which he gives us great insight into his interpretation as well as the history and musical structure of Tchaikovsky’s great Symphony No. 5. This release is the fourteenth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! imprint from Reference Recordings. This series has received numerous GRAMMY® Nominations, and its recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5 /Barber Adagio for Strings won the 2018 GRAMMY® Awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.
Trevor Hall and The Great In-Between marks the start of a new era for musician Trevor Hall. Out everywhere today on Hall’s own 3 Rivers Label, the highly-anticipated record delivers a future-folk masterpiece anchored in Hall’s beloved style, while simultaneously bringing a refreshing new sound to the forefront. Created solely within the confines of a barn-turned-studio in his own backyard, this record marks the first of Hall’s career where he helmed every aspect of the production process. Penned without external influence and from a purely creative and explorative space, Trevor Hall and the Great In-Between unveils raw and unfiltered facets of Hall that remain undiscovered.
On their second full-length LP, The Garment District delivers a Kunstkabinett of sound reminiscent of the Manhattan neighborhood (and others around the globe, both existing and shuttered) with which they share a name. Just as one might wander through a Garment District shop entranced by a staggering display of fabric from seemingly every era and locale, surrounded by rows of buttons, threads and trimmings, listeners will be equally entranced by the hypnotic array of textured sounds on Flowers Telegraphed to All Parts of the World.
Colleen thrives on reinvention. For over two decades under the name, French artist Cécile Schott has continuously pushed her compositional practice into new directions. Her creative approaches have included complex samples and loops, instrumental processing and even dub production techniques applied to the baroque viola da gamba. Each album immerses the listener in a wholly unique world while remaining unmistakably a work by Colleen. Schott’s compositions glow with carefully considered textures that move in captivating revolutions while subtly evolving. A connective thread of Schott’s work is the exploration of the intricacies of emotion while reveling in the act of contorting pop and classical forms into new shapes. Colleen’s Le jour et la nuit du réel is a voyage deep into the world of synthesis, a dense thicket populated by drifting echoes and pulsating arpeggios. More than just a creative approach, sound synthesis here becomes a means to interrogate complex concepts, from the self and perception to shifting notions of what is “reality”.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up (for w/e 29 September 2023)
- New music round-up (for w/e 7 July 2023)
- New music round-up (for w/e 16 December 2022)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television