Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 24 November 2023.
A New is a curious title but one that makes total sense when Jamie Hutchings explains that the album reminds him of spring, a theme echoed in the vivid artwork by Reuben Wills (Infinity Broke, Mark Moldre band). “My last album of more traditional songs was called Bedsit, which reminds me of winter, so I wanted to change seasons on this one. Much of it is about turning over a new leaf,” explains Hutchings. The songs for A New were primarily written through the pandemic years in a different way to Hutchings’ usual process of inspiration taken from travel or collaborations. Hutchings played all of the primary instruments on the album, recording them on Tascam eight track tape with Tim Kevin at his Sydney studio, before guests were brought in to add colour, tone and detail to the songs.
Since 1822 the Royal Academy of Music has inspired generations of musicians to connect, collaborate and create. The new recording Bach: Partitas (Re-imagined for Small Orchestra by Thomas Oehler) continues this mission, reuniting renowned harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock with students from the Royal Academy of Music and The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory in Toronto. Following the success of Goldberg Variations (arr. for small orchestra by Józef Koffler), the Principal of the Academy, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood commissioned ‘re-imaginings’ of three of Bach’s most celebrated keyboard Partitas for the same scoring, by alumnus composer Thomas Oehler. The creative challenge – to bring a fresh perspective to some of Bach’s most elegant resourceful and refined keyboard writing – pays off in the hands of wonderfully talented musicians, and reveals how Oehler’s faithful response to Bach’s score allows the music to glow as brightly as ever.
On their third studio album, Shadows and Light, nineteen-piece Sydney ensemble Divergence Jazz Orchestra present a collection of original Australian compositions that explore both the shadows and the light of the human experience. Compositions from bandleader Jenna Cave, album co-producer and guest soloist Paul Cutlan, and friends/collaborators Miroslav Bukovsky and Andrew Scott, take the listener through moments of darkness, fear, hope, reflection, exuberance, joy and optimism, a meditation on what it is to be living fully. Masterfully captured by the much sought after recording engineer Ross A’Hern, this stellar recording, with a warm lush sound, features exceptional soloists and ensemble players representing a diverse cross section of the creative music community in Sydney.
Priscilla (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is now available following the US release of the feature film written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Starring Cailee Spaeny in the title role and Jacob Elordi as Elvis Presley, the film is based on Priscilla Presley’s bestselling memoir Elvis and Me. Priscilla music supervision is by Phoenix and Randall Poster who have created an eclectic soundtrack that is both a reflection of the times chronicled in the film and underscores the personalities who portray the most famous married couple in 20th century American history.
ART MAKE LOVE is the fifth album by 30/70, the mothership of the internationally acclaimed Melbourne born collective. Expanding far beyond the previous markers of nu-soul and jazz; it is inspired heavily by broken beat complexity, translating dance music into live textures and their truly unique collaborative songwriting. ART MAKE LOVE is a statement about the very life giving, love fuelling, interconnected nature of creativity, a reclamation of art in a digital time.
512 – named for the number on William Eggleston’s front door – is no mere sequel to his 2017 debut Musik. Working again at his apartment in Memphis with producer Tom Lunt, Eggleston embraced traditional pop, folk, and gospel styles more directly. In place of the mercurial digital keyboard he previously used, Eggleston plays a magnificent Bösendorfer grand piano, rich with sonic overtones and historical allusions. In a more dramatic departure from the freewheeling soliloquies of Musik, Eggleston is heard in the company of other musicians on 512 – though none of them ever actually shared space with the artist. True, distanced recordings and virtual ensembles have become familiar especially in the years since pandemic isolation was imposed in 2020.
Eli Paperboy Reed has shared Hits And Misses: The Singles, an 11-track remastered collection of vividly re-imagined covers spanning every genre and a trio of originals not on any album and previously only available as 45 rpm singles at the merch table during Reed’s international tours. The album includes covers of Bob Dylan’s “To Be Alone With You,” a noirish R&B take on Steely Dan’s 1972 hit, “Do It Again,” and Merle Haggard’s “I’m Gonna Break Every Heart I Can,” showcasing a vocal intensity that’s not quite as present in the nearly spoken word original. “Steal Away“ and “I Don’t Know What the World is Coming To” were cut live at FAME in Muscle Shoals, with the swampers David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, and Spooner Oldham.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up (for w/e 1 December 2023)
- New music round-up (for w/e 11 August 2023)
- New music round-up (for w/e 31 March 2023)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television