Our selection of the best new music across a range of genres from the week ending 28 May 2021.
Reprise sees Moby revisiting and re-imagining musical highlights from his past. Together with the Budapest Art Orchestra, he has re-envisioned some of his most recognizable rave classics and anthems with new arrangements for orchestra and acoustic instruments, joined by a stellar line-up of guest artists from across the musical spectrum, including Kris Kristofferson, Gregory Porter, Mark Lanegan, Víkingur Ólafsson, Skylar Grey and Amythyst Kiah. Reprise includes Moby’s biggest tracks. Some of the new versions are sparser and slower, while others exploit the bombastic potential an orchestra can offer. Three decades into his career, Reprise is less of a greatest hits record and more of a chance to reflect on the way in which art can adapt over time to different settings and contexts.
With his poetic, atmospherically hazy sound, New York singer/songwriter Cheval Sombre emerged in the mid-2000s as a torchbearer for ’60s psychedelia and hypnotic space rock. Working closely with Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom as well as Luna’s Dean Wareham, Sombre gained a cult following with his eponymous 2009 debut and 2012 follow-up, Mad Love. His latest album (his fourth), Days Go By, is his second new album this year, and a companion piece to Time Waits for No One, which came out at the end of February to great acclaim. Like that album, it has been produced and mixed by Sonic Boom and features guests including Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman Dean Wareham.
Just before the pandemic, Patricia Kopatchinskaja played Pierrot Lunaire at the Berlin Philharmonic. Now she’s releasing the piece on her new album, supplemented with pieces for violin and piano (or the piano itself) by Schoenberg and Webern and a pastiche of the Imperial Waltz by Johann Strauss II. More than a hundred years after its premiere, Pierrot Lunaire did not turn out to be the end of music (as was then predicted), but the beginning of a new one. It is a work that melts the moods and upsets of the lunar harlequin with the help of wonderfully varied, free and accurate illustrations of sobbing, shrill sounds, resonance and catastrophic moods.
Whether you like your folk big and rowdy or simple and spare, a soulful, solo singer expressing big ideas or a whirling outfit playing up a storm, you’ll be spoilt for choice from 13-15 August in the Sydney CBD with the Sydney Folk Festival. Early-bird tickets are already on sale and organisers have announced the first “faces of the festival” – exciting duo We Mavericks. Described as “folk that resembles everything else”, the award-winning duo has been making a bold mark on both sides of the Tasman with their thrilling originals, entertaining stories and incredible energy. We Mavericks’ organic blend of pop-folk retains echoes of soulful Americana and Celtic roots music while packing the emotional punch to heal scars! Comprising a foot-stomping Kiwi girl and a Riverina country boy, We Mavericks create music that is more than the sum of its parts. Lindsay Martin’s masterful strings and vocal meets Victoria Vigenser’s magnificent voice, with driving rhythms and a connection you have to hear to believe.
Where the activities of many bands seemed to have dwindled over the last year due to the Covid situation, Scotsman in Japan Chris Jack and his outfit The Routes, seem, if anything, to be creatively thriving. Instrumentals II, the ninth LP by The Routes, is their second album release this year following their recent killer psych/garage/punk-themed LP Mesmerised. The Routes are not for staying static, their style forever moving and changing with each album. This latest sees them turning back to playing instrumental music, picking up from where they left off with Instrumentals, the album they released on Groovie Records in 2013.
Another Land is the new album from the all-star trio featuring Dave Holland, Kevin Eubanks and Obed Calvaire and a power-packed set of originals. This is a potent studio set of fluid themes developed by the band and forged in the furnace of live performance. During the live shows that preceded the recording of Another Land, Dave explains “we were doing a continuous set, once we started we very rarely stopped, we just kept going,”. The Guardian described the shows as a “blues-fuelled inferno summoning the spirit of Hendrix”
Bachelor is the new project from Melina Duterte (Jay Som) and Ellen Kempner (Palehound). A lot of pain went into their new record Doomin’ Sun, especially around themes of queerness and climate change inspired by the red skies and wildfires subsuming Australia at the time. However, when the duo did shed tears during the creative process, they weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of laughter. When Kempner and Duterte look back on those weeks, what they remember first is shortness of breath and the inability to track vocal takes without falling to the floor howling. They couldn’t remember a time they’d ever been so delirious with creativity, so overwhelmed with joy.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- New music round-up
- New music round-up (for w/e 12 March 2021)
- New music round-up (for w/e 11 June 2021)
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television