'Beware the ides of March', warned fatefully the soothsayer to Julius Caesar in Shakespear's famous history play. Today's modern equivalent: watch out, because it's the fifteenth of March and we've got a whopping playlist of new music for you below.
In today's New Music Friday playlist we've got cuts from the new Karen O & Danger Mouse record, the cosmic kaleidoscope that is The Comet Is Coming and much more. Find the playlist below along with some words on our favourites.
Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
A long-time friendship that morphed into a creative partnership, Karen O and Danger Mouse eventually found time to hit the studio, but without formulated ideas. What came of it was Lux Prima. The opening track that shares the same name clocks in at 9-minutes and is a sprawling, twisted-but-soulful psychedelic ramble into inventive territories that neither artists had ventured prior to their collaboration. It sets the emotive precedent for the remainder of the album – swelling, grandiose string arrangements and hushed harmonies envelop a sturdy rhythm section, drawing inspiration from the sounds of 70s nightlife.
Lux Prima is like an attempt for both Karen O and Danger Mouse to shed their skins and explore a crossroads in their careers together. The melodic motifs within the title track, however, can be heard in album finale ‘Nox Lumina’, perhaps suggesting that they’ve tied up any loose ends in regards to pursuing this budding union. Only time will tell. TC
The Comet Is Coming – Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery
There are no prizes for guessing vaguely what this album sounds like, with that title and track names that include ‘Astral Flying’, ‘Super Zodiac, and ‘Timewave Zero’.
Where London jazz four-piece Sons of Kemet allows band-leader Shabaka Hutchings to examine themes of pan-Africanism and personal identity, his other most famous group The Comet Is Coming offer up much more of an interstellar exploration.
Cosmic jazz and synth-led psychedelia characterise the record, with middle-eastern infused saxophones, dub rhythms, wobbly basslines, and often frantic drumming thrown into the mix.
The sole vocal offerings come courtesy of esteemed spoken word artist Kate Tempest – exploring grand themes of ignorance, society, progress, guilt and oppression in a manner reminiscent of the themes of OK Computer (“Shower. Smoothie. Commute. Check the internet. Never stop. Never stop. There is a scar on the soul of the world”). This is not quite in the same vein as the jazz that is flourishing in the UK right now, but that’s because it has positioned itself firmly on another astrological plane entirely. JK
HNNY – 2014.12.31
Swedish producer and Winnie The Pooh enthusiast Johan Cederberg’s tracks have, under the moniker of HNNY, historically drifted from bouncy house anthems with soulful vocal samples to low-key, moody cuts with skilful ease.
On his latest EP 2013.12.31, supposedly named after a turning point in his life, Cederberg drifts further into a sleepy and at times abstract ambience. ‘Dolores Park’ beautifully echos the infatuating ambience of Jon Hopkins’s 2001 classic Opalescent before live drums drop in and turn it into an almost anthemic post-rock way, whilst ‘Hemma’ (‘home’ in Swedish) drives calmly with the crip percussion and spiritual sentiment of trip-hop. It’s the cascading, musical toy-box like chimes of the EP’s centrepiece ‘Frankfurt’ that glint and reflect the emotion behind Cederberg’s intent most effectively though. JB