Is Lucretia Dalt getting her groove on? Kind of! Her work over multiple albums and soundtracks has always had the influence of her native Colombia incorporated as an essence within complex abstractions. Here, though, the bolero, mambo, salsa, and merengue are vividly present – albeit slowed down, stretched and dubbed out, turned otherworldly in the manner of Tom Waits’s junkyard percussion records.
Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn
New Orleans singer-songwriter Dawn Richard’s creative path is one of the most fascinating in modern music. From P Diddy-mentored mainstream R&B TV talent show graduate, through wildly experimental electronic soul albums featuring the likes of Machinedrum and Hudson Mohawke, to now teaming up with NYC’s Spencer Zahn for an almost beatless album of cosmic hymns. With Zahn’s meandering sax leading as much as Richard’s voice, it’s unbelievably lush: an album to float away into.
The Sun is Parallel
This debut album from the Swiss-Turkish producer Aslan really feels like cultural meltdown should feel. There’s sun-bleached Balearic dub, there’s Middle Eastern folk, there’s sleazy EBM, there’s relentlessly hypnotic post-rock, there’s crawling Twin Peaks torch song vibes, there’s rarefied ambient sketches – but it completely holds together as a single piece. Truly exciting stuff.
Lovers & Lollipops
LA’s wildly collaborative Mary Lattimore, the Caribbean-Belgian sensation Nala Sinephro, and now Angélica Salvi from Porto are all redefining the harp. Like much of work of the former two, Salvi turns her playing into borderline ambient music – her minimalist phrases sounding almost digitally generated, until suddenly they’ll wind down into something altogether more organic. But there’s something very ancient at work here – in the sections here where studio processing falls away, so do the centuries…
30 years and 11 albums into their relationship with WARP Plaid continue to achieve the miraculous by still sounding fresh. This latest, while on the gentler side of their output, is recognisably Plaid in every way – especially in the contrapuntal melodies – yet their synthesis is sharper, their range of influences is wider (krautrock! calypso jazz fusion!) and their sense of playfulness shines brighter than ever.