In between the end-of-year lists and ones-to-watch for 2020, I’ve somehow handled to discover time to listen to the clutch of brand-new releases out today. It helps that I have associates like Alex Pollard, who did a great evaluation of FKA twigs‘ album MAGDALENE, which I’m now a little obsessed with.
My album of the week is by French producer SebastiAn, who I overtook in Paris right before he played the most incredible set at Pitchfork Paris celebration; his album Thirst is filled with surprising partnerships, such as Syd from The Internet, and works as a reflection on the violence and confusion taking place worldwide around us.
I’m really delighted to see J Hus back with his brand-new track “Should Be”, and that signature blend of dancehall, gunk and afropop. It seems to address his sentence of eight months in prison in 2015 for carrying a knife in public (” You’re guilty, guilty by association”), and there’s a sense of determination in his shipment that gives me hope that 2020 will be his year.
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Two of my favourite new artists, Collard and Bakar, have teamed up for the sensual brand-new song “Stone”. Collard’s silken falsetto is the perfect contrast for Bakar’s rough, a little slurring delivery. Icelandic singer Glowie is here with her most R&B- affected number to date, the appealing “Unlovable”. Then there’s the superb Arlo Parks, who’s signed up with forces with up and comers Easy Life for the laid-back “Sangria”, loaded with deep grooves and jazz-lounge piano.
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After a tumultuous 2019, Krept & Konan are ending the year on a high note with their album Revenge Is Sweet It’s heavy with visitor features, from Stormzy and D-Block Europe to Krept’s late cousin Cadet; the record likewise has among the most thoughtful and cohesive structures of any rap album I have actually heard this year. There are tender lulls, such as “G Love” with Wizkid, and the deeply affecting closer “Broski”, together with the important icy beats and rapid-fire shipment of bars that are intended to shatter stereotypes about young black men.
I’m a huge fan of the moody “History” from Sick Happiness, a Brighton trio utilizing the grunge noise of Pixies and Nirvana with a couple of pop hooks tossed in for great procedure. The impressive brand-new mixtape from Psychological Oranges, The Juice Vol II, is out now so you should examine that out.
My spotlight artist today is Gizmo Varillas, a London-based Spanish basque songwriter whose brand-new tune “Conserving Grace” is being premiered right here on Now Hear This:
Tell me a bit about ‘Conserving Grace’
” Saving Grace” is a brand-new single from my approaching third album, Out of the Darkness. On this track, I worked together with one of my heroes, the legendary Tony Allen. He was the musical director for Fela Kuti’s band Africa ’70, and most recently dealt with Damon Albarn and Jeff Mills.
I composed “Saving Grace” as a tribute to music. Throughout the toughest times in my life, music has actually always been one of the couple of things I might count on to lift me back up.
What I’ve found out over the years is that, in the end, we all rely on music for recovery. This tune is really close to my heart.
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On your track “No War” in 2016 you used a John Lennon sample for your song about affected by Trump’s wall-building and growing nationalism all over the world. What’s your take on the state of things three years later on, and has the way you approach music that reflects the times changed at all?
I believe progress takes a long, long time. And we still have a long way to go. Since Trump was chosen it does appear like we have actually taken a couple of actions in reverse. And with the increase of nationalism throughout the globe, it seems like people are more polarised than ever previously. Nevertheless, we are advancing as a society. If you consider it, just a couple of generations ago slavery was legal and females were not permitted to vote. That notion is crazy to me. So I do believe that, although the state of the world looks bad today, we have actually come a long method.
And I am optimistic about the future, slowly but definitely we will keep making great progress towards a better society. I think it is necessary not to lose hope. What other alternatives do we have? With all the hate developing nowadays, it’s a lot more difficult to have a favorable outlook and it takes a lot of courage to be unifying individuals. In my music I try to promise to individuals that have lost faith in humanity.
What’s been among the very best things about your 2019?
Working together with Tony Allen needs to be at the top of my list. Maturing I ‘d listen to his music a lot and even to this day, I fear of the rhythms and music he’s created throughout his profession. Being in RAK Studios while this musical legend laid down drums on one of my own tracks was a wonderful experience … To contribute to that, he was so humble and kind, he worked tough to get the very best performance possible. That alone is such a massive stamp of approval and I will be forever honoured to be part of his legacy!
What do you have lined up for fans next year?
I’m launching my 3rd album Out of the Darkness and will be touring across the UK & Europe! I’ll also be co-writing songs with other artists and this is a new chapter in my profession which I’m extremely delighted about. In the meantime, I’ll be playing at Camden Assembly on 26 November in London with my complete band.
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