Crucial Material – Best Releases Of The Week (April 15th, 2019)

Another Week’s Worth of Listening.

For our bundle this week, we’ve gathered together our favorites from Contemporary Ambient Jazz to Chanson Synth-pop to Arabic Disco and much in between.

As always, if you like something you hear, buy it. Your purchase supports the artists and labels whose work you enjoy.

Horace Tapscott with The Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra “Live at I.U.C.C.”

Genre: Spiritual Jazz
Label: Soul Jazz Records
Buy: Vinyl
Stream: Spotify

Originally released on Nimbus West Records back in 1979, London’s Soul Jazz Records has reissued Horace Tapscott’s spiritual masterpiece ‘Live at I.U.C.C.’ Recorded inside the Immanuel United Church of Christ in Los Angeles, the live album features The Pan-African Peoples Arkestra, which was a Los Angeles-based collective made up of musicians, poets, dancers and painters from the Watts neighborhood. The music is deep spiritually, blending modal piano melodies, with Afro-centric rhythms, hypnotic bass lines, and soaring horn arrangements.
– Selected by TJ Gorton

Francis Harris “Trivial Occupations Remixes”

Genres: Downtempo / Jazz
Label: Scissor & Thread
Buy: Vinyl / Digital
Steam: Spotify

Francis Harris’ LP ‘Trivial Occupations’ received wide acclaim upon its release in October of 2018. Now, two selections from the LP get a 2019 update in the form of remixes. Joe Claussell’s offering is a beautifully extended, live sounding take on ‘Minor Forms’, with a primordial intro, syncopated drum patterns, and fully-invested synth solos reminiscent of a Jean-Luc Ponty performance. Laura Sparrow’s slightly shortened, electronic-forward version of ‘St. Catherine And The Calm’ introduces her sister, Nadia Sparrow, on flute. Skipping the introduction, the LNS version gently gets right to it.
– Selected by Jake Stellarwell

Hampshire & Foat “Saint Lawrence”

Genres: Ambient / Jazz / Folk
Label: Athens Of The North
Buy: Vinyl / Digital 
Stream: Spotify

Warren Hampshire and Greg Foat held a two-day recording session on the south side of the Isle of Wight back in 2017. The result, ‘Saint Lawrence’, an 8-track LP named after the village where their sessions took place. Recorded in true vintage audiophile fashion, the duo’s performances were captured directly to quarter-inch tape via a vintage tube mic. Every track is crisp yet balmy, peeled yet complete, tender yet vital, and in the background, the all-embracing ambience of the church, the distant cawing of seagulls, and the softhearted crashing of waves in the bay.
– Selected by Jake Stellarwell

Henry Wencelas Thenard “Ne Dis Pas Cela”

Genres: Zouk
Label: Atangana
Buy: Vinyl / Digital

‘Nes Dis Pas Cela’ gets a timely reissue from newly-minted, Parisian label Atangana Records. Recorded in ’85, original copies of this explosive Zouk-funk dance floor device are ultra-rare and uber-pricey. The update comes with two modernized versions from Mr. Bird, a rework and a tool. Ultimately, the original recording is what will sell the pressings ‘til they’re gone.
– Selected by Jake Stellarwell

V/A “Disco Hamam Vol. 5”

Genres: International / Funk / Disco
Label: Disco Hamam
Buy: Vinyl

Johnny Rock’s unparalleled Disco Hamam label returns with it’s highly-anticipated fifth installment. ‘Disco Hamam Volume 5’ packs in 3 psychedelic dance-funk edits from Beard In Dust, Tales Of Voodoo, and Esen Gunduz, and as with the previous DH volumes, it’s an international disco affair that leans to the Middle East. Already getting big spins from the likes of Hunee, one might be wise to jump on this now, lest one fancies a hefty price-tag later.
– Selected by Jake Stellarwell

Kyoto / Zoe Sinatra “Venetian Blinds”

Genres: Synth-pop / Leftfield-pop
Label: Stroom
Buy: Vinyl / Digital

Belgian label Stroom, whose releases never cease to impress me, carefully reissue Kyoto’s ’84 Balearic-pop tune, ‘Venetian Blinds’, alongside Zoe Sinatra’s 1990 Chanson-pop obscurity ‘Mais Qu’est-ce Que Tu Fumes’. Belinda de Bruyn, whose voice sings the voyeuristic lyrics to ‘Venetian Blinds’, was never credited for her work. This wrong is righted by compiler Ziggy Devriendt, who selected only the vocal version for reissue, and by Pierre-Arthur Michau, whose liner notes pay tribute to Belinda’s voice, her unfortunate misdealing, and the unordinary-ness of the song itself. Excellent curatorial work with commitment to delicate handling of a storied past.
– Selected by Jake Stellarwell

Anderson Paak “Ventura”

Genre: Hip-Hop
Stream: Spotify / Apple Music

Anderson Paak has delivered what the fans where desperately seeking with his bounce back project Ventura after a lukewarm response to his earlier album Oxnard. the multiinstrumentalist enlisted an All Star cast of features including Andre 3000, Brandy and Smokey Robinson to complement his funky ouvertures. The standout track Reachin’ too much (feat Lalah Hathaway) emcompasses the amazing studio work that lead to this incredible project with a beat switch for the ages.
– Selected by Asma