21/30 dubstep electronic jazz jazz fusion

joe armon-jones, mala – a way back

On a fascinating collaboration, Joe Armon-Jones and Mala play with their lighter sides without sacrificing the undercutting darkness of dub. It’s central pitfall is that it works with the odds: the stakes are low and the payoff is expected. But it would be rude to say too much more—this is a gently titillating listening experience […]

20/30 jazz

doomcannon – renaissance

On DoomCannon’s Brownswood debut, the jazz multi-instrumentalist settles on personal and aesthetic liberties between themes of oppression. While the title track and opener could be a little longer to align with the weight of the subject matter, it nevertheless showcases a dense brood derived from strength. The following track meanwhile exercises an honest vulnerability, mirrored […]

23/30 jazz

tumi mogorosi – group theory: black music

On Tumi Mogorosi’s first album as leader since 2014’s ‘Project ELO,’ the South African drummer employs a ten-person choir to convey a sense of history and commonality. The title itself heavily draws on the notion of community, where singulars in small groups are thrust into finite sets. ‘Group Theory: Black Music’ asks, “what is an […]

28/30 classic review jazz

babs gonzales – voila (1958)

Almost every song from Babs Gonzales is a duet with New York. Though ultimately a behind-the-scenes influence, ‘Voila!’ displays Gonzales wielding the squalor and excess of the scene and the city. Most notable is his be-bop style, which helped catapult the theatrics of vocal jazz towards bravado and melodic improvisation. The record reaches further than […]

28/30 classic review folk jazz

erick cosaque – cosaque 1978 (1977)

One of Guadeloupe’s greatest musical exports is Erick Cosaque—an artist without a label who seizes rebellion and joy in equal measure. Gwo Ka, meaning ‘big drum’, was the broad movement to which he belonged: it brought a family of drums together and allowed each component to flourish atop or below the next. The percussive strength […]

23/30 experimental hip-hop jazz

moor mother – jazz codes

Camae Ayewa’s prolific album streak has not eroded her creative, chaotic, verve. The east-coast artist has always moved without a compass—on ‘Jazz Codes,’ she becomes a sailor of the mind. The unusually soothing jazz textures are nicely contrasted by her previous, more arresting work, seducing our ears before a poetic, political point. The foggy instrumentals amplify […]

24/30 experimental hip-hop jazz

mejiwahn – beanna

One of the most important ‘summer-y’ releases of 2022 has dropped. ‘Beanna’ is elevator music for the soul. It follows in the quietly shuffling, lo-fi, ‘chill’ hip-hop rhythm, but diverts in innumerable microscopic ways to form a cohesive, fresh whole. The result is a cinematic, mid-century aesthetic that evokes sunken living room floors and the […]

18/30 jazz latin

sessa – estrela acesa

The pool that Sessa draws on here is life-affirming, colourful, and zesty. The execution, however, leans towards a jam-style vibiness that sadly tails off into an innocuous blur. ‘Dor Fodida’ especially possesses pleasant tools, but Sessa layers them in such a way that each has its soul cooled by a flavour-deficient tone. There are instances […]

24/30 jazz

amanda whiting – lost in abstraction

Following the success of 2021’s ‘After Dark,’ the Welsh harpist and her entourage tread between fragility and delicacy. ‘Lost in Abstraction’ is too reposeful to let its moods swamp the listener. At its most forceful, Whiting’s harp playing is a clear pluck; at it’s lightest, it’s as though she’s walking through a field of wheat […]