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    Various Artists

    On The Turntable

    Various Artists :: Skygirl

    15 songs, 51 minutes. One of our favorite compilations of the past few years, Skygirl was originally conceived via French record collectors DJ Sundae and Julien Dechery as “a deeply melancholic and sentimental journey through folk-pop, new wave and art music micro presses that span 1961-1991.” Reissued via the Australian label Efficient Space.

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    Various Artists

    On The Turntable

    Various Artists :: Ongaku: Japanese Environmental, Ambient & New Age Music 1980-1990

    Latest compilation via Light In The Attic as part of their ongoing Japanese Archival Series. This collection looks at this substrata of Japanese music, born out of a growing interest in new computer and synthesizer technology, and, in part, conceived as a reaction to a craze for the piano music of Erik Satie following a series of concerts that took place in 1975.

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    Cochema

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    Cochema :: All My Relations

    On All My Relations, Cochemea Gastelum’s second solo album and first for Daptone Records, the saxophonist offers up a globetrotting swath of sounds, soul music of varying genres. Funk, R&B, Latin jazz, Indigenous chants and stomps, Morrocan Gnawa, cosmic jazz—leading his combo of Daptone stalwarts, Gastelum melds together elements of each to form a multi-faceted, spiritually cohesive tapestry. “Living in this plane, ceremony keeps me in tune with our actual world, where we come from,” Gastelum says from his place in upstate New York. “This record is a reflection of that.”

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    Helado Negro

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    Helado Negro :: This Is How You Smile

    Roberto Carlos Lange, the mind behind Helado Negro, feels like music’s eternal optimist. “Brown won’t go / Brown just glows,” he sings on “Please Won’t Please,” the opener to This Is How You Smile, his new album which first saw daylight last week via Brooklyn’s RVNG Intl. If not the one we deserve, Lange is definitely the hero we need. His music unfolds with a patient grace and an absolutely sublime beauty; his cooing vocals floating gently across electronic atmospheres, radiantly beaming about Latin pride, family, friendship, and love.

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    Moses Boyd

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    Moses Boyd :: Displaced Diaspora

    The contemporary UK jazz scene has been especially potent of late, mutating and redefining various sub-stratas of the genre and its expanding tendrils. Enter: Moses Boyd. This is Displaced Diaspora.

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    Jessica Pratt

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    Jessica Pratt :: Quiet Signs

    Jessica Pratt doesn’t have many contemporaries. Her nylon-string reveries exist in a precarious space between the then and now. Quiet Signs, her latest, is a winter album and is more haunting than anything she’s put out before. It’s less immediate than On Your Own Love Again, her 2015 arrival, but once the melodies work themselves into you, they’re impossible to wash out. You won’t want to, anyway. 

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    Steve Gunn

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    Steve Gunn :: The Unseen in Between

    Working with producer James Elkington and longtime Bob Dylan bassist Tony Garnier, Gunn presents some of his most affecting songs yet. Stepping forward with brilliant confidence, it’s a shady record, concerned with the transparency of liminal spaces, steeped in the unknown, and a reckoning with the loss of his late father.

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    Susumu Yokota

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    Susumu Yokota :: Acid Mt. Fuji 赤富士

    Originally released in 1994, and reissued last year via the Berlin-based Midgar Records, Acid Mt. Fuji marked the debut lp of the late Japanese producer Susumu Yokota. Atmospheric and awash in a myriad of electronic, ambient, textures, the record more than earns its title. Buoyed by an atypical amalgam of numinous field recordings, drones, drum machines, and samples, Fuji’s hour and 14 minute runtime is an indeed a trip. As a recording, its pulsating push, pull and ultimate flow were made for headphones.

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Bill MacKay: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Chicago guitarist Bill MacKay returns with another winningly eclectic solo LP for Drag City. Fountain Fire sneaks up on you; its songs are unassuming at first, with a loose, conversational feel to them. Ahead of the album’s release, MacKay joined Aquarium Drunkard to discuss his shifting approaches, cinematic inspirations, and establishing his own musical language.

The Feelies :: Look At Me

50 years ago a different Feelies, predating the Jersey bred post-punk demigods by seven years, approached perfection for three minutes and thirty seconds. The opening bass riff is a misdirection, ceding to a sonic and […]

Tokyo Flashback: P.S.F. – Psychedelic Speed Freaks

For about a quarter century, P.S.F. Records was an amazingly reliable source for Japan’s wildest underground sounds. The label’s founder, Hideo Ikeezumi, passed away in 2017, but he’s paid fitting tribute to on Black Editions’ new volume in the supremely heady Tokyo Flashback series, Psychedelic Speed Freaks (Black Editions reissued the original Tokyo Flashback last year.) A lavishly packaged four-LP set made up entirely of previously unreleased material, it showcases the awesome breadth of the P.S.F. discography, ranging from Fillmore East-ready jams (Ghost, White Heaven) to hair-raising free jazz (Masayoshi Urabe, Maher Shalal Hash Baz). There’s even room for unclassifiable excursions, like the positively wonderfully spacey solo accordion offering from á qui avec Gabriel. This isn’t just a compilation—it’s an odyssey.

Kinloch Nelson: Partly on Time : Recordings 1968-1970

Some tunes have the easy melodicism and melancholy of early Neil Young, while the more atmospheric numbers might call to mind Bruce Langhorne’s classic Hired Hand soundtrack (the harmonica that wafts into the mix occasionally adds an especially lonely flavor). As a player, Nelson is an original; he rambles but never meanders, wanders but never gets lost.

Julian Lage: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

During a recent set with the Nels Cline 4 at the Musical Instrument Museum, guitarist Julian Lage couldn’t stop smiling. It was a repeated sight. Whether aggressively dueling with Cline or offering supportive chords, Lage appeared to be having the most fun. That joyful spirit is also audible on his latest record as a bandleader, Love Hurts. Working with drummer Dave King (of the Bad Plus) and bassist Jorge Roeder, the set was cut mostly off-the-cuff at the Wilco Loft, and it’s a beautiful, layered testament to spontaneity.

Helado Negro :: Running

Roberto Carlos Lange, the mind behind Helado Negro, feels like music’s eternal optimist. This Is How You Smile, his new album, first saw daylight last week via Brooklyn’s RVNG Intl. If not the one we deserve, Lange is definitely the hero we need. His music unfolds with a patient grace and an absolutely sublime beauty; his cooing vocals floating gently across electronic atmospheres, radiantly beaming about Latin pride, family, friendship, and love.