Staff Picks - January 2023

Staff Picks - January 2023

February 23, 2023

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We slowly open the new year with a selection of albums released in January, comprising anything from psychedelic rock to free jazz, improvised music, ambient, both new and reissues.

What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, here's the monthly Staff Picks. If you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

From Bruxa Maria to DJ Rata Piano

Ak’chamel, The Divinatory Monkey and the Sovereign Plumed Serpent - A Mournful Kingdom of Sand (Akuphone)
Ak’chamel, The Divinatory Monkey and the Sovereign Plumed Serpent - A Mournful Kingdom of Sand (Akuphone)
Ak’chamel, The Divinatory Monkey and the Sovereign Plumed Serpent - A Mournful Kingdom of Sand (Akuphone)
Ak’chamel, The Giver of Illness is an enigmatic duo from a border state, and their music is often described as Fourth World Post-Colonial Cultural Cannibalists Circumcising The Foreskin of Enlightenment. Following the publicly and critically acclaimed The Totemist released by Akuphone in 2020, they strike again with a second record called A Mournful Kingdom of Sand, another esoteric journey which - according to the band - is a perfect soundtrack for the desertification of our world.

Ano Ton - Renaïssance Supersonic Carrier (Portals Editions)
Renaïssance Supersonic Carrier is the debut solo album of Johan Östman, under the artistic moniker of Ano Ton. This interdisciplinary project is an album of digital music accompanied by a printed edition, including two essays written by Johan Östman and composer and writer Emile Frankel.

Bruxa Maria - Build Yourself A Shrine And Pray (Riot Season Records)
'Bruxa Maria are back on their third full length, Build Yourself A Shrine And Pray, an album comprising 45 minutes of pummelling, punishing fury as unrelenting and all-consuming as your anger at coming up short for the rent. The new record finds the band just as enraged as their 2016 debut, while continuing to evolve artistically. Bruxa Maria’s huge bass and guitar, frantic drums, and banshee shrieking vocals build tension with few moments of release, the frenzy sometimes dissolving into feedback, static, and synth drones.

Cheikha Djenia El K'bira - Ana Aâdou L'Aâmor (MLP Music)
Cheikha Djenia was a Raï singer born in Marhoum, Algeria in 1953, died at the 1st of April 2004 in Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria.

V.A. - Danza Sarda (ShellacHead)
"Although the early 30s recordings represent the bulk of Sardinian music on record during the 78 era (Melis did record one more session a few years later), we are lucky that further folkloric recordings were made and released as 45 rpm, 7-inch records in the late 50s through the 60s. It is from this period that we have selected some fine examples of Sardinian folk music." ShellacHead is a project curated by David Murray, the producer behind the Grammy Award-nominated Longing for the Past.

DJ Rata Piano - Cañonazos Picoteros (Palenque Records)
Dj Rata Piano is a star in the Undergound Champeta world, in Barranquilla. This is a selection of some of the best DJ RATA PIANO GUARAPOS, that have become classics in the Champeta dancefloors in the Caribbean coast of Colombia. This is a new and unknow dimension of Afro Urban rhythms in Colombia, and it reveals the fantastic world of Champeta sound systems.
Don Cherry & Jean Schwarz - Roundtrip (1977) (Transversales Disques)
Don Cherry & Jean Schwarz - Roundtrip (1977) (Transversales Disques)

From Emmanuel Mieville to Frédéric D. Oberland

Don Cherry & Jean Schwarz - Roundtrip (1977) (Transversales Disques)
This previously unpublished recording brings together the great Don Cherry and his friend, composer Jean Schwarz, pioneer in electro-acoustic music and member of G.R.M. This concert was recorded in 1977 at the Paris MIX festival (Théatre Récamier) organised by G.R.M and hosted by director François Bayle. An elegant mix of spiritual jazz and electronic sounds around this astounding quintet made up of JF Jenny Clark, Nanà Vasconcelos and Michel Portal.

Emmanuel Mieville - Four towers and a bridge (forms of minutiae)
With 'four towers and a bridge', composer and field recordist Emmanuel Mieville shares musique concrète spells and sonic bridgings of machinery acoustics. In the span of four tracks, electroacoustic sculptings and dronesque gestures intersect to form a seemingly continuous investigation of the mechanisms of passage.

Fiesta en el vacío - Fiesta en el vacío (Simple Music Experience)
French imprint Simple Music Experience presents the first LP by a long-time friend of the label, French/Argentinian singer and producer Luna Cedrón aka Fiesta en el vacío.

Frédéric D. Oberland - Solstices (zamzamrec)
Solstices is the fourth solo opus of Frédéric D. Oberland, a French musician active in between the bands he co-founded: Oiseaux-Tempête, FOUDRE ! Le Réveil Des Tropiques, FareWell Poetry. Described as "being closer to the vulcanological approach than to the audiophile preciousness, Frédéric D. Oberland operates with these five athanors a sacrificial chemistry of fusion and salvation: the contribution of the players is melted into a single ritual, where the part only means the whole, synthetic analog sources are unrecognizable, and acoustic projections appear to have been stolen on the hallucinated eve of a disaster. All this singularity and all this transversality draw a silhouette of the world, a great snake whose language is the rhythm, a continuation of the event."

Human Inferno - To Piss Warm And Drink Cold (iDEAL Recordings)
Norwegian party boys Human Inferno is like a collision between the rougher parts of drug infected British ragga, 80s industrial harshness, out-there synth and their very own sound sickness.
Mohamad Zatari Trio - Istehlal (Zehra)
Mohamad Zatari Trio - Istehlal (Zehra)

From Kinzua to Mike Majkowski

Isolated Community - Pit Full of Ghosts (See Blue Audio)
See Blue Audio has invited the duo of Rachael Talbot Dunn and Richard Dunn from Newcastle upon Tyne to present thier winter offering as the opening release of 2023, and once again the theme is ghosts and spirits. On Pit Full of Ghosts, the forty-second release on See Blue Audio, Isolated Community journey into lonely and forgotten places, and invoke the spirits that inhabit these netherworlds to create music with a profoundly tangible sense of something otherworldly.

Kinzua - None of the Above (Offen Music)
Kinzua are Lucas Brell and Marvin Uhde (known as Qnete to some), and this is their debut album, titled None of the Above and comprised of "songs of glory, decay, rebuilding and hope that found Offen at the right moment".

Manish Pingle - Samarpan (Ramble Records)
Manish is one of the senior disciples of the the famous sitar maestro of Etawah gharana (North Indian school of sitar) Ustad Sharid Parvez.

Mike Majkowski - Coast (Fragments Editions)
This is the latest work of Mike Majkowski, a double bassist / music-maker from Sydney, based in Berlin. Active across a wide range of experimental music since the early 2000s, he has released music with numerous projects. Coast is his twelfth solo recording.

Mohamad Zatari Trio - Istehlal (Zehra)
Zehra presents the debut album Istehlal of Mohamad Zatari trio, merging traditional Middle Eastern sounds with contemporary vibes incl. interpretations of Hossein Alizadeh & Riad Al-Sunbati classics. The ensemble had its first public appearance in 2020 at the Outernational Virtual Festival and it comprises the performers Sara Eslami (Iran) on tar, Avadhut Kasinadhuni (India / Romania) on tabla and Mohamad Zatari (Syria) on oud. The Mohamad Zatari Trio introduces itself as a strong new voice within a new generation of young musicians that carry the musical heritage of great masters like Ravi Shankar, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Zakir Hussain with a fresh and contemporary approach.

Sentuhlà - El Pasaje del Aumento (Abstrakce Records)
Sentuhlà - El Pasaje del Aumento (Abstrakce Records)

From Rainbow Island to Tachycardie

Osawa Tome - Mountain Minor (enmossed)
Osawa Tome is the ‘cosmic Appalachia’ alias of multi-instrumentalist, electronic producer, and North Carolina underground music scene veteran, Zeke Graves (Cold Sides, Datahata, Kinoeye, Northgate Syndicate, Ezekiel Graves, etc.). Drawing on the vernacular traditions of the region, a love of minimalist and experimental composers, and a deep curiosity towards sound-generating technologies, Graves fashions a unique take on ‘folk music’ that wanders through ambient, drone, and new age territories.

Rainbow Island - Moonlit Panacea (RIFORMA)
Moonlit Panacea is the brand-new interdimensional journey of Rainbow Island's endless adventure, out on Riforma as digital and cassette! Blurred riddims and psychedelic ritual ambient music from the infamous quartet borned in Rome and now displaced around Europe's interstices.

Sentuhlà - El Pasaje del Aumento (Abstrakce Records)
Sentuhlà is one of the many aliases of musical jack of all trades José Guerrero, a long-standing figure in the already rich underground scene of Valencia. In this solo excursion, he explores the vast possibilities of mechanical repetition, the machine funk of dirtbag rhythms, and proper boogie DIY synth music, sculpting a syncopated sound that is both modern and atavistic.

Simona Zamboli - A laugh will bury you (Force Inc. / Mille Plateaux)
A laugh will bury you is Simona Zamboli’s second album for Mille Plateaux. Laughter is a fragile rebellion, says Simona Zamboli to her new album, yes, it can be also a kind of horror.

Tachycardie - Autonomie Minérale (unjenesaisquoi)
Autonomie Minérale is the apex of a triptych that sprang up in less than three years, with a feeling of urgency. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy is a musician and a composer (Pneu, I N S T I T U T R I C E, La Colonie de vacances) as well as a plastic artist (cf. InfraOrdinaire), and in this project he continues his very singular exploration of the depths of sonic matter.
About the Author

Dragoș Rusu & Victor Stutz

Dragoș Rusu is co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.

Victor Stutz is a sound adventurer and music selector from Bucharest – currently based in Barcelona - with a background in anthropology.

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