Staff Picks - August 2023

Staff Picks - August 2023

September 13, 2023

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Here's a summary of albums and compilations released last month. From jazz to experimental music, field recordings, ambient, traditional and improvised music, both new and reissues, check out these 23 releases from the monthly Staff Picks column.

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.
A.Maiah and Pablo Mata - RE: ACT (Ramble Records)
A.Maiah and Pablo Mata - RE: ACT (Ramble Records)

From Amir Hayat to DJ Sigils

75 Dollar Bill - Power Failures (Karlrecords)
This is the first ever, remastered vinyl version of 75 Dollar Bill’s Power Failures album. The core duo plus guest collaborators expand its sonic palette of Rick Brown’s elemental percussive patterns and Che Chen’s ecstatic modal guitar style to a new musical richness.

A.Maiah and Pablo Mata - RE: ACT (Ramble Records)
A.Maiah is the artist name of Asier Pérez Basterra from Basque Country. The guitarist has been involved in the Basque scene since the late 90s, not only as a musician but also as d.i.y. promoter and editor. Pablo Mata (Spain, 1987) is a drummer, producer and plastic artist established in Oviedo (Spain). His solo project Fig.8 explores the territories where jazz, ambient and instrumental hip hop share a common ground.

Amir Hayat - Garden of Flowers (Radio Khiyaban)
Amir Khayat is a teacher at an Ismaili school in Karimabad, historically known as Baltit, the capital of the Hunza region. Ismailism is a branch of Shia Islam to which the majority of the Burusho belong. Amir writes poetry and songs in Burushaski in the traditional style, and performs them to the accompaniment of the rubab (an instrument common to both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan). Radio Khiyaban presents this limited cassette pressing of this album originally released on the Moldovan label Antonovka Records.

APOC KRYSIS - On Da Lowkey
On Da Lowkey is the first full length album from underground artist "Apoc Krysis" boasting 22 tracks. An aggressive listening experience from start to finish, the album wears its neo-memphis, dirty south, horror and g funk influences on its sleeve in the best way possible.

Chico Unicornio - Paraíso
Chico Unicornio is a producer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and composer of neo-folk, tropicalismo, future pop and electronic Music from Lima, Peru.

DJ Sigils - Instrumentalz (Clan Destine Records)
Colombian producer and filmmaker Faunes Efe presents an album under his DJ Sigils moniker, presenting some devilish Memphis rap and horrorcore inspired instrumentals.
Madhuvanti Pal - The Holy Mother (Plays The Rudra Veena) (Sublime Frequencies)
Madhuvanti Pal - The Holy Mother (Plays The Rudra Veena) (Sublime Frequencies)

From Mad Myth Science to Monopoly Child Star Searchers

FLOCKS - Flocks (Zehra)
Flocks is a new duo formed by drone specialist Werner Durand and Uli Hohmann. Their album released on the Berlin based Zehra presents a wide palette of musical landscapes that move between traditional as well as experimental sounds with influences from Krautrock and Jon Hassel's "fourth world" aesthetics.

Han Bennink + Terrie Ex - Instants (Terp Records)
A new drums and guitar duo vinyl album by Han Bennink & Terrie Ex.

Joe McPhee / Mette Rasmussen / Dennis Tyfus - Oblique Strategies (Black Truffle)
Black Truffle welcomes free jazz legend Joe McPhee back to the fold with Oblique Strategies, a wild trio recorded in Antwerp in 2018 in the company of Mette Rasmussen’s fire-breathing alto saxophone and Dennis Tyfus’s post-Fluxus antics on tape, voice, and percussion.

Mad Myth Science - Mad Myth Science (Infrequent Seams)
"Laughter erupts onto the scene like a mighty roar. Melodic riffs burst forth from the saxophone amid the lush tones of the vibraphone. The cello cuts across in thick, chocolatey slices, fading into a whisper at times. From out of the primordial darkness, a shapeshifting voice materializes, inviting us to partake in the ritual. The stew simmers and they begin to appear. Creatures from the vivid imaginations of these pioneering musicians, crawl, flap, slither, and swim across the soundscape communicating with each other in electric jubilation." Joel Garcia

Madhuvanti Pal - The Holy Mother (Plays The Rudra Veena) (Sublime Frequencies)
Madhuvanti Pal is from Kolkata India, teaches the Rudra Veena and builds her own instruments. The name rudra veena derives from two Sanskrit roots: Rudra, which is a name for Shiva, and veena, which means ‘instrument.’

Monopoly Child Star Searchers - Barbados Wild Horses (Discrepant)
Wide-eyed mystic and tireless searcher of the netherworld Spencer Clark returns to the Discrepant fold with 'Barbados Wild Horses' under his Monopoly Child Star Searchers moniker. Recorded while Clark was living in the Canary Island's by Tupperware and Lagoss' Dani Tupper, Barbados Wild Horses brims with insular romanticism and escapist bliss, with sunkissed synth-lines interwoven around his trademark hand percussion bouncy rhythms reflecting the scenery of the islands as a liberating utopia.
V.A. - Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
V.A. - Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

From Otto Willberg to Rob Winstone

Moundabout - An Cnoc Mór (Rocket Recordings)
Moundabout’s glorious second long player is named after Cnoc Mór na nGaibhlte (or The Big Hill Of The Galtees), an imposing sandstone and shale peak in Munster, from which vantage point the horizon retreats to impossible-seeming distances. Paddy Shine, of psychedelic powerhouse GNOD, and Phil Masterson, of cult groups Los Langeros, Damp Howl and Bisect, chose this as base camp for their latest expedition into a new form of psychedelic Irish folk music.

Nagat - Eyoun El Alb (Wewantsounds)
Wewantsounds teams up with Disco Arabesquo for the reissue of Nagat El Seghira's cult 1980 album Eyoun El Alb. Originally released only on cassette on the Egyptian label Soutelphan, the album has since become a sought-after classic on the Arabic groove scene, and this is the first time it is released on vinyl.

Otto Willberg - The Leisure Principle (Black Truffle)
A key player in the London underground, Willberg is often heard on acoustic and electric bass in free improv settings and bands with Laurie Tompkins (Yes Indeed) and Charles Hayward (Abstract Concrete), as well as the fractured No Wave unit Historically Fucked.

V.A. - Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick 1958-1971 (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
In the 1950s and 60s, the blues was the dominant form of Black vernacular music throughout Texas and the surrounding areas. In segregated neighborhoods, community members gathered in saloons, dancehalls, and each other’s homes to hear their neighbors sing their stories of sorrow, heartbreak, jubilation, and triumph. Robert “Mack” McCormick, an academically untrained but fanatical devotee of the blues, stepped into this world and became one of its most devout advocates and documentarians. By photographing Black and Latino Texans and their neighborhoods, as well as recording and interviewing musicians—many of whom never stepped foot into a proper recording studio—McCormick endeared and eventually embedded himself into these communities. By the time he died in 2015, McCormick had amassed a collection of 590 reels of sound recordings and 165 boxes of manuscripts, original interviews and research notes, thousands of photographs and negatives, playbills, and posters. Because McCormick never published or released most of these materials, his collection became a thing of legend and intense speculation among scholars, blues aficionados, and musicians alike.

Photophobik - Photophobik (Preston Capes / Woodford Halse)
Photophobik is the alias of electronic music producer Nick Edwards (Ekoplekz) and this is his recent release for the British imprint Preston Capes / Woodford Halse.

Rob Winstone - sifting through heaven (mappa)
Winstone’s instrumental palette continues to reach out far from behind his keyboards, however the sound of sifting through heaven is stripped back and pared down, putting melody front and centre.

From Sarathy Korwar to The Heliocentrics

RSS Boy 1 - HOLO (Mik.Musik.!.)
RSS Boy 1 - HOLO (Mik.Musik.!.)
RSS B0Y 1 - H0L0 (Mik.Musik.!.)
RSS B0YS are a duo who introduce themselves as RSS BOY ONE and RSS BOY TWO - as they are completely anonymous. This release comprises some selected works of one member of the pair (RSS B0Y 1), released by the Polish record label Mik.Musik.!.

Sarathy Korwar - KALAK + KAL bundle (The Leaf Label)
Korwar has established himself as one of the most original and compelling voices in the UK jazz scene, leading the UPAJ Collective - a loose band of South Asian jazz and Indian classical musicians brought together through a love of collaboration and improvisation who set up a residency at the Jazz Café in London. Korwar has collaborated with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming), clarinettist Arun Ghosh and producer Hieroglyphic Being, as well as groups Penya and Ill Considered. He has toured with Kamasi Washington, Anoushka Shankar, Yussef Kamaal and Moses Boyd.

The Heliocentrics - 13 Degrees of Reality (Now-Again Records)
Back at Now-Again with 13 Degrees of Reality, the Heliocentrics have returned to develop this epic vision of psychedelic funk, while exploring the possibilities created by their myriad influences – Latin, African, and more. The Heliocentrics have realized that their strongest statements are made somewhere between the persistent fuzz of Owusu's distorted guitar, Catto's impossible syncopation and Ferguson's looping bass lines.

Trần Uy Đức – s/t compilation (dispari)
Hamburg based imprint dispari introduces Hanoi-based, Vietnamese artist Trần Uy Đức. Carried by large curiosity, urgency and delight, their sonic expression can be grasped as a self-exploration which is touchingly intimate, fragile, rebellious, and conciliating.

Véhicule - Aubusson (Sublime Retreat)
Aubusson is the fourth album by musician and composer Sylvain Milliot under the moniker Véhicule. The album's title refers to the French city of Aubusson, well known for its tapestries. Véhicule has composed each track as a musical tapestry, a sound capsule that can evoke imaginary pictures, like a journey through a dreamy landscape. In this way, the titles, with their poetic dimension, can resonate with the music, just as the title next to a painting we see in a museum can bring meaning (or disturbance) to the viewer.
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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