Luaka Bop Continue Their World Spirituality Classics Series
David Byrne’s Luaka Bop record label is to continue its World Spirituality Classics series, which began with The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda in 2017, by releasing a compilation of seventies-era gospel music, focussing on humanity and coexistence as opposed to religious faith. The Time For Peace is Now will be released in September, but Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals’ Keep Your Faith to the Sky is streaming now. Described as ‘a snapshot of a unique scene: a funky, secular strain of gospel that sprung up at the end of the music’s first golden age’ — the compilation has a set of extensive notes (accessible here) substantiating its theme and contextualising the creation of the music. Artists featured on the compilation include lesser known acts The Floyd Family Singers, The Little Shadows and The Triumphs amongst others. Find out more about the compilation here.
The Repeat Listen: KAINA – Next to the Sun
Tasting notes: Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon, Fatima – Yellow Memories, Olivia Nelson – For You, Jaime Woods – TROY, Sen Morimoto – Cannonball
Chicago-based vocalist and songwriter KAINA moves in the same circles as Jamila Woods, Ravyn Lenae, Sen Morimoto and SABA; an artist integral to the city’s thriving music scene, but only just breaking out with her solo project. As a first-generation American, whose mother moved to the U.S. from Venezuela, followed by her father from Guatemala, her songwriting is naturally imbued with her feelings and ideas on immigration, heritage, and acceptance — matters which she explores with a maturity and level-headedness admirable from an artist aged just 23. She has been ubiquitously praised for her warm vocal tone and earnest delivery, which sits perfectly atop the dream-like RnB soundscapes that she and co-producer Sen Morimoto have crafted on her nine-track debut.
Next to the Sun opens with House: a gentle, minimal track upon which the instrumentation serves to embellish KAINA’s heartfelt, gently-delivered lyrics about U.S. immigration policy. She likens the country to a house, that lawmakers and government officials like to keep ‘so empty’, despite their being ‘room for plenty’, using the metaphor to reference the domestic work that migrant workers have notably provided in the US, as well as to state that there’s room for people from all walks of life to coexist. It’s a soft yet purposeful beginning to the record, that showcases her ability as a vocalist and melody writer, as well as Morimoto’s inventive instrument processing.
What’s a Girl hears KAINA cutting loose, exchanging the gentle tone of the opening cut for a more insistent angle, singing with guttural power over reverberant drums, hand claps, and approaching the coda, a Tame Impala-esque guitar melody. The touching Joei hears KAINA receiving relationship advice from a family friend, which as she explained to Consequence of Sound, makes a full-circle connection to her own childhood. With it’s lo-fi beat and enveloping pads, the dreamy instrumental gives KAINA the freedom to explore life’s simpler emotions, that can play on the mind alongside the bigger issues of identity and belonging.
On Could Be a Curse, co-producer Sen Morimoto features more prominently, with a pensive tremolo guitar sequence, percussion-heavy beat and Japanese verse to complement KAINA’s English and Spanish lyrics. Closing cut Greenhas the feeling of a triumphant culmination of thoughts and ideas, as is reflected in its wholesome video, showing a gathering of family and friends to illustrate KAINA’s perfect day. Its instrumental passage of piano, horns and hand claps nods to her Latin heritage with its distinctly salsa flavour, feeding into a celebratory Latin RnB vibe that suits KAINA down to the ground.
Front to back, KAINA’s debut album is well-written and produced, taking the listener on an emotional journey through moments of uncertainty and wishes for society, to powerful declarations and the peace that’s found in accepting one’s own dilemmas. It is a vibrant record that sits amongst the innumerable brilliant albums to have come out of Chicago in the past five years.
New Sounds and Visuals
Percussionist and composer Sarathy Korwar released a poignant video for Bol, the second track from his forthcoming album, More Arriving, this week. It features the poet Zia Ahmed— who contributes dry, cutting poetry to the track, alongside the choruses of award-winning classical singer Aditya Prakash— in a lead role, portraying a character who appears unable to make meaningful connections with British society, despite his overt efforts. The visual was conceived by Korwar and director/editor David Higgs, and is packed with imagery that conveys the sense of weariness in Ahmed’s poetry, as well as the cultural tropes that carry the work along. There’s plenty for thought and interpretation. Watch the video below.
Singer, songwriter and producer XamVolo releases his new single, In Love and War, today. The beautifully-arrange track is pure liquid RnB, with a subby, rattling funk bassline, tight vocal harmonies and a variety of synths, culminating in some fiesty vocoder work. Find the track on streaming services and check it out below.
Fans of large-scale Lego projects are certain to love the music video for composer Anna Meredith’s new track, Paramour. The single-take visual sees the camera embarking on a five-minute journey over a 1200-piece Lego track, passing strategically placed musicians and instruments as the composition develops, as well as an assortment of plants and decorative props to give the journey some humour and visual intrigue. The novel video was directed by Ewan Jones Morris, featuring the Lego building of Gary Davis and additional work from Rachel McWhinney, Chloe Lamford and Conner Coolbear.
Manchester-based artist Darcie released her new single Modern Day Housewife on Wednesday. The glitchy, experimental pop production is a daring departure from the sound of previous single, Mango, yet one packed with earworm melodies and thought-provoking lyrics.
Jamaican vocalist Lila Iké reflects upon her heritage and journey in music in the new visual for Where I’m Coming From. The video is edited with home recordings from early performances and studio time, interspersed among shots of her hanging with contemporary Protoje and hitting up various spots of significance to her. “Every scene in the video shows a specific era of my journey because I want people to know who I really am.” she told Billboard in the video’s premiere article.
The Souljazz Orchestra released House of Cards, an infectious disco-funk track from their forthcoming LP Chaos Theories, this week. With rich horn licks, a funky bass line and splashes of drum machine, it’s an era and genre spanning track with lashings of groove and feel.