Official Charts and BBC Radio 2 Reveal a Unique Motown Chart
Official Charts and BBC Radio 2 teamed up over the bank holiday weekend to reveal the UK’s Official Top 100 Motown Chart, celebrating the influential record label’s 60th anniversary. The new chart accounted for modern music consumption methods, such as digital download sales and streaming, ultimately returning Stevie Wonder’s 1973 classic Superstition as the no.1 record. While Superstitionpeaked at no. 11 back in the day, Official Charts suggest that, ‘the track’s popularity has endured over the years’.
Stevie Wonder features twice in the top ten, second only to the late Marvin Gaye, who has three tracks in the top ten, including his 1966 soul hit with Tammi Terrell, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. The full top 100 was revealed over the course of a marathon six-hour broadcast, with messrs Charles and Nelson sharing the shift three hours each.
Check out Craig Charles’ part one here, featuring music by The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and The Temptations.
The Repeat Listen: Michael Janisch – Worlds Collide
The London-based bassist and Whirlwind Recordings founder Michael Janisch released his last album as a leader back in 2015, and in the intervening years, has contributed to the work of several artists on his label, while composing and gigging tirelessly and establishing the new ensemble heard here on Worlds Collide. The hustle and bustle of life in the nation’s capital has left its mark upon Janisch’s new seven-track effort, which features a piece inspired by his observations of people in the city, and owes its appreciable variety in styles and moods to having been written over a generous time frame, given the many commitments that come with life as a musician and label owner in its thriving environment.
The new outfit: comprising of the US players John O’Gallagher on saxophone, trumpeter Jason Palmer, guitarist Rez Abbasi and drummer Clarence Penn, bring dynamism and musicality to the record, which opens with the aforementioned cut, Another London. Around Janisch’s rhythmic, gliding upright bass line build synth pads, fizzy horn playing and choppy drums; instrumentation that captures the frenetic activity and eye-catching detail to be observed in the city. O’Gallagher delivers a knock-out solo midway through the track, moving from R&B licks through uninhibited scale work to expressive jazz lyricism, completing one of the record’s first stand-out moments.
The following cut, An Ode to a Norwegian Strobe, is another highlight, with its growling bass and mesmerising electric guitar arpeggios setting a rich, contemporary musical framework for the music to blossom around. The daring harmonic and rhythmic horn parts heard later in the track recall the early seventies writing of Frank Zappa and Henry Cow, but take on a different presence with the contemporary arrangement and space given to soloing. The groove and arrangement switches up during the latter section of the track, with a cowbell-heavy beat and epic injections of octave pedal-treated electric bass soloing from Janisch.
The bassist dedicates the B-side centrepiece Pop to his wife, crafting a contemplative melody that suggests maturity and grace in addition to the reflection of her “peaceful powerfulness”, as Janisch states in the album’s accompanying literature. Closer Freak Out is, by contrast, a less peaceful and more propulsive fusion cut, with a challenging chord progression, rising horn riff and wicked electric guitar solo to boot.
Janisch’s new album showcases his undeniable talent as a writer and arranger, and thanks to having been engineered by Tyler McDiarmid at Abbey Road studios, sings with a grandeur befitting of the compositions.
New Sounds and Visuals
Manchester-based rap artist J Chambers drops one of his most personal and socially pertinent tracks to date today. 2:18 features contributions from his late cousin Leon Naphtali Blair aka. 2Nice, whose untimely passing before the track’s completion initially left Chambers uncertain about its future. However, after consulting with his family, it was decided that Chambers should finish the cut and release it in tribute to the widely-loved reggae vocalist and family member. Chambers’ bars touch upon harmful attitudes and stereotypes, babylon and modern day Britain, with Bob Marley’s famous interview comments about true richness prefacing the beat. The mellifluous 2Nice hook, horn melody and snare rolls inject an authentic roots reggae spirit into the track, which will be accompanied by a music video premiering at 7pm on Friday 30th August.
Caoilfhionn Rose’s new video for Being Human, created by Rich Williams & People Staring, was shot in nearby Fletcher Moss park and reflects the simple beauty inherent in her songwriting. Rose describes the track as ‘a very raw and honest reflection on my life’ and finds the location of the video shoot to be a calming, inspiring place.
L.A.-based rapper Murs brings boundless positivity in his new video for God Black / Black God, a killer hip-hop cut produced with 9th Wonder. Standing on the street corner with his buddy Tsmif, he lays down bars about supporting black-owned businesses, shouts out saxophonist/producer Terrace Martin, and concludes the cut with a declaration to ‘free the mind of every man’. Each of his lyrics is illustrated with a neon animation, making for a simple yet slick and vibing visual.
The documentary-style video for Tinariwen’s new track KEL TINAWEN, ft. Cass McCombs, provides fascinating insight into the band’s daily life. Directed by Celidja Pornon, it sees the group road tripping in their RV, capturing the expansive landscape of their native Algeria, and seeing perform before an adoring crowd.
Finally, Sudan Archives dropped a gripping new track called Confessions this week. The L.A.-based artist draws a broad range of textures from her violin, pairing the instrument with synth bass and a dynamic electro-acoustic beat.