April 2021: Listening Diary

Listening was continuous as spring came on, but also random, a-thematic, full of drift. I was often in novels, at times finishing a couple a week, and music was cross-cutting in and out of focus in the background. The epic listen was the new Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders collaboration, which I initially approached with skepticism, but warmed to on repeat listens, and will probably find among the benchmarks for the year, come winter. Depending on my pitch of mind, some things occasionally sounded perfect at night, like Marseille-based Italian composer Alessandro Bosetti’s recent release Didone, and then made me peevish in the day. One thing that constantly worked in reading environments was the hauntological assemblage of Mirry, eponymously titled, which has a great back-story, recounted in the Guardian back in December.

The new Sourdure LP, De Mòrt Viva, dropped in the beginning of the month, and it’s excellent. That, and the recent release from the Swiss ensemble Meril Wubslin, sent me on a Francophone jag for a couple weeks, that included equal doses of French pop and leftfield, and I discovered new (for me) sweet-tooth singers and indie outfits like Jonathan Personne, Klô Pelgag, Sarah Maison and, perhaps my favorite, Gisèle Pape among them. I finished the month with several spins through the new five-year Bongo Joe label retrospective, which is rangy and deep, and of course full of the quirky and outlying French.

Things that made me feel calm and at home in April: mid-80s Wyatt, the new release by young Catalan phenom Rita Payés, and a couple singles from Arooj Aftab, whose Vulture Prince LP should be here any minute. Finally, a couple days ago, a friend also encouraged me to focus in on Los Angeles pianist Jamael Dean, and that seems like a great prompt into early May, a month I’m optimistic about.


Best Listens (new releases & reissues)

CREATIVE / AUTEURS

Floating Points + Pharoah Sanders + London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (2021)

Alessandro Bosetti – Didone (2021)

Pavel Milyakov & Bendik Giske – s/t (2021)

Lonnie Holley & Matthew E White – Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection (2021)

Angel Bat Dawid – Harkening Etudes (2021)

Caterina Barbieri – Fantas Variations (2021)

Philip Glass + Tana Quartet – String Quartet #4 “Buzcak” (2021)

Jamael Dean – Ished Tree / Infant Eyes (w/ Sharada Shashidar) (2020)


OUTERNATIONAL

Sourdure – De mòrt viva (2021)

Gisèle Pape – Caillou (2021)

Meril Wubslin – Alors quoi (2021)

Arooj Aftab – Last Night / Mohabbat (2021)

Alfred Kpebesaaane & Brittany Anjou – Nong Voru / Fake Love (2021)

TEKE::TEKE – Yoru Ni (2021)

Florence Adooni – Mam Pe’ela Su’ure (2021)

Sarah Maison – Soleils (2021)


REISSUES

V/A – Futur Antérieur: Bongo Joe’s 5 Years Anniversary (2016-2020)

Joanna Brouk – Healing Music / Hearing Music (1980, 2016, 2021)

Luli Licinha E O Bando – Flor Lilás (1972, 2021)

José Mauro – A Viagem das Horas (1976, 2021)


AMBIENT / LIBRARY

Mirry – s/t (2021)

The Vernon Spring – A Plane Over Woods (2021)

Marcus Hamblett & Katherine Tinker – The Warren (for piano) (2021)

Howie Lee – Birdy Island (2021)

M. Sage + the Spinnaker Ensemble – The Wind of Things (2021)

Sage, Mary, Shiroishi, Jusell – Fuubutsushi (2020)


STRUMMERS / SONGBIRDS

Rita Payés + Elisabeth Roma – COMO LA PIEL (2021)

Chad VanGaalen – World’s Most Stressed Out Gardner (2021)

Tex Crick – Live in… New York City (2021)

Renée Reed – s/t (2021)

Laure Briard – Eu Voo (2021)

Marinero – Hella Love (2021)

Jonathan Personne – Disparitions (2020)

Klô Pelgag – Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (2020)

Marie-Pierre Arthur – Des feux pour voir (2020)

Julien Gasc – L’appel de la forêt (2020)


LEFTFIELD / ODD ENDS

skogar – Paradise City Jams (2021)

Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)

Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat (1986)

Boris Grebenshikov + Robert Wyatt – Stella Maris (2015)

Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 – Joia! (2019)

Otim Alpha – Gulu City Anthems (2017)

Ngozi Family – Day of Judgement (1976, 2014)

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