I See You
Making a lot out of a little is not a new trick, and at some point in every cycle and recycle of sonic palettes, this kind of minimalism stands out for its clarity and freshness. But beyond the formula, it’s the classic voices of Oliver Sims and Romy Madley Croft that makes The xx’s records sound instantly familiar and classic. I See You layers on more samples from DJ/programmer Jamie xx, which makes it their most colourful record production-wise, but it’s lovey-dovey vibes that permeate throughout that will guarantee its summer festival highlight status. Words – Ian Lamont
Drawing The Target Around The Arrow
Having declared her dance-and-song solo identity Ramona Lisa “dead” and announced that her band Chairlift would part ways in 2017, Caroline Polachek (here going by her initials) is, more than ever before, unbeholden to expectations about the music she is creating. Channeling Eno both conceptually and sonically, Drawing The Target is an album of ambient music composed entirely of sine waves phasing against one another – sometimes sleepily, sometimes more busily – that wants to be considered useful rather than an aesthetic thrill and I have to admit to finding it quite productive reading music. Words – Ian Lamont
Jazz CD of the Month: John Abercrombie Quartet
Up and Coming
He’s definitely more than just “up and coming”. 72-year old guitarist John Abercrombie has arrived. And he’s brought along with him on the piano Marc Copeland as well as his long time rhythm partners, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron. Harmonic subtlety and lyrical melody are the calling cards of this recording. There is a twilight atmosphere to the music (hint, hint: turn the lights off). Highlight for me is their exotic take on the Miles Davis classic Nardis. February can be a dreary, dull month with nasty weather. Warm up your musical soul with a bit of John Abercrombie to see you through. You won’t regret it.
Words: Thomas Cahill