How can anything good come out of this troubled year? Public life is banished and after an extended stint of self-isolated quarantine there’s the promise of an economic crash 4 times worse than that of 2008 when the banks failed to protect invested assets whilst paying themselves off.
As such, spirits are low across the UK among other countries. The maddening effect of no-end in sight of staying indoors makes for a dismal outlook. It is then pretty exceptional to see such great music being recorded this year
Steve Fisackerly is a music journalist who cut his teeth as a studio assistant at The Premises recording studio in Hackney, London before penning his experiences of recording music. As such he has developed a good ear for new sounds and makes some strong recommendations of the year so far with some excellent recordings.
Here are 3 fantastic albums to transport you from current circumstances.
1. Gorillaz: Song Machine
Technically their 7th studio recording ( discounting b side collected offerings) Song Machine is a series of recordings released each week rather than a simple recorded album with a release date. Taking aim at television culture and the addictive series watching that ensues lock down, it seems that Damon and Jamie et al are taking a sardonic look at contemporary life once again whilst uplifting our moods with endlessness inventive collaborations making Gorillaz one of the most subversive, influential and alternative Hall of Fame ever. Look out for Peter Hook’s bass line driven Aries that makes for a perfect union between north and south sounds with his iconic guitar riff over space galactic wonderings of Damon’s production.
2. J Hus: Big Conspiracy
A more London centric underpinning doesn’t stop this Londoner evolving his sound to places beyond Grime. Since the renaissance of the UK Rap take over; Grime has featured heavy in film and television in the last 6 years. But like anyone knows, having a cultural phenomenon rooted too closely to its origins makes for little growth. As such, J Hus continues to explore his rich music heritage by sampling jazz and blues recordings into his musings of commercial success alongside his London life loyalties. All the while adding humour to the melancholy of his mood. You almost feel there’s a slight smirk in his poised presence as he mutters “You don’t have to find me if I’m looking for you, had a black belt but it wasn’t kung Fu” as he amuses us on Big Conspiracy. The album makes for endless wordplay and calls for close attention to his word play. An album perfect for solo listening and quiet reflection.
3. Daniel Avery: Love and Light
On a less minor key and more major, Avery’s 4th recorded LP makes for sonic experiences that see a future light beyond the darkness of current Covid curses. Produced locked down in his Bournemouth home studio, Avery comes out in full force to produce an album less set for dance hits for the party but nevertheless an album to play all the way through.
Avery has established a maturity to the genre by making the dance album affiliated to the progression of Rock in the 70’s by building the journey of the sound.