Hidden Gems 2021: The Great Albums You May Have Missed Music


(Long editions)
A 39-minute immersive meditation, Nine movements is the work of the Australian composer based in California Matthew Liam Nicholson, based on the harmonic interaction of singing bowls, LA jazz outlier Miguel Atwood-Fergusonthe strings and percussions of the babbling brook. Encounters with this work in nature include places as disparate as the National Bargello Museum in Florence, where the Singing Bowls were first shown, and a session of the finished work in “full multi-channel spatial audio in a huge open-air temple at Burning Man ”. Background music can often be theoretical or medicinal; this record is both. Empire kitten

Agnes - The magic still exists

(Universal Music Sweden)
Imagine taking out what looks like Abba Gold the year Abba returned from a 40-year hiatus. It’s a pop miracle delivered by a Swedish compatriot Agnes on his thrilling fifth album. Nestled between disco thumper 24 hours and the gallop Love and appreciation is the imposing majesty of Here is the night. Supported by instantly familiar piano trills and sparkling, vibrant melodies, the track finds Agnes offering solace under the stars. This urgent search for freedom forms the backbone of the album, whether via Moroder-esque Self madethe equality demands of XX, or the introverted exorcism of the electronic pulse of XX. A soothing balm perfect for fleeting dance moments. Michael cragg

Large |  Courageous - Vital

(Lord of the South)
Signed to the Lord of the South by Greg Anderson, Large | Courageous chart a course roughly halfway between the experimental metal of their label boss’s band Sun O))) and the Sturm und Drang of other Montrealers Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Their fifth album is their most convincing to date. Huge explosions of slowly changing guitar noise are complemented by Tasy Hudson’s thunderous, stop-start drums, with singer Robin Wattie delivering his most personal lyrics to date, including exploring his dual heritage on Metis. Played loudly, it is a record of frightening intensity. Phil mongredien

Liminanas & Laurent Garnier - De Pelicula.jpeg

(Because)
Andrew Weatherall would have loved the soundtrack of psych-rock duo Limiñanas and DJ Laurent Garnier from an imaginary film about runaway teenage girls on a road trip. Like the much-regretted DJ and producer, the French trio finds fertile ground between psycho and techno in a haunting motorik rehearsal. Saul, where Garnier’s signature effects reverberate through the muscle groove, is an astonishing invention, while At the beginning it was the beginning evokes Serge Gainsbourg in the process of flirting with Lee Hazlewood. From PelículaHis greatest triumph is that he’s so vivid and compelling that he doesn’t need a movie to accompany him. Damien morris

Stealing Sheep & The Radiophonic Workshop - 'La Planète Sauvage

(Fire records)
Released on Delia Derbyshire Day in November, drank The collector’s edition of this sci-fi treat from Stealing Sheep sold out in record time. It’s a reworked version of a 2014 soundtrack by the psych-pop trio from Liverpool made with the legendary Radiophonic Workshop for the 1973 Franco-Czech cosmic animation. The Wild Planet, which follows the fate of future Oms humans, mere pets of a race of giant blue humanoids known as the Draags on the planet Ygam. Spared snippets of storytelling light up the story amid heavy, scintillating, and exciting psychedelic synths and fuzzy, loping grooves – a delightful sonic adventure. Emily mackay

Wiki - Demi God

(Wikset Company)
Over the past decade, Patrick “Wiki” Morales has quietly done some of New York’s best raps, his work often being a fiery love letter to his home. Demigod goes further, Morales’ growling voice mingling anger and introspection as he broods over New York’s changing face and is urged on by gentrifiers (“After all your schooling you don’t know what is the community? ”) and the climate crisis too. Delivered on stained lines and stoner-y jazz loops from producer of the day Navy Blue, it’s a perfect testament to the power of storytelling and its place in rap. Tara Joshi

Rosali - No medium

(Spinster sounds)
Not to be confused with Spanish singer Rosalía, Rosali is the Midwestern musician whose striking voice reminds Chrissie Hynde to Laura Marling, and whose third album bridges the nostalgia for a broken relationship with the attempt to move forward, empowered. The starry Americana and the howling country-rock are here the language of love of Rosali, his writing never indulgent yet haunted by a delicate loneliness, with stylistic references including that of Bob Dylan Desire, Bowie’s Hunky-dory and the British folk duo Richard and Linda Thompson. She has yet to make a breakthrough in the UK tied with Phoebe Bridgers, but in the US she appears to be the best kept secret. Although not for long: in February, she will go on tour again with the war on drugs. Kate hutchinson

Piers Faccini - Autumn shapes

(No format)
Anglo-Italian songwriter based in France, creator of six albums and collaborator in cross-genre series, Faccini piers has been rightly compared to Nick Drake for his complex fretboard skills and melodic voice. He peaked with an album based on the Biblical Fall but steeped in the current ecological crisis, and whose musical roots oscillate between North Africa, southern Italy and the Spanish string quartet. “Watch heaven burn,” suggests All aboard, a track reminiscent of Noah’s ark and the maritime journeys of migration. The atmosphere is variously desperate, ethereal and full of hope, the lyrics poetic. Delightful; an album for the time. Neil spencer

Ben Crosland - Solway Stories

(Jazz Cat)
Bassist and songwriter Ben Crosland has fond memories of the countryside around the Solway Firth, and they inspired him to write these 12 musical vignettes. They have its distinctively light touch, skillfully woven written parts and improvised solos so that you barely notice the join. The tracks range from softly melodic to upbeat and intense, with particularly impressive solos from trumpeter Steve Waterman and Steve Lodder on keyboards. The album was released in May, and its sunny melody sounds even more appealing on dark winter days. Dave gelly

Ryan Latimer - Antiarkie

(NMC)
What to do with this set of Christmas juggling balls? The answer is here. British composer Ryan Latimer (born 1990) is also an amateur juggler. His first album, Antiarkie, opens with Mill mess – jubilant, bubbling, punchy – its title is taken from a popular juggling pattern. Frigates & Folly, written for and performed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, draws on the joy and optimism of Herman Melville Moby-dick. The title work, Antiarkie, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, is a high-speed musical exchange with cartoonish soundtracks – allusive, sparkling and emphatically rhythmic. This will get you off the couch. Fiona maddock

Listen to a selection of our 2021 Hidden Gems. Spotify

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