TOO MANY VOICES
Andy Stott’s unearthly electronic music continues its deep-space orbit on Too Many Voices. Unlike electronic artists who include an element of the human in their work, Stott makes no allowances. His latest album is as frigid as an icepick. Bass notes are truncated, melodies equally so. The fascination lies in the music’s unvarying textures. Stott upturns the usual palette of softsynths and machine beats into a crispy collection of stuttering rhythms, disembodied syllabic cries, dry string pads, and moon-walking drum sounds; the sum effect is like a dance club set in an ice palace.
ASPHALT FOR EDEN
Ending a too-long half-decade hiatus, Newark’s industrial hip-hop singularity dälek has lost no stellar mass despite time and lineup changes. Will “MC dälek” Brooks, joined by coproducer Mikey Manteca and DJ rEk, exerts inescapable gravitational force, folding shudder and snap across 38 overdriven minutes. Crunched boom-bap, tectonic subbass, and charred harmonics threaten to suffocate blistering lyrics, but Brooks’ snarling cautions skirt the event horizon as he ciphers against his white-noise abyss.
THE LAST DAYS OF OA KLAND
At last, a full-length from soul/blues artist Xavier Dphrepaulezz, aka Fantastic Negrito. This versatile singer changes tone and style on a dime—from wailing blues to something like musical theater to rock ’n’ roll or R&B—using his impressive command of folk and electric sounds to dynamic effect. Rhythm-heavy and packed with energy, Dphrepaulezz’s songs also employ spoken-word parts that give voice to young African-Americans. A strong musical statement from a brilliant artist.
BARBARA BARBARA, WE ARE FACING A SHINING FUTURE
Underworld’s members are verging on 60 years of age and have spent half their lives making influential electronic music, defying its boundaries and shelf life. The inimitable duo’s seventh album references its patented blueprint of fractured lyricism and hypnotic basslines on “I Exhale,” at the same time stepping away from it on the vocal-free, organic Spanish/Middle Eastern strings of “Santiago Cuatro,” and the digital ballad, “Motorhome.”
Rhode Island producer James Hinton hones computative, contemplative dance music. His algorithm is simple and hard to perfect: lift life’s weight with heavy bass’s kinetic force. Thick pads, resonant low end, plucked synths and animated kicks cycle into resolute phase, while shaky YouTube-sourced vocal hooks bleed intimate uncertainties. Resounding piano chords and blunt snares recall the catalytic bliss-outs of early ’90s Hardkiss and ’ardcore records. Delicate nuances stir heart as well as sole.
On this collection of re-imagined Miles Davis tracks and outtakes, Glasper applies his boundless imagination and elegant keyboard playing to music he loves, in totally new ways. And, as on his Grammy-winning Robert Glasper Experiment albums, the artist/producer has gathered some of his favorite vocalists—Bilal, Erykah Badu, Ledisi, and Stevie Wonder, to name a few—to help realize each unique piece. Hip-hop beats, Latin rhythms, and jazz choirs are just some of the musical elements that fascinate.
PAGING MR. PROUST
The original Jayhawks’ songwriting team of Gary Louris and Mark Olson composed some of the finest country rock ever, Hollywood Town Hall (1992) and Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995) rivaling Graham Parsons and Buffalo Springfield. Paging Mr. Proust continues The Jayhawks’ legacy of songwriting excellence, Louris leading the band’s late-’90s lineup in such beautifully rocking and emotionally resonant songs as “Quiet Corners . . .,” “Lover of the Sun,” and “Comeback Kids.” Feel the yearning.