Thursday, 30 April 2020

Tony Williams ‎– Play Or Die (1980)

Genre: Jazz, Rock
Format: Vinyl
Label: P.S. Productions, Vollton Musikverlag

A1.   Beach Ball Tango
A2.   Spencer Tracy
B1.   The Big Man
B2.   Para Oriente
B3.   Lawra

Composed By – Tony Williams
Drums, Percussion – Tony Williams
Electric Bass – Patrick O'Hara
Keyboards – Tom Grant
Producer – Tony Williams, Peter Schnyder

Obscure session released on a small german label. It would be for the drummer's fans only if there weren't a pure vocal masterpiece, 'Lawra' a deeply emotional and groovy modal piece with nice electric piano chords playde by Gilles Peterson. Recommended.
Paris Jazz Corner

PJ Harvey ‎– The Hope Six Demolition Project (2016)

Style: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records, Universal Music Group

01.   The Community Of Hope
02.   The Ministry Of Defence
03.   A Line In The Sand
04.   Chain Of Keys
05.   River Anacostia
06.   Near The Memorials To Vietnam And Lincoln
07.   The Orange Monkey
08.   Medicinals
09.   The Ministry Of Social Affairs
10.   The Wheel
11.   Dollar, Dollar

Written-By – Jerry McCain, PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey memorably recorded The Hope Six Demolition Project as part of a Somerset House art installation last year. Her ninth album is now ready to land, and it takes us much further afield than the small box she created it in. 
The double Mercury Prize winner’s latest effort follows four years spent researching and visiting Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC with Irish war photographer Seamus Murphy. The result is a characteristically gritty record that skilfully distils the pervading sense of desolation she experienced in places downtrodden by conflict and hardship. 
Predictably, The Hope Six Demolition Project is unconcerned with mass market appeal, making it a tricky album to navigate and an even harder one to enjoy. Harvey assumes the role of a musical war correspondent, demanding immersion into a challenging theme underscored by powerful lyrical intensity. Unswervingly political, the originality comes from her position as an observer rather than a Dylan-style protester. Her words, here as visceral as fans have come to expect, could at times be mistaken for a Wilfred Owen poem.

Produced once more by Flood, who has worked with Harvey since 1995’s Bring You My Love, the new record presents detailed snapshots of the horrific aftermath of wars, both physical, as on the raucously rocky “The Ministry of Social Affairs”, and mentally, on the harrowing, sax-heavy “Chain of Keys”. Its a tough but important listen in a world plagued by social inequality. 
Chugging guitar underlines the ever-present sense of disenchantment in ironically bleak opener “The Community of Hope”, named after a local charity and already controversial with Washington DC citizens angry at being branded “zombies” living in a “drug town shit-hole”. By closing refrain “They’re gonna put a Walmart here” you’re already drowned in life’s pointlessness, and there’s still ten more songs to go.

“The Ministry of Defence” hears Harvey apocalyptically conjure intimidating images of “sprayed graffiti”, “broken glass” and “balanced sticks in human s**t”, supported by aggressive guitars, while her disturbingly carefree falsetto on “A Line in the Sand” jars with its recounting of life working in an aid camp for the displaced. 
There is a disarmingly upbeat tone at times, notably on midpoint song “Near the Memorials to Vietnam and Lincoln”, which reflects the morally troubling sight of “people lumbering over the grass to squeeze into plastic chairs” next to tributes rendered little more than tourist attractions by the ignorant masses. Thundering highlight track “The Wheel”, about those missing from war zones, reverberates poignant relevance in the midst of the refugee crisis.

“Medicinals” draws on modern day dependence on alcohol as a numbing agent to life’s troubles, rhythmic percussion recreating happier, simpler times of old before a sudden, effective drop in tempo and dynamics brings the listener smashing back down to earth where a wheelchair-bound woman swigs booze from a paper-wrapped bottle. 
“The Orange Monkey” morosely continues the theme of buried history while “River Anocostia” opens and closes with the humming of black spiritual song “Wade in the Water”, a risky move that stops short of cultural appropriation thanks to Harvey’s strong retention of her own, unique sound. 
Closing track “Dollar, Dollar” sees a beggar boy approach Harvey at some traffic lights, only for her car to pull away leaving him impoverished and helpless in the dust. This one packs a particularly guilty punch with its realistic road noise intro complete with children’s cries, Harvey’s vocals becoming as haunting as the vanishing dot in her wing mirror. 
Despondency runs through The Hope Six Demolition Project, making for an unsettling ride. Harvey’s vivid storytelling audibly paints every sigh of it, reflecting the world’s injustices back at us and forcing us to inspect their ugliness.
Jess Denham / The Independent

Paul Simon ‎– Stranger To Stranger (2016)

Genre: Rock, Pop, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Concord Records, Universal Music Group

01.   The Werewolf
02.   Wristband
03.   The Clock
04.   Street Angel
05.   Stranger To Stranger
06.   In A Parade
07.   Proof Of Love
08.   In The Garden Of Edie
09.   The Riverbank
10.   Cool Papa Bell
11.   Insomniac’s Lullaby

Producer – Paul Simon, Roy Halee
Vocals – Paul Simon

Of all the baby-boomer heroes to make it past 70, none have been old longer than Paul Simon. Raised in Queens to first-generation Hungarian-Jewish immigrants, he copyrighted his first song, “The Girl for Me,” with Art Garfunkel when he was 14, an indication both of his preternatural ambition and a belief that art is as much a business as it is a means of self-expression. He never rebelled, never played to fashion, never seemed as interested in the dangerous divinations of rock‘n’roll as in the quiet diligence of songwriters from the 1930s and ’40s, who kept short hair and bankers’ hours. He has claimed that he tried to be ironic a few times, but it didn’t work. His first crime is mildness; his second is thinking. He might be your parents’ favorite musician, but your grandparents probably thought he was a pretty decent guy too. 
The same qualities that made Simon seem square as a younger artist made him durable into—and beyond—middle age. His second solo album, Paul Simon, invented the literate, introverted style we now call indie-folk, and beat Oscar the Grouch by two years in suggesting that melancholy isn’t a weakness, but a form of insulation against even worse emotional weather. In the ’80s, when Bob Dylan was making kabuki disco albums and Simon’s other ’60s peers—the Rolling Stones, for example—were getting lost in the open ocean of too much encouragement, Simon recorded Graceland, an album whose South African sound was both middlebrow and radical, universally likable and yet alien to Simon's typical audience. (For further listening on this subject, visit the compilation The Indestructible Beat of Soweto, released just around the time Graceland came out. It endures.) 
Simon’s lyrics, which had always been less about people being free than people getting by, were maturing: He was more aloof now, but funnier, too. Take this, the first verse of a song called “Gumboots”:

"I was having this discussion in a taxi heading downtown/Rearranging my position on this friend of mine who had a little bit of a breakdown/I said, ‘Hey, you know, breakdowns come and breakdowns go/ So what are you going to do about it? That’s what I’d like to know.’” 
Twenty years earlier, he would’ve zeroed in on the breakdown and thrown an orchestra at it; now it was relegated to a couple lines on an album with a host of other problems to compartmentalize. Here was someone stepping into the tempered disappointments of being 40 like they were shoes bought just a little too soon. This, he recently told a class at Yale, is when Simon says he was finally comfortable admitting he was an artist. 
Simon’s post-Graceland career has had its embarrassments, but as with a lot of older, canonized artists, critics seem to take an unusual kind of glee in magnifying them, when, near as I can tell, he bothers the public far less than the rest of his graduating class. There was The Capeman, a musical about the Puerto Rican gang member Salvador Agron, which is one of those sub-middling projects nobody would’ve heard about if it wasn’t coming to us from Paul Simon, but since it was coming to us from Paul Simon, people heard about it a lot more than they needed to. (Several writers—myself included, I admit—have noted how unconvincing Simon is when using the word “fuck,” which he attempts several times on the soundtrack.) There was 2006’s Surprise, which found him working with Brian Eno, an artist of related but incompatible genius whose deference to atmosphere tended to wash out the quiet precision of Simon’s songs. 
So Beautiful or So What from 2011 was a lot better, and, for an artist of Simon’s stature, surprisingly weird—the sound of an elder statesman settling into his own idiosyncrasies, seemingly unconcerned with legacy or relevance. More than anything, Simon in the ’00s reminds me of the Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso, himself a national treasure whose albums have only gotten leaner and more enigmatic as he keeps making them. 
Which brings us to Stranger to Stranger, a compact, often jittery album populated by schizophrenics, disenfranchised teenagers, musicians locked out of their own gigs, and some kind of avenging werewolf coming to kill the rich. I’ve always attributed part of Simon’s enormous popularity to how good he is at teasing out life’s silver linings, at softening disappointment with bittersweetness, regret with nostalgia. Even his saddest songs contain the implicit bromide that life goes on. 
Here, things feel less reassuring, more open-ended. Several of the album’s songs—“Street Angel,” “In a Parade,” “The Werewolf”—are bemused and overstuffed, rickshaw rides down busy, unfamiliar streets with people you can’t quite get a read on. Even the album’s friendliest moment, a light, West African-style folksong called “Cool Papa Bell,” is shadowed by lines about “the thrill you feel when evil dreams come true.” (It also contains Simon’s most convincing use of the word “fuck” yet.) Here, Simon’s voice—always boyish, always a little bit distracted—takes on the ominous warmth of Albert Brooks in Drive, who isn’t slitting your wrist until he is. 
The shift here is from wisdom to prophecy, from certainty to contingency. Musically, it’s his most adventurous album since Graceland, filed with strange rhythmic kinks and a junkyard’s worth of barely identifiable sounds. Simon’s appropriation of new styles has often had the unfortunate effect of making it seem like he’s domesticating them, making them palatable for the king’s court. (This was, of course, a big debate around Graceland.) Here, he gets as close as he’s ever been to the romantic ideal of kids gathered on a corner banging on what they found in the alley, or of the weird old guy bumping down the road in a wooden cart filled with treasures unknown, from the chimes of “The Clock” and the accidental ambience of “In the Garden of Edie” to the vocal sample on “Street Angel,” flipped and processed to make it sound like a clogged drain. (The sample comes from the Golden Gate Quartet, a proto-gospel group who Simon also sampled on So Beautiful or So What, and who invented what in my estimation is the safest anti-depressant on the market.) 
Simon has claimed inspiration in part from the American composer Harry Partch, who envisioned a scale that broke up the customary 12 tones into 43, creating slippages and interstices and little gradations of sound that might seem like dissonance to Western ears but that have an oblique, mysterious beauty. Simon borrows a couple of Partch’s homemade instruments here—the zoomoozophone, the chromelodeon—but also borrows a little of his spirit, of a transient life, of quick fixes and no clear plan. My favorite lyrics sound thrillingly unwritten, raw footage of wit in action. Consider it a corrective to a career of smoothing things over: Stranger to Stranger is unpasteurized, mongrel music. 
Simon has always been subject to criticism for a certain kind of exceptionalism. Two of his biggest songs, “I Am a Rock” and “Sounds of Silence,” deal with characters who wear their alienation like badges, dark lords of their own personal libraries left with no choice but to turn their faces heroically away from the sheeple who surround them. This was a guy who responded to the news of his partner going to work on a movie in Mexico by writing a song called “The Only Living Boy in New York,” never mind the other 6 million people living there. 
As his career wore on, the alienation mellowed into casual arrogance. By 1983’s Hearts and Bones, which Simon himself has acknowledged as an artistic dead-end, he had become the kind of guy who shows up at the party but never has a good time, bored by life but willing to smirk at it, who thinks he’s better than you but is too polite to say so. 
We see some of that guy on Stranger, just as we see him on every Paul Simon album—that’s part of what makes it a Paul Simon album. The musician on “Wristband,” for example, who draws an analogy between his own frustrations getting back into the VIP area and what poor people must feel on the brink of a riot. Personally, I see it as satire, the portrait of someone who has mostly lost touch with reality but still has to answer to it eventually. My guess is many will see it as condescension. 
Then again, pop has always been nicer to artists who portray struggle than relative ease, more welcoming of emotional engagement than emotional detachment, and increasingly hostile both to intelligence and ambiguity. Simon is all these supposedly bad things and worse. For every one of him, there are 10 guys waiting to stuff him into a locker—that’s how it is, and probably how it’ll always be. “It turns out to be a great thing for me, I don’t worry/I don’t think,” he sings at the beginning of “Cool Papa Bell.” “Because it’s not my job to worry or to think. Not me. I’m more like—every day I’m here I’m grateful.” Anyone familiar with Simon's music knows he must be talking about someone else; his genius is being able to sell the line anyway.
Mike Powel / Pitchfork

American Gypsy ‎– American Gypsy (1975)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Philips, MCA Records, Chess

01.   Inside Out
02.   10,000 Miles
03.   Ooh Why Not
04.   Golden Ring
05.   Lady Eleanor
06.   Angel Eyes
07.   While Its Cold Outside
08.   Stuck On You
09.   Let Your Life Lead By Love
10.   Tribute To American Gypsy

Arranged By – Piet Souer
Bass Guitar, Mellotron, Vocals – Joe Skeete
Drums, Percussion – Richard James
Guitar, Vocals – Dale Harrel Jr., Michael Hamane
Percussion, Vocals – Lorenzo Mills
Piano, Alto Saxophone, Lead Vocals – Steve Clisby
Producer – Hans van Hemert

‎MitsoGusto – Far Out (2020)

Genre: Avantgarde, Electronic, Jazz, Funk
Format: FLAC
Label: Fortune Cut Records

1.   Invasion
2.   W.O.T.T.
3.   Portamento
4.   Heavy Smoke
5.   Offset
6.   Lookingforthebinary
7.   Passingmeby
8.   PyroCb
9.   Landing

Synth, Keys, Modular, Percs, FX - M
Flute - Leonidas Sarantopoulos
Bass - Dave De Rose
Guitar - Marius Mathiszik
Sax - Giannis Kassetas
Piano - Giannis Papadopoulos
Wurlitzer - Giannis Papadopoulos
Upright Bass - Vassilis Papastamopoulo
Drums, BassSynth, Guitar, FX - G
Drums - Manolis Giannikios, Panagiotis Kostopoulos

Some people need air to breathe, or food to eat. Others just need to make noise.
So, what do you get when you put two of the latter, in a room full of toys that make noise?
MitsoGusto! A sound defined by Gustav Penka’s knack for grasping vintage aesthetics and Mitsos Kalousis’ lust for the futuristic and obscure.
"...Versatile and ever-evolving, their compositions blend hard-hitting groove with delicate melody, earthy tones with space-age curiosities.
They stride along the lines of funk, jazz, psych and electronica, inspired by the work of consequential artist/producers such as Malcolm Catto, Madlib and Scotty Hard.

So, it’s nasty, deconstructed, distorted, groove music. Sure, but not quite.

Their work features performances of their own on various instruments (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vinyl), as well as those of revered guests, offering an enchanting variety of flavour and texture.
Atmospheric, dark and psychedelic. Raw, spontaneous and dynamic.
Could find more words, but less is more: MitsoGusto sounds like people having fun while making music!"
Their debut studio was realesed on April 27th via Fortune Cut Records!

VA ‎– 12"/80s (2005)

Style: Pop Rock, Dub, Goth Rock, Synth-pop, New Wave
Format: CD
Label: Family Recordings

1-01.   The Cure - A Forest (Extended Mix)
1-02.   Aztec Camera - Walk Out To Winter (Long Version)
1-03.   The Icicle Works - Love Is A Wonderful Colour (12")
1-04.   Soft Cell - Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go?
1-05.   ABC - Tears Are Not Enough (12" Mix)
1-06.   Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle (12" Mix)
1-07.   Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short
1-08.   Echo & The Bunnymen - Never Stop (Discothéque)
1-09.   Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (12" Mix)
1-10.   The Jam - Precious (12" Mix)
1-11.   Siouxsie & The Banshees - Spellbound (12" Mix)
1-12.   Bauhaus - She's In Parties (Extended Mix)

2-01.   The Human League - Love Action (12" Mix)
2-02.   Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls (12" Mix)
2-03.   Visage - Fade To Grey (Extended)
2-04.   Yazoo - Situation (U.S. 12" Mix)
2-05.   Japan - Quiet Life (12" Mix)
2-06.   Talk Talk It's My Life (U.S. 12")
2-07.   Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy - Kiss Me (Mixe Plural)
2-08.   The Style Council - My Ever Changing Moods (Long Version)
2-09.   Simply Red - Money's Too Tight To Mention (Cutback Mix)
2-10.   Animotion - Obsession (U.S. 12")
2-11.   Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood (12" Version)
2-12.   The Passions - I'm In Love With A German Film Star (Long Mix)

3-01.   Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper (12" Mix)
3-02.   Kid Creole And The Coconuts - I'm A Wonderful Thing Baby (12" Mix)
3-03.   The Blow Monkeys - Diggin' Your Scene (Extended Mix)
3-04.   Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - My Bag (Dancing Remix)
3-05.   Hipsway - The Honeythief (12" Mix)
3-06.   Tears For Fears - Sowing The Seeds Of Love (Long Version)
3-07.   Junior -Mama Used To Say (12")
3-08.   Grandmaster Flash - White Lines (12" Mix)
3-09.   Man Parrish - Hip Hop, Be Bop (12" Mix)
3-10.   Monsoon - Ever So Lonely (Extended Mix)
3-11.   Curiosity Killed The Cat - Down To Earth (12" Mix)
3-12.   Black - Wonderful Life (12")

Compiled By – Dorian Wathen

Tuxedomoon ‎– Bardo Hotel Soundtrack / MTM VOL. 38 (2006)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Rock, Stage & Screen
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Crammed Discs, Made To Measure

01.   Hurry Up And Wait (Flying Sequence)
02.   Effervescing In The Nether Sphere
03.   Soup Du Jour
04.   Flying Again
05.   Triptych
06.   I'm Real Stupid
07.   Airport Blues
08.   Needles Prelude
09.   Prometheus Bound
10.   Baron Brown
11.   Jinx
12.   Loneliness
13.   Remote (Pralaya)
14.   Dream Flight
15.   More Flying
16.   Vulcanic, Combustible
17.   Mr. Comfort
18.   Another Flight
19.   Invocation Of
20.   Carry On Circles

Music By – Tuxedomoon
Guitar, Bass – Peter Principle
Saxophones, Clarinet, Keyboards, Tapes, Sounds – Steven Brown
Additional Material Sounds – George Kakanakis
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Harmonica – Luc Van Lieshout
Violin, Guitar, Computer – Blaine L. Reininger

Tuxedomoon has been together forever; they played concerts with Throbbing Gristle and PiL back in the crazy days of post-punk when no one knew what direction music would go next. Tuxedomoon stood out for their wacky instrumentation -- playing punk clubs with cellos and horns; classic -- and their commitment to finding a new way in the rock wilderness. (Read much more about them in Simon Reynolds' book Rip It Up and Start Again.) 
We haven't heard a lot from Tuxedomoon in the last few years, but this release (on the awesome Belgian world music label Crammed Discs, which is also rereleasing some of their more fascinating back-catalogue records) begs one question: why not? Sure, it's weird as all hell: more than an hour of ambient jazz-pop noize, occasionally breaking into brass-band oddness or dark funk. 
This isn't everyone's cup of decaf herbal green tea. And there are more obstacles as well: A) It's just about all instrumental, with the only vocal guideposts being field recordings. B) While this music was apparently made to be the soundtrack to a movie by filmmaker George Kakanakis, the movie itself is not included, and it is unclear if it really exists as a film-qua-film, or if the music here is really a soundtrack to it at all. C) The Bardo Hotel is a group construct, apparently representing all hotels, the state of rootless restlessness, the feeling of permanent exile, in the minds of the bandmembers. 
Yes, this all sounds pretty pretentious, and Tuxedomoon does not really care how you feel about that. However, if you are brave enough to get past all this, this album is pretty damn good. The textures are constantly shifting between doomy drones and moments of clearwater beauty. The first real "composition" seems to be the second track, "Effervescing in the Nether Sphere", which rides a minor "Bolero" bass riff so that Luc van Lieshout's soaring trumpet work can lift us out of the murk. This is one of the few times when a piece seems to stay together -- a lot of other songs here seem to fall apart before they have even begun. Sometimes this is a bad thing, but in the Bardo Hotel it makes perfect emotional sense. 
The album's centerpiece is the epic-length "Vulcanic, Combustible". Here, Blaine Reininger's violin turns into an entire orchestra blasting out blocky angelic chords, while Peter Principle's guitar sneaks in to deliver sly commentary. The tension builds until about the nine-minute mark, when a lot of it drops away so that the theme (and, for a change in post-rock music, there really is one here) can be restated on a more intimate level. This piece actually does sound both volcanic and combustible; what it really is is a beautiful piece of modern classical music. 
The record's most interesting section comes right in the middle, when it breaks out into the Balkan-band impression of "Baron Brown" -- what makes it so weird is that it seems to be a real song, with actual (if wordless) vocals. Sure, it doesn't last all that long, but it re-energizes the album before busting into the multi-part choral weirdness of the snippet called "Jinx". The only orientation is disorientation. And in this universe, it makes perfect sense. 
Well, if you're still reading, you are not afraid of pretention or oddness in music, so you will likely be interested in spending some time in the Bardo Hotel. It's a fascinating place -- but don't hold your breath waiting for the mint on your pillow.
Matt Cibula / PopMATTERS

Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble ‎– Where Future Unfolds (2019)

Style: Avant-garde Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: International Anthem Recording Company

01.   Statement Of Intent / Black Monument Theme
02.   Sounds Like Now
03.   Solar Power
04.   Rebuild A Nation
05.   Which I Believe It Will
06.   Which I Believe I Am
07.   The Colors That You Bring
08.   The Future?
09.   Power
10.   From A Spark To A Fire

Clarinet – Angel Bat Dawid
Drums, Percussion – Dana Hall
Electronics, Bells, Voice – Damon Locks
Percussion – Arif Smith
Vocals – Eric McCarter, Lauren Robinson, Monique Golding, Phillip Armstrong, Rayna Golding, Tramaine Parker

Four years ago, the Chicago-based improvisational artist Damon Locks began layering vocal samples of speeches from the Civil Rights movement over original beats programmed on a drum machine. These politically charged sound collages gradually expanded and transformed into the Black Monument Ensemble, a 15-member performance collective that features singers from the Chicago Children’s Choir and musicians active on the city’s jazz and improv scene, including clarinetist Angel Bat Dawid, drummer Dana Hall and percussionist Arif Smith. Where Future Unfolds is the fruit of Locks' vision, an ensemble performance recorded live at the Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory last year. Locks' project feels revelatory in its bridging of the past and future, its blend of old and new. This is uplifting activist jazz for tumultuous times. 
"Statement Of Intent/Black Monument Theme” fires the ten-track album into life. It’s a song commandeered by Locks, who delivers an impassioned sermon against a backdrop of shimmering wind chimes and rattling percussion. “Confrontation/Dislocation by avenues and blocks/Whole neighborhoods upturned/Officials constantly re-framing, presenting, re-presenting, composing and positioning," roars Locks in a similar fashion to hip-hop poet Saul Williams, before reaching and repeating the climatic mantra “Some things never change—black monuments.” 
The music moves easily between Afrofuturist gospel—typified by the spacy synths of “Which I Believe It Will” and the luminous electro beats of “Which I Believe I Am”—and hip-hop grime. “The Colors That You Bring” sets the choir’s soulful harmonies against wavering strings and murky boom-bap drums, like a civil rights protest movie scored the RZA. Upping the intensity, sampled fragments of archived speeches are embedded in the songs; on “Solar Power” a voice proclaims, “There's no black person on this planet that will disagree with freedom.” These spoken snippets give the album a militant edge, recalling interludes from the classic Public Enemy records, where speeches from social reformers like Frederick Douglass were fused with steely breaks.

Where Future Unfolds began as a retelling of the Civil Rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s, but as the title suggests, it is also concerned with what is to come. At one point we hear the sweet, youthful voice of Rayna Golding—the daughter of Black Monument Ensemble singer Monique Golding—leading the choir in a vow: “I can rebuild a nation no longer working out.” The line comes to encapsulate the tenor of the album: gritty sentiments that radiate an optimistic glow. In the way that music from old eras can be sampled and repurposed into new forms, Locks’s majestic work strives to reach better days by looking back and learning from the past.
Phillip Mlynar / Pitchfork