BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2016-PART 5.

BEST NEW ALBUMS OF 2016-PART 5.

Martin Green-Flit

Last year, when  Lau enjoying some downtime, accordionist and electronics guru Martin Green decided to release his sophomore album, Flit on Reveal Records. It was the followup to Crow’s Bones which was released in 2014 and found Martin accompanied by an-star cast of musicians.

They play their part in the sound and success of Flit. This included Karine Polwart who cowrote four songs and vocalist Betty Unthanks. She and Adam feature on most of the songs. They breath life, meaning, emotion and poignancy  on songs that document “human movement around the world.” Some of the songs on Flit are tinged with sadness, despair and disappointment. Others document suffering and tragedy. Adam Holmes and Betty Unthanks. bring these songs to life. Sometimes, they sound as if they’ve lived and survived the lyrics. Other times, it’s as if Adam and Betty are determined to highlight other people’s plight and suffering. These vocals play an important part in the sound and success of Flit, a genre-melting album.

During Flit, Martin Green and his friends combine elements of traditional folk, with folk rock, electronica and rock. To this, elements of avant-garde, post rock and psychedelia. Sometimes, one genre is to the fore. Mostly, though, several genres melt into one  musical genres on Flit, Martin Green’s much-anticipated sophomore album.

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Meta Meta-MM3.

Although Metá Metá have been together since 2008, and have released two previous albums, MM3 is the best album of their career. Metá Metá and their musical friends have created what is without doubt, the best and most eclectic album of their career. They combine everything from Afrobeat and avant-garde, to folk, free jazz and funk through to jazz, Latin and rock. Seamlessly, Metá Metá switch between musical genres, and sometimes, even combine several different genres on the one track. The result is MM3, a potent and heady brew from one of the leading light’s of Sao Paulo’s new, vibrant and exciting music scene, Metá Metá.

That is no surprise, as Metá Metá feature three truly talented and versatile musicians.   They’ve spent the last eight years making music together, and nowadays, are popular throughout America, Britain, Europe and South America. However, MM3 which was recently on the Jazz Village label is the album which should introduce Metá Metá to a new and wider audience. 

No wonder. MM3 is a career defining album from Metá Metá. They come of age musically on MM3, an album of genre-melting music with an important social message. It finds the Três Amigos, Metá Metá reach new and untold musical heights on their latest and greatest album, MM3.

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Miracle Glass Company-MG 1. 

Edinburgh based power rock trio have been around for several years. They  first came to prominence in May 2016, when they released their single Higher Than High. Straight away, it was obvious that Miracle Glass Company were a cut above the competition. They were a much tighter and more accomplished band who were capable of creating melodic psychedelic rock. Proof of this is their debut album MG 1. 

During MG 1, Miracle Glass Company showcase their considerable talents. Seamlessly they switch between rocky anthems and ballads. Similarly, Miracle Glass Company flit effortlessly between disparate musical genres. Sometimes, they combine several genres within the same track. This proves a potent and heady brew. Especially as Miracle Glass Company power pop, psychedelia, rock and the West Coast sound. They also draw inspiration from a variety of musical influences.

The Doors, Big Star, The Beatles, The Who and Teenage Fanclub have all influenced Miracle Glass Company. This is apparent on their debut album MG1, which was released on VoxBox Records.  MG 1 showcases a truly talented and versatile band. They’re rising stars of Scottish music whose star is in the ascendancy. 2017 promises to be a big year for Miracle Glass Company. MG 1 is just the first step in what’s a long and potentially perilous journey. However, Miracle Glass Company have the potential and talent. Proof of that is MG 1, which features a tantalising taste of the new kid in town, Miracle Glass Company.

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Mogwai-Atomic

When filmmaker Mark Cousins decided to make the documentary Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise, post rock pioneers Mogwai  were commissioned to write the soundtrack. It was the perfect backdrop to Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise, which was a personal and poignant cinematic memoir. However, after the documentary was aired in the summer of 2015, Mogwai decided to rerecord the whole of the Atomic soundtrack. This might have seemed like a strange decision. However, when the rerecorded version of Atomic was released by Rock Action Records in April 2016, Mogwai’s decision to rerecord the album was vindicated.

Atomic was a mesmeric fusion that captivates and compels. The listener is taken on a musical journey, one that veers between dramatic and dreamy, to surreal and trippy, to beautiful, pensive and understated to melancholy and melodic. Other times the music is dramatic, moody and broody. One thing the music never is, is boring. Not at all. Certainly not with Mogwai providing the soundtrack to Atomic. 

Subtleties and surprises are constantly sprung. Mogwai certainly aren’t afraid of changing direction. Using the musical equivalent of a handbrake turn, the Mogwai Young Team perform a volte face. That’s what makes Atomic such a captivating and groundbreaking soundtrack from Glasgow’s famous five…Mogwai.

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Mop Mop-Lunar Love.

Three years have passed since Mop Mop released their fourth album Isle Of Magic. However, Mop Moop returned in 2016 with their long-awaited fifth album Lunar Love. It was released by Agogo Records. Mop Mop were joined by a cast of ten guest artists and an eclectic array of instruments. They’re responsible for Lunar Love’s genre-melting sound on Lunar Love.

Everything from dub, electronica and funk, to avant-garde, jazz and progressive rock rubs shoulders with Afro-beat, Caribbean, Latin, Lounge and soul on Lunar Love. Over the four parts of Lunar Love, Mop Mop take the listener on a musical journey. It’s variously beautiful, dark, dramatic, elegiac, hypnotic, melodic, mesmeric, moody and wistful. However, for much of Lunar Love the music is cinematic. Especially on the instrumentals, where the listener can let their imagination run riot. Other times, there’s an element of drama and theatre to the music on Lunar Love. The vocalists add to this drama and theatre. That’s no surprise.

Mop Mop were joined by a multitalented cast of guest artists. They add an exotic array of instruments to Lunar Love. From the myriad of percussion, to the  vibes, marimba, glockenspiel balafo, steel drums and kalimba. This potpourri of disparate and eclectic instruments play their part in Lunar Love, which is  without doubt the most accomplished and cohesive album of Mop Mop’s five album career.

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Moskus-Ulv Ulv. 

Last year, Moskus released their much anticipated third album Ulv Ulv on Hubro Music. Ulv Ulv features the Norwegian jazz pioneers at their innovative best, as they play with a freedom, inventiveness and intuitiveness that most groups can only dream of. The result is music that’s inventive, innovative, ambitious, bold and challenging. This is what we’ve come to expect from Moskus.   

Just like on their two previous albums, Moskus create music that continue to challenges musical norms on Ulv Ulv. Moskus continue to push musical boundaries to there limits, and beyond on Ulv Ulv. To do this, they combine elements of avant-garde, experimental, free jazz, improv and industrial. There’s also the influence of Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Albert Ayler and Sun Ra on Ulv Ulv. The result is an album that’s variously atmospheric,  beautiful, cinematic, dark, dramatic, elegiac, ethereal, haunting, hypnotic, melodic, mesmeric, otherworldly and ruminative. The result was Ulv Ulv, the finest album of Moskus’ career.

Incredibly, it took Moskus just three days to record Ulv Ulv. They eschewed a traditional recording studio, and recorded Ulv Ulv at the Haugesund Billedgalleri. With just three days to record Ulv Ulv, Moskus worked quickly and efficiently, and recorded what is a captivating, career defining album. Ulv Ulv finds Moskus one step closer to the musical Utopia that bands spent their career in search of.

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Mull Historical Society-Satellite.

Ever since 2000, Mull Historical Society has been the musical vehicle of Scottish singer, song-writer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Colin MacIntyre. He released his seventh album Satellite on Xtramile Recordings during 2016. It was the second Mull Historical Society produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dom Morley. This time, it’s resulted in a  career-defining album.

Satellite was without doubt, the best album of Mull Historical Society’s career. It’s an almost flawless album that many commentators knew Mull Historical Society were capable of making.

By that, I mean an album of slick, polished perfect pop, with diversions into folk and rock. Hooks certainly haven’t been rationed on Satellite. It’s an album long on clever poppy hooks and anthems. Other songs are cinematic, and rich in imagery. So much so, that’s it’s possible to imagine the scenes unfolding before your eyes. Meanwhile, other songs on Satellite are variously moving, poignant, beautiful and uplifting; while others are irresistible and joyous. Satellite is the best album of Mull Historical Society’s career. It seems Mull Historical Society went in search of perfection on Satellite, and very nearly discovered it on what’s a career defining album. 

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Nicklas Sørensen-Solo. 

Ever since 2010, Copenhagen based instrumental rock trio Papir’s star has been in the ascendancy. One of the men behind Papir’s success was guitarist Nicklas Sørensen, who released his debut album Solo on El Paraiso Records. He set out to experiment on Solo. However, on other tracks, Nicklas Sørensen reminds the listener’s Papir’s trademark sound. For the listener, they enjoy the best of both worlds. 

With a little help from his friends,  Nicklas Sørensen takes the listener on a genre-melting journey. This includes the three genres that have influenced Papir, Krautrock, psychedelia and space rock. These influences can be heard on Solo.  Krautrock has been a big influence on Nicklas Sørensen. Especially Can, Neu!, Cluster and Harmonia and Michael Rother. Sometimes,  Nicklas Sørensen sounds uncannily like Michael Rother, during this genre-melting journey. 

Nicklas Sørensen also combines elements of ambient, avant-garde, dub and rock. The result is Solo, an album that’s guaranteed to toy with the listener’s emotions. Solo veers between blissful, euphoric and joyous, to moody and broody, through to  lysergic and dramatic. For much of Solo, the music is hypnotic and mesmeric. That’s down to Krautrock influence. Other times, the music is cinematic. Often, though, the Solos are beautiful and dreamy, as trails of glistening, shimmering music captivate, and makes the world seem a much better place. Sadly, all too soon, Solo is over. All that’s left are the memories of Nicklas Sørensen’s genre-melting, sonic adventure, Solo.

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Pascal Pinon-Sundur.

After three years away, Pascal Pinon return with Sundur, which is a career defining album. Sundur is without doubt, the best album of Pascal Pinon’s career. It’s certainly their  most eclectic album. Sometimes, Pascal Pinon sound as if they’ve been inspired by Astrid Williamson’s early albums, John Martyn and Kate Bush. There’s even a nod to Sandy Denny, on what’s a thoroughly modern album of folk music.

Sundur finds Pascal Pinon combining disparate genres. There’s elements of ambient and avant-garde, plus electronica and experimental, right though to folk, Neofolk and pop. Sometimes, several genres melt into one on the one multilayered song. Other times, the songs are minimalistic, with sparse, spartan arrangements. They often feature just guitars or a piano, which proves the perfect accompaniment to the vocal. There, less is more. Then on the two soundscapes,  Pascal Pinon let their imagination run riot, and create captivating instrumentals. However, captivating is a word that perfectly describes Sundur, which was released Morr Music.

The music on Sundur can also be described as beautiful, cinematic, emotive and ethereal, but also dark, ruminative and wistful. Always though, the music on Sundur is captivating on what is without doubt, a career-defining album where Pascal Pinon come of age musically. 

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Phall Fatale-Moonlit Bang Bang.

Some things are well worth waiting for. Moonlit Bang Bang was one of these things. Music fans have waited three years for the followup to Charcoal From Fire. Their patience was rewarded when  Moonlit Bang Bang was released on Slowfoot Records in mid-January 2016. It’s an album that shows how Phall Fatale had grown and matured as a band.

Phall Fatale never let their standards slip on Moonlit Bang Bang. It’s a captivating musical journey through what’s a disparate selection of genres. There’s everything from avant-garde, ambient and avant-pop to Caribbean and classical through to electronica and experimental via free jazz, industrial, musique concrète and rock. That’s not forgetting a hint of funk, reggae and soul, plus plenty of post punk stylings. Moonlit Bang Bang is a truly eclectic album; and one that takes the listener on a roller coaster ride through the music of the past fifty years

As a result, musical mavericks Phall Fatale, have produced an album that’s variously eclectic, inventive, melodic and sometimes, beautiful and poignan. Other times, the music has a fragility, and bristles with emotion. Then just as quickly, Phall Fatale kick out the jams and unleash a post punk powerhouse. That’s why, musically, Phall Fatale are something of an enigma, who are always capable of springing a surprise, and taking the listener in the most unexpected direction, on what’s a truly captivating musical adventure, Moonlit Bang Bang.

 

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