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10 albums you should listen to this week

This week, Ghanaian producer Juls and Nigerian artist Jojoftheejungle offer us their first respective albums. Spoek Mathambo mixes jazz and electronic music, while ANTI-MASS collective, Nihiloxica and UNIIQU3 delve into club music. Thiago França, Jean-Baptiste Bonga and Coltrane explore Brazilian, Haitian and American musical traditions, and Cimafunk unleashes his groove. 

Sounds of My World

Juls

Ghanaian-British producer Juls, known for his many high profile collaborations including Burna Boy, Tyler The Creator, Stonebwoy and more, marks his debut with Sounds of My World, a genre defiant album of afro fusion with some of today’s most talented African stars: Wizkid, Prettyboy D-O, Aymos, Mayra Andrade… “I called the album Sounds of My World, because I’m expressing what my mind…what my world is sonically. What I mean by that is, the sounds and the genres of music that I’m exposed to as a fan, as a listener, and what I’ve been experimenting with as a producer over the last few years,” he clarified in an interview with PAM. 

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Afro Jazz Giants 1: Ratau

Spoek Mathambo

With Afro Jazz Giants, Vol. 1: Ratau, multidisciplinary artist and musician Nthato Mokgata aka Spoek Mathambo presents the first part of his Afro Jazz Giants series, conceived from his long standing love affairs with Hip-Hop and South African Jazz. The record is a celebration project to explore the national Jazz songbook while creating new conversations around classics and standards, as well as introducing the wealth of African jazz and funk to first-time listeners worldwide through his crafty repurposing of classic motifs. The album is a lo-fi adventure, bravely traversing genres, and pays tribute to the late genius, South African saxophonist and composer, Mike “Ratau” Makhalemele.

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The Red Line

Jojoftheejungle

Hailing from Ikeja, Lagos, home to both Femi Kuti’s Africa Shrine and Lagbaja’s Motherland, Jojoftheejungle (aka J.O.J) got his start with local group Antigenx, before going solo in 2017. Featuring productions from Major Lazer’s Jillionaire, Beatsbymayor and Craybeats as well as Jojoftheejungle himself, The Red Line EP effortlessly blends Afrobeats, dancehall and pop sounds on its five, feel-good tracks. “The tracks on the EP talk about my personal experiences on the streets of Lagos,” the singer says. “I’m sure a lot of people go through them daily. Although it’s for everyone, the EP is especially dedicated to those who have gone through a lot of emotional rollercoasters, and are still fighting. The Red Line is hope.”

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Kaloli Recycled

Nihiloxica

Born from the meeting of Nilotika Cultural Ensemble members (a group of traditional Ugandan percussionists) with Spooky-J and PQ, two techno beats producers from Leeds, Nihiloxica has been making headlines since its resounding debut album Kaloli. In the interval left by the pandemic right after their debut release, the band teamed up with some of the UK’s leading bass music artists to create Kaloli Recycled, an EP of Kaloli remixes intended for DJs and clubs. Bristol-based producer Giant Swan, Nihiloxica’s own PQ, Metrist, Spooky-J and BFTT will each add their own touch to turn five tracks into gqom, trance, drum’n’bass and kuduro bombs. 

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El Alimento

Cimafunk

Heralded by tracks like “Funk aspirin” and “Rómpelo” with Lupe Fiasco, El Alimento is the new album from Cuba’s newest star, Cimafunk. The artist was recently named by Billboard as one of the “Top 10 Latin Artists to Watch”, and has created a real movement in Havana, filling the halls with thousands of fans eager to dance to his Afro-Cuban funk. Ultra-groovy, Alimento features local and international artists such as CeeLo Green, ChocQuibTown, Stylo G, Chucho Valdés, El Micha and Los Papines. The project was produced by Jack Splash, who described the result as “fearless“, stressing that Cimafunk’s approach to music “breaks many musical boundaries“.

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DOXA

ANTI-MASS

ANTI-MASS is a Queer DJ and producer collective based in Uganda. A collaborative effort from its three artists – Turkana from South Sudan, Nsasi from Jinja (Uganda) and Kampa-based Authentically Plastic – DOXA emerged from a year of group experiments & listening sessions. It reflects their common interest in shaking up traditional forms, techniques and palettes, making them fall and reform in new directions, discovering new tensions in familiar methods, all the while maintaining an emphasis on the alien and disorienting. Over the course of six tracks, DOXA gives the floor to Authentically Plastic who showcases their gqom, vogue & techno-infused sound, while Turkana’s hard electronics and Nsasi’s Kiganda percussions combine with an East African trap shine. PAM made you discover the track “Grind”. 

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Boula

Jean-Baptiste Bonga

A multi-instrumentalist and a Houngan (a vodou priest), Jean-Baptiste Bonga offers a ceremony with Boula, codified in song format that condenses the structured and improvised aspects of an authentic ritual. We hear the interweaving of traditional and personal stories of joy and sorrow that prepare the invocation. Playing all instruments on the record, recorded in Puerto Rico a few months before the confinement, he also painted the album’s illustrations. Bonga’s ambition with Boula is that this Vodou story, and these rhythms, will inspire everyone, whatever their culture, and lead them to healing, the goal of all “old world” rituals. You discovered the song “Kailwa Krazé” with PAM.

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A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle

John Coltrane

Recorded at The Penthouse in Seattle on October 2, 1965, this John Coltrane concert was captured by saxophonist and educator Joe Brazil, and remained in his private collection for decades. The recording transports the listener to a prime seat for a piece of musical history. While not studio-quality audio, the power of the performance shines through. This version is also of the full suite and features an expanded band that includes the same Classic Quartet and Pharoah Sanders in his first official gig as part of Coltrane’s group, in addition to McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums, and Jimmy Garrison and Donald Garrett on basses.

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Heartbeats

UNIIQU3

Following her latest project Club Queens released in 2018, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Jersey Club” returns with a terribly effective set of club bangers. Heartbeats spans over six tracks and features alternative underground American artists such as R3LL, Sjayy, DJ K-Deucez and Dai Burger. “I made this for the hopeless romantics, the girls that fall in love at the club this is for you!”, UNIIQU3 explained on her social media. “This conceptual project is a Jersey Club love story”. 

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The Importance of Being Espetacular

Thiago França, A Espetacular Charanga do França

A Espetacular Charanga do França is a São Paulo-based carnival collective and brass band who combine retro horns with cumbia, baile funk and jazz to create a proudly anti-fascist, inclusive bloco (carnival group). The Importance of Being Espetacular collects the group’s signature songs from digital-only releases plus two new exclusives. The band goes from traditional carnival march rhythms such as “O Trombonista” to a bombastic cover of Metá Metá’s “Obá Iná”, their only concern being the energy any song can generate. “The idea of the charanga, to play acoustically to a lot of people, to get this vibe going on, is an energy thing. You have to play powerfully, you have to blow very hard to get heard!”, Thiago França explains. 

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