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10 albums to discover this week

This week, Lúcia de Carvalho and FBC and VHOOR explore Brazilian music and Fiokee plays the West Africa's top genres on guitar with a list of superstars. In Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom, Tony Gallardo, label Figure and FKA twigs offer their vision of electronic music, and Labelle adds an orchestra to boot. Slikback is as apocalyptic as ever. Finally, American rapper Earl Sweatshirt returns with an LP, while Ticora navigates between Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean.

Pwanga

Lúcia de Carvalho

Lúcia de Carvalho was born in Angola, grew up and matured in France, and is passionate about Brazilian music. Her new album Pwanga, which includes notable artists such as Brazilian singers Chico César and Anna Tréa and Angolan musicians Galiano Neto and Betinho Feijo, looks beyond the Franco-Lusophone sphere to which Lúcia is accustomed, introducing elements of gospel and oriental music. “In the Tchokwé language, when you want to make people smile for a photo, you ask them the question ‘Pwanga ni puy?’, ‘Light or dark?’“, she had explained about the project’s title. “And those photographed happily respond with ‘Pwangaaaa!’ to show their best smile!

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LOSSLESS

Slikback

Kenyan producer Slikback is guns out on the latest 5 track LOSSLESS. Known for his punishing kicks and hard bass, Slikback lives up to expectations with another projet conjured in the dark recesses of electronic music’s underground. The EP is in collaboration with Parisian based DJ and producer Brodinski, co-founder of the label Bromance and who now spends his time between Paris and Atlanta. All caps and full throttle, the project kicks it off with “CLUTCH”, a menacing tone-setter. The other tracks carry on the apocalyptic energy until the closer, “KOMBAT” that brings a more familiar club energy, perhaps thanks to Swiss-based composer and sound engineer Modulaw. Whether it’s getting dirty with “MUD” or down with “2254” Slikback brings an electric charge to everything he touches.

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Éclat

Labelle

“Eclat”, the title of Labelle’s fourth studio album, takes its name from a moment of revelation, a spark. The record is centred on the string quartet, the unofficial royal discipline of composition, and was imagined when Labelle attended an orchestra rehearsal. “I wrote for them like I was writing for a rock band,” he had explained. “You have your rhythm section, your two lead guitars and one musician plays bass”. Together, the band explores a unique but traceable sound: classical orchestration meets Maloya, modern electronics meets organic instruments, Africa meets Europe meets outer space.

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Selected Works

Tony Gallardo

Selected Works assembles some of enigmatic pop outsider Tony Gallardo’s most crucial material from a run of EPs released between 2008 and 2013. These ten tracks show the broad range of his output, running through neon electro (“Bruja’, ‘Mi Presa”), tropical dance music (“Kibosé”, “La Conquista”), and eerie Mexican trap (“Plata O Plomo”, “Ultra”). It’s introspective, haunted music from one of Mexico’s most original artists that paints a picture of a hard to resist psychedelic musical landscape.

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SICK!

Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt, ancien membre d’Odd Future aux côtés de Tyler the Creator et fils du poète sud-africain Tswana Keorapetse Kgositsile, dévoile son nouvel EP SICK!. “SICK! est une humble offrande de 10 chansons enregistrées à la suite de la pandémie mondiale du coronavirus et des blocages qui ont suivi“, avait-il expliqué dans un communiqué. “Avant le virus, j’avais travaillé sur un album que j’avais nommé d’après un livre que je lisais avec ma mère (“The People Could Fly”). Une fois que les confinements nous ont frappé, les gens ne pouvaient plus voler. Je me suis donc penché sur le chaos parce qu’il était évident que les choses allaient nulle part. Ces chansons sont arrivées dans les moments où je prenais un peu d’air.”

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Man

Fiokee

In a career spanning more than a decade, Fiokee has established himself as one of Nigeria’s leading guitarists for his soul-infused hybrid of highlife and Afrobeats. Arriving on the week of his 40th birthday, his debut Man is a fusion of the musicians’s influences and interests. The album is guided by a free-wheeling sense of genre blending, alternating between Afrobeats, amapiano, R&B, highlife and pop. Featured on the projects are Nigerian heavyweights Yemi Alade, Bella Shmurda, Oxlade, Peruzzi, Simi; Ghanaian artists Gyakie, D-Black; Cape Verdean-Dutch singer Nelson Freitas, and many more. 

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CAPRISONGS

FKA twigs

“CAPRISONGS… it’s bronzer in the sink, alco pop on the side, a cherry lolly, apple juice when ur thirsty, friends in the park, your favourite person, that one sentence somebody said to you that changed everything, a club pre-game, your bestie who is always late but brings the most to the party, meeting a friend at the airport, just togetherness”, British-Jamaican artist FKA twigs had explained on her social media about her new mixtape. Spanning over 17 tracks, the project features new British rap king Pa Salieu, English artist Shygirl, Nigerian sensation Rema, Jorja Smith, Unknown T, The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar and Dystopia.

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Baile (Instrumental)

FBC, VHOOR

On BAILE, released in November 2021, Brazilian artists FBC and VHOOR drew on the roots of Miami Bass, a subgenre of hip-hop popularised in the 1980s, to deliver a baile funk project tailored for the often illegal favelas block parties. The MC and the producer now return with an instrumental version of their project, a rendering with an even more raw, rough and festive atmosphere. 

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Open Space Volume 2

Figure

German label Figure unveils the second volume of its Open Space series, offering “possibilities for artists to freely pursue their creativity in a completely undefined area”. The setlist includes tracks from Kenyan-born ambient prodigy KMRU (“In A Distant”), American multi-instrumentalist Laraaji (“Beloved”), Japan’s leading DJ and producer Wata Igarashi (“Our Place”), Figure founder Len Faki (“Flew Away”) and many more. “No matter their respective scene or background, all artists are using their unique approach to display something deeply emotive”.

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Rivers From Ogun

Ticora

Based between France and Switzerland, Ticora was born from the meeting of organist Cédric Schaerer with Hadrien Santos Da Silva, an expert in traditional music from around the world and member of the famous Ti’Kaniki maloya collective. At the crossroads of Afrobeat, highlife and jazz, their new album Rivers From Ogun navigates between music from the African continent, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, drawing its inspiration from rumba, kompa and spiritual jazz as well as maloya. The Yoruba deity Ogun is invoked throughout the different tracks to guide the group in dealing with issues such as police brutality, the situation of refugees and general intolerance. 

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