The Soul Session – TWO

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Love makes the world go around. “two”, the second album by The Soul Session, is full of love. Ralph Kiefer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer from South Germany embarks on a stylistically diverse journey into Soul, Jazz, Funk and World Music.

Being a highly respected session musician in the jazz as well as the crossover scene, Kiefer made a serious impact in 2011 with “one”, the first Soul Session album. “one” was built on a solid backbeat of Soul, Hip Hop and Funk, while “two” now takes a step further into a spiritual and eclectic dimension. “Quantraversa” featuring the voice of L.A. neo-soul queen Georgia Anne Muldrow is the mind-blowing opener of this album, a truly deep and intense rhythmic statement.

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Quantraversa is a word which you will not find in any dictionary, but that is not the point, says Ralph Kiefer. “This album is a journey to the inner self. The recording process was like meditation. I often started with a loop, or an idea for a melody. It evolved from there and I simply let it happen. When I involved the lyricists and vocalists, my drafts sometimes took a completely different paths and ended in something unexpected and beautifully new.”

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The Cactus Channel – Storefront

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Three is the magic number for The Cactus Channel. The ever-evolving Melbourne collective’s third album represents a new consciousness and a decisive turning point. Unloosed from their earlier incarnation as an instrumental soul and funk band into something wilder, a little darker and heavier, the new album sees The Cactus Channel diving in deep to dreamlike soundtracks, electrifying wig-outs and woozy meditations.

There were signifiers along the road; a boundary-splintering EP with Ball Park Music singer Sam Cromack last year, following a 7” single collab with Nick Murphy, released as The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker. These outings were a glimpse of the alchemy of adding vocals to the band’s typically intuitive, instrumental arrangements. And now with the band’s own Lewis Coleman stepping up to the mic, a vocal dimension has become part of The Cactus Channel’s fully formed, signature sound.

This new embodiment of The Cactus Channel is of the cultural moment, akin to the vibrational path-crossing of fellow travellers such as Badbadnotgood, Unknown Mortal Orchestra & Menahan Street Band. The band flexes their classic soul and funk influences whilst expanding their own songwriting along psychedelic paths, adding weight and substance to their melodic and rhythmic axis. Looking back to when The Cactus Channel formed in high school, united by shared interests and a shared sense of humour, they were always set to walk this new path. A love of soul music and the kind of hip hop, jazz, and alternative releases that spring from it, meant that from the beginning The Cactus Channel have prided themselves not just on eclecticism, but on the constant sharing of influences among their members; exploring new influences and sonic territories.

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Zara McFarlane – Pride

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The second track to be taken from Zara McFarlane’s showstopping third album Arise, “Pride” is a tightly tuned, rhythmic waltz, matching killer jazz chops with pitch-perfect, standout vocals. Building up to a blowout crescendo, it sees Moses Boyd on drums sparring with Binker Golding’s tenor sax. This new record sees Zara’s most open-armed embrace of her British-Jamaican heritage, with this track – including a turn on the bass clarinet from Shabaka Hutchings – being part of a broader exploration into the connections between jazz and reggae.
Album OUT TODAY ! ! ! !

Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference

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He’s out !! The last Kamasi Washington album, Harmony of Difference, is out !!!

“Harmony of Difference was originally part of a multimedia work that illustrated how forces that seem to be working in opposition could come together as a composite of complex beauty. This was illustrated in the original exhibit by a series of projected paintings (created by artist and Washington’s sister Amani Washington) that were gradually overlaid to form an abstract image of a face. Musically, Washington explores the theme by writing a series of five short pieces that are also folded together into a lengthy, recombinant suite.

That extended piece, called “Truth,” was released earlier this year as part of a short film by director A.G. Rojas (which was also part of the Whitney exhibit). The structure lends a sense of déjà vu, as motifs and riffs and melodies are introduced and then reappear later. Where musical counterpoint was the driving idea for the compositions Harmony also feels like a meditation on memory, association, and vantage point. Hearing it in one sitting is like looking at a sculpture from multiple angles and suddenly the three-dimensional form clicks in your mind and you apprehend the whole.”

Get your copy RIGHT NOW !! And take a few minutes to listen to the track “Perspective” … a fabulous Jazz Funk tune back in the best of the 70’s …

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Andra Day – Strange Fruit

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Andra Day covers the iconic song “Strange Fruit.” Originally performed by Billie Holiday in 1939, the song protests lynching, a form of racial terror which took more than 4,000 African American lives and reinforced white supremacy. Most states have no memorials commemorating lynching sites, some of which are featured in this video. Andra, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, sheds light on this difficult history and the ways that racial injustice continues. In order to move forward, we must confront our past.

https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/