A reworking of Gil Scott-Heron's last album impressed Izzi this weekMICHAELBROWN/FLICKR

By a mile, my favourite release this week has been We’re New Again – A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven, a reworking of the late Gil Scott-Heron’s final album I’m New Here. Given the acclaim it has already received, I have little to add to the clamour except to agree that McCraven has produced an imaginative, captivating record which seamlessly incorporates and reinvigorates Scott-Heron’s last work. At times the London jazz drummer/producer’s accompaniment is dark, urgent and bewitchingly bluesy, at other times it leans towards very palatable nu-jazz. Gil Scott-Heron’s voice (which was seminal in the founding of modern hip-hop) meanders between spoken word and growly singing, and is charmingly suited to McCraven’s jazz, with which it melds gloriously with over the 37-minute play time of this record.

West of Eden proves the band’s versatility and is full of catchy guitar licks and groovy bass

Another notable release this week is HMLTD’s debut album West of Eden. Associated with the hotbed of South London talent that gave rise to bands like Goat Girl, Black Midi and Black Country New Road, the five-piece released their first single in 2016. Though the constant switch-up of genres can sometimes feel gimmicky, and at points it is at risk of sounding like generic 00’s rock, West of Eden proves the band’s versatility and is full of catchy guitar licks and groovy bass. Influences from far and wide are heard, not least Roxy Music, Arcade Fire and Elvis Presley. They’ve lost some of the nervy, acerbic weirdness from the days of their first singles but this album hints at the beginning of a resurgence.

I’m also impressed by Obongjayar’s 7-track Which Way is Forward? A feature on Danny Brown’s most recent album, as well as very capable collaborations with Wiki and Everything is Recorded, mean that the London-based artist (real name Steven Umoh) is slowly garnering more attention. Fellow Nigerian Fela Kuti, or maybe Ebo Taylor would be the obvious comparisons to draw, with Afrobeat and joyous highlife influences apparent. The record feels more pared back in places though, with a lightness of touch and a primal, hymn-like sentiment not unlike some of Moses Sumney’s work.

This week’s reviews wouldn’t feel complete without mention of Nuts, a previously unreleased Bowie track from the 90s

Speaking of the American singer-songwriter, Sumney has released a gorgeous single called Cut Me. Ooh, when my mind's clouded/And filled with doubt/That's when I feel the most alive/Masochistic kisses are how I thrive Moses croons. The raw lyrics sound like they could be lifted from an emo anthem, but the music is uplifting, carefree and tender.

Staqdó by MoStack, released on Friday, is a standard Afroswing tune, but the 25-year-old London rapper carries it off well, bringing a bit of something new with seductive sax weaving through the song. The song is pure summer vibes (the video shows MoStack lolling about in hammocks and hanging out in a beach hut). You can’t help but sway. 


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Mountain View

Music for your week 4

This week’s reviews wouldn’t feel complete without mention of Nuts, a previously unreleased Bowie track from the 90s. It’s drum and bass, by the way. D&B by DB himself. The jury is still out on this.

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