Triple R Soundscape: 30 March 2020

Soundscape is a weekly look at local and international releases making an impression on our musical radar. The list offers a cross-section of EPs and albums arriving at the station.

We have been busily scouring the Soundscape! Check out some of our favourite finds for this week 30 March 2020

Snowy Band - Audio Commentary (Osborne Again / Spunk Records)**Album of the Week

The debut release from the project of Liam “Snowy” Halliwell is a timeless collection of folk and guitar-pop gems filled with vocal harmonies, expressive drum rhythms and sparse acoustic instrumentation. The album features collaboration with Halliwell’s friends Emma Russack, Nat Pavlovic of Dianas and Dylan Young of Way Dynamic, adding an intimacy and empathy to the recordings that meditate on vulnerabilities and seek hope in the struggle for survival.

Little Dragon - New Me, Same Us (Ninja Tune / Inertia)

The sixth studio album from the pioneering Swedish four-piece finds them in a reflective mood, musing on transitions, longing, and saying goodbye. Entirely self-produced at their Gothenburg studio, the band strips their sound back to its core elements on New Me, Same Us: drums, bass, keyboard, harp, guitar and vocals. In doing so, the band presents a new direction in their singular brand of off-kilter, unhurried, R&B and pop.

Shabaka & The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History (Impulse!)

Shabaka & The Ancestors is one of three projects fronted by the London based saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, backed in this instance by an assortment of prominent South African jazz musicians. The concept album - coincidentally recorded and produced just before the outbreak of Covid-19 - imagines a time-capsule of an apocalypse, sent back from the not-too distant future. Musically, Shabaka pitches his tenor-sax and clarinet toward calm and yet ominous tones, evoking apocalyptic imagery, while his backing band channel their distinctive South African jazz lineage.

Basia Bulat - Are You In Love? (Secret City Records / Remote Control)

On her fifth record, the Montreal songwriter demonstrates her unshakeable consistency for creating exuberant, accomplished folk-pop music. Working again with My Morning Jacket frontman and producer Jim James, the 13 tracks alternate between uninhibited, vocal driven pop maximalism and delicate moments of minimal string arrangements and idiosyncratic textures.

Knxwledge - 1988 (Stones Throw)

The mythology of 1988 begins in that very year, when, according to the story, the baby Knx found his way to a family member’s vintage SP-12 sampler and created his first beats before nap time. Fortuitously, the samples were kept on floppy-disc and eventually found their way to form the starting point of the acclaimed hip-hop and R&B producer's newest LP.

Space Ghost – Free 2 B (Apron Records)

Free 2 B is a 9 track collection of shimmering house and glossy R&B sounds. His third album in as many years finds Space Ghost taking a creative detour from 2019s Aquarium Nightclub and 2018s Endless Light, with the Oakland Producer crediting a greater sense of creative freedom for his renewed focus on vintage analogue equipment and slick west-coast vibes.

Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud (Merge Records)

With her fifth studio album, Katie Krutchfield pivots with remarkable acuity from reverb heavy lo-fi rock, to fully embrace the Americana sounds of her childhood in Birmingham Alabama. In doing so, she has created a contemporary American country classic with a spine built on simple blues patterns and the loyal support of a backing band who never upset the tranquil flow of her vision. Produced with care by Brad Cook (Bon Iver) Saint Cloud tackles themes as dark as addiction, self-loathing, heartache, anger and fear while still finding time for a wry smile, and a nostalgic nod.

Sorry - 925 (Domino Records)

The London-based duo Sorry, led by best friends Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen, weave together hellish and idyllic scenes into a thoroughly 21st century tapestry on 925. Inspired by everything from Heman Hesse to Dean Blunt, the dual vocal attack of the band and their experimental tendencies rise them above the saturation of contemporary British post-punk bands.

Anita Lester - Erato (Independent)

‘Erato’ is the debut six-track EP from the Melbourne songwriter, writer and artist, recorded between a tiny house on the NSW south-coast and a bedroom in inner-city Sydney. Released in conjunction with a book of poetry by Lester, Erato explores themes of death, god, sex and slavery formed into tranquil and tender songs.

Cayn Borthwick - Big City Whispers (Lost and Lonesome Recording Company)

Big City Whispers is the entirely self-produced debut by the Melbourne composer and saxophonist Cayn Borthwick (No ZU; Mighty Duke & The Lords). On his solo release, Borthwick has created an album about relationships, with tracks exploring a romance to place (Melbourne; Victoria’s surf coast), to more conceptual themes of creation, AI sentience, and a song apparently about aeroplane transit. Consistent in the sounds of the record are Borthwick’s erudite Sax playing, gentle synthesizers, vocals and drum machines.