Article by Stephen Chew
From Parts Unknown is a column about cool music that might’ve flown under your radar.
Four Tet New Energy
Four Tet’s (aka Kieran Hebden) music has always been difficult to classify, drawing influences from nearly every genre there is. He has also worked with a huge range of artists over his 20-year career, from Radiohead, Lana del Ray, Hot Chip and more recently, The xx and Rihanna. The latest addition to his extensive catalog, New Energy, serves as a great summary of his work, with both the warmth and experimentation of his earlier tracks along with his more recent house-inspired music. The skittering drums, looped wordless vocals and string-section undertones will put you in a tranced state perfect for studying, meditation, walking through the city on an cold autumn day or lying in bed getting lost in your own thoughts.
Top Picks: Scientists, SW9 9SL, Daughters
Recommended If You Like: Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Bonobo
Kamasi Washington Harmony of Difference
Kamasi Washington is quickly becoming one of the best-known names in modern jazz music. Working with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and Flying Lotus over the past few years, Washington proves that he is a force to be reckoned with in this solo EP. Harmony of Difference fits a whole lot into its short time-frame, opening with the smooth listening “Desire”, then quickly descending into wonderful madness with next few tracks. The final song “Truth” is a 13-minute long conclusion, bringing back elements from previous songs and wrapping up the album with an eclectic mess that leaves you pleading for more.
Top Picks: Humility, Perspective
Recommended If You Like: Thundercat, BadBadNotGood, Flying Lotus
King Krule The OOZ
King Krule’s (aka Archy Marshall) latest album The OOZ is another nearly genre-less album released this month. Let me begin by saying this album isn’t necessarily enjoyable to listen to on the first go-around, however his seemingly monotonous, harsh vocals offer some of the most clever and insightful lyrics in recent memory. A reoccurring theme on the album is the thought that he’s living amongst parasites in a paradise taken for granted, echoed on the tracks “Bermondsey Bosom” and “The Cadet Leaps.” He croons about finding love and not understanding why someone could love him in earlier tracks, then his fears are confirmed when his love is lost later in the album. It seems he ultimately decides that love just isn’t worth it in the end. “Emergency Blimp” evokes the feelings of Joy Division, not only with its punchy drums and slightly out-of-tune guitars, but with lyrics about his struggle with insomnia (Joy Division’s Ian Curtis dealt with epilepsy in his later life and caused great strain on his mental state). This masterpiece of an album from this young artist is worth investing time into by reading and reflecting on the lyrics and how they relate to experiences I can only assume we’ve all had.
Top Picks: Dum Surfer, Emergency Blimp, Half Man Half Shark
Recommended If You Like: Joy Division, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Modest Mouse
From Canada with love! Stephen is a Canadian music enthusiast living in Xi’an who loves discovering artists on the fringes of fame.