Welcome to the Guide to the Week of Music, a round-up of music news, media and releases from the wide musical world. This week, we check in with electro-acoustic composer Chaines, following their recent involvement in the Pioneers of Sound Prom, as well as remembering the great Malian vocalist Khaira Arby, who sadly passed away this week. We also explore new music from Pete Beardsworth and Sha La Das, plus new videos from The Mauskovic Dance Band and Barney Artist among others.
The formidable Malian singer Khaira Arby passed away earlier this week, at the age of 58. Through her emotive, often devotional songs she entertained and inspired listeners throughout the world, standing up for the causes she believed in and strengthening the connection of Western listeners to the desert blues sound. Arby featured prominently in the award-winning film They Will Have to Kill Us First, which documented the resistance of Malian musicians against extreme sharia law. In its trailer, her succinct quote, “It’s not life without music” resonates deeply.
Both NPR and KEXP radio captured performances of her during her first trips to the United States and her album Timbuktu Tara is a tremendous introduction to her work, or selection to remember her by.
Last month, the BBC held one of their most challenging Proms to date: a celebration of experimental composers past and present, with a focus on electro-acoustic composition and sound manipulation. Manchester-based composer Chaines — who has participated in creative residencies delivered by Brighter Sound in recent years — was one of the artists involved in the Prom, seeing their work performed live by London Contemporary Orchestra. While reviews drew attention to the prominence of female composers, Chaines in fact identifies as non-binary transgender. Their identification differs to that of contemporary artists like Anohni and Angel Haze, but is becoming more widely recognised, as societal attitudes toward gender identity develop. The topic is one that Chaines openly discusses, alongside their experience of participating in creative residencies and their sound production setup. Read our full conversation with Chaines here and check out their enrapturing album The King, described as ‘strikingly original, provocative, and bold.’ by Fluid Radio, below.
Multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Pete Beardsworth premiered the wonderful lead track from his EP Pour Un Homme Seul via Twisted Soul this week. Beardsworth is part of the Running Circle collective and known to some as the producer behind Yazmin Lacey’s tremendous EPs Black Moon and When The Sun Dips 90 Degrees. Their article tells of how Beardsworth, following a traumatic accident that resulted in the loss of his lower legs, wrote the work during a solitary period. The introspective release begins with the gorgeous pairing of tenor sax and ehru, unfolding into a funky soul-jazz rhythm, which appears to be imbued with the influence of various forms of music. It’s a wonderful listen, which you can check out below.
Sha La Das release their debut record with Daptone imprint Dunham Records next month. Just For a Minute is a gorgeous soul ballad lifted from the release, produced by Menahan Street Band guitarist Thomas Brenneck and in true Daptone fashion, sounding as if could’ve been made during the period of soul and R&B music’s inception. The record is described as ‘a family affair’ with many key players involved in crafting the Daptone sound, appearing on the record.
World music ensemble Bokanté join forces with Jules Buckley and Metropole Orkest for their forthcoming record, What Heat, released next month on Peter Gabriel’s Real World records. Their new music video for All The Way Home begins with multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Michael League strumming the song’s introductory pattern on an oud, before a dramatic cut, which coincides with the arrival of menacing strings and hard-edged percussion. Troupes of dancers move to the music and vocalist Malika Tirolien also features in the video, directed and choreographed by an extensive, international team. Check it out below.
Jazz trio Phronesis, who are soon to release a new album via Edition records, published a new studio video this week. The film provides an insight into how they executed the fast rhythmic elements of Matrix For D.A., which is one of the forthcoming record’s most robust compositions. Check out their outrageous interplay below.
Rising MC Barney Artist may hail from Forest Gate, East London, but its a variety different locations providing the setting for his video, accompanying the track Rose Thorn. Drummer turned RnB vocalist Dornik features on the cut and a cast of young actors feature in the visual, which explores relationships, emotion and distance. Jonas Risvig directs and Maria Lysdal produces, but each contributor is credited beneath the video, which you can check out below.
The Mauskovic Dance Band, recently signed to Soundway records, released a video for Continue The Fun (Space Version) this week. A video within a video, it sees the band’s lo-fi, psychedelic performance being beamed into pubs, grocers, barbers and beauticians, spreading their wicked multi-genre sound throughout. Fans of No Zu, Golden Teacher and Owiny Sigoma Band take notice!
Khaira Arby © Christopher Nolan, Chaines, Pete Beardsworth and Bokante courtesy of artists