CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE, KALA GHODA, MUMBAI

THE ROUNDUP | 23RD JUNE 2020

by Abhi Meer 23rd Jun, 2020

Selections for the week courtesy Mumbai based music composer, DJ, radio host and music critic Abhi Meer. Abhi also recently started The End f Daze, an old-school vinyl record subscription service.

Khruangbin – Pelota [Dead Oceans]

June 16 – Khruangbin remain an anomaly in the band world. Insanely-popular, universally- adored, yet you’ll nary find a bad word spoken about the trio. And for good reason. As musicians, they’ve never missed a step. They sound sublime on record and somehow go ahead and top that in concert. Supremely self-aware and utterly devoid of pretence, you can almost sense that freedom in their music diluted down to its absolute essence. A smoker’s best friend and a DJ’s delight, they’re what more bands ought to aspire to.

Skyzoo – Memory Serves Me [Mello Music Group]

June 17 – It’s easy to overlook prolific, underground rappers like Skyzoo who keep the pen sharp, the tap open year-round, and don’t switch up production for the hype machine. In this concept EP about fathers, Skyzoo’s cadence harks back to Jigga at his most earnest over a rainy-day rhythm that’s easy to study to and better to smoke to. Zone in on Skyzoo’s bars, about as heady as that Basquiat crown on the sleeve, and you’ll be devouring his discography soon enough.

Private World – Hypnagogia [Dais Records]

June 18 – An artsy little number from Welsh duo Private World, channeling New Romantic- era sophisti-pop for their upcoming release on Dais, pretty much a buy-on-sight label for me over the last decade or so. The Roxy/Spandau influence is unabashed, like the smell of Gauloises and expensive cologne on a white, Ferry-esque dinner jacket. Essential for when the rain hammers down on your windows, and even more essential once it stops.

Roy Ayers, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad – Synchronize Vibration [Jazz Is Dead]

June 19 – As a producer, no one moves air like Adrian Younge. Sure, the likes of Kamasi and Flying Lotus will always get more flowers, but once you’ve moved past the hype, you’ll realise that there isn’t an inessential piece in the Linear Labs catalogue. His current work with Tribe member and frequent-collaborator Ali Shaheed Muhammad for Jazz Is Dead is doing more for the genre’s revival among younger heads than most would care to acknowledge. Last year, already saw Ayers essential Silver Vibrations reissued, but this is ALL-NEW Roy Ayers material and it is OUTSTANDING. I don’t know about you, but I’m with Keb Darge on this. As the loveable Scotsman and BBE-affiliate once said, “if you don’t like Roy Ayers, you can fuck off.”

Amnesia Scanner – AS Acá (feat. Lalita) [PAN]

June 20 – AS performed bits of Tearless at the Atonal last year (a personal highlight from 2019) though it’s really when Daniela Lalita Czenstochowski got on stage that you were rendered the idea that future AS material would be a lot more theatrical. Their reticence in engaging with pop, and to a larger extent, the current cultural climate, has now shattered, giving way to what you’d hope would be THE dirge-trap sound for clubs of the future, particularly on AS Going (feat. LYZZA). But it’s really AS Acá (feat. Lalita) that finds them in their pocket (and mine). Blurring the lines between between avant-pop and industrial music, it’s a timely record that’s sure to age well in a post-COVID world.

GAIKA – Of Saints Ft. TAYHANA [N.A.A.F.I]

June 21 Truthfully, I haven’t waited in anticipation for an album as much this year as I have for the new GAIKA record. This would be a great time to link out to the 2200-word essay I had written about Basic Volume (2018, Warp) on nohero.in, but the Internet’s overlords made sure I couldn’t recover a single word from the blog. TAYHANA, whose Eterna Migración has snuck into nearly every DJ set of mine since the end of 2019, makes a perfect feature on production, balancing out GAIKA’s absolutely fucking gorgeous vocal.

Darkstar – 30 [Warp]

June 22 – Darkstar’s latest full-length on Warp isn’t so much a departure from their traditional sound palette as it is a whittling-down of styles the duo have already explored into one viscid, shoegazey whole. Songs like ‘Jam’ are the obvious early-hours club cuts, but it’s the underrated, hypoxial ambience from the gated reverb on ’30’, featuring a tidy vocal appearance from Laura Groves, that’s a cut above the rest on this altogether very listenable, super ethereal record. ’30’ also folds quite elegantly into the album’s next cut, the radio-friendly ’Wolf’ that’s been out since the beginning of the year.

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