Culture, Music

Best EPs of 2016

EPs are to albums what starters are to main courses. Or, at least, that’s how it has traditionally been. These days, EPs take all kinds of forms, from two-track 12” records to mini-albums.

In the past, I’ve included selected EPs within my main album round-up. Now it’s time I gave these releases a spotlight of their own.

Soultress Lianne La Havas, house artists Disclosure and Snakehips, rapper Lizzo, enigmatic R&B singer Abra, and so many more have released some superb EPs. As always, I wanted to include more – especially the aforementioned artists, as I have had many of their tracks on repeat this year. But here’s my choice selection of 10 which have stayed with me, and all offer something special in their own right.

10. Sinead Harnett – Sinead Harnett EP
9. Flawes – Ctrl EP
8. Shakka – The Island EP
7. Throwing Shade – House of Silk EP
6. Marie Dahlstrom – 0.0 EP
5. Kojey Radical – 23Winters EP
4. Jodie Abacus – For Real Life and Not Pretend EP
3. Charlotte Day Wilson – CDW EP
2. Jorja Smith – Project 11 EP
1. Kesley Lu – Church EP

Culture, Music

Masayoshi Fujita – Apologues review

Masayoshi Fujita, by Alexander Schneider (01/06/2015), 02 colour (1920x1080)Japanese vibraphone player, Masayoshi Fujita, may not be using traditional Japanese instruments on his second studio album under his own name, but his music nonetheless feels connected to the culture and traditions of his home nation. Apologues is a porthole to the palace of the mind. An instrumental album of subtle grace that requests your presence, rather than demands it.

Culture, Gaming

Replay: MediEvil 2

MediEvil 2, characters art 02 (1920x1080)Publisher: SCE  Developer: SCE Cambridge Studio  Format: PS1  Release: 2000

It’s ironic, really. For a game about battling ghoulish creatures in typically disquieting surroundings, the scariest part about MediEvil 2 was facing up to its many nightmarish foes. I mean that literally, because lining up the broad sword-swings and crossbow bolts of bony protagonist, Sir Daniel Fortesque, with the rotting, uncoordinated corpses that stand in his way is tougher than juggling with pumpkins.

Culture, Music

BBC Proms: Nils Frahm and AWVFTS review – an evening of alternative orchestral candour

Royal Albert Hall, London

It was as strange as it was humorous. Nils Frahm, the German composer and tonight’s second headline act for Prom 27, Late Night with BBC 6 Music, had retrieved a pair of toilet brushes and had begun using them to beat the strings of his open-topped grand piano. Yet, as is this virtuoso’s way, with each twang and tremble, an inquisitive rhythm took shape.

Culture, Music

Jam of the Week: Sharon Van Etten – Just Like Blood

Sharon Van Etten, press photo, 2015, 01 (770x433)Sharon Van Etten has a voice that stops you in your tracks and holds there, leaving you staring somewhere into the middle distance, as her words float around your head. This Brooklyn-born, singer-songwriter so far has four studio albums to her name – her latest, Are We There, was released just last year. But despite a number of recommendations, Van Etten’s music is not yet in my music library. I know: what have I been doing to myself, right? Plenty of time to change that, thankfully, and what better place to start than her new EP, entitled I Don’t Want to Let You Down?