Jean Michel-Blais // il

Posting up a favourite from this beautiful solo piano record by Jean Michel-Blais. ‘il’ is the title track from that new record. Its a beautifully pensive track which takes a lot of influence from Romantic (with a capital R) etudes but at the same time keeping a looseness of time and touch that would expect from jazz. Perhaps a solo Keith Jarrett work or one of his more folk inspired improvisations with Jan Garbarek. I also really like that you can hear this album was recorded on an upright piano. The reverberations, creaking and overtones are what make it such an intimate album.

A beautiful track for a rainy day. If you fancy some more of the same then i’ve got you covered with this playlist

Samm Henshaw // Higher Love

Coming off the back of an absolutely superb EP in 2015, Samm Henshaw has kicked off the year with a new track. Its all about his voice. Stripped back and surrounded by solid piano and a lush string arrangement. Beautiful way to start the year. Higher love indeed.

Make sure to follow it up with this stunning acoustic version of ‘Only Wanna Be With You’. Liquid emotion.

Ollie

Tom Misch // Beat Tape 2

It seems like lots has changed for Tom Misch recently. He’s been quietly building up a following on soundcloud, releasing music here and there. There was the instrumental heavy Beat Tape 1 as well as a stunning collaboration with Carmody, singles like the hypnotic Memory and even a Soulection White Label.  As a result Beat Tape 2 feels like his first album in many ways. We’ve got the non-stop train of music hype to thank for that! However Beat Tape 2 is just a natural next step and extension of his music. The big, and apparently live, ‘proper’ album is still to come.

In many ways Misch wears his influences on his sleeve. He makes beautiful chilled beats seemingly without difficulties and lays lush, jazz indebted, guitar lines over the top. The exciting thing for me about this new release is that he has brought more vocalists in which allows him to show off his production and most importantly his songwriting to a much more satisfying degree.

Wander With Me‘ featuring Carmody on vocals is a wonderful follow up to their EP. It’s catchy as hell and her beautiful voice floats above the surprisingly punchy bass, layered up to form lush harmonies.

GC favourite Jordan Rakei’s contribution on ‘Wake Up This Day‘ is as good as you’d expect with a tightly wound breakdown that sounds straight out of D’Angelo’s live show.

For me the highlight of ‘In The Midst Of It All‘ is how that glockenspiel sits on top of the groove, closely followed by Sam Wills’ vocal.

Alfa Mist is represented as well on the emotional downtempo ‘Hark‘ lending his spacious piano to break up the sound of the album. Its great to hear him here after Tom Misch’s appearance on Mist’s excellent Nocturne from earlier this summer.

There are some great instrumentals on here as well with Misch experimenting more with the sounds and tempos that he used on ‘Sunshine‘ from earlier this year. Overall it’s a great release. The whole thing flows together and rewards a careful listen but at the same time doesn’t demand it. It’s chilled and grooving at the same time and definitely something I’ll be having on repeat.

What’s really exciting is where Misch goes next. I’m still waiting for the first ‘proper album’ and, based on the new ambition on Beat Tape 2, it’s going to be big.

Ollie.

Check out the whole release on spotify or soundcloud and get listening.