James Blake | Assume Form
Thank God James Blake has returned, deep into the winter when his music is most needed. Thank God he’s smashed it as well because this album is phenomenal. I wouldn’t quite say it’s an album that bangs hard in the way his previous efforts have but the beauty in the production and songwriting is clear to hear. Interesting to hear what could only be described as a relatively happy James Blake, demonstrated on tracks like Can’t Believe The Way We Flow and Barefoot In The Park (ft. ROSALIA) but don’t worry there’s still plenty of mood throughout the album.
Final Thoughts | Features are hard, production is madness, hits next level as a singer/songwriter
Best Bits | Tell Them (ft Moses Sumney & Metro Boomin), Can’t Believe The Way We Flow, Barefoot In The Park (ft. ROSALIA)
ROSALIA | El Mal Querer
For me ROSALIA won 2018, will probably win this year for me as well and was 100% worthy of her BBC Sound of 2019 nomination. The music videos from this album blow everyone else out the water visually but lets focus on the album. It’s wonderfully crafted and with 11 tracks over 30 min you feel satisfied but definitely aching for more. The production is never over the top but subtly powerful and true to her artistry. Combine that with amazing songwriting in a language I don’t even understand shows how talented she is. Also you can’t talk about this album without mentioning what a phenomenal vocalist ROSALIA is, just listen to QUE NO SALGA LA LUNA (the second track) and you can hear power you would never expect after the opening banger MALAMENTE. That’s what this album does exceptionally well, always taking you by surprise whether it’s by purely orchestral backing like RENIEGO or through the Spanish Justin Timberlake Cry Me A River verses in BAGDAD. I could go on and on.
Final Thoughts | Border breaking Flamenco R&B, spine chilling vocals, incredible statement promising an exciting future for a potential global superstar
Best Bits | DI MI NOMBRE, MALAMENTE, BAGDAD
(thanks Dan for bringing this into my life ^.^)
Toro y Moi | Outer Peace
Wasn’t sure quite what to expect from this project but I had a good feeling that it would be groovy and wavy. I was not disappointed. I haven’t rinsed it as much as the above projects but it opens so well, maybe dips slightly in the middle but finished strong and a bit harder than I expected. ABRA was my favourite feature on this and I’ll definitely be checking out some more of her stuff. I feel like this came out a couple months too early as I could easily groove on this over spring and rinse the singles over summer. Having said that the upbeat production is contrasted nicely with some heavier lyricism so maybe I’m just talking rubbish.
Final Thoughts | Will pick you up at the end of a long day, feels like when spring turns into summer, consistently funky and will make you move
Best Bits | Fading, Ordinary Pleasure, Freelance
Jungle | For Ever
Lets get my mixed feelings for this album out the way. There are definitely a several tracks that I couldn’t really care less for like the opener Smile, House In LA, Home and (More & More) It Ain’t Easy. The thing is that they sound nice and some of the got good groove but I just feel like I can’t really get into it. This is probably because the good in this album has been an unreal experience that I just haven’t been able to shake. A song like Casio you just know is amazing from the instant you hit play. Also the amazing beat influenced production in a song like Cosurmyne just packs so much emotion that it complements the song perfectly. I could rinse the good tracks here for the rest of my life.
Final Thoughts | The best is up there with all time favourites, great to hear hip-hop chops and disco merge, whatever track Jungle have got a solid artistic identity
Favourite Tracks | Casio, Cosurmyne, Beat 54 (All Good Now)