Nick Hakim's debut EP has just landed on my desk this week, and I feel like I've been sleeping on a musical giant. The EP, 'Where Will We Go' has just been reissued by ATO, having been originally self released on Nick's own imprint, Earseed Records.
A Taste Of The Music...
Having the broadest range of influences, spanning from Madlib to Screaming Jay Hawkins, the variety of Nick's eclectic taste becomes self evident in his music. The track 'I don't know' is rich with jazz-drenched vocal harmonies and smooth blues guitar licks. The rawness and rasp of his voice are it's defining feature, while the guitar meanders in the background so subtly as to be barely present at all. His song-writing ability is highlighted by the unique lo-fi sound of his recordings. And having made the EP in his bedroom on a 4 track cassette, it's no wonder why. The track was picked up by Giles Peterson on his 'Brownswood Bubblers' series.
My personal favourite track is 'Heaven', in which Nick strips back his sound to the purest form of guitar and vocal. The harmonies are reminiscent of a D'angelo classic, while bringing the rawness and noise of a bedroom recording akin to a Royce Wood Junior demo. Having received plaudits including NPR Music and the New York Times, it's no wonder that ATO have picked him up and are bringing us his debut studio album next month.
The Upcoming Album...
'Green Twins' can be described as a sum of it's parts, originally composed of recorded clips and scraps of paper. He took these bits to engineer Andrew Sarlo who, in close conjunction with Nick, developed them into full studio tacks. Sarlo comments that, “for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in.”
Onwards and Upwards...
I have no doubt that big things are coming for this artist. The new album is due for release May 19th, with tour dates throughout 2017. The London gig is at KOKO on November 8th.
You can find out about the album and upcoming tour on his website, and there's plenty more info at ATO Records.
The London music scene never ceases to impress, and there are moments when you can't help but feel truly proud to be in this city. With the release of Moses Boyd's 'Rye Lane Shuffle' and forthcoming album, this is one of those moments.
Described as London's answer to Art Blakey, Moses Boyd combines his mastery of the drums with experimental composition and skilled modern production to provide the complete package, and he doesn't disappoint on any count. The swelling brass arrangements and accomplished solos are carried along smoothly by that rolling drum track provided by the man himself. All this is brought together expertly by Floating Points and Four Tet on the desk, demonstrating the kind of mixdown mastery that you come to expect from this pair. The only thing left wanting is another ten minutes of effortless soloing, but I'm prepared to wait for the live performance to have that wish fulfilled.
Having already secured a MOBO in 2015 for best Jazz act, Moses Boyd has made his grand entrance to the scene. And with plaudits ranging from Gilles Peterson to Lonnie Liston Smith you know this man is gonna go far.
From increasingly popular Mississippi Records comes another fine compilation from the heart of Africa. Although actually out in 2013, the Rook Records team has embarrassingly just stumbled across this one. Featuring the likes of Mulatu Astatqe and Getatchew Kassa, this LP never ceases to surprise. Take some rusty saxophones and lo-fi rhythm sections, add in some hard funk breaks and the occasional tribal drum and you've found out what Assiyo Bellema is all about.
There seems to be a resurgence of this particular brand of African music these days, and long may it continue. With the likes of Madlib and Oh No ripping these breaks in recent years, we've seen people from across the musical spectrum checking out these artists. Who'd have thought in the 2010's would be the era for old African funk breaks. And thanks to the likes of Mississippi Records, these rare gems are being reissued on wax all the time.
Watch this space for more releases along these lines. In the meanwhile, this album will be back in stock next week so make sure to grab a copy.