The Digest - 3 April 2013

02 Apr 2013

Read the first instalment in our weekly guide to the best new releases.

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The Digest is our new guide to the week's essential releases. Think of it is a regular introduction to the very best (but not necessarily best publicised) new records; a chart to help you navigate new music's shark-infested waters.

This new feature will normally be brought to you every Monday, but the bank holiday has put us out of whack. So for now, go and buy these records - and check back on Monday for a fresh batch.

Charles Bradley - Victim Of Love

Charles Bradley used to make his living as a James Brown impersonator but, since his first release for Daptone more than a decade ago, the Brooklyn artist has been quietly drawing his own thread from soul’s thick heritage. This is a record that is proud of its antecedents (the artwork nods at Marvin with enough vigour to crick its own neck), and that revels in the exploration of well-worn tropes. But above all there is a feeling of Bradley fulfilling a potential deferred - a sense that he is living now what he should have lived then.

Doc Daneeka - Sketches Of You EP

As a DJ Doc Daneeka trades primarily in upbeat house expertly deployed - but Sketches Of You, available as a download for the first time this week, hints at a more experimental bent. This EP is entirely about drums. Opener ‘Day By Day’ is the calling card here, with percussion patterns elongated such that they sound as if they are being played at half speed, and presented so dryly (barely a reverb tail in sight) that they grate delightfully. Throughout the set, though, filters make unexpected swoops and crescendos are never quite resolved, making for a collection satisfyingly inventive enough to warrant close inspection.

Various Artists - Mukunguni: New Recordings From Coast Province, Kenya

This Honest Jon's collection gathers together a set of 14 field recordings made during September 2011 in and around the Kenyan village of Mukunguni. Many of the pieces here are healing songs, played on trays, metal rings, and bottle tops. The collection oscillates between incantatory instrumental minimalism ('Ndema') and startling, unaccompanied vocal harmonies as on 'Chela'. The high points of this oddly affecting record are too many to list here, but start with the heartcracked 'Matatzi', or the Thing-like 'Bung'o'.

Mohammad - Som Sakrifis

While essential Berlin label PAN is most at home in the hinterlands of dance or the bosom of plunderphonics (see Lee Gamble’s landmark Diversions or Joseph Hammer’s phenomenally underrated I Love You, Please Love Me Too respectively), Som Sakrifis sees the label in dourer mood. Mohammad, a Greek trio consisting of cello, contrabass, and oscillators, are concerned with the subterranean. Over the course of three starkly beautiful tracks, not so much monochrome as existing without comprehension of colour, the trio appear as supplicants to some imagined, miasmic god. This is otherworldly music, shorn of the pretense that afflicts so much drone, with only a gently pulsing, grey and white heart left behind.

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