Artist: Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate
Album: Ali and Toumani
If you don’t own an Ali Farka Toure album your music collection is missing a vital organ. Toure’s music, often described as the DNA of the blues, is exquisitely beautiful and perspicuously orchestrated. On this posthumous release we are treated to the equally brilliant Diabate who joins forces with Toure for the second time before the latter’s death in 2006. It is a mesmerising accomplishment and an essential release for those who have been exposed to the essence of Mali and those who are yet to be treated to top-grade African folk and blues.
Artist: Hot Chip
Album: One Life Stand
Hot Chip are not known for their subtlety. Straddling the blurred stratum of electro-pop and disco-house, the band have galvanised these sound-scapes and emerged as the most satisfying band within their genre. Building on their earlier works, such as the plump and contented ‘The Warning’ and the quadrospazzed on disco biscuits ‘Made in the Dark’, Hot Chip now deliver a collection of sincere, tender and soulful songs on love, bonding and eudemonism. It may sound bland, but it isn’t, ‘One Life Stand’ is a golden opportunity to sink into the undercurrents of a band on the cusp of greatness.
Artist: Massive Attack
Massive Attack have contributed much to contemporary music and the evolution of post-club dystopias. Their early albums, which I now consider a trilogy, were progressive, edgy, disturbing and emotive; complete packages of engaging tracks that sawed your head off then sewed it on again with tender care. Massive Attack post-‘Mezzanine’ have been indulgent, but devoid of that magic dust that was sprinkled liberally over their earlier work. ‘Heligoland’ also misses that magic, even with the resurfacing of Daddy G and a re-engagement with trip hop, the album still falls short, although it has flashes of brilliance that make it a worthy purchase.