Brian Eno – Lux
Ambient music pioneer and reigning master Brian Eno returns to solo work after a string of collaborative efforts. Consisting of four tracks around 19 minutes each, Lux brings to mind earlier works like Discreet Music and The Plateau of Light. This album takes the listener on a dreamlike journey through colours and textures, rather than tangible places, and stays interesting by taking unexpected turns and leaving tensions unresolved.
Crystal Castles – III
While quite different musically, goth-synth group Crystal Castles and Sri Lankan pop-star M.I.A. owe a good deal of their early success to noisy, jarring songs that still allowed plenty of poppy hooks and catchy beats to shine through. On each’s third effort, however, they let the noise take over. Crystal Castles’ III finds lead singer Alice Glass’ vocals largely drowned in dark synths, while some tracks, like ‘Insulin’ and ‘Pale Flesh’, feature beats so jittery and grating as to make them skip-worthy. There is however enough here to keep fans of their previous work happy, with the pretty/sad opener ‘Child I Will Hurt You’ and probable rave hit ‘Sad Eyes’.
Sinkane – Mars
Sudanese born multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab, who has previously worked with indie darlings Yeasayer, Caribou, and Of Montreal, has now made my new favourite beach album. The largely mid-tempo Mars features flourishes of funk, jazz, Afropop, triphop, and Brooklyn indie rock, but sounds wholly like its own thing. While there are no weak tracks, ‘Making Time’ is a highlight with its well-used auto-tune vocals and out-of-nowhere guitar solo from Twin Shadow’s George Lewis. Queue up this disc right after Amadou & Miriam and right before Janelle Monae, make yourself a Sangsom & coke, sit back and enjoy.