Current Listens: New Hassell, Compiled Underworld

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

This is my weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Last week digitally enhanced trumpeter Jon Hassell announced a new record, Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two), with a single track, “Fearless,” that is everything a longtime fan might hope for, and everything needed to help a novitiate brave the unfamiliar, ever-shifting territory of his glitching, soulful Fourth World. The album is out July 24 on his own label, Ndeya. Pre-order on Bandcamp.

There is a propensity for joy on Markus Floats’ Third Album that is absolutely intoxicating, notably on the the bubbly “Always.” What makes such moments all the more striking is the mass-like seriousness that comprises the majority of this rich, wide-ranging, deeply rewarding collection.

The May 10 Current Listens entry trumpeted a then forthcoming album, Hélène Vogelsinger’s Contemplation, based on the emotional arpeggios of its opening track. The full album came out Friday, and it fulfilled expectations, especially on the vertiginous center track, “Rebirth,” in which rapid-fire pulses pierce a rich, near-ethereal vocal line.

The British duo Underworld released a slew of new material this past year under the title Drift, a constantly expanding collection of experiments that they finally collected into a box set. The box has now been both condensed (in size) and expanded, to collect eight CDs, a Blu-ray disc, and a 50-page booklet, all for about $43 (not including shipping), which seems like quite the deal. The highlight among many highlights is a disc’s worth of collaborations (available separately as well) with the Australian out-there jazz group the Necks, some of my favorite music either group has recorded:

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