Another year with some great music, but yet another year where skinny white boys with guitars were eclipsed by a more diverse range of musicians, working across genres, crossing jazz, soul, hip hop and funk.
La Chica La Lobo
La Lobo was a mini album from French-Venezuelan singer La Chica, with great pop tunes matched with minimalist and haunting music. Very odd and brilliant.
Little Simz: Sometimes I might be an Introvert
No surprise that Little Simz produced one of the best albums of the year, and the best gig I went to in 2021.
Greentea Peng Man Made
The press release for this album described it as “psychedelic R’nB”, which is about as good a label as anything. Some hip-hop, some neo-soul, and a spaced out trippy vibe. A really great sounding record.
Jane Weaver Flock
Jane Weaver has been making odd psychedelic pop records for a long time without ever really bothering pop fans. This is a much more pop oriented release, but still strange and very trippy. Sounds a lot like Broadcast who I loved.
Floating Points/Pharaoh Sanders Promises
Minimalist and meditative a collaboration between electronica artist Floating Points and veteran jazz sax player Pharaoh Saunders. Calming and beautiful
Emma Jean Thackray Yellow
Leeds based trumpeter who graduated form Yorkshire brass bands to jazz bandleader. This is jazz funk, but the good kind of jazz funk, early 70s consciousness funk with jazz arrangements. Lovely stuff.
Sons of Kemet Black to the Future
British jazz is on the up at the moment with young jazz musicians making music that spans genres. The bass is provided by Theon Cross, a jazz tuba player whose on solo album this year is superb.
Gaye Su Akyol
An EP this year from Gaye Su Aykol. Her music updates the Anadolu psychedelic rock sound of the early 70s, and her outspoken support for LGBT+ rights makes her stand out in Erdogan’s Turkey.
Alewya only has a few tracks out so far, but has all of them has been amazing. Superb live act.