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What is a Qobuzissime? It’s an award presented by Qobuz for a first or second album.

Pop or Reggae, Metal or Classical, Jazz or Blues, no genre is excluded. More often than not the award is presented to a newly discovered artist.

Sometimes it might be a particularly quirky or a crossover album from a discography.

The important aspects are uniqueness, sincerity and quality. We look for these things in the recording, the project and the sound identity.





Albums

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Rock - Released June 11, 2021 | EX1 Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Van Halen was certainly the name on many people’s lips in late 2020 and early 2021. Of course, this was mainly due to the unfortunate passing of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen on October 6th, 2020. Now we’re treated to a much more pleasing surprise with the release of his son Wolfgang’s long-awaited first solo album. The term ‘solo album’ really takes on its full meaning here, as the recently turned thirty-year-old plays every instrumental part and has been composing the entire album completely alone since 2015. The only outside help came from producer Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette (Alter Bridge, Slash feat. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators) who took care of the impeccable sound design. But the main attraction of this album lies elsewhere: beyond the musical and vocal performance, it’s the sense of melody that jumps out at you. Like Dave Grohl (a fitting comparison as both can be described as a one-man band), Wolfgang Van Halen hits the nail squarely on the head with strong songs that stick in your head after listening. Mammoth WVH turns almost every track into a potential single, impeccably sung and ready to sing along to all day long. Radio friendly? Absolutely. But these songs, with their lush vocal arrangements and spot on instrumentation, are far from shallow commercial tracks. Wolfgang has clearly understood the importance of avoiding simply following in his father’s footsteps, hence why the (very accomplished) guitar solos only make occasional appearances. The multi-instrumentalist opts to explore other avenues. His experience in Tremonti has of course had a strong influence on his music, but there are many other components which may appeal to fans of alternative rock groups (in the American sense of the word) such as Queens Of The Stone Age, Sevendust and, of course, Foo Fighters. When the album flirts with hard rock, we can hear the influences of the likes of Alice In Chains or Winger’s most recent productions. But, if we delve a little deeper and further back, the genetic lineage of the one-man band’s music can be so clearly traced back to the “four boys in the wind” from Liverpool. The sense of how to make a hit, the sense of chorus and the perfect timing all reflect this strong Beatles influence. Mammoth was the very first name of the band Van Halen, chosen by Wolfgang for his project with the blessing of his illustrious father and the other members of the band. It’s a nice tribute to his roots, but the even better tribute was starting his career with an album of this quality, made on his own, and free of any strong paternal influence. Wolfgang Van Halen owes his (predictable) success to his own talent alone and looks set to keep the mythical Van Halen name shining in his own way. The curious will come to see, but will stay to listen. That’s for sure! © Charlélie Arnaud/Qobuz
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Soul - Released May 21, 2021 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Sensuality is one of the main prerequisites for all soul music, something which Erika de Casier takes to a new level. Before Essentials, her first album which was released on her very own Independent Jeep Music label, the Portuguese-born Dane specialised in bringing dark R&B to the fore as one half of the Saint Cava duo. For her second solo album, Sensational, released on English label 4AD, Erika de Casier talks more about her inner experiences, her regrets and her desires. At the heart of her stylistic make-up lies the legacy of her 90s predecessors, from Aaliyah to Janet Jackson and Brandy among others. And although these famous 20th century voices inhabit the Dane and her style, they certainly do not impede her from venturing into new realms of possibility and sound. Whether it's the Iberian guitars of Someone to Chill With, the violins of Acceptance or the distant UK garage vibes of Drama, this feather-light, cotton-wool-soft album is enhanced with hues which are rare in modern R&B. The fragility of her vocals and the elegance of the production (all co-produced/written with her partner Natal Zaks) make Sensational one of the most original soul albums of the time. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Contemporary Jazz - Released April 30, 2021 | WM Germany

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
In a world that is so fond of reducing and simplifying everything it comes accross, Isfar Sarabski is at risk of being nicknamed "the Azeri Tigran". But the Baku pianist is far from being a photocopy of his Armenian colleague. Of course, he comes from "the East", listens to more than just jazz, and has certainly been influenced by the folk music of his ancestors... But Isfar Sarabski is very much his own artist with his own identity. His first album Planet (a Qobuzissime!) is jazz to the bone both in its approach to improvisation and the exchanges that Sarabski develops with his impeccable rhythm section, composed of two American aces: drummer Mark Guiliana and double bassist Alan Hampton, as well as the way Sarabski integrates space into the music. A student of the prestigious Berklee College of Music and winner of the International Competition of the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2009, the 30-year-old Azeri sometimes shows flashes of Brad Mehldau – the presence of Guiliana helps the comparison – but he also ventures into the classical minimalist approach of the Nils Frahm/Max Richter/Ólafur Arnalds school... The participation of the Main Strings Ensemble and the Baku Strings Quartet amplifies links which are more impressionistic than genetic. Isfar Sarabski also has a strong sense of narrative, as shown with the respect given for Mugham tradition (a mix of jazz and traditional Azeri music largely popularised by the late Vagif Mustafazadeh) on The Edge and Novruz, for which he invited Shahriyar Imanov, a player of the târ, the long-handled lute which is a part of Azerbaijani musical culture. Even when he has fun revisiting an aria from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, he brings a flavour which is all his own. We leave Planet Sarabski with a desire to return as soon as possible, especially since this beautiful acoustic album does not show every side of Sarabski’s talent, as he is also an electro experimenter in his spare time... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Dance - Released March 26, 2021 | Brownswood Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Time machine effect guaranteed! With STR4TA, two old hands of British groove join forces to relight the flame of 80s British funk (think Beggar & Co, Light of the World, Lynx, Atmosfear, Hi-Tension, Freeez and others like Shakatak) and the acid jazz of the 90s: Mauritian guitarist Jean-Paul Maunick - Bluey to his friends - and the Franco-Britannic Gilles Peterson, DJ, producer and head of the Acid Jazz, Talkin’ Loud and Brownswood labels. It’s impossible to talk about their STR4TA project without looking back at the group Incognito who, since 1980, have been the Rolls Royce of British soul; a no nonsense groove machine made up of intergalactic brass and choruses of hooligan-like voices in silk robes with relentless melodies. At the helm of this soul cruise, Bluey concocts a mix of perfectly sweetened ballads and the most sensual dance floor anthems. The guitarist has such a good ear for funk that names as big as Chaka Khan and his idol, George Benson, have called upon him for various productions and sessions.At the start of the 90s, Gilles Peterson introduced the UK to a type of soul that was part jazz and part R&B called acid-jazz. These were the glory days of The Brand New Heavies, Galliano, Young Disciples, Jamiroquai and Incognito, signed of course to Talkin’ Loud. This whole scene was merging Curtis Mayfield with Gil Scott-Heron and Roy Ayers with Stevie Wonder, helped, in the case of Incognito, by the voices of soul goddesses Jocelyn Brown, Carleen Anderson, Maysa and Sarah Brown… Now, in 2021, STR4TA has brought this sound back to life, infused with a dose of smooth jazz, textures worthy of the best Blaxploitation soundtracks and some big fat funk, all complimented by the modernisation of the production. Gilles and JP are joined in their studio by a gang of ex-Incognito groove virtuosos, whether permanent members or passing faces, such as bassists Randy Hope-Taylor and Francis Hylton, keyboardists Matt Cooper and Ski Oakenfull, drummer Pete Ray Biggin, saxophonist Paul Booth and Italian percussionist Francesco Mendolia. Throughout Aspects, all of them allow their sincere joy of playing to shine through, creating a live feel that makes this album all the more enjoyable. With its slapping bass, powerful vintage synths and pin point percussion to punctuate it all, STR4TA ticks all the boxes to set the dancefloor alight and get bodies moving. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 19, 2021 | Lonely Lands Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Make no mistake about it. Behind its mystical cover worthy of a progressive rock band from the 70s, Terra Firma hides the unclassifiable second album from Tash Sultana. Natasha is one of those who started early and alone. At the age of three, her father gave her her first guitar. As a teenager, she roamed the streets of her native Melbourne. Then she conquered the rest of the world in 2016 with the 70 million views for Jungle, the result of her prolific bedroom sessions which she broadcast on YouTube. After three EPs on her own label Lonely Lands, the young Australian released Flow State in the summer of 2018, a pop-soul patchwork from her youth on which she played all the instruments (she has mastered about twenty of them) using loops and effect pedals, her trademark. Since then, she's been filling stadiums and an appearing on front covers, like Rolling Stone magazine with whom she talked about the Stratocaster TC Signature dedicated to her by Fender."Terra firma is the ground and the earth, you put your feet on it to remember where you are, where you come from," says the woman who plans to turn her dazzling success into a long-term career. Further raising the bar, Tash Sultana takes care of the musical arrangement, with the production of her records entrusted in part to Matt Corby. This can be heard from the off with the instrumental Musk, whose lustrous guitars, groovy sax, and catchy bass pave the way for the following 14 tracks that oscillate between soul, R'n'B, funk, folk and suave pop. To arrive at this rich, well-balanced, hypnotic but never redundant blend, which she sees as "a meeting between Aretha Franklin, Bon Iver, John Mayer and others", Tash has had to surround herself with other talented musicians. Thus, we find the rapper Jerome Farah (Willow Tree) and Josh Cashman (Dream My Life Away), both from Melbourne. A masterstroke, at only 25 years old. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz.
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R&B - Released January 29, 2021 | Transgressive

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
The voice of a generation. We pinned it to Bob Dylan who didn't want to hear about it... Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho alias Arlo Parks reacted in the same way when we labelled her the spokesperson of Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2010) after Super Sad Generation, her 2019 EP. Once we move on from this marketing punchline, we can begin to savour Collapsed in Sunbeams, a brilliant debut album that slaloms between R'n'B, light pop and neo trip hop. This is without doubt the deepest record of early 2021... Before writing songs, the Londoner of Chadian, French and Nigerian origin mainly wrote poetry. A big fan of Sylvia Plath, Ginsberg and Nabokov, she was quickly drawn into writing, telling stories (often her own) even before setting them to music. With its title plucked from the pages of Zadie Smith's novel, On Beauty, Collapsed in Sunbeams emphasises Parks' literary passion, which she has now completely turned to music. She tackles break-up (Caroline), unrequited love (Eugene) and addiction (Hurt) with finesse and acuity. Her bittersweet melodies confront often melancholic, sometimes sad lyrics with natural pop energy and a hypnotic voice reminiscent of Martina Topley-Bird (Tricky's ex-girlfriend), Lily Allen (a fan) or Jorja Smith. At only 20 years old, Arlo Parks is the flavor of the month and is likely to be in the limelight for many years to come. A true revelation. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Chill-out - Released January 29, 2021 | Wonderwheel Recordings

Distinctions Qobuzissime
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It's been four years since Jean Dasso alias Yeahman entered the scene, first with his bass music/tropical "Ghetto Sonido" nights in Toulouse, then with the track Miniyamba (featuring the sweet vocals of singers Mina Shankha and Hajna) in 2017, which allowed him to catch the eye of Wonderwheel Recordings. Led from Brooklyn by DJ Nickodemus, the label hosts big names of the "global bass" circuit such as Quantic, Chancha Via Circuito, DJ Khalab or El Buho, and offered its first long format to Yeahman, who, honouring the image of the adventurer, went to record in Dakar, Naples, Marseille and Toulouse.The Frenchman proves right from the opening that he's got something, on the catchy dreamy samba Deelahli, with the almost erased voice of Mina Shankha, then the ultra-smooth Baixi Baixi, accompanied by the two Portuguese sisters of Aluna Project on a charango and a dembow rhythm. But Yeahman also likes square rhythms, like on Soupe au Feu and its chopped string samples, Sakoneta (and its kora made in Dakar) or GLI-F4, all supported by a silky and hypnotic house beat. We find Mina Shankha and Hajna on a cover of the Peruvian cumba standard Cariñito, then Omar Zidia. Singer and guitarist of the Tuareg group Ezza on Ouloullou, before closing this Qobuzissime journey in the Ostriconi (a paradisaical Corsican region) with the folktronica of the British producer Robin Perkins, alias El Búho, Yeahman's new label mate and undoubtedly future travel companion. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Blues - Released January 8, 2021 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Was soul music better before? No!" answers Aaron Frazer's debut album. Spotted as the drummer and co-singer of Durand Jones & the Indications, this young soul brother from Baltimore, now living in Brooklyn, launches his solo career with Introducing..., an impeccable opus with a vintage flavour, produced by the legendary Dan Auerbach. In Nashville's Easy Eye Sound Studio, home to the Black Keys, Frazer's celestial falsetto, influenced by Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield, resounds to perfection. Both conscious and amorous, like all the great fifties and sixties soul singers, he juggles pure love songs and politically charged numbers with ease. His soft voice is a divine whisper, modern and ageless at the same time. A trans-generational cast supports Frazer, ranging from old hands like the Memphis Boys (who made their mark on Dusty Springfield's Son of A Preacher Man and Aretha Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman) to the youngest virtuosos of the Daptone label - Big Crown Records... Gospel, doo-wop, funk and Northern Soul (Over You and its addictive up-tempo beat), Frazer even conjures up the ghosts of Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron on the smooth and funky Bad News. He knows and masters his classics, but his magnificent Introducing... is still very much an album from 2021, not 1961. Like his contemporaries Mayer Hawthorne and Curtis Harding, Aaron Frazer transposes his passion for vintage music into his time. He knows that the beauty of soul is that it cries with you, rejoices with you, makes you want to dance and can also make you think consciously and socially, whether it's 1961 or 2021! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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House - Released December 11, 2020 | Happiness Therapy

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
The name Jesse Bru first appeared in France in 2012. Spotted by Parisian label Karat, run by the DJ/production duo Alex and Laëtitia Katapult, thanks to his micro-house project Hot Keys (with his fellow countryman Ryan Trann), the Vancouver-based producer achieved great success the following year thanks to his club hit Psychedelic Brain Paint, taken from his debut EP Changing for You. The track was a lo-fi house gem, reminiscent of Motor City Drum Ensemble, featuring samples of crowds going wild and Janis Joplin praying (Work Me Lord, Woodstock version). Jesse Bru then set out down the DJ path which unsurprisingly lead him to Berlin where, to satisfy the bookers, he relentlessly produced EP after EP. Two years ago, tired of this cycle of work, he returned to Vancouver to take stock and to ponder something along the lines of a first album.The Canadian had already released an LP with 2012's Mid City, but it was more of a collection of tracks than an album. So, The Coast finally gives us the opportunity to enjoy Jesse Bru in long form, with 15 tracks full of small ideas and real treats. As a former hip-hop producer who fell into electronic music after a stint in Montreal, Jesse Bru has always maintained his taste for sampling. He has been doing more and more self-sampling alongside the cornerstone of his success: a warm palette of colours and sounds. Here that assortment of timbres results in a mix of soulful, New York style House - with jewels like All Day Bae and Workin (Should Be Livin), UK garage (Life's Alright), techno (Lucid Dreaming), jazz and drum'n'bass, as on Cmwtme, a sublime track mixing trumpet and amen break. The album is a sort of tribute to the 90s: "I really like electro, breaks, techno and jungle, and super-emotional music," explains Jesse Bru, who cherishes the liberation that this album represents. "I felt like I was doing the same thing all the time, just stringing EPs together to try and stay relevant on stage". With an album of such a high standard, you almost feel like locking Jesse Bru in his studio.  © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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House - Released December 11, 2020 | Happiness Therapy

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 20, 2020 | Licence Kuroneko - Sodasound

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
First spotted in May 2019 with a two-track debut EP, WOMXN/Time Machine, Gystere was immediately approved by the Trans Musicales de Rennes, where he played with his band in December of the same year. DJ, director and composer, the Frenchman Adrien Peskine, who has in the past, played piano for Cerrone and appeared on ‘Le Grand Journal de Canal’, presents a first album bringing together all his artistic influences in an Afrofunk patchwork record that will leave no one seated. The concept is quite ambitious: "I've always tried to create the type of artist and music I couldn't find in my local clubs," explains Gystere. As a result, he composes a sort of mosaic of music from the 70s and 80s, with Prince-style intros, Supertramp-style melodies, Jimmy Page-style solos, Queen-style backing vocals, but also Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic and Sun Ra influences, for the afrofuturism that haunts the record. Without ever falling into stylistic exercise, Gystere (who composes alone, but records alongside his musicians) manages to transcend all these elements with a funky groove that we can't wait to see live. On paper, it could have gone wrong, but in the end, Gystere is well on his way to becoming one of the French revelations of the year. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Metal - Released November 20, 2020 | Nuclear Blast

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Two years after his departure from his Norwegian band, the former Kvelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik returns with his first solo album, determined to do it his way. With Nattesferd in 2016, the Stavenger natives had offered a third album decidedly more rooted in the heavy and black metal roots that Erlend liked, to the detriment of the punk influences that might have made the charm of the band. It is thus with Welcome To Hel that Erlend decided to load the canons after four years out of the studio. Highly inspired by Viking folklore, this first solo adventure is epic, grandiloquent and above all excellently composed. We find heavy metal mixed with doom and black influences bringing us straight back to Kvelertak's third album, but with a much more assertive intention.From the very first notes of Father War, it is like a charge of bloodthirsty soldiers that comes down on us at a frantic rhythm. The intention of the album is clear: to blend the aforementioned influences of thrash and rock'n'roll. Erlend offers us a masterfully crafted manifesto, full of generous moments both in technique and quivering detail. Yet the frontman does not forget what he does best and thinks of the crowds from all over the world that he will have to tame once on tour. Behind this range of technical skills lies a real sense of lyricism: catchy choruses that one will be delighted to shout once in the pit. We can only bow when the firebrands like Glory of Hel, Kveldulv or North Tsar come to grab us so as not to let us go. Special mention to the two guests of the album: Matt Pike (Sleep / High on Fire) and Mike Scalzi (Slough Feg) who bring with them an umpteenth dose of testosterone, as if it was needed.Inspired, accessible and a true manifesto of war, Welcome To Hel is an incredible ride from start to finish. Handling its influences as few know how, the rock'n'roll discharge tinged with heavy, black, doom and thrash is one of the best metal releases of the year. Maxime Archambaud/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
"Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice" (‘Old marvellous land of nursery tales’): These few words describe the irresistible and striking interpretation of Ravel's Shéhérazade, now of a bygone era. The timbral lows and highs radiate from Egyptian soprano Fatma Said’s voice. Her exemplary diction shines. Each word is intelligible and each sound exists to colour the word, emphasising its meaning. Nobody would have thought that the singer’s extremely versatile musicality – reminiscent of Regine Crespin’s vibrant performances – would find an even greater versatility in the orchestral version, with Malcolm Martineau’s beautifully timbred and precise piano occasionally slowing things down.The program completely immerses itself in Spain, with Rafael Aguirre’s subtle guitar substituting itself for Martineau’s piano. Other facets of Fatma Said’s voice are her musical agility and ethereal spirit, which are revealed in the two Falla pieces. The Canción de Marinela by José Serrano, where her voice thickens, will remain an unforgettable moment of sweet sensuality. It's easy to start dreaming of Said exploring some other roles in zarzuelas, for which she would be divine! The three songs by Federico García Lorca, excerpts of the 13 Canciones españolas antiguas, are rather modest and of a noble elegance, even in the carnal arabesques of Nana de Sevilla. This is the perfect transition for the ‘Arabic’ songs that Fatma Said chooses next.She introduces, for example, a pretty melody from Egyptian composer Gamal Abdel-Rahim (1924-1988), before flying off into the gorgeous Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe by Bizet where Burcu Karadağ's nev (a sort of reed flute) improvises in counterpoint alongside the vocals. The last four pieces return to the Egyptian and Lebanese standards, in a jazzy and nostalgic atmosphere. This is a captivating album with overwhelming emotion! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 2, 2020 | Heavenly Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
Sharp, dry and unyielding, the neo-post punk scene, making waves in the UK, is hitting the dance floors thanks to Working Men’s Club. With their first album, Eponym, the young quartet from Todmorden, near Manchester, reignite the flames that once burned with New Order (Power, Corruption & Lies), The Fall, Human League, Gang of Four, D.A.F and Suicide. The young frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant sets the scene: ‘There isn’t much to do in Todmorden when you’re a kid. The Town is quite isolated and it can be very depressing to live in a place where, in winter, sunlight only lasts a few hours.' Locked in his room, Minsky-Sargeant spent his time tinkering with and mixing synthesisers, guitars and drums. The record blends chanting vocals, Stakhanovite rhythms, sickly guitar riffs and massive bass sounds. It's easy to lose control of one's body as it grooves and contorts to the rhythm of this unusual acid electro-rock, often reminiscent of early LCD Soundsystem. Minsky-Sargeant sports a t shirt marked with the word ‘SOCIALISM’ as the group christen their song John Cooper Clarke (the ever-popular punk poet), lighting up the grey skies of their native Yorkshire. Occasionally, Minsky-Sargeant relaxes into hedonistic new wave with tracks like Outside. But when he loses his temper, the electro-funk-tinged disco punk oozes from his soul (Teeth). This is a truly stunning record with impressively tight production, courtesy of Ross Orton (The Fall, M.I.A, Arctic Monkeys). No time to lose, have a listen! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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R&B - Released October 2, 2020 | Haliblue Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
With Goldress, their first EP released in February 2020, Alban and Yvan, under the alias YellowStraps, had already set the bar high. On the album cover they posed like well-behaved school children, standing upright, heads draped in gold satin. The eight tracks of the well-conceived neo-soul record were full to the brim and echoed the likes of Maverick Sabre, Daniel Caesar and even King Krule. Such maturity at such a young age is rare! But it is important to note that the two brothers, who grew up in Uganda before moving to Belgium, had been immersed in the Brussels scene for some time, mingling with the likes of Romeo Elvis and producer Le Motel. Inspired by the 2020 lockdown, the duo undertook this new project for which they would produce one piece of music per day and collaborate extensively with other musicians online. The project, entitled Yellockdown Project, is a clear success with 13 tracks featuring guests from all over the musical sphere. From neo-soul to rap, this project allowed the brothers to broaden their musical horizons and open themselves up to future collaborations. The record features the likes of Crayon, Lord Esperanza and Jae Luna. The only difference from their previous record, Goldress, is that here the brothers take the leap to French lyrics on a few tracks, such as Raison, Visage, Frissons and Si Tu Savais. This record is a real gem which highlights YellowStraps' huge potential and puts the Belgian music scene back on the map. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 25, 2020 | Capitane Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Behind his ordinary name, Nicholas Michaux writes and produces distinctively original songs. After the failure of his band ‘Ete 67’, he decided to pursue a solo career, releasing ‘A La Vie, A la mort’ on ‘Tot ou Tard’ records. His latest offering, ‘Amour Colère’ released under Capitane records, further develops his rather sentimental outlook on daily life. On ‘Cancer’ the Belgian native, who shares his life experiences living between Brussels and the Danish Island Samsø, plays with clever language to better come to terms with the disease. The album is written partly in English, partly in French, with Michaux poetically jumping in and out of both languages. His vocal style, melancholic, unobtrusive and always simple, is reminiscent of Alain Bashung’s longingly soothing vocals. Eclectic yet brilliantly homogeneous, this record blends classic French ‘chanson’ (A nouveau) with romantic pop (Amour Colère, Nos retrouvailles), tonic (Parrot), romantic post punk (Every Word, Harvesters) and even glam rock (Factory)! The production is basic and doesn’t offer the sheen of modern pop music, however this isn’t to say the quality is poor! Quite the opposite! This album is beautifully tireless, offering skillfully poetic verses and gentle yet driven choruses. It is a pleasure to listen to such exquisite, well dressed language. A True gem of an album! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 11, 2020 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Super groups are often over marketed and rather dull. However, this appears to be the complete opposite with Artemis’s debut album, released on Blue Note Records. Behind the Artemis name, Greek Goddess of nature, the hunt and childbirth, are seven internationally acclaimed female musicians, each masters of their craft. At the head of this multi generational roundup, the Canadian pianist and musical director of the project, Renee Rosnes has brought together the Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen, the Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, the Canadian trompettiste Ingrid Jensen, the Japanese double bassist Noriko Ueda, the American drummer Allison Miller, and on two tracks, the Franco-American vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. ‘Each member of Artemis is a unique individual, and this is what music needs, artistic versatility!’, explains Cohen. ‘It’s the people that make life interesting and that make music captivating’. The group’s identity has flourished organically thanks to the seven musicians, each expressing their own vison and perspective yet maintaining a strong homogeneity throughout the record. For Jensen, ‘the character of the Greek Goddess Artemis reveals the energy and the broad musical horizons that our band brings on stage’. This is where the success of the record, focused on natural unification, shines. This vast album, comprised mainly of original compositions also features eclectic covers of The Fool On The Hill by the Beatles, Cry Buttercup, Cry, popularised by Maxine Sullivan, The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan and If It’s Magic by Stevie Wonder. Expert in her field, Renee Rosnes’ musical arrangements capture and cement the artistic creativity of each member. This super group, entirely female in its line-up, sends a strong message to the male dominated jazz world. Artemis’ music is beautiful, intelligent, and challenges the preconceived ideas of the jazz genre. ©️ Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released August 21, 2020 | Concord Jazz

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Qobuzissime
Although this release is Nubya Garcia's first real solo album, the artist is accustomed to being showered with praise, awards, prizes, projects and collaborations. At 29 years old, the Londoner is undoubtedly one of the major players on the new British jazz scene and her colourful, full-bodied saxophone playing has already resonated on numerous recordings such as those of the groups Nérija and Maisha, and on two thirds of We Out Here (2018), the iconic compilation album from Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label which united the big names on the contemporary scene. It is with some of these musicians that she has recorded Source. Joined by Joe Armon-Jones (keys), Daniel Casimir (bass) and Sam Jones (drums), Garcia was certainly well-equipped to push the boundaries of contemporary jazz and the UK music scene. As is often the case with contemporary UK musicians, Afro-Caribbean and urban sounds come to influence the rhythms as well as the melodies. Such a fusion is often present in UK jazz albums which also have their own unique flavours. The influence of Herbie Hancock (from the Headhunters period/early Columbia Records) is never far away (Inner Game, The Message Continues). This sensation is amplified by the funky playing of the organ and synth magician, Joe Armon-Jones.But Nubya Garcia is hungry for other sounds and landscapes. On the title track Source, the dub influence is clear. On Together is a Beautiful Place To Be, she deploys a delicate soul and R&B sensuality. Stand With Each Other slaloms between spellbinding nyabinghi rhythms while the aptly named La cumbia me està llamando leaves no doubt as to its influences… All of these sequences paint the picture of a woman well anchored in her time, a musician who is in harmony with her roots and history and puts the notion of collectiveness at the forefront of her artistry. Garcia's notable invitees include Richie Sievwright, Cassie Kinoshi and Sheila Maurice-Grey from the group Kokoroko, the Colombians of La Perla (La cambia me està llamando) as well as Chicago singer Akenya Seymour (Boundless Beings). With this Qobuzissime winning album, Nubya Garcia succeeds in going that little bit further and breaking down the walls that try to hold jazz back. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released July 3, 2020 | Duchess Box Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
A few seconds of Freier Geist is all it takes for Sofia Portanet to transport us from 2020 to 1980. Despite being born at the end of 1989 and never having lived through the era, the German singer’s Qobuzissime debut album breathes new life into Neue Deutsche Welle. The ‘80s was a time when Nina Hagen reigned over Europe’s new wave and post-punk with high energy and madness and Kraftwerk was greatly expanding its audience. It was a time characterised by D.A.F.’s marching beats, the romantic ravings of Kate Bush, Toyah and Lene Lovich and the quirky pop of Falco and Rita Mitsouko. All of these artists are dear to Sofia Portanet, who was born in Kiev, grew up in Paris and now lives in Berlin. Singing as brilliantly in German as she does in English and French, she also finds inspiration in great voices who mixed film, theatre and cabaret, such as Ingrid Caven and Hildegard Knef. To summarise, without all of these references, the enchanting Freier Geist finds the perfect balance between longing for the ‘80s (even if you didn’t live through them) and glints of modernity. But above all, it’s the power of Sofia Portanet’s music that makes it so intoxicating. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 12, 2020 | Virgin Music UK LAS (S&D)

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
To Love Is To Live is Jehnny Beth’s debut full length solo album, but the record is a new step in her really dense career. Jehnny Beth used to be half of the duet John & Jehn; she made her breakthrough as the Savages’ lead singer and has collaborated with such musicians as Gorillaz (We Got the Power) and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas (Boy/Girl). In films, she has worked with Catherine Corsini (Un Amour impossible) and Alexandre Astier (Kaamelott). She’s a radio host (Start Making Sense for Beats 1) and a TV host (Echoes on Arte) and also a writer, who will soon publish her first collection of erotic short stories entitled C.A.L.M.: Crimes Against Love Memories, illustrated by Johnny Hostile’s photographs.Jehnny Beth’s prolific inspiration, made of style, sounds, emotions, and contextual encounters is at the center of To Love Is To Live. She hired Atticus Ross, Flood, and Johnny Hostile to produce and take care of a large part of the record’s instrumentation. It is post-punk, industrial new wave, electronic cold wave and viscerally dark rock at the same time. Sometimes, it even sounds like a make-believe movie soundtrack. The album is a mixture of contrasts enhanced by the guest performances of Romy Madley Croft from xx, actor Cillian Murphy, and Idles’ singer Joe Talbot.Throughout the record, ideas are pouring, as the French musician transitions from the ultra-violent industrial punk song How Could You, recorded with Talbot, to her sensual piano playing on the dreamlike ballad Countryside. But despite this assumed eclecticism, To Love Is To Live is always coherent in its feel. It is an instant Polaroid picture of our complex world, full of tensions, uncertainties, and wonderings about sexual identities, extreme politics, and collective hopes for the future. This picture looks like Jehnny Beth, it is both strong, as impressive as the album cover created by Tom Hingston (who previously worked with Massive Attack on Mezzanine), and deeply sensitive. The album opens with a song entitled I am. It concludes with Human. I am Human: a perfect circle. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz