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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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Could We Be More

Kokoroko

Jazz - Released August 5, 2022 | Brownswood Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Fans of the current London scene have known the name for a few years. However, Kokoroko had the good sense to take their time before recording their first full album. Many discovered the collective founded by trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey and percussionist Onome Edgeworth through the swaying ballad ‘Abusey Junction’ which closed We Out Here (Qobuzissime), a brilliant 2018 compilation which put the focus on the aforementioned bubbling scene in the British capital... Since their formation around 2014, Kokoroko have undergone some stylistic evolution. Though bringing Afrobeat into the 21st century was their initial goal, we were soon treated to a pile-up of jazz, funk, dub, soul, Caribbean music and psychedelia. With one foot in the African continent (especially Nigeria and Ghana) and the other in a culturally diverse London, Kokoroko build up the power of their compositions by leaning them against an ultra-solid rhythm section around which gravitates a hypnotic groove, often sizzling brass, quite subtle melodies and, when necessary, beautiful vocal harmonies. Could We Be More is filled with a diversity of sounds, percussive textures and instrumental virtuosity. The approach is insistently collective, the effervescence is constant, and the recording was conceived as an album rather than a simple stringing together of moods. There is a real conceptual ambition on Could We Be More, as well as a will to reflect an era, the state of the world and the way its inhabitants think. Kokoroko are not content to simply pass on the legacy of their predecessors - such as Fela Kuti, the Jazz Warriors or Earth, Wind & Fire - but rather strive to continue to write history and help to shape its future. As Ornette Coleman once said: Tomorrow is the question! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Not Tight

DOMi & JD BECK

Contemporary Jazz - Released July 29, 2022 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
The hype and buzz surrounding Domi & JD Beck's debut album long before its release should be quickly forgotten. Nor should we dwell too long on the almost 'too perfect' five-star cast of guests (Thundercat, Anderson .Paak, Mac DeMarco, Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Kurt Rosenwinkel). Because Domitille Degalle and James Denis Beck are not just two young prodigies... with Domi on keyboards, James on drums, these names will not have been forgotten by the end of 2022. The music that the Frenchwoman and the Texan sculpt throughout Not Tight (published both on Blue Note and on Apeshit, Anderson Paak's new label) is unlike any other. The 70s jazz-fusion and the light funk that they meld together are at the heart of their universe, but they also feed on a thousand other sounds, from drum'n'bass to J Dilla beats, some classical punctuations here and some soul, pop, hip-hop or smooth jazz diversions there.Between the hysteria of JD Beck's syncopated rhythms and the fluidity of Domi's melodies, it is in the uniqueness of their musical collages that the duo imposes their difference. The variations between the totally frenetic improvised instrumental sequences (Sniff or the title Not Tight), the mellow interludes (Duke) or the ugly and groovy soul'n'rap nuggets (Pilot with Snoop, Busta and Anderson Paak) can sometimes be confusing. But these changes of scenery don't prevent you from savouring this first Qobuzissime album in one go, as if you were listening to a very personal playlist. A 360° trip where everything is possible and where the heritage of the past is a powerful fuel and not a framework to be religiously respected. A real revelation! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Loggerhead

Wu-Lu

Alternative & Indie - Released July 8, 2022 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Oppressive, aggressive, abrasive… you’ve got to be a little bit nuts to enter the world of Loggerhead. This is the first proper album from Miles Romans-Hopcraft (alias Wu-Lu) and it doesn’t offer listeners anywhere to hide. The fact that the album has been released on Warp, a label with a very sharp editorial policy, is warning enough that Loggerhead will heckle your brain and body as well as your ears. The first few minutes of this album include smoky chords laid over an almost dreamy beat, completely disguising the impending tsunami of sound… From grunge (Times) to grime, drum & bass (Facts, Blame) to hip-hop, metal to trip hop; Wu-Lu wasn’t afraid to take risks on his first release and has expertly mixed these opposing ingredients together. Those who’ve been following the Londoner from Brixton for several years will be familiar with Ginga, his 2015 EP on which he opted for soulful, instrumental hip hop⁠—light years away from the screaming rage of Loggerhead…The embodiment of skate culture and freedom, Wu-Lu is part of a generation of British multi-instrumentalists capable of switching from an MPC to a drum kit to an old vintage synth in the snap of a finger. On this new release, he’s also joined by a rapper (Lex Amor on South), a violinist/producer (the incredible Mica Levi on Calo Paste) as well as other musicians who are as elusive as he is (Morgan Simpson and Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin from the band Black Midi make an appearance on numerous tracks). No blinkers, no boundaries! Following in the footsteps of incredible artists such as Flying Lotus, DJ Shadow, J Dilla and Madlib, Wu-Lu kneads and sculpts each sound, instrument and beat into unexpected shapes. He then riddles them with politically charged lyrics, tackling global crises, gentrification, alienation, racism and just about any other modern-day issue you can think of. Loggerhead is as complex as the times we live in. This is a strong release by a shape-shifting artist who’s bound to go on to great things. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Mil Coisas Invisíveis

Tim Bernardes

Alternative & Indie - Released June 14, 2022 | Psychic Hotline

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Tim Bernardes' second solo album, Mil Coisas Invisíveis (2022) follows Recomeçar, which was considered one of the best albums of 2017 by Brazilian critics. Before going solo, Tim Bernardes had emerged in the indie scene with the trio O Terno, but it was after Recomeçar that the spotlight shone on him, allowing him to work with big names like Gal Costa, Maria Bethânia and Fleet Foxes. Composed between 2018 and 2020, Mil Coisas Invisíveis invites us, in 15 tracks, to penetrate the brain, traumas and memories of Tim, who exposes with vulnerability his love, his relationships and existential questions.The album opens with the single 'Nascer, Viver, Morrer' ("To be born, to live, to die"), which launches the philosophical discussion, while 'Meus 26' sums up the feeling that permeates the whole album: "Caught between an end and a new beginning." On 'BB' (Garupa de Moto Amarela), 'Realmente Lindo', 'Olha' and 'Velha Amiga', Tim Bernardes evokes the different phases of love, from the enchanting beginnings to the break-up, around a more minimalist orchestration, and which sometimes even flirts with soul as on 'Felta.' A charming album that has all the qualities to finish at the top of the lists at the end of the year. A well-deserved Qobuzissime. ©️ Nathália Padua - Bananas/Qobuz
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Lost Paradises

Jodyline Gallavardin

Classical - Released June 10, 2022 | Scala Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
It's a revelation. Not one of those spectacular ones that leave you stunned like after a boxing match. No, Jodyline Gallavardin is not the type of person to go overboard, preferring to rely on her airy phrasing, her sense of resonance and her skilful understanding of the scores of Cowell, Sibelius, Granados and all the other composers in this programme. After all, her first album, Lost Paradise, was "intended as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of our times, from the pervasive noise." Her recital invites contemplation and relaxation. If there is a revelation then, it is gentle, bewitching, almost hypnotic. The pianist, who graduated in 2015 from the CNSMD in Lyon, has very quickly woven her web in the piano forest and emerges, charming and enchanting, on the French, Italian and Swedish stages. There is a certain audacity in opening this disc with the millennial, even archaic, outbursts of Cowell's Three Irish Legends. It takes a solid coherence of style to then branch off into Sibelius' sylvan walks (Five Trees Op.75) with such naturalness. Jodyline Gallavardin, a mark of immense talent, manages to bring together the worlds of seven composers, who are in fact very different, while maintaining a strong guideline, that of suspended time and dreamlike meditation. Under her fingers, Sibelius' pieces conjure up a magnificent pastoral universe of trees, streams and mossy rocks, while Amy Beach's Hermit Trush becomes a free and dreamy walk. As for Schubert, he has never been so romantic and languid. The pages of Granados, Séverac and Ravel that follow benefit from the same choice of treatment. Gallavardin combines the intelligent construction of the programme with a total dedication to the emotion contained in each of the works she performs here with the utmost sensitivity to offer us an album that has certainly not stolen its Qobuzissime. © Pierre Lamy/Qobuz
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Versions of Modern Performance

Horsegirl

Alternative & Indie - Released June 3, 2022 | Matador

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
As great as the latest wave of '90s nostalgia, especially by young female artists, is, a lot of it tends toward the lo-fi bedroom vibe. Horsegirl, however, has surprising muscle, heft and depth. Which is even more incredible when you realize the members are so young that one of them is only just graduating from high school not long after their debut album arrives. The Chicago trio—formed out of School of Rock classes—knows their stuff: They reportedly cite My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth (including Kim Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band) and the documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke as influences that brought them together, and they chose to work with legendary indie-rock producer John Agnello, known for his work with Dinosaur Jr., The Breeders and Kurt Vile. But all that name-dropping would mean nothing if they didn't have the chops to back it up. And these three definitely do. It's evident from the dreamy drone of opener "Anti-Glory," with Nora Cheng's measured, almost droll delivery—not unlike Paul Banks of Interpol—getting a jolt of energy from the spiky, sparky call of "Dance dance dance with me!" She deadpans like Kim Gordon on the clever "Billy" ("Billy recounts all the time he spent on counting change/ The changes that he never made will make him wish he stayed and prayed"). That giddy-noise song came about, the band has said, because Penelope Lowenstein (the trio's other guitarist/vocalist) had been reading about Nick Drake's alternate guitar tunings and they'd been listening to old Flying Nun releases. It's fascinating to hear the band discover history. "You're just like honey and heaven, too," goes love song "World of Pots and Pans," referencing the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Cure (or maybe the Dinosaur Jr. cover) in one breath. Then they flip a Gang of Four lyric on its head: "Sometimes I'm thinking that I lust you/ But I know it's only love." (The title is inspired by a misheard Television Personalities' lyric.) Both "Option 8" and the shoegazey "Beautiful Song" can trace their roots to Dinosaur Jr.'s swirling guitars, while the excellent "Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)"—and its rumbling, rolling drums from Gigi Reece—recalls Bettie Serveert, only with Lowenstein and Cheng's voices hypnotically intertwining. "The Fall of Horsegirl" feels feverish, while "Live and Ski" is ramshackle in the best way. There are great Instrumentals, too: "Bog Bog 1" is like being in a dream haze, while "Electrolocation 2" sounds oceanic: a moody undertow pulling you beneath the surface. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Pursuit of Ends

High Pulp

Contemporary Jazz - Released April 15, 2022 | Anti - Epitaph

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
The current era loves atypical bands eradicating stylistic barriers. The era will love High Pulp. Because even if this young collective from Seattle was built on a common passion for jazz, the language they speak throughout the forty minutes of Pursuit of Ends goes far beyond. As they say themselves, Rob Homan (keyboards), Antoine Martel (keyboards, guitars), Andrew Morrill (alto saxophone), Victory Nguyen (flute, saxophone, trumpet), Scott Rixon (bass) and Bobby Granfelt (drums) recognize themselves as much in Miles Davis and Duke Ellington as in Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine. And it is indeed solid cables that High Pulp stretches between bop and post-rock, electro and pop, jazz-fusion and new wave. Their exclusively instrumental soundtrack which resounds on this Qobuzissime—awarded debut, leans especially on a faultless melodic framework, itself solidly propped up against a fascinating rhythmic structure. One often thinks of the autonomous music of mad scientists like the late David Axelrod—another of High Pulp's idols—whose compositions, with vintage and futuristic flavors, have the shape of real music for fake films. It is in this loss of spatiotemporal reference points that Pursuits of Ends becomes fascinating. When its brass instruments wrap themselves around hypnotic grooves ("Kamishinjo"), when the clock does not indicate any time, and the calendar, no date.  Supported by some guests like Jaleel Shaw (Roy Haynes, Mingus Big Band), Brandee Younger (Ravi Coltrane, The Roots), Jacob Mann (Rufus Wainwright, Louis Cole) and trumpet player Theo Croker, the American collective makes a rather remarkable entry on today's jazz scene. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Unlearning

Walt Disco

Alternative & Indie - Released April 1, 2022 | Lucky Number

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
After the self-released EP Young Hard and Handsome in September 2020, which included the brilliant 'Hey Boy (You're One of Us)', Walt Disco signed to Lucky Number for their first full-length. The Glasgow six piece, who all met at a party in 2016, wasted no time. Collectively inspired by love, androgyny and the present-day, the young Scots take inspiration from artists such as Scott Walker, David Bowie, fellow countrymen Orange Juice and Associates as well as SOPHIE and Arca, wrapping their prose in an eloquent mix of 80's post-punk, glam rock and futuristic pop. The look, as well as the music, does not dive into the past, quite the opposite. The former Glasgow University students simply draw inspiration from the past in order to tell the story of a youth that feels constricted and cramped in a narrow-minded era. “Our music has got theatre and glamour to it; it’s never really understated. The best review we ever got was someone saying: Walt Disco should rewrite The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, says singer James Potter.Unlearning, which should have been called Unlearning The Perfect Life, is about deconstruction and freedom. “You say we're stupid, I say you're old/Since when did you grow so stupidly cold?/Stuck in the past, you lost yourself there/And let us be young/Young, hard, and handsome, darling”, sings James over the prominent bass line of 'Cut Your Hair'. These twelve short sketches, which border on rock opera and for which the electronic experiments of 'The Costume Change' serve as a kind of interlude, are given their dramatic quality by James Potter’s voice - who learned to sing from a Freddie Mercury-loving opera singer. His voice naturally lends itself to the tragicomic choruses ('How Cool Are You?'). However, the album also moves through a kind of dystopian universe, where the pathos of darkwave ('Weightless') meets the joyful turbulence of Dead Or Alive-style dance pop ('Selfish Lover') with the help of drum machines and synthesizers, mixed with angsty hyperpop ('If I Had a Perfect Life, Macilent') sculpted in the vortex of software. Here’s the renaissance 2.0 of the New Romantics wave we've been waiting for - an obvious Qobuzissime! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Sibelius: Complete Symphonies

Klaus Mäkelä

Classical - Released March 25, 2022 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
In April 2021, Decca announced the signing of a contract with new young conductor, Klaus Mäkelä (born 1996), shortly after his appointment by the Orchestre de Paris as musical advisor for two years and then musical director from September 2022. The English label signed a conductor for the first time in several decades, in this case another student of Jorma Panula, who played an important role in many careers at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. In addition, to enter the recording scene with a complete set of Sibelius' seven symphonies is a daring venture. Each work in the cycle, which is particularly complex, is unique.Discographically, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra is not necessarily associated with Sibelius's orchestral works, having made few recordings apart from the four symphonies (Nos. 1, 2, 3 & 5) recorded with Mariss Jansons for EMI in the early 1990s, which suffered from a very reverberant sound recording. This is not the case with this Decca recording as the technical teams have done a remarkable job in recording. The listener will perceive everything about Sibelius' orchestral writing, the depth of the textures in particular, all the more so as Klaus Mäkelä masterfully takes care of the balances (Symphony No. 1), the numerous polyphonic exchanges, in the course of visions with moderate tempos. The listener will feel every bit of Sibelius' orchestral writing, the depth of the textures in particular, all the more so as Klaus Mäkelä masterfully maintains the balances (Symphony No. 1) as well as the numerous polyphonic exchanges in the flow of moderate tempo. There are no shocking contrasts or explosive breaks here. Klaus Mäkelä's gestures are extremely calm and composed. The conductor is not very receptive to the composer's rhythmic surges and phrases the broad lines with impressive majesty (Finale of the 3rd Symphony). Klaus Mäkelä does not exacerbate the contrasts between the orchestral blocks here. With remarkable respect for the silky nature of the Norwegian orchestra, he always tries to bring about fusion and promotes tonal continuity between the vocal groups. Even Symphony No. 4, composed during Sibelius's darkest period, is, under the direction of Klaus Mäkelä, largely bright, a far cry from the frightening cataclysms of Ernest Ansermet (Decca, 1963) or Sir Thomas Beecham (BBC Legends, in concert, 1954).Throughout the seven symphonies, this Sibelius work, marked by a general desire for euphony, is unquestionably distinguished by the coherence of the conductor’s vision and the sumptuousness of his production. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Reeling

The Mysterines

Rock - Released March 11, 2022 | Fiction

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Thanks to the youthful but tantalising grunge of the self-released EP Take Control in 2019, the Mysterines, initially coalesced around singer/guitarist Lia Metcalfe, George Favager (bass) and Chrissy Moore (drums), had caught the ear of BBC Introducing's talent scouts, who placed them on their radio airwaves and promptly invited them to play their Reading and Leeds festival springboard stage. This huge exposure opened the door to support acts such as Royal Blood and The Amazons, and created enough anticipation for their first full-length album. Released on the Fiction label, Reeling, a 43-minute rock explosion, allows the Liverpudlians to come out of the woodwork. Not without pain. After a year of ups and downs, a change of drummer and an extra guitarist, the quartet had to lock themselves up for three weeks in Assault & Battery studios, between two London confinements, to record under the watchful eye of producer and sound engineer Catherine Marks (Foals, Wolf Alice, The Killers). And all this was sometimes done in one take.It was a difficult gestation period that ended up being beneficial, according to drummer Paul Crilly: "We couldn't go out without forgetting the album, or spending time with other people. It was a real relief to hand it over once we'd done our bit." This tension captured within four walls creates the raw material and guides the tracklisting. At the climax of this pressure, this rock on the grill, opens Life's A Bitch (But I Like It So Much) and then Hung Up, with their fat riffs and saturations. The pressure eases but remains legible on the more country Old Friend / Die Hard and the guitar ballad Still Call You Home. They end insidiously on the dark and creepy Nick Cave-like slowness of Confession Song with its gothic piano. "When I first listened to the test pressing, I could feel all those moments in the studio again," says Crilly. Boosted by Lia's voice, like a destructive high priestess of rock, the aptly named Reeling unfolds an unbridled rock nuance, from garage captured on the fly to more delicately laid-back pop melodies. Amazing and rather mature for a band barely out of their teens. Qobuzissime! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Topical Dancer

Charlotte Adigéry

Electronic - Released March 4, 2022 | DEEWEE

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Qobuzissime
Having first appeared on the scene with a feature on the fantastic soundtrack for the film Belgica (2016) scored by the Dewaele brothers, and then releasing two very well-received EPs (especially 2019's Zandoli which included the hit Paténipat), singer Charlotte Adigéry now launches her first full-length project with Bolis Pupul, her "musical partner" from Deewee, Soulwax's label. The two Belgian artists have decided to tease all intolerant people on Topical Dancer by tackling subjects such as cultural appropriation, racism, sexism and post-colonialism. 'Tease' is a fitting term as it's all done in an extremely funny way with Charlotte Adigéry at the top of her creative game as a lyricist.On Esperanto, Adigéry scolds isolationists ("Don't say we need to build a wall. Say: I'm a world citizen, I don't believe in borders") with a refined and stylish sense of rhythm. On the funky Blenda, it's the racists who find themselves in the firing line, before the misogynists are addressed on Ich Mwen, Reappropriate and the brilliant Thank You, which ironically blows away the unsolicited opinions of men on women's looks. Musically, this record oozes with the heavy yet chilled sound of Deewee, Soulwax's label/studio in Ghent, with, as always, a mix of genres (electro, pop, no (new) wave...) between hypnotic synths, edgy bass and groovy guitar riffs. Even though tracks such as HAHA (a concept track somewhere between laughter and tears where surrealism peaks) and Making Sense Stop (a slap in the face to all of French pop) are undoubtedly unmissable, it's not easy to pick out individual highlights from this surrealist album, which is as danceable as it is listenable. Funky, caustic, engaged; this is a truly complete album and an easy choice for Qobuzissime. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Nightscapes

Magdalena Hoffmann

Classical - Released February 11, 2022 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
The night has never ceased to inspire artists, whether in literature, painting or music. And for good reason: is it not the place of intimacy, introspection and - above all - of the imagination? When the mystery of the night is expressed in music, and in particular on the harp, it touches us all and evokes very concrete images in each of us. In her album Nightscapes, Magdalena Hoffmann has set herself the task of capturing the magic of the night: "My instrument is the ideal vehicle for this intimate, but also magical and fantastic atmosphere. It's not for nothing that the harp often corresponds to celestial or underworld moments in the orchestra.The German harpist, born in 1990 in Basel, discovered her favourite instrument at an early age. Her career took a turn when, in 2016, she received two special prizes at the ARD International Competition. Two years later, she became principal harp in the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2021 she signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, and Nightscapes is her first project.The album consists of original compositions for harp and arrangements of piano pieces. The former includes Benjamin Britten's Suite for Harp, Op. 83, a key work in the 20th-century repertoire for the instrument. There is also the Danse des lutins by Henriette Renié (1875-1956), a French harpist for whom Fauré, Debussy and Ravel composed.Magdalena Hoffmann also performs pieces by Chopin, Clara Schumann, John Field, Ottorino Respighi and Marcel Tournier. The genre of Nocturnes, in particular, conveys the intimate and mystical atmosphere that made it one of the most typical character pieces of Romanticism. But the light, dancing sound of the harp is also perfectly suited to Chopin's waltzes or Jean-Michel Damase's Fantaisie. Hoffmann, for her part, sublimates the very special intimacy of the instrument's sound. A magical stroll through the night. © Lena Germann/Qobuz
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Terre Promise

Blutch

Electronic - Released January 28, 2022 | Astropolis Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
A hymn to Brittany. For his first full-length album on Astropolis Records, the label born from the thigh of the mythical Brest festival of the same name, Blutch chose to pay tribute to the region that revealed him as an intelligent and sensitive DJ, not the kind to bludgeon for the sake of the principle, but rather to take the side roads. Known for his hybrid house sets, the Morlaix producer offers an intimate and nostalgic first album, on which most tracks refer to places in the region, from Roscoff to Ouessant, via the street of his childhood.A concept that he puts into music in a sunny way, from the shimmering opening Terre Promise, with a lyrical side brought on by Mirabelle Gilis' violin. Blutch then melts this lyricism into a UK garage beat on Cobalan. Breakbeat is found on River, also surrounded by dreamy synths. Oneiric is the keyword of this album, which alternates between contemplative (Les Bois) and more chaotic (Remparts, with the modular synths of Maxime Dangles, another member of the Astropolis family). We also think of the 'to-be' electropop hit, Rosko, that falls somewhere between Bicep, Rone and Polo & Pan, and when we come back to the right kick, on Floatin, it's to leave in a whirlwind of ethereal keyboards like in a distorted version of Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love.' An artist was born in this promised land who fully deserves his Qobuzissime. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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The Overload

Yard Act

Alternative & Indie - Released January 7, 2022 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
The sky is quite grey, almost like anthracite. The ideal fertiliser to make this teeming post-punk revival scene, which has been shaking the indie planet since the beginning of the 2010s, grow a little more. But how do you get your head out of an already dense melee in which Girl Band, Fontaines DC, Shame, Dry Cleaning and a thousand other bands armed with square guitars and vocalists closer to scansion than to song are jostling each other? To achieve this, Yard Act takes the genre's markers and predictable influences (The Fall, Gang of Four, Wire, early Talking Heads) down often unexpected paths. Better still, they don't limit themselves to being an electric ball of nerves or an old spit in the face of a (post-Brexit) society gone wrong. No, no, Yard Act uses their rage to find different forms of expression. The Overload, the brilliant first album of this Leeds-based quartet, closes with the almost peaceful tempo of 100% Endurance. On the mic, James Smith is a worthy heir to the dalaïlama of post-punk, the late Mark E. Smith of The Fall, with a hint of groove to boot. Along with guitarist Sam Shipstone, bassist Ryan Needham and drummer Jay Russell, Smith wraps his cynicism and bile in bright clothes. A form of proletarian dandyism on amphetamines that sometimes resembles Sleaford Mods (a lot), Ian Durry and his Blockheads or even Pulp! Never caricatured but still tainted with a dash of dark realism, James Smith's vignettes are sometimes funny and musically eclectic. Enough to leave a mark and make The Overload a shock album of 2022. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Schumann - Brahms - Dvořák

Geister Duo

Classical - Released January 14, 2022 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Two is better than one. What’s better than a pair of hands for playing the piano? Two pairs of hands! Considered 'intimate', the four-handed piano genre has long been confined to inner circles; played in front of friends but rarely in concert. There are of course some famous exceptions (almost always sibling pairings), such as the Labèque sisters, the Walachowski sisters or, among the younger generation, Lucas and Arthur Jussen. It is therefore all the more refreshing to see two ‘independent’ pianists, David Salmon and Manuel Vieillard, making their mark on the world of chamber music by performing the piano duo repertoire on the biggest stages.Graduates of the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, Manuel Vieillard and David Salmon are concert performers of the highest level. Between meeting during their studies at the CRR in Paris and the beginning of their international career, a musical symbiosis was born, with the desire to form a "real" duo - not just to meet for concerts. The wish certainly came true: after almost ten years of collaboration, the duo won first prize in the prestigious ARD International Music Competition (Munich). They have now delivered their first album, released on Mirare: Schumann - Brahms - Dvořák, a fine selection of romantic pieces on which the colours of the piano shine through two-fold.Although the composers chosen are among the most famous of the Romantic era, this album offers up innovative and little-known pieces that have rarely been performed or recorded to date. From the very first of these, Schumann's Images d'Orient (Bilder aus Osten, op. 66), you can clearly feel the complicity and complementarity attitudes of the two instrumentalists. The piece carries us away with its changing moods, taking us through all emotions. The romantic and melancholic atmosphere is also wonderfully captured on Brahms' Variations on a Theme of Schumann, Op. 23, in which the composer pays tribute to his colleague and mentor. The album ends with Dvořák's piano cycle From the Bohemian Forest (Ze Šumavy), op. 68, a masterpiece of the four-hand piano repertoire masterfully performed by Salmon and Vieillard, whose unique artistic symbiosis shines through once again. Without doubt, two is better than one! A beautiful Qobuzissime to start off the new year! © Lena Germann/Qobuz
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Juniper

Linda Fredriksson

Jazz - Released October 29, 2021 | We Jazz

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
The Nordic countries have always offered a fascinating uniqueness in their approach to jazz. A uniqueness that is no doubt confirmed by this magnificent album by Linda Fredriksson. With Juniper, the Finnish saxophonist, already active in the Mopo trio and the Superposition quartet, demonstrates the full range of their artistic skills here. Surrounded by Tuomo Prättälä on piano (electric and acoustic), Minna Koivisto on modular synth, Olavi Louhivuori on drums and Mikael Saastamoinen on bass, Fredriksson combines themes composed over a number of years on guitar, piano and vocals (heard on 'Lempilauluni'), which have now been beautifully arranged for this group. Juniper is, according to Linda, a singer-songwriter's album but performed by an instrumental jazz band. The album is, above all, a record centred around introspection, a form of soaring meditation, that is then speckled with little findings, like the watermark rain heard on 'Neon Light' (and the 'Sky Was Trans'), the weightless opening theme...The fascination for singer-songwriters like Neil Young or Sufjan Stevens - two influences that Fredriksson notes - gives their playing a real narrative force. This ethereal, essentially acoustic style of jazz, capable of haunting digressions ('Nana - Tepalle'), also appropriates a whole electronic instrumentation that is handled with great delicacy. Fredriksson succeeds in fusing all of this disparate material, which evokes the most rudimentary folklore as well as futuristic sounds. For this album they borrow elements ranging from the music of Satie to the atypical jazz of labels such as ECM or Hubro. Binding all these ingredients together is Linda's musical touch, adopting a spiritual approach like that of Pharoah Sanders or the more free-spirited Eric Dolphy. Here's a Qobuzissime album that is invigorating and full of rare musical poetry. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Figurine

WAYNE SNOW

Soul - Released September 24, 2021 | Roche Musique

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Describing something as bewitching is often overused. However, with Kesiena Ukochovbara aka Wayne Snow, it is more than fitting. It only takes a few second to lose oneself in this ultra-sensual neo-soul blend from this fascinating Nigerian artist who grew up in Paris and lives in Berlin. A sprinkle of pop, a dash of electro and a few pinches of jazz a little later on (Kokoroko guitarist Oscar Jerome is part of the mix), Figurine turns the codes of modern R&B upside down by tweaking only the smallest of details. Produced by Frenchman Crayon for the Roche Musique label, the album is first and foremost a vast patchwork of past, present and future sound textures—like an Afro-futurism soundtrack that fires the legacy of Marvin Gaye and Sade into a completely new realm. Though Wayne Snow's main goal here may be to conquer his own cultural and musical identity, he is also striving to answer some of the wider question of our time. As for the feeling of bewitchment, this mainly comes from the fact that this soulman, rooted in the present, never ends up sounding like an umpteenth subpar Frank Ocean. Wayne Snow is an original musician, as he shows us with this phenomenal record. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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The Four Quarters

Solem Quartet

Chamber Music - Released September 17, 2021 | Orchid Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
The Solem Quartet is no stranger to the classical and contemporary music world. As winners of the Jerwood Arts Live Work Fund 2020, they are one of the UK's most significant artistic voices. In addition, the ensemble stands out for its musical diversity and openness due to its involvement in innovative projects as well as collaborations with artists from different genres. Now the four musicians from England release their long-awaited debut album, The Four Quarters on Orchid Classics: a musical, transcendent journey influenced by composers from the Baroque period to the present. Despite such a diverse selection of compositions, one piece stands out as spanning the entire album: Thomas Ades' masterpiece The Four Quarters. The four movements meander through the enormous range of recordings and appear between arrangements by Henry Purcell, Florence Price, Béla Bartók and Robert Schumann. Ades' composition is based on the cycle of the day as a central metaphor - a ramble from the early hours of the morning to the depths of the night. The juxtaposition of time and space, earth and sky is also reflected in the music. In the first movement, 'Nightfalls', the violins sound fine overtones in regular patterns, the viola and cello play the deep harmony far below and thus remain grounded. Another highlight of the album is certainly the interpretation of Aaron Parker's 'easqelä'. It is the fourth movement of the five-part work 'Tuoretu', which was composed specifically for the Solem Quartet. The name was invented freely and refers to the eternal expanses of eastern England as well as the fading colours of the sunset, which, just like the sounds, merge boundlessly into one another. The melancholic, haunting viola solo, underpinned by the dim fifth and fourth parallels of the other strings, reinforces the ever-present transcendence and once again draws out the fundamental elements of the album: closeness to nature, dreamscapes and timelessness. And even though it is the penultimate track on the record, the end of the musical dream journey is far from in sight...With The Four Quarters, the Solem Quartet releases a unique and highly inspiring album that sets its own timeless anchor between contemporary art and traditional sounds. © Lena Germann/Qobuz
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Tancade

Gaspar Claus

Classical - Released September 10, 2021 | InFiné

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Gaspar Claus' first solo album is long overdue! Over the past fifteen years, the cellist has travelled, met and collaborated with many great artists from a multitude of backgrounds: from his father Pedro Soler to Barbara Carlotti, from Rone to Bryce Dessner. With all these influences under his belt, all that remained was for the musician to find the best possible home for the release of Tancade: the label InFiné. It's an eminently personal album as this is the first time Gaspar Claus has been out on his own. We should also salute the remarkable contributions made by Francesco Donadello and David Chalmain in mastering and mixing this record, giving it a unique sound which is rich in contrasts.The material is minimalistic; with nothing but a cello, Claus captivates with the variety of his compositions, making an infinitely diverse use of his instrument's innumerable possibilities. Pizzicatis, bowing that is alternately smooth and grating, resonance in the low notes answered by aerial high notes... a true sonic architect, this performer succeeds in making each of this work's tracks into a world of its own, each summoning unique sensations. We are drawn into the almost tribal and hypnotising trance of the percussive 'Une foule' before entering the more meditative atmosphere of the crepuscular '1999'. One can only admire Claus' genius in sculpting so much material with so few tools, the contribution of electronics being limited to a bare minimum with only discreet reverb or distortion effects.Tancade's great strength lies in the way that it never sinks into mere demonstrations of technical skill. This album is not a simple catalogue of everything a cellist can do with their instrument. On each track, the composition and execution are all determined by the atmosphere that the artist wishes to create. Gaspar Claus has created a magnificent album, full of inventiveness and poetry, which reconnects the listener with a host of age-old emotions. So it's hardly a stretch to declare that Tancade is sure to become an essential classic of the contemporary cello. © Pierre LAMY Qobuz
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Before I Die

박혜진 park hye jin

Electronic - Released September 10, 2021 | Ninja Tune

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
After making a splash in 2018 with her debut EP If U Want It, which included the hits ABC and I DON'T CARE, Park Hye Jin went on to attract attention with live performances during which she would grab the mic to sing/rap over what she was mixing on the decks. Hastily branded the new prodigy of lo-fi house, on her first album the South Korean demonstrates that her palette is actually a lot broader than that. Coming from her base in Los Angeles, you can feel the laid back spirit of Californian rap hovering over this record, which starts with a UK garage vibe (but with a powerful kick) on Let's Sing Let's Dance. Park Hye Jin raps throughout the first half of the album, with moody choruses like on Good Morning Good Night with its muffled boom bap and reverb guitar that serve to accentuate the sunny side of the track. In the same vein, note the hypnotic I Need You or Where Did I Go, as well as the artist’s gift for simple and catchy choruses with a nonchalant flow that goes back and forth between the front and the back of the sound stage.While there's a very rap flow to the record, house is never far away. You can hear small elements of it on tracks such as Whatchu Doin Later or Can I Get Your Number (which is set to be remixed very soon); you hear it in the phrasing of the choruses, or in the effects on her voice. The second part of the record is more straightforward with 4/4 beats on Sex With Me (DEFG), which follows the principle of her hit ABC with slightly more daring lyrics, and Where Are You Think, a model of lo-fi house that is much too short. Hey, Hey, Hey and Never Die raise the BPM and move towards techno, the latter brightened by a looped piano chord and a voice that disperses like steam. It all ends in a steamy trap-style fusion on Sunday ASAP and i jus wanna be happy, a track that's as cottony as they come. Out of nowhere, Park Hye Jin has built a new bridge between hip-hop and electronic music; a more than deserving Qobuzissime. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz