World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda [Luaka Bop]
For the final 25 years of Alice Coltrane’s life, she was engaged as founder and director of the Sai Anantam Ashram – a centre of healing in rural southern Carolina focused on such as meditation,yoga and general communal living. It was in this ashram that Coltrane, inspired by the guru Swami Satchidanada, created four tapes of music that has finally become available for general release. Combining the otherworldly sounds of chant, a wurlitzer and Oberheim OB-8 synth, Coltrane created a beautiful reflection of the spiritualism nurtured in ashrams across the world. Hopefully a prelude to further releases from this era, The Ecstatic Music is a touching and peaceful account, with tracks such as ‘Journey to Satchidananda’ really pulling the strings of the soul and heart.
Ancestral Voices – Divination [Horo]
Following up from 2015’s Night Of Visions LP, Divination is the second full length release from Liam Blackburn’s Ancestral Voices project. Diverging from the heavily percussive works of the former, this latest release dispenses with the beats almost altogether, instead relying on vast, textured soundscapes to bring rhythm and presence. Stepping deeper into the world of drone and dark ambient, mood exists a lucid entity within the steeliness: elation and devastation sitting side by side.
Forest Swords – Compassion [Ninja Tune]
Since Matthew Barnes’s first album as Forest Swords, 2013’s Engravings, he has awestruck scores of eyes and shared his art through collaborations across a variety of respected institutions. Compassion now comes eagerly-awaited, and does not disappoint. The harmonies and discords produced in his distinctive spaces, between orchestral and field samples, between an endless arsenal of acoustic and electronically manipulated recordings, he casts profoundly timeless lights on the charge of existence. A bright light bridging lovers of old and new; electronic and classical together.
Felicia Atkinson – Hand In Hand [Shelter Press]
One of the most eagerly received records of 2017 thus far has to be Felicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand. Having previously released A Readymade Ceremony via Shelter Press in 2015, Atkinson returns to the label once more for what is the French producer’s most ambitious and impressive work to date. Expansive and epic, Atkinson pairs clever song writing with an acute ear for production, stating the record to be ‘a moment of common thinking and listening in its diversity and abstraction’. Delving into a variety of different sounds, Hand In Hand is a record that bypasses temporal restrictions – a timeless work.
Luke Vibert – Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol. 1 [Hypercolour Records]
Luke Vibert hits 2017 running with his return to Hypercolour and latest album, Luke Vibert Presents UK Garave Vol. 1, his previous feature length output being the extremely fun Bizarster. Vibert has the unique ability to distill everything that is and was great about UK rave culture into his productions, this being no exception. Saying that, it sometimes feels strained, where Bizarster still felt very tight despite being completely wacky, this new album occasionally fails to restrain itself. With Vibert at the helm this is little downfall though to an overall very enjoyable listen!