David Helbock: Playing John Williams

Austrian jazz pianist David Helbock loves John Williams, as do we all (even if we don’t know it). Helbock’s problem is to make the music we know inside out sound fresh, and the music we don’t know sound interesting. As Helbock says, the music in the films is often “magnified onto a grand scale”, and […]

Ed Sheeran: No 6 Collaborations

Sheeran has got to be an unlikely global star by playing bland tunes aimed at targeted demographics. You can snigger but he knows what he’s doing and he’s done better than you. You can’t get any bigger than global superstar so perhaps this album marks the end of his career plan phase one and a […]

Helen Habershon: Found in Winter

This is a very accessible collection — perhaps too much so for people who view themselves as “classical music” fans. The cd has television mini-series written all over it. Moby famously licensed every track from Play and we could see a similar thing happening here. Habershon is inspired by the natural world and it is […]

Rod Melancon: Pinkville

This is an album we’ll be savouring after the review is done; it’s a quality album and very interesting (interesting always being the best thing about music). Melancon plays swampy, dirty American blues (at least on this, we’ve not heard of him before but this is his fourth release). Imagine Nick Cave and the Bad […]

Jesse Dayton: Mix Tape Volume 1

This is a song of covers, except Dayton puts a twangy spin on them, muscular country meets rock ‘n’ roll. If you always felt your favourite tunes would be improved by deep country guitar licks, this is for you. We won’t pretend to have heard of him. We guess he’s big in the US, as […]

Artmagic: The Songs of Other England

Top rate musicians here — Sean McGhee has toured with Alison Moyet, guitarist Richard Oakes helped Suede deliver Top 10 albums, John Cale drummer Alex Thomas is on the throne — but an album that you might find a little lacklustre. The topics are inspired by McGhee’s interest in English folk music, hence the track […]

Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano, Jan Lundgren: Mare Nostrum III

Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren and French accordionist Richard Galliano have joined together for a third album. Online reviews suggest vol one was better but we wouldn’t know; this is still good. The combination of instruments is unusual, which makes this hard to categorise. It’s calming and relaxing but we struggle with what we call the […]

Truman Harris: A Warm Day in Winter

This is a jolly album of bassoon-led pieces. Yes: you study all your life, you’re really good and you put out a complex album … and it’s summed up as jolly. All that effort for one word. Jolly hockey sticks is what always comes to mind when we play this, but we’re not really sure […]

Native Harrow: Happier Now

This is a really good album. It’s greater than the sum of its parts: the tunes are ok, her voice (Native Harrow is Devin Tuel — nearly Devon Tool, of which a harrow could be an example, though we doubt that’s why she picked the alter ego) is ok and the general air is of […]

Yonaka: Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow

The sleeve of this asks the right question: Y? Why would you buy this over the slew of more interesting albums out there? On the plus side, Yonaka are British (Brighton) and have produced a stadium-sounding album of workmanlike slick tunes somewhere between power pop and pop punk. They make a lot of noise, work […]