This year was wrapped up in a pandemic whirlwind of new music, film, and art. Of course, there are things that may have gone unnoticed, distinctive art works that may not have changed the world but maybe should have. Listed here are but a few who have released stunning works in their respective genres.
WILLIAM HOOKER – BIG MOON (ORG MUSIC)
A staple within NYC and the jazz scene for over 40 years and known for his percussive skills and maneuverability as a leader & conductor, William Hooker released his latest offering Big Moon (Org Music). Here the artist and his supporting cast of Jimmy Lopez (percussion), Jai-Rohm Parker Wells (bass), Charles Compo (flute), Stephen Gauci (sax), Mara Rosenbloom (piano), Mark Hennen (piano), Theo Woodward (synth), and Sarah Manning (sax), weave a tapestry of improvisational sounds that are stunning. There are free jazz moments, but this release capitalizes on every wonderous movement Hooker has been able to get across throughout the last few decades.
SOSO/MAKI – IF AND ONLY IF (AUDIO RECON)
Coming out of the brisk air of the Canadian north is lyricist soso along with producer Maki. Together the duo offers up if and only if (Endemik/Audio Recon). The release works its way through with a timbre that’s often melancholic, with moments that a delicate. The beats Maki crafts are graceful but teeter on fragility as soso lyrics follow suit, oft times offering bittersweet wording. This album offers all the infinite sadness we’ve all felt at one point or another.
BEANS – “BERMUDA SERPENT SALIVA MAN/VIRAGOR” (TYGR RAWWK)
Throughout the years there hasn’t been an artist that has continually pushed the envelope of not only Hip-Hop but music in general, than BEANS. He is 1/3 of AntiPop Consortium and his solo efforts have been nothing short of extraordinary. This year he released a two-song single that showcased a couple of different sides of the artist. Rhyming over a maniacal beat, “Bermuda…” is an intriguing look into his musical mind where instruments collide against one another as he purges himself with his quick-tongued delivery. “Viragor” isn’t easy listening, but holds a much more direct pattern. Both tracks singe ear hairs after just one listen.
The track for “Bermuda Serpent Saliva Man” was supposed to have come out on an album I did called HAAST back in 2017 but because of the album-length, I decided against using it. For the lyrics, I previously had written 3 different versions to that track before I was happy with its completed iteration. With the A Side established, I wanted the B Side to be a complete contrast and more straightforward. When I heard the instrumental for “Viragor,” produced by Asethic, I knew that was the track that I needed. Hopefully we can agree that as a single, that mission was achieved. – BEANS
JAZZ SPASTIKS – CAMERA OF SOUND
This might by your introduction to the UK’s Jazz Spastiks but the duo has been releasing music for almost a decade now. With the latest Camera Of Sound, they piece together tracks that are blanketed with beats that reminisce the golden age Hip-Hop. It’s filled throughout for the instrumentals they offer as well as those they invited others to rhyme on. Without a doubt, this is pretty dope and features artists like Artifacts, C Rayz Walz, Kool Keith, Craig G, and more. The artists all fit the Jazz Spastiks sound.