Hi Robert. Where do we start this week?
‘A contemporary classic album: Drone Mass by the famous Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. One of the best soundtrack composers ever. He made music for many films, of which The Theory of Everything the most famous was† He passed away suddenly in 2018 from a cocaine overdose. Somehow that doesn’t fit with his music, which is so comforting. Jóhannsson has Drone Mass Created in 2015, at the request of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. It was then performed once in a museum. And that was it, until the choir decided to record it and now release it. Jóhannsson still occupies many people’s minds, also because his death was so shocking. His genre, the neoclassical, is of course also extremely popular. But there is so much more in this album: in addition to the neoclassical sound, also the drone, and therefore those elongated, buzzing tones, and then those polyphonic church singing from the Renaissance. He links it all together. The music is most reminiscent of Arvo Pärt, thanks to the repetitive cellos and violins and those sacred vocals.’
‘So it is complex, but fantastic music: difficult electronics combined with minimal strings. Actually, the eleven pieces on the album are just works of art in their own right. You can hardly associate a genre with it. And because of the composer’s death it is also as if you are listening to the afterlife through a conduit.’
Then something completely different: Denzel Curry.
‘Denzel Curry is doing on his new album Melt My Eyez See Your Future something completely different from his previous record. Zuufrom 2019, was an incredibly good album with every song one more scared used to be. It was full of hard bass and good hooks, but also with poignant lyrics: Curry has lost a brother to police brutality. on Melt My Eyez See Your Future there are no hard club hits, but very calm and experimental pieces. He collaborates with jazz pianist Robert Glasper, among others. His flow appears to be still standing, but now on rippling keyboard music instead of thick basses. It is innovative and yet also nostalgic because it is reminiscent of hip-hop from the 90s, when a lot of jazz was also mixed. A beautiful, unexpected hip-hop record. The numbers Worst Comes to Worst and John Wayne are beautiful. And highly recommended.’
You also wanted to discuss a Dutch album.
‘Yes! Family Names of the Limburg Afterpartees. Music that makes you absolutely happy. It is cheerful, solid power pop, as reviewer Menno Pot wrote in his review. The band was really invented for the smaller pop clubs: three hundred people in a room, close the door and go. Everyone knows them, so the club fills up but the intimacy remains. especially the number The Buun good. It’s about their favorite cafe in Horst, which had a hard time due to the corona measures and was closing. It also starts with ‘This is the end’, so then you know. They tie their own destiny, and that of their friendships, to the progress of that cafe. The chorus doesn’t come until halfway through, and is announced with the phrase “Here comes the chorus.” Any band that starts their chorus with the phrase ‘here comes the chorus’ is really just worth five stars. And Family Names fits perfectly with this weekend’s sunny weather.’