Zara McFarlane, Songs Of An Unknown Tongue, Brownswood

There's a great album kicking and screaming to get out here. But the production never lets that happen, its electronic clash and murky blare just too attention grabbing. It's quite a departure for singer Zara McFarlane usually far more at home with …

Published: 23 Jul 2020. Updated: 2 months.

There's a great album kicking and screaming to get out here. But the production never lets that happen, its electronic clash and murky blare just too attention grabbing. It's quite a departure for singer Zara McFarlane usually far more at home with a pared back rhythm section. Her songs are far more interesting than what producers Kwake Bass and Wu-lu have contributed. On one significant level this is a folkloric exploration of Jamaican traditions with its death rituals and celebrations, McFarlane's voice a clarion call among all the sonic clutter around swirling her. However, there is no real intimacy and the experimentalism seems to have lost sight of the essential necessity of making a connection with the listener. Shame really but one of these days McFarlane will surely come up with the classic album that we all know she is capable of creating. For now just go back to If You Knew Her which is by far her best work to date.

Tags: Album reviews

Moses Boyd nominated for the Hyundai Mercury Prize

Just announced on the Lauren Laverne BBC 6 Music show are the nominations for the Hyundai Mercury Prize, one of the music industry's most credible awards and which traditionally includes a jazz nomination even if jazz never wins. This year, …

Published: 23 Jul 2020. Updated: 2 months.

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Just announced on the Lauren Laverne BBC 6 Music show are the nominations for the Hyundai Mercury Prize, one of the music industry's most credible awards and which traditionally includes a jazz nomination even if jazz never wins.

This year, following on from Seed Ensemble last year, Moses Boyd has been nominated. Celebrated for his work as one half of Binker and Moses and in the band of singer Zara McFarlane, the drummer bandleader Moses Boyd's work as a leader on the Afrofuturist heavily post-produced Dark Matter made a splash in February. The album blends grime, Afrobeat and club influences – Moses playing in an open, rangey style.

The winner will be announced on 10 September.