This past year has set a precedent for all encompassing, shit-filled spiraling. While we’ve been blessed with some pretty golden album releases in 2016 (Frank Ocean, Solange, David Bowie), it hasn’t been the most exciting time for music. I think we’ve all had a little too much time to “realize things” (Thank you, Kylie Jenner, for that one). Transcending our realizations and playing in a field of actualizing energy is the agenda. So many promising records are slated for upcoming release. I’ve selected a handful that I’m hyped for.
Brian Eno Reflection
New Year’s Day we’re already getting some level. Brian Eno will release his new ambient album on January 1st via Warp Records. Eno released the following statement reflecting on Reflection: “Reflection is the latest work in a long series. It’s the music that I later called ‘Ambient’. I don’t think I understand what that term stands for anymore – it seems to have swollen to accommodate some quite unexpected bedfellows – but I still use it to distinguish it from pieces of music that have fixed duration and rhythmically connected, locked together elements.
I’ve made a lot of thinking music, but most of it I’ve kept for myself. Now I notice that people are using some of those earlier records in the way that I use them – as provocative spaces for thinking – so I feel more inclined to make them public.
Pieces like this have another name: they’re GENERATIVE. By that I mean they make themselves. My job as a composer is to set in place a group of sounds and phrases, and then some rules which decide what happens to them. I then set the whole system playing and see what it does, adjusting the sounds and the phrases and the rules until I get something I’m happy with. Because those rules are probabilistic ( – often taking the form ‘perform operation x, y percent of the time’) the piece unfolds differently every time it is activated. What you have here is a recording of one of those unfoldings.”
This is Bonobo’s first album since his 2013 LP, The North Borders. Migration will be Simon Green’s sixth studio album. He has said that it is “a study of people and spaces”, and that his “own personal idea of identity has played into [the] record and the theme of migration. Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around? It is interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move with that influence and affect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of places evolve.” The album will feature collaborations with Nick Murphy (Chet Faker), and Rhye, and even samples Brandy, which can be heard in the track “Kerala”. The album contains a lot of field recorded samples like “an elevator in Hong Kong airport, rain in Seattle, a tumble dryer in Atlanta and a fan boat engine in New Orleans.”
Watching Arca’s live set at Day For Night this past weekend in Houston was absolutely monumental. The soundspace that Arca is working in is somewhere that only he is existing. This was a delicious taste of what is in store for us with his 2017 release and follow to his 2016 mixtape with Mica Levi, called Entrañas.
Charli XCX [Title TBA]
It’s evident that Charli XCX is the perfect muse for PC Music’s SOPHIE. Her new album will heavily feature his production. SOPHIE produced all four tracks on her 2016 tease of an EP, titled Vroom Vroom. Charli talked about her third studio album’s sound: “‘Vroom Vroom’ is a pretty good blueprint for how crazy it gets. It’s split into half a straight-up pop album and half a more club-oriented record. It’s all pop, but some of it’s harder and more aggressive, and you’ll want to take more drugs to [one] half than the other.”
Alice Glass [Title TBA]
After her departure from Crystal Castles, and an abusive relationship, Alice Glass is moving forward with a solo album. This will be her first, and she released a single called “Stillbirth”.
Nelly Furtado The Ride
It’s been almost 5 years since the last release from Nelly Furtado. This past year she recorded a track with Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, called “Hadron Collider” that you could only get on recorded cassette for a while. Now she’s back with her 6th studio album. She spoke with i-D magazine about the project:
“It’s interesting, the influences on the new record — the album is called The Ride. I made it in Dallas, Texas, and Dallas, Texas has a sound. John Congleton produced the entire record. He’s got an incredible resumé. I met him through Annie Clark of St. Vincent. He produced all four of her albums. I would call the sound of the album modern pop-alternative. I write pop melodies, I’ve always written pop melodies. But John forces me to dig a little deeper and make sure that I’m coming correct with the lyrics. I was also in a really cool phase in my life where I was going through a difficult time of transition and that helped lyrically. I just had so much to write about. I think I grew as a songwriter on this album.
Chic It’s About Time
The last time Chic came out with a record was in 1992. This is the year I was born. That was nearly 25 YEARS AGO. Clearly, there couldn’t be a better title for the upcoming release, It’s About Time. 2017 is both the 40-year anniversary of Chic, as well as New York’s most iconic night club, Studio 54. Nile Rodgers, the face of Chic, mentioned in a statement that “In 2017, we will pay homage to the club that put us on the international map by doing a series of concerts, afterparties, VIP Packages, films and singles. Then drop the full album along with a BIG SURPRISE!”
Gorillaz [Title TBA]
After working on his solo projects, and 7 years after the last Gorillaz record, the world is waiting patiently for the new album to materialize. Damon Albarn explained the energy of the record: “I’m in the very early days on a new Gorillaz record. So far, it’s really fast, and it’s got quite a lot of energy. I’ve been stuck on piano, somewhere off Broadway, for years now. I want to go somewhere completely opposite of that. I’m determined that my next record will be very upbeat, and I will try to set myself the benchmark of 125 bpm and nothing underneath that.”
LCD Soundsystem [Title TBA]
While frontman James Murphy has been collaborating with Gorrilaz, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and planning to change the sound of New York City’s subway turnstyles with “new, nicer sounds dubbed the Subway Symphony”, he’s also put his iconic band back together for a reunion and new album. Literally nothing is known about the album, but we already know it’s going to be great.
Other notable releases
The Flaming Lips
Sun Kil Moon
by Eric Stevens