Single Reviews: 10 March 2023: corporeal, Ian Ellison, Kimi Djabaté, Zach Sprowls, Sudden Voices

corporeal - more than me


Bostonian experimentalists corporeal create something delicate and special on "more than me", a blisteringly lo-fi shoegaze experiment with MBV-style guitar manipulations and buried vocals. This is catchy and played with so much stylish irreverence that this loose-but-focused ensemble showcases their possessing character with devilishly distorted charm. Taken from their debut album, "wanting more", which is available now. 

Ian Ellison - Mr. 


The explosion of YouTube in the last decade brought with it the explosion of the steel drum. Suddenly, everyone you knew, from your yoga  instructor to your boss, was showing you videos of street performers striking a peculiar UFO-type instrument with their hands, creating mesmerizingly lush sounds. LA producer Ian Ellison takes the pastiche of the steel drum sound and runs with it, incorporating it into breezy electronic compositions replete with spluttered drums and glitchy effects that elevates the sounds from the street to the sky.   

Kimi Djabaté - "Yensoro"


A feeling of unfiltered good-faith and positivity can be found in abundance on "Yensoror" by Bissau-Guinean Kimi Djabaté. Minimal polyrhythmic percussion, bouncy balafón, and rolling accordion play in with energizing certainty as Djabaté offers a measured perspective of life ("Learn to wait, no one knows what will come tomorrow.") Now based in London, "Yensoro" is from the artist's third album Dindin which sees him uphold his professionally polished griot heritage. A good song for cheering up on a lost day.  

Zach Sprowls - I Thought I Knew


For international audiences, Scranton, Pennsylvania is where the US Office is set; no other references can be made. However, fans of modern neoclassical may be able to reference Zach Sprowls, a composer of straightforward, silver-screen-ready gentle and inspirational music that has an eye on the experimental. With a tool-kit of a close-up acoustic piano, mourning strings, and subtle electronics, Sprowls' slow and patient music is never dull, and the focused track ends before any welcome is worn out; there's a weightless quality to this gushing instrumental piece as it connects with the truths of the human condition through simple musical phrases and a communicable structural prognosis to the uncertainty of knowing.


Sudden Voices - Milk and Honey 

experimental rock

Londonite Ben Morris, formerly of Union Wireless, is preparing to release the debut album of his new project, Sudden Voices. In the early single "Milk and Honey", there's a beguiling quality to the pounding repetitive bass line, broken keys, xylophonic strikes, psychedelic singing, and loud drums played so loosely they sound like the kit might fall apart at any moment. But instead, the elements blend together quite effortlessly, even if the mood is compounded, simultaneously aggravated, introspective, and obtuse. This project comes after a 15-year hiatus from music for Morris, though this well-oiled machine shows no signs of rust.