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Singles - Leftfield - Issue 577

Nabihah Iqbal

Eternal Passion/Zone 1 To 6000

Ninja Tune

9.0
It’s pretty referential stuff, but who says you can’t re-invent the wheel? With clear Factory/4AD influences, Nabihah Iqbal re-visits a fertile era in British music, a time that, not unlike now, had social hang-ups. The Gilles Peterson-championed ‘Zone 1 To 6000’, with its "Escape Friday, get caught on Monday" refrain, and early Pet Shop Boys synth sound-a-like backdrop, is hard to ignore. With a couple of Barbican and Tate commissions under her belt also, you start to get the picture. Seek this out.

Afriqua

'Aleph'

R&S Records

7.5
Sitting astride a straight 4/4, Afriqua's 'Aleph' will probably find favour on our cohorts' pages. However, there’s a mystical jazzy element and sparse freeform appeal about the EP’s namesake that makes it a worthy addition to the leftfield page. Add in the distant calm of the beatless ’Sent’, and it justifiably earns its place here. It’s the first release on the label from Afriqua — we look forward to more from this Belgium-meets-Berlin hook-up.

Patrick Watson

'Broken'

Domino Records

9.0
There's something about this guy's voice that gets me right in the gut! Ever since I first heard his beautiful falsetto on The Cinematics’ ‘Build A Home’, I've always made a beeline for his releases. It’s not just his voice either, it's his songwriting, piano playing, delivery and phrasing that all combine to make his releases so special. Latest single ‘Broken’, then, is yet another fine example of this man’s craft. Achingly beautiful and emotive music.

Max Von Sydow

'Cardboard Pope'

Haga Nord

8.5
Haga Nord are nailing it at the moment. The brilliant thing is, you never quite know what’s coming next either, which always makes things a little more exciting. So whilst the last single covered Weatherall’s machined tomfoolery, this latest release from new face in town Max Von Sydow veers into the weird and very wonderful world of trippy, psychedelic, sitar-kissed, flute-licked, drum-heavy, low-slung breakbeats. And you know what? It’s pretty fucking badass!

Murcof x Wagner

'EP03'

Infine Records

9.0
Conceived in 2010 with the help of French label Infine, this latest EP from minimalist Mexican maestro Murcof and sublime classical pianist Vanessa Wagner marks the final episode in their beautiful ‘Statea’ series… and what a way to end! Featuring reworks of Aphex Twin’s seminal ‘Avril 14th’ (featured on ‘Drukqs’), John Cage’s ‘In A Landscape’ and David Moore’s 'Tyler In The Road’, they also enlist the help of Locsil and Si Begg on remix duties too. Absolutely gorgeous!

Midlife

'Magnificent Moon'

Research Records

8.0
When the press release for a debut album references the likes of Herbie Hancock, Can, Caribou, Floating Points and Todd Terje you can’t help but get a bit excited. Usually however the references tend to favour hyperbole and PR guff over accuracy and fact. Thankfully, in the case of this single (from this Aussie four-piece) they pretty much nail it, covering all of the above with a bit of Tame Impala and Animal Collective thrown in for good measure.

Jonti

'Staring Window '

Stones Throw Records

8.0
Evoking memories of the hazy, psychedelic folk scene of 1960s America (see Free Design and Velvet Underground) and more contemporary kaleidoscopic dream-filled pop (see Stereolab and The Avalanches), you can tell singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jonti has poured over the creation and production of this record for a long time; so painstaking is the attention to detail and the harmony of its constituent parts; hence you’ll find glockenspiels, flutes, Spanish guitars, loose drums and percussion working together in beautiful harmony.