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Monday, January 24, 2022

Cecile McLaurin: Salvant Expands With 7 More New Songs

The headline here is not about top-notch jazz vocalist Cecile McLeurin Salvant having serious creative appetites that go beyond the repertoire of American songwriters and curiosities she has learned so well. This has become clear, slowly but surely, over the past few years. The fact is that when she instead focuses on her own writing and moves a little away from direct modern jazz, she also softens the archaic and neatness of her performance. A new, expanded range appeared in both music and expression. Thunderclouds will help you track the shift: a dynamic lullaby of brooding, wounded hope, its fluid chord changes freely carried by the band, and its bouncy rhythm echoing Caribbean jazz-infused jazz. “Sometimes you have to look into the well to see the sky,” sings Salwant, repeating the phrase as if trying to convince himself. The song is taken from the upcoming album “Ghost Song” due in March; this will be her first recording for Nonesuch Records and the first to feature mostly originals. Giovanni Roussonello

As part of the Texas alliance of soul singer Leon Bridges, he supports Khruangbin, a Houston-based trio that has embraced the world’s rhythms. “B-Side” is a collaborative EP due out in February. Khruangbin delivers a mid-tempo, two-chord afrobeat funk with short rhythm guitar snippets that respond with jingling organ chords, and Bridges hums in falsetto that he misses his distant lover. It looks like a piece of jam that has taken a lot longer. JOHN PARELES

The sound, cascading sounds of a xylophone and marimba, as well as the nasal, swinging string tones of a hurdy-gurdy through Walker, a grief meditation named after songwriter Scott Walker. It’s less dizzy and more patient than much of the Animal Collective catalog, with only jingles and random words left at the last minute like shards of mourning. PARELS

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Highly conceptual miniaturist Tierra Whack has released a series of test EPs with three songs: “Pop?”, “Rap?” and now “R&B?” which is based on slow-ticking drum machines and electronic tone. “Sorry” is perceived as a phone message, “last conversation” with the one who does not answer. The synth chords are frayed and trembling as her apology falls out – sincere, but apparently too late. PARELS

Misseralism and sensuality are elegantly combined in this collaboration between FKA twigs and Weeknd. For Twigs, the impressionist singer, this marks her poignant and theatrical vocals, while Weeknd, which has long embraced deviant sadness on a large scale, lowers it a little to match the blissfully stunned mood. JOHN CARAMANICA

At M&M, Jamaican producer Rwssian offers a sinister synthesizer that sounds like a video game console on its last legs, tinny and fading. Lil Baby juxtaposes it with a playful, melodious verse, while Future approaches him with an indignant wheeze. KARAMANIKA

Tendai Braxton’s new electronic track “Dia” is played after a long silence. It has an insistent but implied rhythm, many layers of explicit and implicit syncopation, and a determination to keep changing. PARELS

About 14 months ago, 24kGoldn was at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with its single “Mood”. He’s now reworking Biz Markey’s Just a Friend. It’s a daring success, like a grim concession. KARAMANIKA

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