Listen Up

A symphonic composition, an eerie ode to love, an unlikely reunion and more music from the week

Seraphina Simone: Skin

One of two new tracks from London-based musical artist Seraphina Simone, “Skin” tantalizes with soulful vocals and supportive synths. In a statement, Simone says the track is “about sex and desire,” adding that “I think as women we’re often taught to tame our desires, to make them fit into something that is palatable and acceptable for the male gaze or an outdated expectation of how a woman should behave, and by doing that we lobotomize a part of ourselves.” The beauty and power of “Skin” directly rebuts this.

Texas + Wu-Tang Clan: Hi

Wu-Tang Clan once again joins forces with iconic Scottish pop band Texas for “Hi,” a track that comes decades after their first collaboration—a remix of the 1997 mega-hit “Say What You Want” and an ensuing 1998 live performance featuring Method Man. RZA and Ghostface Killah appear alongside Texas vocalist Sharleen Spiteri on this enrapturing track—the first new music from both collaborators in three years. Fenn O’Meally video directed the official music video, which stars British actor Kadeem Ramsay.

Nico Muhly: Throughline

Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, Nico Muhly’s 19-minute “Throughline” dazzles throughout its 13 movements. Muhly composed the masterful work to comply with COVID-19 health restrictions—meaning that no more than six orchestral players could be on stage at once during recording, and breath-based instrument were recorded separately. The San Francisco Symphony, Esa-Pekka Salonen and eight collaborative partners—including Bryce Dessner on electric guitar and Esperanza Spalding on voice and bass—perform the world premiere. Audio and the accompanying video were woven together in an elaborate editing process.

Prophet: So Much Love

San Francisco funk artist Prophet’s “So Much Love” appears at the end of  Don’t Forget It, the artist’s second release on Stones Throw Records. Prior to his 2018 album, Wanna Be Your Man (made in collaboration with producer Mndsgn), Prophet hadn’t released a record in 34 years. His 1984 album, Right On Time, was circulated around DJ scenes and became a cult favorite, but never reached the mainstream. With his new music, Prophet is garnering more attention. The self-produced “So Much Love” proves lo-fi, nearly eerie and altogether emotional—even if it’s understated.

Listen Up is published every Sunday and rounds up the new music we found throughout the week. Hear the year so far on our Spotify channel. Hero image courtesy of Texas