Listen Up

The sounds of the week include the cosmic magic of free jazz to a cavernous fungal fantasy with a bass clarinet sextet

Ari Lennox and Summer Walker: Queen Space

Ari Lennox released a surprise EP called Away Message last week (ahead of her highly anticipated second album, Age/Sex/Location, which is due this week), and from it comes the sublime “Queen Space” with Summer Walker. The track is a buttery smooth ode to not wasting time or energy on unworthy people.

Beckah Amani: Waiting On You

Beckah Amani’s aqueous “Waiting On You” is an amalgam of genres that’s simultaneously laidback and vibrant—and undeniably satisfying. “Being immersed in a culture that celebrates music from all over, made me feel accepted in producing an afro-leaning track, and I’m excited to share it with the world,” she says in a statement. “The percussive elements and drum rhythms on ‘Waiting On You’ were influenced by Burundian drumming. It was really important to me to tap into my heritage for this track and be proud of this musical root.” The track will appear on the Tanzania-born, Australia-raised and UK-based musician’s upcoming debut EP, APRIL, which is set for release in October.

Sun Ra Arkestra: Chopin

Sun Ra Arkestra shares another track from their upcoming album, Living Sky, which will be released 7 October. Across almost eight minutes, “Chopin” unfurls gently and hypnotically. The piece is Sun Ra’s first studio recording of their “elaboration” of “Prelude in A Major” from the Frédéric Chopin Opus 28 No. 7, which has only been heard at performances or on live recordings. The gorgeous piece is a testament to musical director and alto saxophonist Marshall Allen (who has led the group since Sun Ra and John Gilmore passed away in the ‘90s) and the luminous, undulating sound carries with it all the cosmic magic that the pioneering free jazz band is known for.

Yazmin Lacey: Pieces

Across a slow-burning tempo and horns from James Mollison, Ritchie Seivwright and Sheila Maurice-Gray, British singer Yazmin Lacey’s smooth and smoky vocals seduce in her new single “Pieces.” Intimate and soulful, the track is “an open goodbye letter,” the artist says. “‘Pieces’ is bathed in a kind of blissful melancholy, a 50/50 fusion of love and loss.”

Björk: Atopos

With the powerfully peculiar lead single “Atopos,” Björk offers an entrancing preview of her highly anticipated 10th studio album, Fossora (out 30 September). The track emerges with an official music video directed by Viðar Logi, wherein a theatrically costumed Björk is joined by a bass clarinet sextet and Gabber Modus Operandi’s DJ Kasimyn inside of a cavernous fungal fantasy. “It is a good intro,” Björk says of the track, acknowledging that it’s, “kinda like Fossora’s passport.”

Jenevieve: Rendezvous

Singer-songwriter Jenevieve released her Rendezvous EP today and the title track overflows with the laidback, disco- and pop-tinged R&B that she has mastered. The breezy, playful song is one of six on the album, which follows her 2021 debut, Division.

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 Björk