JAZZ JAN KOPINSKI’S REFLEKTOR Mirrors (33 Records) ●●●●●

Jan Kopinski first came to prominence on the UK jazz scene with his band Pinski Zoo in the late 80s, and there is much of the fiery avant-jazz energy and intensity that lit up their music in this new album. Reflektor features the saxophonist alongside his children,

viola player Janina and bassist Stefan, as well as former Pinski associates Steve Iliffe on piano and Patrick Illingworth on drums. The music comes out a project with associated visual input (Reflektor’s speciality), but still makes a powerful impression on disc, with Melanie Pappenheim adding atmospheric vocal contributions. (Kenny Mathieson)

JAZZ ALEX GARNETT Serpent (Whirlwind Recordings) ●●●●●

At just over 40, English saxophonist Alex Garnett has taken his time in making his recording debut as a leader, but in the interim has built a considerable track record in a wide variety of settings. That depth of experience is immediately evident in his assured and inventive handling of the opening up-tempo tune, ‘Lydia’, and is carried on with equal conviction across a self-composed album of agile, fresh-sounding contemporary bop. He is strongly supported by an American rhythm section of pianist Anthony Wonsey, London-based bassist (and regular collaborator) Michael Janisch and drummer Willie Jones III. (Kenny Mathieson)


Twenty-nine and in her prime as this début shows: from her Paris base, Cote d’Ivoire born Fatou Diawara builds on sounds from her Malian childhood. Having charmed as one of the few women of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express, she uses minimal guitar, seductive melodies, dancing rhythms and sensual voice to tell radical stories. Beautifully yet subtly feminist, in message the songs cover a woman’s right to choose their partner, female circumcision and the painful practice of giving children away to be raised by others (eat your heart out Madonna). A gorgeous, zeitgeisty African Joni Mitchell for the 21st century. (Jan Fairley)

WORLD SIA TOLNO My Life (Lusafrica) ●●●●●

Young Guinean singer Sia Tolno overcame civil war exile to compose defiantly funky songs championing a better life for African woman and children. Her richly rhythmic tones have been rightfully compared to Miriam Makeba and Tina Turner (as heard on ‘Blamah Blamah’), and after listening to this, her second album, there’s reason to believe the next decade might belong to female world artists building on the example of Mexican Lila Downs and Susana Baca (Peru’s forthcoming Minister of Culture). With mesmerising choruses, catchy dance songs like ‘Dia Ya Leh’ and the Fela Kuti influenced ‘Polli Polli’, this is an empoweringly feelgood collection. (Jan Fairley)



The humble lyric is oft-overlooked in the quick-fix rush of the singles market. Come hither, then, as we salute the month’s most loquacious quality popsters. No such discourse would be complete without a nod to

Swedish indie-bard Jens Lekman, whose ‘An Argument With Myself’ EP (●●●●●, Strictly Canadian) is a tropical boogie through picturesque rhymes (‘galaxies of taxis and back-seats and drunk suites and half-Greeks’), while the beautiful beardy heartbreaker that is Josh T Pearson says ‘Sorry With a Song’ (●●●●●, Mute) and we fall for his alt-country self-hate all over again.

Edinburgh alt-rock miscreants Cancel the Astronauts strike a loveable balance between upbeat clamour and morbid introspection on ‘Seven Vices’ (●●●●●, self-release) and there are further erudite alt-pop gems from local heroes We Were Promised Jetpacks with rock-conquest ‘Medicine’ (●●●●●, Fat Cat), Django Django’s woozy electro-groove ‘Waveforms’ (●●●●●, Because) and Wounded Knee’s seafaring folk voyage ‘Helmsdale Herring’ (●●●●●, self-release).

But The List is thrilled to reunite Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton (pictured) for Joint Single of the Month. Moffat’s outstanding tryst with Bill Wells continues apace with the ‘Cruel Summer’ EP ( ●●●●●, Chemikal Underground) which allies their stifled-jazz take on Bananarama with a brand-new lovelorn serenade and a Hallowe’en dog- collar fantasy, while Malcolm Middleton (pictured, above) lavishes us with a series of deadpan gorgeous, down-home odes on ‘10x10:08’ (●●●●●, De-Fence), an excellent split EP with FOUND’s electro-deviant River of Slime. ‘It turns out we’re exactly who we thought we were,’ sings Moffat. ‘The whole world’s gone to fuck’, sings Middleton. Praise be, say we, for Scotland’s articulate saviours of pop. (Nicola Meighan)

HTRK Work (work, work) (blastfirstpetite) ●●●●● Droopy eye-lidded, achingly slow and vaguely sinister pop. Dripping with languid atmosphere, from the Ghostly-signed, Optimo playing duo of Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang.

Warpaint The Fool Deluxe Album (Rough Trade) ●●●●● A re-release of last year’s album (Jarvis Cocker’s favourite of 2010), with an added bonus disc of their debut EP ‘Exquisite Corpse’, and a reworking of their single ‘Billie Holiday’.

Teen Daze A Silent Planet (Waaga) ●●●●● Like a John Hughes soundtrack on the wrong speed; woozy, celestial pop, yet this EP from Canadian Jamison somehow doesn’t quite hit the highs of lo-fi pop brethren Washed Out or Small Black.

Mondkopf Rising Doom (Foolhouse) ●●●●● The clue’s in the name; dark rumblings and ominous electro from this producer from Toulouse, raised on a diet of Autechre and Aphex Twin. Big, gothic pounding beats from the one dubbed ‘the French Brian Eno.’ Class Actress Rapprocher (Carpark) ●●●●● From the electro-pop hot-bed of Brooklyn, Elizabeth Harper builds on her excellent 2010 ‘Journal of Ardency’ EP with this 80s synth- drenched power pop. Her stalker-pop track ‘Keep You’ is an album highlight.

T.E.E. (Turzi Electronique Experience) Education (Record Makers) ●●●●● Bleeping, throbbing gallo- krautrock from French producer Romain Turzi. Tangerine Dreamy, uplifting, if sometimes patchy, stuff. (Claire Sawers)

80 THE LIST 22 Sep–20 Oct 2011