BritJams! Edition: Jouis, Mac-Talla Nan Creag, Brighde Chaimbeul & Ezra Collective


Jouis: Mind Bahn

After a couple of weeks tooling around Europe in its infinite Eurojam weirdness, let’s make one final stop in the merry olde United Kingdom for an eclectic batch of must-hears. I’ll get this one out of the way first because I’m seriously digging the new one from Jouis. Their previously recommNed’d Dojo is now almost five-years-old, but Jouis is back with the bloody brilliant Mind Bahn, a masterpiece of groovy, psychedelic nouveau-prog music. If you dig the jams and the twists and turns of good, old fashioned progressive rock, you’re gonna really enjoy this. A must hear!


Mac-Talla Nan Creag: The Sorrow Of Derdriu

For something a little different, we head up to Scotland for the brilliant new release The Sorrow Of Derdriu. This is some magical music coming from a trio of electronic musicians who call themselves Mac-Talla Nan Creag. This is high-level ambient, mixing in classic folk sounds and almost pastoral instrumental storytelling. Apparently, The Sorrow Of Derdriu is an ancient Gaelic myth and the music here will take you on a heady trip through time and place, world-creating in understated synthesizers, pianos and more. Hopefully, you’re intrigued enough to check this out, but if not, just trust me, it’s something special.


Brighde Chaimbeul: The Reeling

Now that your head is in its proper place, I think I can now safely lay my next pick on you. The artist is Brighde Chaimbeul who plays Scottish “smallpipes,” a rather hypnotic flavor of bagpipes. Her debut album, out earlier in the winter, is called The Reeling and it was “recorded live without overdubs in the historic East Church in Cromarty, on the Black Isle.” This is some legit, time-traveling otherworldliness. A few seconds into this record you can kind of feel it creeping up and consuming you, an immersive, magical ancient beauty. Not sure I’ve heard anything like it, something different. Enjoy!

Ezra Collective: You Can’t Steal My Joy

To round out the set, let’s get this week’s picks back in the city, modern day. Heading to London, we find the fabulous upstart Ezra Collective. Maybe you’re already hip to these guys, but if not, put the wonderfully titled You Can’t Steal My Joy on your radar and into your listening queue immediately. Helmed by two brothers on the bass and drums, beefed up with horns and keys, this is a “jazz” band in the modern-day tradition of Brit-jazz, which is to say, pushing the boundaries, rewriting the definitions and having a lot of fun. This one is a lot of fun, downright funky and dance-ready while maintaining the jazz roots. Opening with a fractured Sun Ra cover and then somehow gobbling up all the sounds of the big city — ska, dub, funk, rock and beyond — this is a stellar debut from a band on the rise. Don’t hesitate, get these four albums into your ears posthaste!