Album Review

Sundur – “Somewhere There’s Music” – [Needle To the Groove]

MSTiZA   3/7/2023   A Library, CD

Remember trip hop? If you want to be revisited by the ghost of DJ Shadow, Healamonster & Tarsier, and Portishead, but need an update to the mix? This is for you. Somewhere There’s Music(2021) was recorded remotely during the pandemic. Sundur is a collaboration with vocalist Savannah Lancaster(LA) and DJ Platurn(Oakland) handling production. The album was received well by a few KCRW hosts which landed it in some top of 2021 playlists. It is still on mine. Like the label it’s released on, San Jose’s very own Needle to the Groove, this album is a sleeper, still falling under the radar yet deserving the attention of KFJC & beyond. The songs are filled with trip hop nostalgia. Lancaster‘s vocals introduce the album dripping a melodic syrupy lullaby[1], while her writing is personal, thoughtful, and sentimental throughout. Adam Theis, leader & founder of Jazz Mafia(Bay Area), contributes on horns on Heart of Stone[2], with broody vox a la Beth Gibbons(Portishead)[2,4].The title track- Somewhere There’s Music-sizzles with soft bop drums and breathy vocals that fill the air with enchantments of Billie Holiday and Max Roach. You can credit Max McVeety, of Crown City Rockers, on drums & Kicker Dixon on keys. Heady[4] drops a blues funk bassline nodding to Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information and we’re cruising down the El Camino in a 70’s Cadillac. Platurn, is a member of the Oakland Faders DJ crew. Platurn consistently delivers textured beats. Platurns ability to layer sounds with precision to create mystery and ambiance show his knowledge of the genre and his years in the music industry. Platurn understands when less is more, allowing the music to shift and breathe (Aging Soul, TIme is Now, Let Me Back In). Time is Now[7] is the one track that anchors itself in our times, speaking to the social climate of BLM that we faced in the early pandemic. Let Me Back In[10], featuring bassist Max Juarez, returns to the spooky and melancholic vibes. To the Top[11] slides in the whispery cries of strings courtesy of Max Juarez. The tracks are smartly arranged to create a complete listening experience when listened to in order while the individuality and intensity of each track stand on their own.

Instrumental: 6,11

FCC: 7,8

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