News

The Qobuz Guide to March 2024

Every month, the Qobuz editorial team identifies the releases not to be missed, in all genres.

Illustration March 2024 - Jess Rotter

Electronic

Bolis Pupul’s homage to his mother and his Chinese roots moves around the electronic spectrum while never straying from his intentions. Li Yilei proves that peaceful and “far out” aren’t mutually exclusive on a record that experiments as seriously as it does playfully. Sote’s depth is on full display on Ministry of Tall Tales which makes it all the more impressive how wildly enjoyable the album is. Rarities is a B-sides and live cuts companion to last year’s 25th anniversary reissue of Frenchmen JB Dunckel and Nicolas Godin’s landmark debut album. The groovy and glistening Moon Safari was a vibe before everything was deemed a vibe. Jlin’s boundary pushing will never end but Akoma finds excellence not because of the unexpected. She has reached incredible heights before and learned to build off them. Four Tet returns to his downtempo throne to reestablish why we fell in love with his records to begin with.

Jazz

Amaro Freitas’ newest continues to grow his standing as one of the best pianists in the world while allowing a cavalcade of jazz stars to accompany—and further—his progression. Charles Lloyd’s legacy doesn’t need any further validation, but here we are in his world where he continues to mystify us. Julian Lage dug deep to make a record steeped in Americana and blues without sacrificing the jazz chops we all love so much. Alice Coltrane’s first Carnegie Hall show is enough to sell this record alone, but the band and the playing do even more than the history. Blending incredible production and live playing makes the latest from Jahari Massamba Unit, a collaboration between Karriem Riggins and Madlib, a must hear. The Messthetics, already a first-class combination of Fugazi’s rhythm section and Anthony Pirog’s incredible guitar playing, add saxophone leads from James Brandon Lewis that absolutely shred.

Classical

Baritenor Michael Spyres is back with In the Shadows, featuring a program consisting of 19th-century French, German, and Italian operas. Soprano Sabine Devieilhe released an intimate recital, joined by pianist Mathieu Pordoy, performing lieder by Strauss and Mozart. Standouts in the piano universe include: Beatrice Rana’s latest album, featuring Beethoven and Chopin piano sonatas; Lang Lang’s collaboration with Gina Alice and Gewandhausorchester, conducted by Andris Nelsons, on Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals and more; and Moves in the Field, Kelly Moran’s exploration of neoclassical and electronica with tapered piano technique. L’Heure bleue, the Qobuzissime-bestowed sophomore release from the Quatuor Zahir saxophone quartet, delivers superb transcriptions of impressionist works in a repertoire too rarely heard on records.

Rock

With Tigers Blood featuring some of Katie Crutchfield’s best songwriting to date, Waxahatchee emphatically let us know they have no intention of leaving the rarified air they ascended to on 2020′s Saint Cloud. Rosali has made her best and most rocking record to date with help from Mowed Sound, and that’s really saying something. On their self-titled debut album, North Carolina’s Verity Den construct moody sound layers that shimmer, amble and also get stretched into fuzzed-out bliss. Adrianne Lenker, usually singing for Big Thief, continues to amaze and amaze often with this distinguished, sad and achingly beautiful record. USA Nails are heavier than ever but still contain a fiery, distinct sense of deprecating humor toward the human condition. The Jesus and Mary Chain nod at their sometimes infamous past on Glasgow Eyes but also seem determined to expand on it.

Pop

Sung in Portuguese, Ana Lua Caiano’s record proves the language of pop is universal—at least when it is performed this crisply and with such an edge. Gossip return after a twelve-year absence with a full tank of bop-worthy jams that showcase lead singer Beth Ditto’s commanding powers. Odetta Hartman shows off an alluring mastery of divergent styles on Swansongs. A living document dedicated to her recently passed songwriting partner, Reyna Tropical’s Malegría is a measure of joy combining cumbia, pop and vibrant dance. Norah Jones works with producer Leon Michels (El Michels Affair) to create a breezy soul jazz winner on her latest, Visions. Summing up Cowboy Carter in a sentence or two is a fool’s errand, so take our word for it: Beyoncé delivers the goods on this exposition of country music’s Black roots. A necessary digital reissue, Nina’s Back finds Nina Simone using funk and pop as a backdrop for her incredible voice, personal flourishes and political backdrops. Allee Willis’ 1974 album (her only one) wasn’t a commercial success, but don’t worry, she’d go on to do pretty ok as a songwriter behind hits like the Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance,” Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland,” and the Rembrandt’s “I’ll Be There for You”—you know, the theme from Friends, which she referred to as “the whitest song I ever wrote.”

More Favorites

Combining sound design and meteorological data, MINING have made an ambient record with purpose, soul, and emotion. The work of pioneering desert blues guitarist Abdallah Oumbadougou is celebrated on Amghar: The Godfather of Touareg Music. As Mdou Moctar told The Quietus in 2021, “Oumbadogou is ... the source of my music.” Horse Lords’ free jazz/free rock records are amazing but nothing compares to their live performances, captured brilliantly here. Frail Body offer a steady mix of grinding brutality and rising beauty on Artificial Bouquet, a record that reclaims “screamo” by melding existing metal genres seamlessly. A fresh-faced man navigates a world rife with political obstacles. No, not Dune: Part Two, but Julio Torres’ Problemista, which is soundtracked by eclectic and experimental vignettes from Robert Ouyang Rusli. Hard to believe it’s already been a year since De La Soul’s full catalog was made available for streaming and download—and we’ll never turn down a reason to celebrate it. This 35th edition of the trio’s singular debut 3 Feet High and Rising features a half dozen previously unreleased songs. Beans, forever pushing boundaries, finds an unlikely but incredible production partner in Vladistav Delay on a dexterous and dance-inspired collection.

Compiled by Sujan Hong, Jeff Laughlin, Nitha Viraporn/Qobuz USA