Project: Mooncircle Jazzes Things Up

Psst, Project: Mooncircle. Seriously, what’s the deal? Don’t you know that you’re supposed to save your kick ass releases for later in the year so you can make various “Best Of” lists? Music bloggers typically have the memory skills of drunken goat herders. How are we ever supposed to remember something this good that came out this early in the year? Bucking tradition, i guess, P:M kindly has shared their January/February offerings with LET, and lemme tell you, these things are beasts.

While the label remains a beat factory first and foremost, upcoming CDs by Long Arm and Graciela Maria are decidedly more jazz oriented than listeners might expect from their standard P:M fare. Both names should be familiar to longtime P:M fans–Long Arm was on both The Moon Comes Closer and the Russian beatmaker edition of the Finest Ego series, while Graciela has been working with Robot Koch for the past couple of years now (incidentally, he produces this one).

Long Arm’s The Branches (release date: February 11, 2011) is a study in instrumental jazz. Employing standard beat production, LA creates music unlike many of his peers. This is not simple looping and sampling, this is the taking of the old to create something uniquely new. If you simply want crate digging, go check out some of Madlib’s stuff. If you want to hear the future of jazz, check out this noise.

Ms. Maria does much the same on her Many Places (release date: January 28, 2011), updating an older sound for a new beat-oriented generation, making her a laser pointer chanteuse in a land of torch singers. Her voice is at once powerful and subdued. Koch’s beats, incorporating soothing strings and gentle percussion, provide the perfect backdrop, allowing Maria to do her thing while making sure the heads keep nodding. i’d love to hear Graciela open up and belt out a little stronger occasionally, but, hell, nearly every note here is beautiful, so i’m arguably just being picky.

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