Delmer Darion ‘Morning Pageants’ (Practise Music)

This searching, extraordinary debut from West Midlands duo Delmer Darion feels for all the world like one of those rare, underground paradigm shifts. Though tethered by familiar reference points (future soul, alt-folk, experimental ambient), ‘Morning Pageants’ compares with little. 

Soaring through genre demarcations with hallucinatory abandon, it is rooted in a retro-futuristic medievalism of sorts, where we’re invited to contemplate the death of the devil, as inspired by poet Wallace Stevens’ line “The death of Satan was a tragedy for the imagination”.

And so, sepia-tinted opener ‘290 Recto’ recounts the tale of a monk tasked with writing down the entirety of knowledge in one night, while cocooning ambient moments share intimate space with fractured Early Music and delicate folk on ‘Brossier’, a story of feigned demonic possession. 

These sometimes unlikely juxtapositions work impressively well. They’re collage-like perhaps, but with an entirely satisfying internal logic throughout. A cerebral, exhilarating riot of creative ambition and élan.

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Telefís ‘a Dó’ (Dimple Discs)

“My progress has been fitful,” Cathal Coughlan once said of his career. In the Irish songwriter’s life, there were certainly “anti-career” moments. His original band Microdisney supported David Bowie in concert then immediately split up. He shoved a Virgin Mary souvenir up his backside in a typically riotous performance with The Fatima Mansions. And as Bubonique, he recorded an album called ‘Trance Arse Volume 3’ with the comedian Sean Hughes. Now that’s a career.