Jan 24th, 2024
New Visionaries are UK-based Australian artist Joel Sarakula and Dutch musician Phil Martin.
Their debut album Roadmaps blends contemporary elements with nods to musical pioneers, creating the band’s signature sound. This collection resonates with soul enthusiasts, cinematic groove aficionados and music explorers. Roadmaps weaves a sonic tapestry, blurring boundaries and shining as a true gem.
The story of New Visionaries starts with an unexpected rendezvous in the summer of 2019, when Phil joined as a conga player for a Joel show at the very last minute. From that point onwards, spontaneity becomes the cornerstone of their musical relationship: impromptu recording sessions arranged just days in advance, gigs scheduled a few weeks beforehand, and song concepts emerging from jam sessions…
Fast forward a year and the narrative of New Visionaries truly unfolds in July 2020, when Joel finds himself stranded in The Netherlands after playing a few shows in Amsterdam, his first performances after the early pandemic lockdowns. He was waiting for the UK borders to reopen for those traveling from The Netherlands, allowing him to return home. Recognizing that he had some time to spare and already sharing a rapport with Phil, he set up camp in Dordrecht and they embarked on recording fresh material together.
Despite Phil’s involvement in the European funk and soul scene and Joel’s inclination towards soulful pop, what led them to create new music was their shared affinity for contemporary instrumental bands such as Khruangbin, Air or El Michel’s Affair, as well as classic influences like David Axelrod and the classic KPM library series.
They started crafting tracks for what would become Roadmaps, their debut album. The idea was to construct succinct mood pieces capable of transporting listeners on a three-minute odyssey, often traversing distant and distinct musical cultures. With Phil handling drums, percussion, keys, bass and guitar, and Joel contributing on keys, bass and guitar, they managed to flesh out most of the arrangements in Phil’s studio, packed with vintage instruments including old Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, synths, Hammond organs and iconic Gibson guitars. Guest performers were called in only when absolutely necessary: Hannah Williams lent her vocals to first single “Summer Rain”, while Peter Broekhuizen plays the flute on “Firecracker” and “Spiritual World”, Cees Trappenburg adds his touch on horns for “Scandinavian Railways” and “Interstellar Bachelor Pad”, Yolande Kalb and Margriet Groenhof contribute as background singers on several tracks.
The result is an enthralling album that immerses listeners in a sonic expedition.
‘Roadmaps’ out on LP / CD / Digital on January 26th 2024 via Lovemonk Records