Hugo Martins

2021 in Musical Discoveries

I’ve recently read Martin Fowler’s My favorite musical discoveries of 2021. I don’t expect anyone to share the same musical tastes as myself, but I thought that it’d be an interesting exercise to share some music discoveries that I made this year, that were enjoyable and surprising.

I’m going to do this in the broadest way possible and share particular artists, instead of releases, while still suggesting the releases that were the most enjoyable to me. It has been an appealing exercise to go back and revisit what I’ve listened to the most this year and what has surprised me at any given time. Thanks Spotify!

Vulfpeck. I’ve discovered Vulfpeck towards the end of the year but I’ve been completed hooked and I’ve been listening to LAX on loop since then. I’ve gotten to known Vulfpeck by listening to The Joy of Music, The Job of Real Estate (2020) but I’ve also found The Beautiful Game (2016) to be enjoyable. Vulfpeck is a funk group but they go way outside of that “simple” description and have a lot of eletronic-based instrumentals (see Bach Vision Test), in particular in their latest release.

Immanuel Wilkins. I’ve written about Immanuel Wilkins earlier this year in ‘Omega’. At the time, I wrote:

It is truly a remarkable release from such a young artist, 22 years old, and we can only hope for a bright future from this young saxophonist.

I meant every single word, as a debut release, Omega is incredible, surprising and eclectic. I’ve kept listening to Immanuel Wilkins on and off throughout the entire year.

Benny Sings. I was made aware of Benny Sings when he was scheduled to perform at a music festival I attended. I ended up not watching his show but I’ve kept listening to Music (2021), in particular Nobody’s Fault written with Tom Misch.

Ambrose Akinmusire. Following Immanuel Wilkins, while exploring some of the best jazz released in 2020, I’ve also discovered trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, in particular his release On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment (2020).

I hope these suggestions provide some enjoyable new music to discover and that this exercise is as interesting for other people to discover new music as it was for me.