Best Albums of 2020: Evan Fraser & Vir McCoy ‘Guardians’

Guardians (Interchill)

A powerful collection of downtempo grooves in a globetrotting style which long ago might have been called ‘world music’ but I’ll just call ‘exotica’. On their second album the Californians Evan Fraser and Vir McCoy play acoustic instruments from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Britain and the Americas, weaving in subtle synthetic sounds and samples and binding them all together with warm, spacious production. Although cultural authenticity is hardly the point of world fusion like this, you can almost see the coatings of dust and sand on the North African and Moroccan-tinged pieces. There’s also a handful of song lyrics with guest singers scattered among the instrumentals. None sound jarring alongside the other tracks, and some like “Fertile Ground” are packed with pop-like hooks and brilliant syncopations. 25 years on, the Canadian-based Interchill Records may not be releasing much, but Guardians finds the quality control as high as ever.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

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