Listening to Third Culture, it’s clear the amount of time, detail and attention that’s gone into it. Over 4,000 hours to be exact. But when its concept is so deeply personal, it’s no wonder Oxford-based musician and producer Michael Diamond spent so much time perfecting its outcome. The 23-year old’s debut album lets us into his internal thoughts and conflicted feelings on the subject of cultural identity; told through a dreamy, introspective marriage of jazz, electronica, breaks and ambient.
Taking its name from a phrase meaning to be raised in a culture that’s not the same as your parents, the album displays Michael’s ability to approach the traditions of jazz in a completely new way, bringing his love of the UK electronic music scene into the mix too. Our pick, ‘Liberation’ is co-written with musical director of Oxford University Jazz Orchestra and long-standing collaborator, Alex Wilson, who adds wistful sax to Diamond’s ethereal ambience, that build and builds until it crumbles into a haze of clattering breaks.
The release is accompanied by a short story written by writer Áine Kim Kennedy – a close friend of Michael’s, who is also a third culture kid of Irish and Korean heritage – who shares her own experiences of culture, religion, spirituality and nationalism.
Third Culture is out on 24th June via Vasuki Sound.