The band New Visionaries is actually a duo consisting of UK-based Australian artist Joel Sarakula and Dutch musician Phil Martin. Their story begins with an unexpected meeting in the summer of 2019, when Phil joined at the last minute as a conga player for a Joel show.

From then on, spontaneity becomes the cornerstone of their musical relationship: impromptu recording sessions planned just a few days in advance, performances planned a few weeks in advance, and song concepts emerging from jam sessions.

A year later, the story of New Visionaries really unfolded in July 2020, when Joel found himself stranded in the Netherlands after playing a few shows in Amsterdam, his first gigs after the early pandemic lockdowns. He waited for British borders to reopen to those traveling from the Netherlands so he could return home. Realizing he had some time on his hands and already had a bond with Phil, he set up camp in Dordrecht for an unpredictable period and they started recording new 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 is their shared affinity with contemporary instrumental bands such as Khruangbin, Calibro 35, Air or El Michels Affair, as well as classical influences such as David Axelrod and the classic KPM library series.

They started making tracks for what would become their debut album 'Roadmaps'. The idea was to construct concise atmospheric pieces that can take the listener on a three-minute odyssey, often crossing distant and different musical cultures. With Phil handling drums, percussion, keys, bass and guitar, and Joel contributing on keys, bass and guitar, they managed to work out most of the arrangements in Phil's studio, full of vintage instruments, including old electric pianos from Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer, synths, Hammond organs and iconic Gibson guitars. Guest artists were only called in when absolutely necessary: Hannah Williams lent her vocals on 'Summer Rain', Peter Broekhuizen played flute on 'Firecracker' and 'Spiritual World', Cees Trappenburg added his touch of horns for 'Scandinavian Railways' and 'Interstellar Bachelor Pad', while Yolande Kalb and Margriet Groenhof contributed as background singers on several songs.

Opener 'Giallo Days' sounds funky but up-tempo, after which 'The Sunshine' focuses on the jazzy aspect from the seventies. 'Scandinavian Railways' goes funky again, and 'Firecracker' is reminiscent of blaxploitation soundtracks from the sixties. On 'Summer Rain', Hannah Williams sings a soulful downtempo track, followed by 'Desert Disco Nights', which is intended to represent a cheerful party in the desert. 'Interstellar Bachelor Pad' takes us on a gentle, yet soulful interstellar journey. And then we fly to Brazil with 'Brasiliance', which floats on a nice percussion. With 'Shore Leave' we go ashore to a downtempo rhythm, while the closing track 'Spiritual World' has a New Age-like feel.

A beautiful and surprising album, full of soul-like soundscapes that evoke different images. Very original and quite fun!



Giallo Days

The Sunshine

Scandinavian Railways


Summer Rain

Desert Disco Nights

Interstellar Bachelor Pad


Shore Leave

Spiritual World

New Visionaries