Iggy Pop Free album coverIggy Pop’s long creative ride – from The Stooges, to his Bowie-collabs, to some scattershot solo albums – has been both thrilling and maddeningly inconsistent, but he’s determinedly been himself. Inevitably, mortality will take even our Iggy, and these closing years see the original proto-punk pushing the bar higher with each new exploration.

After the shattering blast of his Josh Homme collab Post Pop Depression and the flinty, reflective and uproarious storytelling on Underworld’s Teatime Dub Encounters, Free is not a howling rock’n’roll record. A collaboration with Texan jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas and guitarist Novellar, it’s a moody, intelligent, downbeat exploration of some dark electronic moods, sharpened by Thomas’s keening trumpet and Iggy’s irascible, puppy-dog mope of a voice.

“I want to be free,” he intones over the title opener’s aural sunrise. Sonali is a screed of complaint against the absurdities of modern life and relationships, his singing skittering over a jazz/drum and bass treatment; We are the People is a fascinating treatise on the generationally dysfunctional scatter-lings of Europe; and on Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, the man who once sang I Want to Be Your Dog recites Dylan Thomas – you read that right. Engaging.

Free by Iggy Pop is out September 6 via Caroline/Universal.

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