combo assembled by
drummer and producer Malcolm Catto,
fused ethnic, jazz and psychedelic music on the
instrumentals of the double-LP Out There (2007).
There are several cute ideas
(how Sirius B
blends Caribbean percussion, comic trombone melody, alien synth noises and free-jazz saxophone, or
Joyride that sounds like a
funky version of
the jazz musichall of Age Of The Sun
the dub-folk vignette Winter Song,
how minimalist and African modes of trance fuse in A World Of Masks,
and the many ethnic incursions like Before I Die)
but the album suffers from rather anemic and inconclusive jamming,
and sometimes spoiled by pointless spoken-word commentary.
Numerous interludes of dubious amusing value further distract from the album's
focus (if there is any).
A collaboration with Ethiopian vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke, a pioneer of
African jazz, yielded
Inspiration Information (2009) where the music is more focused
and the instrumentals better organized. The first track is actually an
ethnic jazz ballad, Masenqo.
The flow tends to get monotonous as there is little difference between
one piece and the next, but the
sinister dub-jazz fanfare Addis Black Widow and the
jovial folk-jazz fanfare Mulatu break the monotony, and
the very jazzy Esketa Dance and the
atmospheric seven-minute Anglo Ethio Suite, with liquid piano
and subdued rhythm, show some magic.
They collaborated with veteran pianist Lloyd Miller, the pioneer of ethnic jazz
who released Oriental Jazz (1968) after living and studying for several years in Iran, on
Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics (2010).
This is ethnic jazz of a more austere kind: Electricone, Mandala, Bali Bronze, Sunda Sunset.
The pianist dominates the seven-minute meditation Spiritual Jazz.
13 Degrees of Reality (2013) returned to the chaotic format of Out There with lots of interludes and lots of strange hybrids. It contains one
of their very best numbers, the
slow seven-minute dance Wrecking Ball.
Jaiyede Afro (2014) documents a collaboration with Nigerian tenor saxophonist Orlando Julius, another veteran of African-Western fusion, who released Super Afro Soul (1966) fifty years earlier.
Besides conventional Afro-pop songs, the album contains the
hypnotic eleven-minute jam Be Counted
and the eight-minute Buje Buje.
The Last Transmission (2014) documents another collaboration,
this time with Melvin van Peebles, an 82-year-old film-maker who
before the age of rap released an album of spoken-word over soul-jazz music,
Brer Soul (1969). The album is a concept about an
interplanetary space traveller, and Heliocentrics simply provides the
instrumental backing to the old man's narration.
The movie soundtrack for Cosmo Feilding-Mellen's documentary The Sunshine Makers (2015) is another wildly fragmented collection of brief psychedelic vignettes, notably the bicycle-driven Chase Scene.
Needless to say, all the pieces feel unfinished.
From the Deep (2016) is another sprawling collection of barely sketched
ideas, but this time the captivating ideas are more numerous:
the vintage exotic jazz of The Pit a` la Penguin Cafè Orchestra,
the bass-driven cinematic theme Telekinesis,
the guitar twang-permeated Discovery,
the booming percussion-driven Thunder And Lightning,
the ebullient jazz-funk jam Looking Back,
the Chinese carillon Mass Psychosis
If they only could finish what they start so well...
A World of Masks (2017) marked a transition from instrumental music
to songs, thanks to vocals provided by Barbora Patkova; and is surprisingly
their most cohesive yet, with songs that feel like someone actually composed them and completed them.
Somehow, Patkova's voice helps the music coalesce and better integrate its disparate elements.
The lysergic anthem Time sounds like a collaboration between the Third Ear Band and the 5th Dimension of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.
The ceremonial music of the seven-minute A World Of Masks soars like an acid hymn of the Jefferson Airplane.
Oh Brother weds Caribbean rhythm, gypsy guitar and jazz melisma.
The instrumentals include
the grotesque funk-jazz carnival march Human Zoo,
the synth-driven dance The Silverback,
the funk-rock fest Square Wave,
and the pulsing seven-minute raga The Uncertainty Principle.
Infinity of Now (2020) contains only eight songs, a record for them.
Unfortunately this time the songs veer towards the languid pop ballad.
This makes for a rather monotonous experience and one misses the days when
they were limiting their compositions to two minutes or so.
This time it's the instrumentals that save the day:
Elephant Walk is a decent jazz instrumental with comic sax noise,
and Hanging By A Thread sounds like vintage organ-driven soul-jazz of the 1960s (a` la Bill Doggett).
Among the songs, best is probably the tense Light In The Dark where
Patkova impersonates the sensual femme fatale.
The album ends with the ten-minute People Wake Up! in which
her protracted wailing and the bluesy accompaniment are less exciting
than the devilish instrumental coda.
Telemetric Sounds (2020) contains
Telemetric Sounds, a vibrant
13-minute instrumental that falls somewhere between
Acid Mothers Temple.
That seems the only reason for the album to exist because the rest
(including the eight-minute Left to our own Devices)
is amateurish and sometimes plain tedious, possibly leftovers from previous albums.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami