(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Out There (2007), 6/10
Inspiration Information (2009), 5/10
Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics (2010), 5/10
13 Degrees of Reality (2013), 6/10
Jaiyede Afro (2014), 6/10
The Last Transmission (2014), 4.5/10
The Sunshine Makers (2015), 4.5/10
From the Deep (2016), 6/10
A World of Masks (2017), 6.5/10
Infinity of Now (2020), 5/10
Telemetric Sounds (2020), 5.5/10

Heliocentrics, a combo assembled by London-based 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 Neu, 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.

The double-LP 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 etc. 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 Can and 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

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
What is unique about this music database