Channel The Spirits is a cosmic odyssey. With psychedelic intensity, the band evokes the ghosts of bold experimentalists like Sun Ra, Funkadelic and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Here is the universe in a microcosm; the life-force distilled down to its raw essence: sex and dancing. Sub-bass, slamming analogue synths, unhinged sax breaks. The rhythm of life. Our saviours Danalogue The Conqueror, Betamax Killer (both Soccer96) and King Shabaka (Sons Of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down) come bearing their debut album ‘Channel The Spirits’. A prophetic document. A celebration. The beginning of the end. The Comet Is Coming.
“In the sky will be seen a fire, dragging a tail of sparks…” Just as Nostradamus prophesised in his quatrains, The Comet Is Coming: “The great star for seven days will burn, the cloud will cause two suns to appear and the big mastiff all night will howl.” End times are upon us people, but Danalogue The Conqueror, Betamax Killer and King Shabaka are here to spread light and joy and fire, for they are The Comet Is Coming.
Five tracks of freewheeling psychedelia and honking jazz punk mayhem is your soundtrack. Strap in and lift-off to the dizzying “Neon Baby”. Slip down the helter skelter wormhole of “Star Exploding In Slow Motion” and wake up dazed on a verdant astral plane in time to”Do The Milky Way”. Moon-bathe in a sonic Sea of Tranquility that is “Cosmic Serpent” and comedown to the dark ambient state-of-the-universe address that is “Final Days Of The Apocalypse”. But most importantly: hit the floor and shake it like there’s no tomorrow.
Here is the universe in a microcosm; the life-force distilled down to its raw essence: sex and dancing. Sub-bass, slamming analogue, unhinged sax breaks. The rhythm of life. Armageddon is coming: what better way to spend it than letting our brave young voyagers take you on a topographical journey of a different bent?
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On Trust In The Life Force Of The Deep Mystery, the Mercury Music Prize-shortlisted futurist jazz voyagers The Comet Is Coming are making music for these crisis times of chaos and mass meltdown. The title of the album, the band say, concerns “finding meaning in that which you cannot grasp”, it considers “truth in the existence of a primordial energy”. It asks “What does it mean to be human? The music on the trio’s second record, out on impulse!, fluctuates between pulsating, danceable, electronic groove-centric pieces and quieter, melodic jazz-infused compositions. The Comet Is Coming are: Danalogue (keyboards/electronics), Betamax (drums) and King Shabaka (saxophone).
Theon Cross strides confidently forth from his crucial role alongside Shabaka Hutchings in the award-winning Sons Of Kemet to unleash one of the vital sounds of 2019. Irresistibly inventive, while at once both serious and witty – Theon Cross plays Tuba like no-one else. An enormous, swaggering bass emanates from Theon’s magnificent horn, evoking sweaty clubnights where dance floor bangers sit side by side with intricate arrangements. Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd, London’s Jazz golden generation illuminaries, feature heavily. Wayne Francis of Steam Down also guests. Refusing to be shackled by the confines of Jazz, the album draws on London’s vivacious cutural heritage, dipping in and out of grime, afrobeat, electronic, dub, dancehall and Jamaican roots music. Theon featured recently on the much lauded Makaya McCraven’s Where We Come From album. He’s also performed with the likes of Kano, Moses Boyd, Jon Batiste, Pharoahe Monch, Courtney Pine and is a founding figure in South London-based collective Steam Down.
Sons Of Kemet have seeped this latest material into their irrepressible live sets over the past year and a half. Now it comes into its own, as Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do – and the possibilities are still exhilarating:
‘On some level, our duty is to give the audience what they want,’ says Hutchings. ‘On another, it’s to prise open those expectations and put something else in there – and on another level, it’s to forget all of that, and just create euphoria.’
Seldom has a band on the British jazz scene created such a buzz before releasing an album, but through their live shows – and some delightfully unexpected airplay – Sons of Kemet have done just that. A super-group of sorts led by clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings with Oren Marshall on tuba and both Tom Skinner and Seb Rochford on drums, Sons of Kemet are set to release their stunning debut album Burn on 9 September on the go-to label of the year, Naim Records.
It’s partly the deployment of two drummers – and two powerhouse drummers at that – that gives Sons of Kemet their compelling and infectious sound. Skinner and Rochford’s (Mercury Prize nominated Polar Bear & Acoustic Ladyland) visceral exchange of rhythmic ideas is an unforgettable, highly danceable experience. Throw into this one of the great wild cards of contemporary British music, Oren Marshall on tuba, and you have a wonderfully unorthodox configuration.
A curiously addictive album that manages to appeal to both heart and mind, there is little to compare it with. Instead, Burn feels like that rare thing, an exciting new sound that somehow worms its way into your brain and won’t let go. Exceptionally assured for a debut album, Burn surely has to become one of the standout releases for 2013.
Sons of Kemet will be releasing their hotly anticipated new album, ‘Your Queen Is A Reptile.
The LP will be released via seminal Jazz record label Impulse! Which has previously released records from legends of Jazz including Pharoahe Sanders, Alice Coltrane and John Coltrane. Something band leader Shabaka Hutchings has described as “an honour”.
Sons of Kemet are ready to make the next step in their evolution as one of the bands at the forefront of the UK Jazz revival. With appearances already scheduled for the summer festival season including at the Great Escape, Brainchild Festival and Field Day London.