Perhaps my most abiding memory of Black Bombaim is seeing them on a late night slot at the Liverpool PsychFest in 2014. They were the fourteenth band I’d seen that day and I was dog tired… I remember falling asleep on my feet waiting for them to come on. When they did it was like being stabbed in the chest with a syringe full of adrenaline as they kicked into the set and took it home in a stunning manner.
Since then I have been struck by the band’s ability and desire to diversify and adapt, not sticking to the same sound but working with musicians as diverse as GNOD, Isaiah Mitchell, Rodrigo Amado and Peter Brötzmann. This for me takes them beyond any particular definition as to what sort of band they are. It tells me that they are a group of musicians who are willing to explore their own sound as well as that of others… and the key to their work comes through collaboration… a collaboration that in turn underlines their own excellence.
So it is with their latest release, ‘Zone Of Resident Bodies’, which is coming out jointly on Cardinal Fuzz and Lovers & Lollypops. Once again a collaborative work, this time in conjunction with three different electronic composers: Jonathan Saldanha, Luís Fernandes, Pedro Augusto. The result is an incredible double album, the first three sides of which are long pieces with each of the three; and a fourth side of three shorter pieces… this time in reverse order.
I have to say at the outset here that I have not given myself enough time to fully explore this behemoth of a record… that would in all honesty take weeks… so what you are getting here are my initial impressions. However, I think I know enough about Black Bombaim to know that this music will grow a life of its own as the listens go by and as such I feel confident to say that by about Easter of this year I will be raving about this set even more than I am now.
What is immediately obvious is that not only does the work with each of the composers here have a different atmosphere to them (they were each recorded in a different locations, respectively: an old workers auditorium, a huge empty space in a post office building, and in a reverberation room in a university of engineering) but that the long and short tracks each also have a different feel to them. Consequently this is an album of real contrasts from the minimalist, long ‘Zone of Resident Bodies’ with Jonathan Saldanha; to the extremely danceable electronic shorter track with Luis Fernandes ‘20180224’. In between there are harks back to the bands stoner roots in the shorter track with Pedro Augusto ‘20171216’.
Then there is the track being premiered here. ‘20180415’, performed with Jonathan Saldanha. This is a terrific track which combines elements of dance music, Krautrock, and electronica which comes together in a surprising and heady manner. I cannot say that it is representative of the album in terms of its sound, all the tracks here are markedly different from each other. It is, though, representative in the way the musicians approach it with little attachment to the notion of genre… and a great sense freedom in terms of expression
All in all this is an amazing album of collaborations that I am sure has taken the participants outside of their respective comfort zones to produce a set that in innovative and explorative. You really will need to hear it all to fully appreciate its strength and breadth because it is outside those zones of familiarity where true expression can flourish… and flourish it certainly does here.
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