First there was Rude and Skøtt with ‘The Discipline of Assent’ and ‘The Dichotomy of Control‘ which, as you can read through the respective links, I really liked as eclectic and wonderfully played sets that bring together different genre in an easy and satisfying manner. The duo added in Tamar Osborn on alto sax and flute for ‘The Virtue of Temperance’ adding further dimensions and layers to their music… and now that trio have become a quintet, with Al MacSween and Jonas Munk, to become the London Odense Ensemble to create what they say “summons the free flowing euphoria of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders’ work in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But there’s also a focus on rhythmic energy and vitality that calls to mind the grooviest krautrock or electric period Miles Davis, as well as a healthy dose of electronic experiments.”
This is the second of two volumes of takes from sessions that the musicians laid down over a two day spell in Odense in October 2021 (if you want to read more about the background to the sessions, together with how they went, you can read a great interview with the band over at the excellent Complex Distractions blog here), with the first volume released back in 2022. This contained fewer longer-form pieces, whilst this, the second volume (not unlike the second Ruse and Skøtt record) includes a series of shorts pieces which covers more breadth of music, without sacrificing a great deal of the depth.
The album kicks off with ‘Phantasma’… the flute immediately taking you somewhere interesting and beautiful… the playing is immediate and delicate really perking your attention from the off… in a way it feels like all the musicians are introducing themselves…. getting into the groove, and getting the listener there too. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric track to get us going, and really does the trick of tuning the brain in for the first half of this seven minute jam… after which the band take of on a lovely flight of fancy which just feels so relaxing and bucolic… like taking a walk in the spring sunshine…
After that ‘Reflective Shapes’ takes an all together more strange turn, the intro sounding like a sort of sonic mobius strip… repeating yet somehow also twisting… as the flute comes in there’s a slight dissonance with the the electronics which just somehow really works… in a way that only an improvised sound can… I really like this because it is at the same time unusual yet somehow recognisable…
‘Flux’ is different again… at just over two minutes almost a mere fragment, yet bringing in a multitude themes and dissonances that you would normally associate with a longer piece… no doubt it is part of a more extended jam, but down work as an interlude on it’s own, before the more considered ‘Casper’s Green’ kicks in… this is a track that really gets going and draws you in with it’s jazz foundations over which you get a series of licks which really take you out of yourself… I really dig the constantly changing interaction between the band here as different instruments ebb and flow in and out of the sound… it’s just a pleasure to listen to and really feel yourself getting dragged into the centre of the music… a really stunning centrepiece to the album.
‘Emerald Sea’ takes it down a notch with a some what softer tone which is almost ambient to start with… there’s a good deal of space between the instruments here as the band play sparingly… this gives the track a really reflective tone which is a nice contrast to the busyness of its predecessor, instilling a great sense of calm within this listener… This is followed by another shorter piece, ‘Current Analysis’, which continues with the minimalist theme but is a darker and more sinister manner… the warmth and fluidity of ‘Emerald Sea’ turning much more cold and analytical.
This is followed by another change of mood as ‘Desert Star Leaf’ hits you with a more funky and upbeat groove… this is still relatively laid back but does launch into a spacey number which, while not hitting the afterburners, does gently pull us out of orbit into something of an otherworldly milieu, which brings us to the final track, ‘Flodbio’, which takes the album home nicely with a repeato groove which sets us down gently back into reality… but not before treating us to some lovely melodic fragments…
Like a great deal of the recent El Paraiso output, this is a really well put together summary of a longer session in which the musicians have just been allowed to fully express themselves, seemingly without the pressure of having to lay down anything specific. As a result, thanks to the quality of those playing here, we are left with nearly forty minutes of mesmerising music which feels almost effortless, yet is immensely satisfying. I could spent all day listening to this and the other releases mentioned above, without ever becoming tired or bored, being constantly intrigued by how there guys express themselves, and what is coming next . In fact I’m including the bios provided by El Paraiso for the group so as to underline how much I think you’ll like this and their other works (check out their other output… it’ll keep you busy for weeks):
Saxophonist, composer and multi-wind instrumentalist is the creative force behind modal jazz ensemble Collocutor (On The Corner Records). She is a member of the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, performs and collaborates regularly with Sarathy Korwar, Jessica Lauren, Emanative, Ill Considered and DJ Khalab.
Keyboard player & founding member of Kefaya. Collaborations include American jazz legend Gary Bartz, Syrian qanun master Maya Youseff, London Community Gospel Choir, Palestinian jazz singer Reem Kelani & kora player Kadialy Kouyate.
Multi-string instrumentalist & lead singer in Sun River. Doubles as stand-in bass player in Causa Sui.
Drummer in Causa Sui with a slew of side projects on El Paraiso, including Chicago Odense Ensemble, as well as being responsible for the label’s visuals.
Guitarist in Causa Sui & studio wizard on most releases on El Paraiso. Also works with a wide palette of electronic music.
The Jaiyede Sessions (Vols 1 & 2) are out now on El Paraiso Records.
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