Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The name to note in this UK trio is saxophonist and jazz-shaman Shabaka Hutchings, the pivotal figure in the emerging new wave of British jazz who is in Sons of Kemet and Shabaka and the Ancestors.
He's a prime mover in a scene which is enjoying a renaissance (and enjoying itself in the process) with big and boisterous music, controls sometimes to the heart of the sun above a spiritual vision of Africa and jazz influences from Sun Ra and be-bop to German electronic bands and the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
The loose affiliation of acts is getting attention at the Mercury Prize and London-born/Barbados-raised Hutchings articulates the collective vision.
The Sons of Kemet album Your Queen is a Reptile which gained so much attention wasn't quite so acclaimed at Elsewhere the Ancestors album was better) but The Comet is Coming makes a fascinating statement.
The group is Hutchings who is here styled King Hutchings, drummer Betamax Killer (Max Hallett) and keyboard player/electronics Danalogue The Conqueror (Dan Leavers). . . and for just three people they can make damaging large and expansive sound.
The Afrofuturistic sound with cosmic intentions here opens slowly however with the lengthy, scene-setting wash of Because The End is Really The Beginning where widescreen synths, busy drums and cymbal clashes create a tension behind Hutching's yearning sax . . . and the constrained Birth of Creation which steadily builds in tension and intensity.
Unlike some of Kamasi Washington's impulsive, wide-reaching and expansive music which is impressive but can lose itself in the rush to embrace numerous influences, Comet – perhaps by virtue of just being a three-piece – keep things highly focused in pieces which are often short (nine songs in 45 minutes, the longest the stentorian eight minute-plus Blood of the Past with a declaimed poetic plea by Kate Tempest whose voice is processed into a robotic monochrome) and many are fewer than five minutes.
The Comet is Coming have created a landmark, stake in the ground and a platform simultaneously with Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery.
Shall we take a trip?