Loka: Fire Shepherds (Ninja Tune/Flavour)

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Loka: Fire Shepherds (Ninja Tune/Flavour)

This duo out of Liverpool spring a real surprise on their debut album: it is cinematic-sounding electronica but much of it -- after the gritty sci-fi sonics of the opening two tracks -- is clearly influenced by the expansive mid 60s jazz sounds of John Coltrane (long and loping rhythms) and the early 70s urgency of Miles Davis when he hooked up with the sound of the street and plugged in with an electric band.

On paper that sounds like a real mishmash, but here it makes curiously good sense, especially when the pace and intensity slows around the midpoint.

I won't lie to you, the first two tracks -- which run out to around 15 minutes in total -- are probably best enjoyed on an open highway rather than in your lounge.

But after that the fragile trumpet comes in over the supple and funky electronica, there are washes of wah-wah pedal guitars, and those repeated bass figures you hear in great jazz. If you have any affection for Miles Davis albums like Jack Johnson or like the idea of a challenging fusion of 70s jazz rock and smart late 90s electronica then this one is for you.

It's a real grower.

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