A space odyssey of new wave jazz…

Music by jazz pioneer Shabaka Hutchins and The Comet is Coming have always felt somewhat otherworldly, distant from the confines of space and time.

What with catching a Mercury Prize nomination for 2016 release ‘Channel The Spirits’, expectations were high for their next project. Now it’s here, and ‘Trust In the Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery’ pulls us into a space odyssey of new wave jazz, far removed from this world and the next.

The journey begins in a haze of smoky brass and menacing synths. The mood is tense yet strangely elating, simultaneously uplifting yet troubling. Out of this smog emerges ‘Birth of Creation’, a head swinging, dub inspired track that wouldn’t go amiss in a Deep Medi set. Hutchins delivers a remarkable clarinet and sax performance over sloppy, heavy drums that echo the almost apocalyptic tone of ‘Because The End Is Really The Beginning’ on the intro.  

With ‘Summon The Fire’ the energy rapidly increases as we begin to orbit, while on ‘Blood Of The Past’ darkness descends, with crashing drums and screeching brass building towards a white knuckling crescendo.

Twisted synths evoke the dystopian future of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’, which slowly fade out of earshot. From the darkness appears Kate Tempest. Her haunting poem stills the mood, enough as so to catch your breath before we dive straight back into the fiery ‘Super Zodiac’.

The Comet’s sound is birthed in the 1970s, an intergalactic funk that mixes the psych rock of Pink Floyd with the psychedelic groove of George Clinton. This record warps through the next five decades, picking up jazz, house, dub, grime and hip-hop along the way in a masterful voyage of genre and style.

The mood is softened as we reach the second stage of the expedition. Fluid drums and deep synths follow the lead of Hutchins’ sublime sax on ‘Astral Flying’ and ‘Timeline Zero’. The trio have created a melancholic groove at the core of the record that is truly uplifting. The same can be said of ‘Unity’ at the tail end of the record, which brings together tribal vibrations in a stunning down tempo result.

As the cosmic dust settles, ‘The Universe Wake Up’ fades in. A beautiful outro comprised of angelic organs and saxophone with celestial ambience to fittingly conclude a breath-taking journey through the galaxy.

This is space tourism, flying first class. How much for a return ticket?


Words: Angus McKeon

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