Category: psych jazz

New Video: Mildlife Share Mind-Bending and Expansive “Return to Centaurus”

With the release of 2017’s full-length debut, Phase, Melbourne-based psych jazz/jazz funk/jazz fusion outfit Mildlife — multi-instrumentalists Jim Rindfleish, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell and Tom Shanahan — exploded into the national and international scenes. The album, which was a mind-bending mix of jazz, jazz fusion, krautrock, 70s psychedelia rooted in trippy grooves, became a word-of-mouth sensation among open-minded, crate-digging DJs searching for that perfect, seemingly undiscovered or little-known incredible groove.

Phase was also a sensation internationally. The album was praised by a nubmer of media outlets internationally, including Resident Advisor, Uncut, The Guardian and others. The album earned several award nominations including Best Album at the 2018 Worldwide FM Awards,  Best Independent Jazz Album at the 2018 AIR Awards and a Best Electronic Award nomination and win at the Music Victoria Awards. The Aussie outfit’s full-length debut also received airplay from BBC Radio 6. And adding to a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the members of Mildlife won over fans with a loose-limbed, free-flowing improvisational approach to their live show, which they took on tour with Stereolab, JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and Harvey Sutherland.

Building upon that momentum, Mildlife’s first national headlining tour was sold-out, and they quickly followed up with a ten-date UK and European Union tour.

Mildlife’s sophomore album, 2020’s Automatic was a stylistic shift for the acclaimed Aussie outfit. The album’s material was much more danceable, but while continuing their unerring knack for knowing when to let a track luxuriate and stretch out — without being self-indulgent. The album received critical applause internationally while earning the Aussie outfit an ARIA Award win.

Unable to play shows in person in front of living, breathing, sweating and dancing humans because of the pandemic, the band traveled by boat to a long-abandoned 19th century fort on South Channel Island, just outside of Melbourne, where they performed material from both Phase and Automatic for a 70-minute concert film and live album, Live from South Channel Island

The acclaimed Melbourne-based outfit’s latest single “Return to Centaurus” is their first single bit of new material since the release of their sophomore album. Clocking in at a little over 10 minutes, “Return to Centaurus” opens with droning synths and leads into Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd-meets-space rock-like introduction, with Kraftwerk-like vocoders. By around the 2:40 mark, the song quickly morphs into some hook-driven acid funk with loping yet supple bass lines, shimmering funk guitar riffs, glistening space-age synths, bursts of fluttery flute and intricate yet propulsive drum patterns. Rooted in the Aussie outfit’s love of 70s psychedelic and cosmic sounds, the new single serves as a reminder of their seemingly effortless mastery of mind-bending and unhurried trippy grooves.

Directed by Jordan Gusti, the accompanying video for “Return to Centaurus” sees the quartet longing around a sleek and artful, mid-century mod-meets 70s space age/futuristic living room, seemingly absorbed in deep, brooding thought. Through a series of mesmerizing, slow zooms, the video reveals the cosmos both within and without.

 “We liked imagining a room that our minds inhabit together while we’re in hyper sleep on the way to a distant constellation,” the band says of the new single and accompanying video. “As our bodies lay still in a capsule tucked in the closet of a fast-moving craft, our minds meet in this artificial room designed by someone or something else. The room is a tool to keep our minds limber as our human forms spin against time in the physical world. Is it a room within a room though? Does your body lay still in a capsule as your mind watches this clip? Are we all returning together? Who knows. It was fun to draw on each other and watch Adsy take his true form as the silver Mark anyway.”

London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Oscar “Sholto” Robertson grew up with a deep and abiding love of jazz, soul, krautrock and 60s and 70s soundtracks. Roberton may be best known for being one-half of indie outfit Sunglasses for Jaws. He honed his production skills under the guidance of Allah-Las‘ Nick Waterhouse and Inflo.

Three years ago, Robertson stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with his latest project SHOLTO, which sees him crafting a unique take on cinematic, instrumental soul. 2023 looks to be a big year for the rising London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer: He signed to Deep Matter imprint Root Records, who will be releasing Robertson’s SHOLTO debut, The Changing Tides of Dreams EP.

The Changing Tides of Dreams EP‘s first single “Vampire” is built around an expansive and cinematic arrangement featuring twinkling percussion, swirling Wurlitzer organ, cascading harp, lush strings, burst of fluttering flute, a supple and propulsive bass line, a soulful horn solo and skittering boom bap drumming paired with a strutting and infectious groove. The result is a song that reminds me a bit of the gorgeous, widescreen instrumental soul of The Ironsides with the trippy grooves of L’Eclair and Mildlife.

New Video: Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD Releases a Gorgeous and Mind-bending Visual for Expansive “Beside April”

The acclaimed Toronto-based jazz-inspired act BADBADNOTGOOD — currently founding members Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with Leland Whitty — have developed and honed a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, acid jazz and prog rock — and famously for jazz based interpretations of hip-hop tracks, which has allowed the acclaimed Canadian ensemble to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah and others.

Interestingly, BADBADNOTGOOD can trace its origins to its founders — Hansen, Sowinski and Matt Tavares — bonded over a mutual love of MF Doom and Odd Future. As the story goes, the band played a composition based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructions, who unsurprisingly didn’t believe it had much musical value. Instead of listening to their instructors, the band released the composition as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1.” The track eventually caught the attention of Tyler the Creator, who helped the video go viral.

BADBADNOTGOOD followed up with their full-length debut, 2011’s BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and of course,. Odd Future. Building upon a growing profile, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the session amassing more than a million views each.

The Toronto-based act’s sophomore album 2012’s BBNG2 was recorded over a course of a ten-hour studio session. Featuring guest spots from Leland Witty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar), the album was a mix of their own original material, as well as renditions of songs by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.

Their third album, 2013’s III featured “Hedron,” which was featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo. They also assisted with the production and composition of The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack.

The band’s fourth album, 2015’s Sour Soul saw them collaborate with Ghostface Killah on what has been described as a hip-hop album that nodded at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!

Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and the band quickly went to work producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). Capping off a busy year, they released their fifth album, the somewhat ironically titled IV, which featured Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin Stetson, Kaytranada, Mick Jenkins and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson. The album was also named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.

The Canadian outfit’s highly anticipated psych jazz album Talk Memory is slated for an October 8, 2021 release through XL Recordings. Composed in conjunction with legendary Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, the album features features guest spots from Karriem Riggins, Laraaji, Terrace Martin, and a list of others. Perhaps more so than their previously released material, Talk Memory sees the acclaimed act actively capturing some of the focus, energy and improvisation which is at the heart of their live show.

For the band, a song is a living, breathing entity that naturally changes and evolved as it’s played in different settings. The album plays with that thinking. After years of relentless touring, the band paused and refreshed and looked at their history and experiences before starting out on the creative process for the new album. And as a result, a sense of reflection and renewed communication is at the heart of their new creative approach. Interestingly, that led to the album’s title. While their earliest material took place very quickly, the band took on a much more international approach: The album was written over a two year period, with the band expanding upon the album’s material in the studio, rather that on the road.

Talk Memory’s latest single “Beside April” is an expansive and breathtakingly gorgeous composition featuring a cinematic string arrangement, skittering syncopated drumming and a mind-bending and expressive guitar solo. The end result is a song that — to my ears — is one part indebted to Brazilian psych rockers and JOVM mainstays Boogarins, one part jazz fusion, one part shimmering film score.

Directed by Camille Summers-Valli, the accompanying visuals draw some inspiration from the first motion picture, Horse in Motion 1878. The video itself manages to be simultaneously surreal, trippy and gorgeously shot. Plus, there’s a majestic horse that’s really the star of the entire affair. “There was really special energy around this video,” Camille Summers-Valli says. “The band wanted to do something with horses and equestrians. That’s where this begun. Funnily enough, I am petrified of horses. But it felt like a good way to overcome my fears. Subconsciously through a process of reading, finding references and discussing with my team, I started to piece together the puzzle of what this video could be. We shot this in Georgia; where the casting was incredible. The horse also was wonderful. So strong and majestic, we just wanted to do this beautiful creature justice. The magic aligned, so many great hard working people pulled this video together.”

Born in Washington, DC and currently based in Austin, TX, Zapot Mgwana never knew his father, but his mother, who worked for the Ethiopian Embassy always told him that Herman Poole Blount (a.k.a. Sun Ra) was his father. When Mgwana was nine, he and his mother moved to Nigeria, where he spent most of his formative years. Recently Mgwana returned to the States and formed his musical project The Golden Dawn Arkestra — and much like the work of Sun Ra, Mgwana’s Arkestra focuses on intergalactic travel, transcendence, and time travel but while sonically pairing deep grooves and cinematic quality with a world spanning expansiveness.

Children of the Sun, The Golden Dawn Arkestra’s finds the band further cementing their growing reputation for an expansive, globe spanning sound with album’s material inspired by the sounds of Berlin, Brazil, psych rock, disco, soul and world music. In fact, Children of the Sun‘s latest single “Lovely Day” sounds as though the band were drawing from Bossa Nova, Afrobeat and the work of Ennio Morricone — it’s an expansive, global and forward looking take on the large band format that manages to be mischievously retro-futuristic and with a kaleidoscopic vibe. 

New Video: Multinational Jazz Band KUHN Fu and Their Trippy and Expansive Sound

Comprised of German-born, Dutch-based guitarist and composer Christian Kuhn; Israeli-born, Dutch-based bass clarinetist Ziv Taubenfeld; Serbian-born, Dutch-based drummer Lav Kovac; and Turkish-born, Dutch-based bassist Esat Ekincioglu, KUHN FU is a Groningen, The Netherlands-based psychedelic jazz band […]