- Antoine Martel (keys, synths), a self-professed mad scientist with a wall of modular synthesizers and a passion for film scores and abstract soundscapes
- Rob Homan (keys), whose innate ability to process, deconstruct and reassemble material on the fly bordered on the impressive and scary
- Scott Rixon (bass), who comes from a punk and hardcore background and possesses pop sensibilities
- Victor Nguyen (tenor sax), a Pharaoh Sanders acolyte with an ear for urgent, entrancing solos
- Andrew Morrill (alto sax), whose bold tones and fearless harmonic sensibilities earned him a reputation for pushing the old school into the 21st Century
- Bobby Granfelt (drums), whose hip-hop and bebop-inspired drumming laid the rhythmic foundation for the entire project
High Pulp can trace their origins to a loose, weekly jam session at Seattle’s historic Royal Room. “When you put us all together, our sound isn’t so much a fusion as it is a synthesis,” the band’s Bobby Granfelt says in press notes. ““There’s a lot of different personalities coming from a lot of different places, and we use it all as fuel to create something that’s totally our own.”
The Seattle sextet’s latest album Pursuit of Ends is slated for a Friday release through Anti- Records. The band’s unique brand of experimental jazz is simultaneously vintage and futuristic, often hinting at Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine and a wide range of others. The album’s material sees the band carefully balancing meticulous composition with visceral spontaneity and centered around virtuosic performances.
While High Pulp is primarily centered around their core six, Pursuit of Ends sees the band making judicious use of a board network of collaborators with guest spots from Jaleel Shaw (sax), who has played with Roy Haynes and Mingus Big Band; Brandee Younger (harp), who has played with Ravi Coltrane, The Roots, and Makaya McCraven; Grammy-nominated Theo Croker (trumpet); Jacob Mann (keys), who has played with Rufus Wainright and Louis Cole to help push their sonic boundaries even further.
Pursuit of Ends‘ latest single “You’ve Got To Pull It Up From The Ground” is a mind-bending and incredibly slick synthesis of bop, jazz fusion, funk and hip hop. The composition begins with an extensive bop jazz-inspired, drum solo. The song then quickly moves to a section featuring rapid fire percussion paired with sinuous bass lines, twinkling keys and a mournful, modal horn line led by Theo Croker’s expressive Miles Davis-like playing. Throughout the rest of the song, the melody floats and dances through the instrumentation. While the material is rooted in precise performance of the written composition, there’s ample room for soulful, free-flowing improvisation among a collection of sensitive and thoughtful artists.
“During COVID we spent a lot of time listen to Miles Davis’ Second Quintet, and specifically the drum solo at the start was inspired by ‘Agitation’ off of E.S.P.,” Granfelt explains “There’s something about that quintet that is so awe-inspiring. I think it’s the way they have such a deep shared concept which allows them to improvise in a meaningful way.”
“Pull It Up” is really a concept that is at the core of the band,” Granfelt explains. “It’s sort of about magic, sort of about will, sort of about self-love. It’s a concept based in the idea that things are already where they need to be, and it’s about unearthing what is already there as opposed to creating something ‘new’.”
Directed by Isaac Calvin and Seth Calvin, the accompanying video draws on the song’s overarching theme of digging deep, being persistent and staying humble. The video features Granfelt doing useful but mundane tasks: pulling nails out of a board, washing dishes, tying knots and so on. Towards the end f the video, Granfelt builds a shrine, but the offerings aren’t high quality of expensive; rather, they’re scuffed up, well-worn items including roadside flowers, cigarette butts, trinkets, tchotchkes and knick-knacks.