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This compilation sees the coming together of independent music makers from across the globe to meet in one place and gather as a single entity. That simmering hub of warmth and affection is known as Motor Jazz - a place for artists to congregate and share their devotion for songs that are infused with rhythms created by anodic wires, buttons and other digital paraphernalia. That’s electronic music to you and me, and in this case electronic music with swing, a sense of freedom and improvisation that some might call ‘Jazz’.
The album opens with the ominous drone of the Mega Corp., sounding like one of the parties responsible for 2020’s almost post-apocalyptic feel. It’s perhaps an unlikely opener for a what’s a positive and optimistic collection courtesy of young musicians from across the globe, but we all need to be reminded of who’s in charge sometimes, and Dutch producer Jon Sewi does just that!
The mood soon lightens though, with the soulful strings and enticing keys of Gladdics by the mysterious Black Soyls, before well established German musical artisan Renegades of Jazz brings the family in for It's Tea Time with ticking clocks, warm tea pots and slices of cake, whilst being serenaded by a very vintage sounding horn section.
Serafin Plum almost steer us into drum & bass territory with their off-the-wall percussive nugget Jagged, whilst keeping a calming hand on the shoulder (as all good parents should) with soothing keys, before it’s playtime once again.
There’s nothing conventional about the Motor Jazz family though, and after tea time and play time, it’s time to rave! In Greek mythology, The Maenads were female followers of Dionysus; their name literally translating as "the raving ones". Often they were portrayed as being inspired by the god into a state of ecstasy through a combination of dancing and intoxication, during which time they would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus - a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped with a pine cone. With a sound ranging between Jazz, Techno, Rave and Breaks their track, Opera, delivers a psyche and Jazz influenced piece with colliding styles, busy drums and rich melodies.
Heading over to Dublin, Ireland, and multi-talented producer, musician and DJ, Donal Sharpson (aka Double Screen) makes his presence known with grandiose brass preempting a four-to-the-floor wood block frenzy in the shape of Sheikah, complete with enthusiastic whoops and a persuasive bassline. Meanwhile, somewhere below the Irish Sea, aquatic artiste Stubby Dials delivers the bass worrying Put It On Ice the only way he knows how - living in a submarine, he emerges from time to time to leave his master tapes on the beach with a note saying “Release this!” before submerging, never been seen again.
Back in the Netherlands, Bram van der Hoeven, otherwise known as Lucinate, is an electronic Jazz producer par excellence. His effortless balance of organic musical roots like Fusion, Bossa Nova and Soul, into the world of modern beat orientated sounds is something to behold, and with The Cards he offsets life-affirming keys with rolling drums reminiscent of some of the seminal liquid Drum & Bass he grew up with.
As the global Motor Jazz family expands, we head to Canada, where the wonderfully monikered Woodpecking Mantis brings a little acid to the party with his squelchy, stuttering and brilliantly entitled Waving At A Melting Square Tooth Of A Specific Rabbit……. We’re guessing they like acid a lot in Canada.
We’re going down under to Newcastle, Australia next, where things take a more serene turn. Wrenasmir, known to his parents as Craig Smith, used to be a baroque pipe organist before he discovered samplers and synthesizers. Now he makes imaginary soundtracks at his studio for the twilight beachside city that lives in his head - full of vinyl and pixels and bittersweet memories. The gorgeous Lucempight is exactly that.
Keeping things low key and tranquil, Poets And Rockets, the latest offering from Jay Solomon is a horn driven slice of futuristic dub that makes way for The Motion Orchestra’s majestic Midnight Sun, complete with Alexander Bednasch on double-bass, Mark Matthes on violins, Andy Sells on drums and David Hanke on electronics and production. Though influenced heavily by neo-classical and jazz sensibilities they occupy a musical space that sits in neither sphere, with a compositional style that deftly fuses the orchestral and electronic worlds. The full Motion Orchestra album, All One, will be released later this year on Bathurst.
Sixteen year old, self taught producer and multi-instrumentalist Teis Ortved is something of a prodigy. The Copenhagen based wunderkind has so far self-released two EPs, and if What, his offering here, is anything to go by, he’s going to be making big waves across the eclectic music spectrum for years to come.
If Teis is the new kid on the block then what better way to round off this compilation that with its patriarchal figure. Funki Porcini has over a quarter of a century of recordings in his back catalogue, and has spent fifteen of those years dedicated to the independent UK behemoth that is Ninja Tune records. The Last Recording From Earth is exclusive to this album and is in many ways the perfect closing song. Perhaps more concept art than traditional piece of music, the idea behind it is that an alien archeologist has found this recording tens of thousands of years after humans have disappeared into the sand…. You never know, it might just happen, and hopefully Them To Us will take on a whole new meaning.