Alex Morris, who handles public relations for Brasstracks, very generously reached out to me on Wednesday, having sent over a pre-release copy of this new, follow-up EP from Brasstracks. Over the last couple days, I've listened to it myriad times through all the equipment to which I currently have access.
This is one of my many favorite jazz fusion albums, and it certainly won’t be the last on which I write. This is relatively unique though, blending elements from Israeli and other world music with traditional jazz instrumentation and harmonic/melodic methodologies. It was released in 2015 and features a trio of Avishai Cohen, an Israeli bassist, Omri Mor on piano, and Itamar Doari on drum set. There are some noticeable influences from the Middle Eastern Region in terms of instrumentation and some of the harmonic structures, but for the most part, it falls deftly into the category of post-bop, which evolved from an amalgam of hard bop, modal jazz, and free jazz in the early- to mid-1960s.
A lot of listeners and fans of BROCKHAMPTON who tend towards Spotify, Google Play, and other streaming services for their listening (no harm in that) may be wondering to what the title of this review refers. The group released a box set, which featured 4 CDs and a DVD - obviously included was the full SATURATION trilogy. Also included was a documentary about the making of the trilogy. The fourth CD is called, "DRAFTS". It features the original versions of many songs that ended up being changed considerably in their release on their respective albums, demoes, unnamed tracks that never made it onto albums, and other unreleased work.
Released a month or so ago, this EP comes from Brasstracks, a group known for blending elements of jazz and instrumental horn music with modern pop and EDM. Robert Glasper worked with the group on many of the songs on this EP, and his experience in jazz and jazz fusion certainly shows. The album is an interesting mix of rap over Brasstracks’ instrumentals and pop-ey, slightly adjusted vocals over the same. There are some hits, some that I’m only lukewarm on, and one particularly bad miss, but in general, it’s a pretty good EP.
Just over 4 years ago, this 8-part composition was finished by lead composer Martin O’Donnell, a veteran composer for Bungie. It was intended to be a companion to the then-new Destiny universe that Bungie had created in the form of the Destiny series of games. There were a series of struggles between O’Donnell and Bungie, one primary point being Bungie’s failure to use O’Donnell’s music in their trailer at E3 in 2013. This eventually resulted in O’Donnell’s firing from Bungie, and the disappearance of this album. After his firing, hope was lost that it would ever see the light of day. O’Donnell expressed on Twitter that he, “gave away nearly 100 copies of Music of the Spheres,” and that while he didn’t have the permission to allow it to be shared, “no one in the world can prevent me from giving you my blessing.”
This review is a departure from what I've done recently which is, well, recent music. I was at a performance of a local jazz choir, who performed a song called "Magalenha", originally by Brazilian artist Sérgio Mendes. Their rendition was rousing, if a bit technically flawed, so I went home and put on the original version of the song. The recording style intrigued me, and the song itself was an improvement in its original version, so I went my way through the album.