Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Ishmael Ensemble ‎– A State Of Flow (2019)

Style: House, Ambient, Contemporary Jazz
Format: CD, FLAC
Label: Severn Songs

Tracklist:
01.   The Chapel
02.   Full Circle
03.   Siren!
04.   Lapwing
05.   Yellow House
06.   The River
07.   First Light
08.   Waterfall
09.   Surge
Bonus Tracks
10.   Tunnels
11.   Yellow Dub
12.   The River (Reprise)

Credits:
Drums – Rory O'Gorman
Guitar – Stephen Mullins
Saxophone, Synth, Keyboards – Pete Cunningham
Synth, Keyboards, Sarod – Jake Spurgeon
Written By, Producer – Pete Cunningham

Ishmael is a saxophonist, DJ, producer and bandleader, known to his friends as Pete Cunningham. Over the past few years, he’s conducted some madly varied DJ sets, created stately remixes of tracks by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig and performed a whole album’s worth of songs by the Yellow Magic Orchestra. He’s also brought his studio-bound inventions to life with the help of a band, the Ishmael Ensemble, making music that’s pitched somewhere between astral jazz, burbling electronica, trippy minimalism, psychedelic dub and 20 years of club culture.

A key influence on the band has been the musical heritage of Cunningham’s native Bristol, something very evident throughout this latest release. The double bass riff on the jerky drum’n’bass track Siren! recalls Roni Size’s Brown Paper Bag; the doomy bass on Lapwing owes much to Massive Attack and there are numerous nods to the twitchy industrial rhythms of Mark Stewart and the Pop Group. But A State of Flow’s appeal is to invoke varied source material without ever sounding like empty pastiche. The River sees trumpeter Yazz Ahmed playing Arabic-themed improvisations over a bed of aqueous synth arpeggios and postpunk beats. Yellow House has Yoshino Shigihara (from Bristol-based band Yama Warashi) singing in Japanese over a quiet riot of kotos, harps and drones. Most effective of all are tracks such as First Light and The Chapel, where the drums drop out, leaving just the warm burble of analogue synths and soft woodwind harmonies.
John Lewis / The Guardian

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