Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Comet Is Coming - Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse! Records, 2022)

The excellent British reed player and musical conceptualist Shabaka Hutchings plays as King Shabaka alongside keyboardist Danalogue (Dan Leavers), and drummer Betamax (Max Hallett) in The Comet Is Coming. Their electronic jazz is Sun Ra meets J Dilla to the Nth degree and keeps improving with every album. Like a science fiction film opening, "Code" is epic and cinematic, pulsating, leading to a massive electronic beat. Stuttering saxophone, waves of synth and electronics frame the fresh sounding saxophone and beats. The dance floor and the jazz club meet head on with impressive results, building huge swells that break and then reform. "Technicolor" uses slower synth and clattering percussion, with saxophone and synth weaving and move around each other, as the intensity increases, leading to blocks of sound. Using live drums and light saxophone flitting electronics, "Lucid Dreamer" is all about the feel, leading to "Tokyo Nights" which has cyberpunk thick blobby synths meeting lightning fast improvising saxophone for a short, sweet blast off. "Pyramids" opens with mysterious beeping searching, kicking into a dance music groove, saxophone adding urgent notes to the proceedings, scooting in and around the electronics and programmed beats, everything comes together to create a very infectious and exciting track. Probing electronic sounds, opening of "Frequency of Feeling Expansion" light sounding saxophone and live drums push the tempo faster, long well constructed lines of saxophone and the excellent drumming make this a very organic and appealing track. "Angel of Darkness" develops scouring waves of electronic sound, with the saxophone muscling in from the outside, creating a dark ominous overall sound, heavy deep stuff with live drums pushing even harder but the electronics overwhelm, making a grinding prog metal feeling. The saxophone digs in and gets down and dirty with a powerful solo cutting through the electronic curtain and pulverizing drumming, walking a high wire act, great stuff. "Aftermath" develops a dated 1980's type synth patch with multiple waves of electronics facing flute and drums segueing into "Atomic Wave Dance" which uses video game like sounds, with saxophone pushing fast, sending out staccato notes of amid excellent live drumming. Adding further accents to the horn allow the saxophone to continually build the tension. "The Hammer" builds slow grinding saxophone, surrounded by a fuller and more lush electronic treatment, that it pushes back against, creating an oppressive sound of the electronics, finally leading to "Mystik" featuring fast cymbal playing and electronic frittering, raw stark saxophone and fast manic drumming. Bringing it all together towering saxophone playing reaching high, electronics and drums finally flashing into the ether. The Comet Is Coming creates music that is a vivid punch to the gut that leaves moldy fig Downbeat critics giving one star and harumphing fraud! (true). If their eyes could only see, the future belongs to the bold. Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam -

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