Some people think jazz’s got something to prove. But that’s just dead wrong, my lovely motherfuckers, it’s us that’s got something to prove to jazz.
There was an era where songs got shorter, lines got dumber, and a “good song” was dictated by how fast it could stain the inside of your ears. Catchy? Who the fuck cares about catchy? When did catchy become synonymous with good? You know what else is catchy? Chewed gum, pink eye, and syphilis. And that shit is not considered good unless you have some deep-seated, and highly specific, emotional problems with a strange syphilitic pinked-eyed dude that happens to chew a lot of gum. Nonetheless, this shit poured out of radios, playlists, and music videos faster than those shaved, greased, coke-addicted cheetahs that broke free from the zoo. We trained our ears to take information in small clumps. We forgot how to digest those larger pieces. We lost our teeth, forgot to chew, and this simple digestible regurgitated creamed shit dripped down our throats like we were musical patients on their last legs. In short, we gave up beautiful art for the recognizable and the catchy.
Emanative’s album Earth is a motherfucker to digest. This shit isn’t creamed corn. It’s a goddamn steak. You need an iron gut and sharpened teeth for this shit. The entire first track, “Dawn Child (Sunrise)” sets the mood of what’s to come. There are no drums. There is no bass. It’s just drones, wails, and sitar-plucking backing a moody saxophone that screams out what the fuck is up. It’s trance music, motherfucker. Sure, you’ll think, “Okay, I get it” at around 3 minutes. But you won’t, you really won’t, you’ll need that extra 3 minutes. Because this droning is not there to set some narrative to the album: it’s there to change that chaotic panicky sickness inside your skull into an open horizon of possibilities. The track is there to prepare you for what is to come. So when that second track, “Heaven’s Mirror” kicks in with one of the sickest, funkiest, and tightest drum beats you’ll ever hear, you’ll be prepared.
This album is an entire fucking universe. It sponged up Yoruba ritual music, Middle Eastern trance, Indo/soul/spiritual jazz, and grew it into a sonic garden. If you’re not sonically high by this album, then there is something seriously wrong with you. I felt like a smoked a bowl of dark hashish, lined with the desert’s tears, out of a dragon’s nostril. I was out of my fucking mind. It was wonderful.
This project comes from drummer Nick Woodmansey. He’s another figure in this badass wave of UK motherfuckers dropping heat on the jazz scene. And sure, he’s the main man on this mix, but there are 21 talented fucks blessing these tracks. It really is a universe. So, if you’ve got the stomach and the teeth for it, this album will take you places you thought you’d end up in jail for. Then again, there’s always creamed corn.