The title of this group’s second album may suggest a mystical journey, but what you hear across these nine tracks is a thrilling and direct collaboration that speaks to the mastery of the individual members: London jazz supremo Shabaka Hutchings delivers commanding saxophone parts, keyboardist Dan Leavers supplies immersive electronic textures, and drummer Max Hallett provides a welter of galvanizing rhythms. The trio records under pseudonyms—“King Shabaka,” “Danalogue,” and “Betamax” respectively—and that fantastical edge is also part of their music, which looks to update the cosmic jazz legacy of 1970s outliers such as Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra. With the only vocals a spoken-word poem on the grinding “Blood of the Past,” the lead is easily taken by Hutchings’ urgent riffs. Tracks such as “Summon the Fire” have a delirious velocity that builds and peaks repeatedly, while the skittering beat on “Super Zodiac” imports the production techniques of Britain’s grime scene. There’s a science-fiction sheen to slower jams like “Astral Flying,” which makes sense—this is evocative time-travel music, after all. Even as you pick out the reference points, which also include drum 'n' bass and psychedelic rock, they all interlock to chart a sound for the future.
Because the End Is Really the Beginning
Birth of Creation
Summon the Fire
Blood of the Past (feat. Kate Tempest)
The Universe Wakes Up
9 Songs, 46 Minutes
March 15, 2019
An Impulse! Records release; ℗ 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.