Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Album Review: London Brew - London Brew

London Brew
***and1/2 out of *****

Originally planned as a one night, live tribute to the great album Bitches Brew by Miles Davis, the scheduled event was canceled due to Covid. The large cast of players decided to capture this self-titled, double album inspired by the original, with their new found time.

Recorded in London by some of the best jazz artists the city has, the lineup is a powerful one as Benji B, Raven Bush, Theon Cross, Nubya Garcia, Tom Herbert, Shabaka Hutchings, Nikolaj Torp Larsen, Dave Okumu, Nick Ramm, Dan See, Tom Skinner and Martin Terefe all contribute to the sounds.   

The ambitious record opens up with two extended outings that both take quite a bit of time to truly get going. "London Brew" is up first with digital bleeps and low, deep, humming, but it doesn't kick up the energy until around nine minutes into the journey as things get spacey. More sonic freak-out occurs up until the fifteen minute but it is the finale from 17:30 on that is the high point as blissful drifting builds in super cool fashion to end the track. "London Brew Part 2 - Trainlines" is up next with positive drumming/percussion to start paired with wah-wah phasing mimicking the London Underground. Distortion, horns and controlled chaos arrives with DJ scratching at the 8 minute mark before things dissipate into spacey sounds before picking up the energy again to end.   

These two large entries to start are good, but never quite get to great, that is saved for the funky as hell to start "Miles Chases New Voodoo In The Church". The albums highpoint, it has an energetic beat and bass work that moves the hips while wah-wah and stuttering horns get the head bopping. The tune moves in an ominous direction to end with intensity. 

The African influenced "Nu Sha Ni Sha Nu Oss Ra" uses a low groove and smooth sax work while "It's One Of These" starts out funky and dance-laden before a killer clarinet solo highlights the effort. "Bassics" plays with free digital jazz as a short breather before the album wraps up with two very solid efforts. 

"Mor Ning Prayers" wakes up with a bunch of noise as guitars get a digital squealing effect with layers of sound while a pleasant piano line plucks away. About halfway through the tracks shifts as a dance beat evolves with the deep bass and drums delivering a very cool groove to close. The finale of "Raven Flies Low" is a relaxed, dreamy showcase for the strings to start before slowly building to free noise chaos and then releasing via vibrating strings. 

This unique and interesting collection of sounds takes inspiration from Miles Davis classic and delivers an experimental offering that is worth checking out as the players on London Brew all percolate together. 
Support the artists, buy the album and peep some video below:

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