– THE MILITARY COUP –
Modern jazz’s most renowned flugelhorn player, Yazz Ahmed returns with the final movement in a suite that started with her jaw-dropping 2017 album La Saboteuse.
The British-Bahraini “high priestess of psychedelic Arabic jazz” released the single A Shoal of Souls last week.
The track provides further evidence of the power of her effervescent and enchanting working relationship with the illustrator Sophie Bass.
Bass it was who interpreted Ahmed’s music for La Saboteuse’s artwork, in-so-doing transposing the musician’s psychological construct of an ‘anti-muse’ into the physical image of a malevolent entity, dragging its victim into the depths.
This track, with all its malice and mayhem, is the perfect soundtrack.
Musically, the track takes cues from Sufism (or “Islamic mysticism” as it’s sometimes referred to) in which ideas of whirling, turning and falling into a trance are prevalent.
And this is evident straight from the opening notes, which tumble over each other in a dizzy dementia as each new instrument is layered on.
Later on, the full chaos of the piece is revealed as the drums begin rolling like thunder and raising the track to ever-higher levels of hysteria.
However, where A Shoal of Souls really rises above is in its message.
“This new composition is dedicated to all the people who have lost their lives crossing the sea in search of a better future,” says Ahmed.
“I hope the music conveys the strength and power of the human spirit, the bravery to risk everything for their families, the anger I feel at the response of the West, a lack of empathy, a lack of compassion. They are not a swarm, they are us – humans.”
A Shoal of Souls is out now through IXCHEL.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
TAYLOR McFERRIN: NOW THAT YOU NEED ME
LUCINDA CHUA: FEEL SOMETHING
NICK WALTERS & PARADOX ENSEMBLE: 34268
ELIANE ELIAS: BABY COME TO ME
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –