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Polish septet EABS apply an innovative approach to jazz, distilling it through the prism of hip-hop, blending it with elements of soul, funk and electronic music. ‘Slavic Spirits’ was 2 years in the making and contains 100% original material. They are joined by 22a head-honcho Tenderlonious who lends his exceptional soprano saxophone and flute playing to all seven tracks.

After their very well-received 2017 debut album ‘Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)’, focusing on the lesser-known works of the legendary Polish composer, the Wroclaw-based EABS decided to further expand this lead and released two more vinyl records, ‘Live At Jazz Club Hipnoza (Katowice)’ and ‘Kraksa / Svantetic’, the latter recorded directly on tape and released via 22a, which crowned the “Komeda triptych”. The astounding reception of these releases built up loyal following outside of their native Poland and whet listeners’ appetite for completely new recordings. For this LP the musicians turned to Slavic mythology and Polish demonology, while pondering upon the contemporary spiritual condition of Poles. The enigmatic “Slavic melancholy” remains the main inspiration, as the band tried to extract it from their own DNA. ‘Slavic Spirits’ is an endeavour to get in touch with the world of a long and brutally llost culture which, due to lack of sources, will never be thoroughly explored.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: EABS continue to impress with their unique jazz sound on the 22a label, paving the way on the nu jazz era.

Cykada engages distant poles, analogue worlds crashing with electronics, Eastern influences crossing with Western, harmonising nostalgic moments with dancefloor bangers. This band of established musicians on the London scene is made up of members of Ezra Collective, Maisha, Where Pathways Meet, Myriad Forest, Family Atlantica and Don Kipper.

Bassist Jamie Benzies is the spine of the project, along with Tilé GichigiLipere, also a fellow former member of the legendary band Myriad Forest and drummer Tim Doyle aka Chiminyo, together were the first members of Cykada. Trumpeter Axel Kaner-Lidstrom, saxophonist James Mollison and secret weapon guitarist Javi Pérez complete the ensemble.

In the last few years London has become the centre of the Jazz Renaissance. A new burst of energy and attitude brought by young musicians, equally inspired by the likes of John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders or Sun Ra, as well as Madvillain, J Dilla, Flying Lotus and Floating Points, has brought a welcomed freshness to the London Scene. This exciting new environment brought a group of young musicians together, all with a mutual desire to discover a new form of expression. Together they created Cykada

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Cykada have a hugely broad sound from jazz, electronic and inspiration from across the globe. Refreshingly diverse they have paved their own way in the world of upcoming jazz. If you like Nubyian Garcia, Ruby Rushton and Ezra Collective you’ll be right at home here.

Sarmacja

Tutejsi

    Paweł Bartnik aka DJ Sajko is the man responsible for the last touches of most albums from the Astigmatic Records catalog (Jaubi, EABS, Surly, Naphta), and part of kIRk, a band which cannot be pigeonholed easily. Michał Kołowacik has previously recorded as Echo Deal and collaborated with such individuals as Grime legend Flowdan or Pablopavo, a storyteller hailing from Warsaw. Paweł comes from Płock while Michał comes from Kutno - and this happens to be of fundamental significance.

    The story of Sarmacja’s debut release release dates back to 2016 when "Tutejsi" was supposed to be released by Father And Son Records And Tapes. By a twist of fate, the physical disc was not released yet. Over the period of two years the album has matured and the concept has ripened, whereas the graphic design has been built from scratch.

    Sarmacja is a rural type of band; they tell stories of the land that has shaped them and which dictates their pulse - regardless of whether they want it or not. "Tutejsi" (“The locals”) recounts of something universal experienced by many on a daily basis. The originality of this story lies in the language used. Bass, reverberation, repetition - it turns out that dub forms are surprisingly well suited for capturing the spirit of rural wilderness, small-town lethargy and the vibe of the sun graciously rising over Poland every day. The album enables listeners to sense the impact which great history and iron politics had on the land, leaving it scarred and marked for life. However, it is a secondary circumstance for Sarmacja as it is the consistency of the place and this man that is crucial. What is important is what we often ignore - the fact that the fertile soil can still provide for its people. They attend churches, they go to supermarkets. They tend to love what their mothers did and duplicate the mistakes of their fathers.

    The world of "Tutejsi" is extensive enough to house industrial factories, villages, fields and forests. They are joined by a metaphysical link. The song titles can be read as opening paragraphs of five different stories. The deeper the listener gets into the album, the more the perception of “Tutejsi” depends on their sensitivity, views, faith, life experiences or even where they are what they’re doing. The band’s vision of the province may surely impress, yet, at the same time, it leaves you with the feeling that there’s something in the air. It's almost a palpable sound. The weight that comes out of the speaker lingers on the skin and then pulls the neck to the ground.

    It’s the dub sound that dominates the album - and it’s the unorthodox and proprietary type of dub. Sarmacja also draws from other stylistics - even techno or trip-hop. The album's epilogue is the cover of Kult’s "Poland". The original lyrics by Kazik had a critical overtone; in Sarmacja’s version, there are no words at all. Instead, the duo created an intense form ending with a 3-minute deconstruction, which may stand for the victory of chaos or, on the contrary, the birth of something new. 


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