Moses Boyd — Dark Matter — Album Review

Soul | Jazz | Blues | Trance

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Moses Boyd’s solo debut album Dark Matter was yet another record that I got word of, courtesy of my local record store Resident. I honestly knew little to nothing of Moses Boyd going into this album, and also hadn’t yet heard any material from the jazz duo that Boyd made up half of, Binker & Moses. But I am guessing that after the remaining half Binker Golding begun a solo discography himself in 2019, Moses Boyd supposedly wanted to do the same.

As a matter of fact, Dark Matter became a case of me wanting to listen to the album, almost completely thanks to the enigmatic and alluring album cover. But once I got a small taste of the jazz elements that lace this record, I became very excited to head into this one, especially after seeing some likenesses compared to my favourite album of last year; The Comet Is Coming’s Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery.

And with the very first single on Dark Matter, that same kind of wonder created mostly by the atmospheric use of jazz instrumentation seemed very apparent. However, this album seems to transition smoothly between a wide range of different aesthetics, with tracks 3 and 4 feeling a lot closer to traditional jazz. There is also some very nice blues-style guitar melodies to be found on track 4, “Y.O.Y.O”.

We get another set of more dark and ambient tunes in the form of tracks 5 and 6. Each of these songs have a featured artist to provide vocals for, as well as a dark and ambient tone. It was a pleasant surprise to find a feature from Obongjayar on the track “Dancing in the Dark”.

Unfortunately, it was after this that things began to become a bit more underwhelming, as the key focus on jazz begins to become more scarce, in favour of almost KAYTRANADA style trance beats, with only stingy sprinkles of jazz.

I think what ultimately leaves me feeling sort of torn over the project, is that the individual styles that one could affiliate with this album, seem to come in short phases. Alternatively, I feel that this album would’ve had the potential to be phenomenal if Moses Boyd blended all of these genres together, and executed it well. This is, indeed, a difficult thing to achieve however, and I can understand why Boyd composed this album’s music the way that he did.

In comparison to the little that I ended up hearing from Binker & Moses, I can both sense and appreciate that Boyd wanted to explore genres other than traditional Jazz, which seemed to be the signature formula for almost all of the music that Binker & Moses created together. And in comparison to Binker Golding’s material, this seems considerably more experimental and interesting by comparison.

And while Dark Matter doesn’t carry quite as much spellbinding jazzy magic as the likes of Trust In the Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, there were still quite a full small bursts of excitement that I got from this album, especially in its earlier half.

Favourite Tracks: Stranger Than Fiction | Y.O.Y.O | Dancing In The Dark

Least Favourite Track: Only You

Exodus Records

7/10

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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