Jazztronica | Jazz-Fusion | Soul
I’d like to believe that my taste in music has become pretty damn eclectic over the years. However, if there is one genre in particular that I have come to favour recently, it would be none other than jazz-fusion; more specifically, what I like to call “Jazztronica”.
There is just something about the fusion of jazz elements with electronic ones that really emanate such a strong sense of excitement and innovation. In fact, it feels like the musical equivalent to surrealist art in a way, for its sheer sense of abstract musical wonder. In short, I find it to be a true representation of pure listening pleasure.
This love that I had developed for the subgenre was sparked by the 2019 album from The Comet Is Coming, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery. However, my hunger to explore this kind of music led me to the Spotify-made “Jazztronica” playlist. And until recently, it was the Leeds-born, London-based musical collective Nubiyan Twist, that led this playlist.
It wouldn’t be until a recommendation from Spotify itself, that I would discover the third album by Nubiyan Twist, titled Freedom Fables, and from there, I pieced together that this album’s fourth track “Buckle Up”, was exactly the same track as the one that began the “Jazztronica” playlist. That being said, it seemed like a no-brainer to give this piece a critical shot.
On the scale of “Jazztronica” songs I’ve listened to so far, Nubiyan Twist definitely veer towards the authentic jazz side of things, and manage to include a sense of earthiness to the music they create, as opposed to making it super cosmic and out-there. That being said, there definitely is a good balance of atmospheres crafted by the 9 members that make up this collective.
This album was my introduction to how the group could diversify their stylistic framework to create different moods. With the help of a vocal feature (one for each track, and with CHERISE making multiple vocal appearances on the record), there is a vocal bite that giving each of these tracks both a more engaging, and a more soulful quality.
And while each of these tracks are drawn out enough to really flesh out their experience-like feel, very few of them felt at all patience testing. I feel that Nubiyan Twist definitely knew what they were doing, in regards to keeping each segment of the song exciting, whilst giving it the right amount of space to flow from one part to another.
There are, however, a rare few weird spots on the album, namely the closing segment of the opening track “Morning Light”, in which the rhythms begin to sound very messy in tandem with the melody. I also wasn’t the keenest on the tracks “Tittle Tattle” (a lot of which, I felt was drowned out by the over-prominence of the deeper brass notes), as well as “If I Know” (most likely for its overly bright and sunny feel). Other than that, however, I don’t really hold any complaints.
All in all, Future Fables stands as the first (and potentially the most prominent) of my jazz fixes of 2021. The exciting and vibrant aura that this album projects, has me absolutely ecstatic for the summer ahead. So all in all, I would call it a mission success.
Favourite Tracks: Ma Wonka |Buckle Up | Keeper
Least Favourite Track: Tittle Tattle
Strut Records | K7 Music GmbH
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 9/10 | Atmosphere: 9/10
Uniqueness: 8/10 | Satisfaction: 8/10 | Narrative: 7/10