Badbadnotgood – Talk Memory (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 00:42:11 minutes | 849 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © XL Recordings
BadBadNotGood return with their highly anticipated new album, Talk Memory, a psychedelic jazz record that explores balance and harmony through musical improvisation. Collaborators include legendary composer Arthur Verocai and contemporary icons such as Terrace Martin, Karriem Riggins and Laraaji.
BADBADNOTGOOD embodies the essence of jazz, taking influences from whatever makes sense to them to make music that’s not limited by genre or boundaries. Or at least that was the case in the last decade when collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and Ghostface Killah made them exemplars of the fashionable idea of crossing jazz and hip hop creative streams. But no one can stay on the edge forever and innovations are inevitably surpassed by others. And so, this instrumental trio has, a decade into their career, made a straight-ahead jazz rock fusion album that honors their influences like Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra as well as a star parade of living musicians they consider to be their touchstones. Chief among those paragons still breathing is Brazilian composer/singer/arranger Arthur Verocai, whose 1972 self-titled funk-jazz-samba debut has become a great lost album, much sought after by vinyl collectors and motivational for younger musicians especially in terms of its arrangements. Here Verocai has arranged a 12-piece string section on several tracks including the ELO-like “City of Mirrors.” He also lends lush strings to “Besides April,” its short, very delicate palette cleanser, “Beside April (Reprise)” and Talk Memory’s most fully realized track, the ’60s flavored “Love Proceeding,” which opens with a trembling synth before stretching out into an easygoing pop vibe highlighted by a long and apropos solo by saxophonist Leland Whitty.
Recorded by Nic Jodoin and Travis Pavur, the sound of Talk Memory is spacious if slightly compressed. Another inspiration, whom they honor on the track “Unfolding (Momentum 73),” is Philadelphia zither player Laraaji who’s most famous for his Brian Eno-produced album Ambient 3: Day of Radiance. And there’s drummer Karriem Riggins on “Beside April” whose ambidextrous career of switching back and forth between jazz players like Diana Krall and rappers like Common fits perfectly with BBNG’s shifting identity. Tracks here are all short other than the deliberately distorted opener, “Signal From the Noise,” which feels like a sonic manifesto of sorts (though its gist is cloudy). And while the liner notes speak of an “aural odyssey” and a “psychedelic narrative,” this once revolutionary group has here become oddly conventional, with Whitty, bassist/pianist Chester Hansen and drummer Alexander Sowinski treading the well-worn path of synth-assisted jazz fusion. – Robert Baird
1. Signal from the Noise (09:02)
2. Unfolding (Momentum 73) [feat. Laraaji] (04:30)
3. City of Mirrors (feat. Arthur Verocai) (03:50)
4. Beside April (feat. Arthur Verocai) (05:13)
5. Love Proceeding (feat. Arthur Verocai) (05:25)
6. Timid, Intimidating (06:17)
7. Beside April (Reprise) [feat. Arthur Verocai] (01:40)
8. Talk Meaning (feat. Terrace Martin, Brandee Younger & Arthur Verocai) (06:14)