Village of the Sun – First Light (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 32:49 minutes | 719 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Gearbox Records Limited
Village Of The Sun is an enigmatic collaboration between UK jazz virtuosos Binker Golding & Moses Boyd and electronic music legend Simon Ratcliffe of Basement Jaxx fame.
Born out of a shared passion for improvised instrumental music, the new project sees all three of the artists steps into relatively new territory, combining their respective sensibilities to create something all at once atmospheric and danceable. Evocative of some of Simon’s inspirations such as Alice Coltrane, Airto Moreira and Masters at Work, Village Of The Sun embodies a hybrid of electronic beats, heady jazz improvisation, and sheer, raw energy, breaking ground between pseudo-Samba rhythms, dreamy ambient textures, and explosive sax and percussion.The new single “The Spanish Master” is a total embodiment of what Village Of The Sun is at it’s heart. Combining atmospheric synth lines with percussive electronics, which gently ebb around Boyd’s intricate drumming and Golding’s expressive sax. With tension building around every element the track careens into a movement of frenetic drumming, electronic idiosyncrasies, and fervent sax breakouts, which find the trio performing at their energetic, adrenaline-fueled best.
The album is truly a project of passion and exploration, and one that refuses to follow just one path. Tracks such as “Cesca” and “Tigris” emphasise Ratcliffe’s ability to weave shapeshifting keys and electronics around Golding and Boyd’s interplay, changing the mood and direction of the track at a moment’s notice. Whereas the title track “First Light” channels the sound of the current UK jazz scene with Ratcliffe imbuing a sense of dramatic tension and release with electronic atmospherics and keys that ferment alongside the almost shamanic, semi-free sax lines and uncomprimising drums.
As part of one of British dance music’s biggest ever acts, Basement Jaxx, Ratcliffe and collaborator Felix Buxton led the progressive house sound in the 90s/00s with ground-breaking albums Remedy and Rooty, and by releasing a string of Top 10 singles including Red Alert, Rendez-Vu, Romeo, and Where’s Your Head At?. Ratcliffe’s own solo work includes the 1995 EP City Dreams and the 2011 EP Dorus Rijkers – both releases prove his musical versatility and virtuosity.
Speaking about the Village of the Sun collaboration, Simon says, “I’ve always liked improvised instrumental music. It has this intensity and eccentricity that takes me places. It connects with me deeply and resonates with me far more than traditional ‘songs’ with words.” For Binker and Moses, the project sees the duo continue to defy expectations and pigeonholing. Both lauded artists in their own rights, as a duo they are frontrunners of a loose yet interconnected group of London-based jazz musicians that are influenced by the music that surrounds them including hip-hop, electronic, Caribbean rhythms, free improvisation as well as, of course, the jazz tradition. What began as experimental jams during soundcheck as part of Zara McFarlane’s touring band has evolved into 2 studio albums, 2 live albums, multiple awards, a performance on Later… with Jools Holland, critically-acclaimed live shows, and an unquenched thirst to continue pushing musical boundaries to the limit.
Binker and Moses’ incendiary debut album “Dem Ones” was recorded in 2014 from the live room at Mark Ronson’s Zelig Studio to the 1/4” tape machine with no edits, overdubs or mixing, and released through Gearbox Records. This began their journey as “the big breakout stars of the London jazz scene” (The Guardian), and went on to win them a string of awards including the 2015 MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act, a Parliamentary Jazz Award and two Jazz FM Awards. Their second album, “Journey to the Mountain of Forever” (2017), was recorded in the summer of 2016 and included an expanded line-up of musicians; Yussef Dayes, Byron Wallen, Tori Handsley, Sarathy Korwar, and Evan Parker. Conceptually inspired by science fiction and fantastical prog/rock imagery with album artwork by Jim Burns (Blade Runner), the album was named MOJO’s No. 2 Jazz Album of the Year and cemented their status as the leaders of the London jazz renaissance.
Earlier this year the duo released their new album “Feeding The Machine”, which was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios by legendary, GRAMMY-winning producer Hugh Padgham, and featured honorary third member Max Luthert on tape loops and electronics. The record saw the band garner an array of press and radio support including a 5* review at MOJO, and features across the likes of CRACK, Uncut, Jazzwise, the Quietus, Stereogum, Huck, The Observer, and many more.
Individually all three artists have huge credit to their names, and Simon’s instigation and eagerness to delve into the ever-evolving London scene continues to display the adaptive and free-flowing potency that not only invigorates those involved but also the nominal genre. Contemplating on the new project, Binker said, “this is the future of life,” and in the context of artists place in the current sonic landscape, we’re inclined to agree.
1-01. Village of the Sun – Cesca (05:07)
1-02. Village of the Sun – First Light (05:48)
1-03. Village of the Sun – Village Of The Sun (06:54)
1-04. Village of the Sun – The Spanish Master (05:30)
1-05. Village of the Sun – Tigris (05:13)
1-06. Village of the Sun – Ted (04:15)