By The Sorcerers
I knew Pete Williams and Neil Innes had been busy gathering rich and curious sounds with the brilliant "Funk, Soul and Afro Rarities: An Introduction to ATA Records" (Here & Now Recordings, released November '14) but I didn't realise they'd been involved in making those very sounds. That twelve track compilation tickled a multitude of my fancies and none more so than the two tracks offered up by The Sorcerers. Skip to now and after bringing together the best of the local jazz and world scenes in the analog studio that is the beating heart of ATA Records, I'm immersed in the freshest and most authentic thing I'll hear short of a bump on the head and waking up at From Spirituals to Swing.
I think the last time I felt immobilised by a wave of sound like this, when I felt like I'd discovered a musical hideout of my own like this, was probably with a Crippled Dick Hot Wax! compilation. ("Shake Sauvage: French Soundtracks, 1968-1973" released November 2000, as it goes). Just as it was then with my first taste of Andre Arpino's "African King" or Bernard Gerard's "Crocodile Porte-Cle", there's a horror-fascination alongside deep gratification which The Sorcerers stir within me. I haven't heard anything this good for time.
The juices of filthy funk and druggy jazz bleed into each other and shards of light break through to add touches of colour. The resultant blend is probably unlike anything else you're listening to at the minute but that's what's so good about it. You'll get this but on first listen you might not know why. Think soundtracks, funk, lounge-jazz, afro-rock, Dengue Fever without vocals - all those things and you're somewhere like close.
There's a rich tapestry of influences going on within the eight tracks that make up The Sorcerers debut album but it's the effect that drawing on so many good things that's the real treat. Well, that and the traditional studio treatment which places a constant warmth within the sound, something often lacking in digitalised over-production these days. It's no surprise that BBC 6Music have picked up on the good vibes on this album: opener "Pinch of the death nerve" getting a blast courtesy of Huey Morgan and closer "Night of the Sorcerer" finding a natural home on Stuart Maconie's Freakzone.
Approach this expecting something trite and flaccid and you'll be stunned. Approach it wanting to explore how sounds are built up to way beyond the individual parts and you'll be amazed.
Right....what else do you need to know.... you can pick up a download of the album for a ridiculously reasonable £6, a cd copy for a very reasonable £10, or go vinyl for just £15. You should probably do one of these things now to see what I'm talking about and definitely make yourself very, very happy.
Visit atarecords.co.uk for more information.