Review Summary: Pushing the boundaries of genre fusion, The Comet is Coming have made one of the most original, varied and innovative Jazz releases of the last decade.
Over the last five years, London saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings has risen to become one of Jazz’s top performers, sitting at the head of the London Jazz scene with three highly diverse projects under his caper. Shabaka and the Ancestors with their afro--spiritual leanings, complex, rising improvisation, often juxtaposed by mystic, bizarre, Magma influenced atmosphere. Sons of Kemet, rhythmic, infectious grooves, innovative Tuba composition, all coupled with a strong Afrocentric political message. By contrast The Comet is Coming trends the line of a psychedelic, electro tinged, science fiction journey, leaving the listener hurtling through the cosmos in search of the meaning of humanity's own existence.
Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery can initially come across as a bizarre array of Colin Stetson-esque Saxophone acrobatics, Flying Lotus Hip-Hop synth bounce, Kraut Rock psychedelia, funk and otherworldly electronic beat music. At times, it feels as if brand new, Jazz-Genre fusions are being formed, both coming across fresh, bleeding edge innovative; at times retroactive, influences dripping from its sleeve. Weightless, nebulous atmospheres are built up through slowly rising synths, one track bleeding into the next, journeying the cosmos, blending both bleak desperation with a rising sense of wonder and hope.
Life force finds itself grooving along with strangely alien-but uncannily familiar beats. Opening up Shabaka creates an atmosphere seemingly both hopeful but crushingly dark and primordially bleak. Quickly changing, Birth of Creation combines deep synth rumbles with hypnotically laced Sax' arpeggios, Summoning the Fire rises into a nearly new wave groove, one that causes the insatiable urge to simply jump up and dance. Soon boisterous energy is replaced by Kate Tempests politically charged spoken word-rap styling underpinned by psych rock grooves, chunky chords, chaotic moments not unlike the work of Swans. One again rapidly shifting to Shabaka's emphatically rising Saxophone improvisation, breathy saxophone blasts juxtaposed by urgent percussion and soaring Tangerine Dream like synth lines. The Trio even channel Future Sound of London's Lifeforms, before a infectious miasma of House, Drum and Bass & Nu-Jazz influenced rhythmic leanings, at times falling back to the nebulous atmosphere that permeated the album's opening stanza.
The Comet is Coming move to create an atmospheric juxtaposition of wonderous discovery and impending doom. Kate Tempest's urgent half spoken rap reviling us with the tale of Earth's downfall, not fallen by war, disaster or famine but through the loss of decency, the collapse of mans morality. Critiquing humanities modern superficial existence, Tempest decries social disintegration, the loss of connection to our past, our roots & our spirituality, instead enshrouding these things with simple-minded distractions, materialistic possessions, capitalistic endeavors, arrogant disregard for one another. Contrasted musically by the combination of dark menace and alien discovery, Shabaka paints a narrative of a humanity teetering on the edge, still looking for meaning to existence but also at the edge of losing itself to it's impulse and desire.
Pushing the boundaries of genre fusion, The Comet is Coming have made one of the most original, varied and innovative Jazz releases of the last decade, a plea to not become lost to vain superficiality, to not forget our connection to the past or to become clouded to our connection to one another, an album that makes you question what our place in the universe truly is.