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04.Once Upon a Time
08.They Are Among Us – Part 1
09.The Zero Hour
11.The American Empire
12.Before I Die
14.Age of the Sun
15.They Are Among Us – Part 2
17.A World of Masks
18.Sounds of the East
19.Somewhere Out There
20.Second Chance (K2’s Prayer)
23.Falling to Earth
NA5031 2LP/CD 2007
NA 5031. CD and 2LP. 2007.
Produced by Malcolm Catto, Mike Burnham & Jake Ferguson.
Malcolm Catto – drums & piano
Jake Ferguson – bass & Thai guitar
Mike Burnham – modular synth & effects
Jack Yglesias – flutes, percussion & santur
Adrian Owusu – guitars, oud & percussion
James Arben – clarinet, tenor & baritone sax
Ray Carless – alto, tenor & baritone sax
Max Weissenfeldt – vibes & percussion
Khadijatou Silcott-Fraser (K2 Wordplay) – vocals
Good luck trying to categorize this album. Led by the relentless drummer Malcolm Catto, the UK collective’s objective lays quite a ways beyond what ordinary listeners know or expect. In an alternative galaxy, where the orbits of Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz, Psychedelic, Electronic, Avante-Garde and Ethnic music all revolve around “The One” – that’s where you might find The Heliocentrics.
A listen to a song or two reveals no small influence from the funk universe of James Brown. But there’s also the disorienting asymmetry of Sun Ra’s music. The cinematic scope of Ennio Morricone. The sublime fusion of David Axelrod. But the Heliocentrics’ music isn’t retro. It’s brand new. And it’s timeless. They have well-placed fans in the likes of Madlib (Catto was featured on his Shades of Blue album and on various Yesterdays New Quintet releases) and DJ Shadow (the band backed him on the song “This Time I’m Gonna Do It My Way” from his The Outsider album), who will tell you that this band is really the next shit but that they have the consistency and musicianship that seems to have been lost somewhere in the analog to digital shuffle over the past thirty years.