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BADBADNOTGOOD - Talk Memory Music Album Reviews

BADBADNOTGOOD - Talk Memory Music Album Reviews
With nods to the likes of Miles Davis and Pharoah Sanders, the inventive Canadian band sets aside its affinity for hip-hop and kindles a love of classic jazz.

BADBADNOTGOOD are sometimes dubbed “alt jazz,” a quick and easy tag, but not without truth. It was at a jazz program at Humber College in Toronto where the band came together and discovered a mutual affinity for hip-hop. Two early albums, BBNG and BBNG2, reinvented well-known rap songs as post-bop and lounge jams, connecting the two great American institutions from the opposite direction as jazz-head rap artists like Guru and Freestyle Fellowship. By 2015, BBNG had recorded a joint album with Ghostface Killah—the stoned grooves of Sour Soul gave Tony Starks his most replayable project of the last decade—and their résumé includes work with Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, the Creator, two more artists who enjoy amalgamating jazz and rap. After the dusty jukebox-soul and electronica of 2016’s eclectic IV, the band’s latest album, Talk Memory, is its tightest turn yet, presenting a group often defined by proximity to modern hip-hop in the idiom of more classic jazz sounds.

That doesn’t mean Talk Memory feels passé. The band deconstructs classic sounds, peers at their components, and rebuilds them with their own original parts. The velvety play and mildly psychedelic grooves are still present, but Talk Memory is also BBNG’s most compositionally complex record to date: It draws you in with vibrant hooks and melodic flourishes, then begs you to return and fully absorb its subtleties. Nine-minute opener “Signal From the Noise” eases the album to life with sounds beamed in from the cosmos, the spirit of Sun Ra looming overhead, before a simple but stirring piano riff emerges. The electric guitar underpinning the arrangement is indebted to Miles Davis’ plugged-in masterpieces of the 1970s, and the whole thing evolves into a cascading, polychromatic performance. Elsewhere, Leland Whitty’s swirling, kaleidoscopic saxophone leads “Open Channels,” a spiritual jazz number that nods heavily to Pharoah Sanders. The band that once saw antique sounds as something to be twisted and reformed now travel in the same lineage.

BADBADNOTGOOD made Talk Memory without founding member Matthew Tavares, who left the band in 2019. Because the core trio—Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen, drummer Alexander Sowinski—appeared in such harmony and typically shared credit, it’s always been more about the group dynamic than any soloist or bandleader. In the absence of Taveres’ synths, Hansen now provides an array of piano, organ, and synthesizers. With longtime collaborator Whitty on his second album as a full-time member, the band transitions into a post-Tavares existence without a palpable sense of loss.

The guests, though, are an undeniable asset. Three songs (plus one reprise) feature veteran Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai and his cadre of string instruments. BBNG’s music has always felt smoky and dim-lit, but Verocai’s arrangements add scope and romance to the cinematic “City of Mirrors.” The way the flowing strings complement the band on “Love Proceeding” approaches smooth-jazz serenity. Like Bird’s “bebop with strings” approach on Charlie Parker With Strings, or Kanye West’s recruitment of Jon Brion on Late Registration, Verocai brings extra wingspan to these compositions. Later, Terrace Martin’s alto sax leads the epic closer “Talk Meaning,” supplemented by Brandee Younger’s dreamy harp. The extended band plays fervently but never loses control.

The presence of the guests inspires BBNG to up its own game. “Unfolding (Momentum 73)” opens with the ambient sounds of Laraaji’s electric zither. A swirling keyboard melody plays beneath as Whitty—a melodic and inventive saxophonist in incredible form throughout the album—freewheels up top. Then, in a seamless transition, Whitty’s instrument begins to mirror the fluttering melody that has been present throughout. It’s an incredible sleight of hand that encapsulates the smoothness and imagination of these arrangements. BADBADNOTGOOD are known for turning tradition inside out, but Talk Memory is not just their finest album—it’s evidence of the historic appreciation that roots their reverence.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
BADBADNOTGOOD - Talk Memory Music Album Reviews BADBADNOTGOOD - Talk Memory Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, October 18, 2021 Rating: 5

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