EP Review: “Guardians Of The Most Cosmic Shrine” (Sneed & Kondo)
The title of this EP (released on February 4, 2022) might make you think it’s a “Hippy” or “New Age” release, but it is far from that. I would say it’s “DJ Krush meets Nils Petter Molvær“. It has a raw, somewhat dark “feel” to it (thus my reference to Krush), but due to Toshinori Kondo‘s trumpet playing it has a similar “floatiness” as Molvær. “Guardians Of The Most Cosmic Shrine” is though more “abstract” then those referred to … with intriguing soundscapes … moods and atmospheres … deep subby basses … crunchy beats … made by (bassist/producer) Jason Wayne Sneed. I think if you had to put a “label” onto this EP, one could call it “Jazzbient” (a term I started using to describe a fusion between Jazz and Ambient).
Side note: I have explored “Jazzbient” as well in the past with a project called “UFONIX“, so doing this review is a bit like sharing my opinion about the music of “colleagues”, rather then a “critic” from some Electronic Music blog or magazine.
Even though there are 6 tracks in this EP worth listening to, I like to share my thoughts and feelings on two of the tracks of this release. The other 4 are nice as well, but mostly Ambient and I feel I just have less to say about them then the following two:
The track starts with a “Molværian” intro … atmospheric synths pads, little “crackles” and “blips” and the “floaty” trumpet of Kondo. A fat subby bass comes in (most enjoyable if you have a powerful sound system that handles subby basses well) and percussive elements start slowly building up to a gently pulsating Trip-hop beat … While the track progresses Kondo uses a Wah effect for his trumpet, giving it an odd “funkiness”. Around 4 minutes there is something resembling a “fade-out”, you think the track is finished, but it fades back in … around the 5th minute the track “breaks down” until it ends. Personally I feel the track could have continue a few minutes more, once you “dove” into the groove, it feels like floating in a warm water spring … or perhaps a hot tub would be a nice way to describe it … with Kondo blowing “bubbles” (Wah’d trumpet) *grin*. Anyway, you know the feeling of being so comfy you don’t want to get out of the tub?
“The Different Dimension”
“The Different Dimension” starts with “gongs” resonating and ethnic percussion, presumably Japanese (Kondo is Japanese after all). A voice comes in talking about (you guessed it) the different dimension … some squeaky sounds like “digital bats and bugs” come and go in the background, giving it all a touch of “spookiness”. Slowly the beat builds up … and after a trumpet “lead in” by Kondo a Hip Hop beat comes in. The deep “whoomy” bass lays below it like thick fog. More “floaty” trumpet by Kondo bring the track to it’s “climax” where soon after it breaks down and comes to it’s end. I can’t say if you have actually traveled to a different dimension after hearing this track, but I can’t deny that possibility either. I have to come back on that once I am certain.
The other 4 (more ambient) tracks you can listen at bandcamp, see link below.