Impossible Ark / Jeb Loy Nichols
Ben Lamdin, AKA Nostalgia 77, has been gracing my eardrums with his music for some time now, but did you know he ran the British jazz label Impossible Ark? Well, you do now! In their own words, “Impossible Ark Records is a British record label. Focusing on the work of creative musicians, it has released Jazz, Latin and more experimental projects over the past three years.”
Now you can welcome yourself into the world of Impossible Ark via their upcoming compilation CD, ingeniously entitled, Impossible Ark: A Compilation, coming out on 5th October. It features an hours-worth of truly solid, and genuinely creative, largely-British jazz. The jazz-heads might recognise a lot of these names, and Tru Thoughts fans might spot the name Examples Of Twelves, but here’s the rundown…
01. The Fiction Trio – What Is Life
02. The Rhythmatic Orchestra – African Mailman
03. Drop In Sessions – Joshua
04. The Fiction Trio – Haitian Fight Song
05. The Rhythmatic Orchestra – Tururatu
06. Jeb Loy Nichols – Day That Never Came
07. The Fiction Dynasty – Golden Slumbers
08. Sigurta Casagrande – Eyes
09. Drop In Sessions – Mode For An Old Man
10. The Skeleton – Positive Force
11. Drop In Sessions – A Call For All Demons
12. Jeb Loy Nichols – Lake Whitfield
13. Examples Of Twelves – Orange/Gold
14. The voice Of Time – Solstice
The selection of artists and styles is diverse, with elements of blues, latin, folk, funk and afro sounds present throughout. The linchpin for Impossible Ark, its raison d’être, is the apparent quality. Beautiful music created and presented by grossly talented and creative musicians. From the uptempo piano and bass sounds of The Fiction Trio, to the feverish latin rhythms of The Rhythmatic Orchestra, and onto the cinematic tones of Drop In Sessions, this album really does encompass a plethora of jazz ingredients.
Whether you are a casual fan of The Cinematic Orchestra, Nostalgia 77 Octet or Skalpel – or even side-stepping the contemporaries, you’re a true fan of the classics – the Impossible Ark roster will appeal immensely, of this I have no doubt. With plaudits from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Mr. Scruff, the quality of this music has become undeniable and, ultimately, unavoidable. The instrumentation is so tight, and the music so exquisitely produced, that I find myself in a desperate situation of ‘needing’ to play it as loud as possible through the best equipment available to me – which at this time is through my AKG headphones, but I wish it was a brilliant stereo system.
Despite the consistent quality of this release, one aspect (or indeed artist) I would like to focus on is Jeb Loy Nichols. There are two of Jeb’s tracks present on the compilation and they are both taken from his brand new release on Impossible Ark, Strange Faith And Practice, an absolutely stunning record that delicately treads between folk and jazz.
01. Sometime Somewhere Somebody
02. Lake Whitfield
03. The Day That Never Came
04. Can’t Stay Here
05. This Morning
06. Probably Never Stop
07. Interlude One
08. Strange Faith and Practice
09. If I Can Come Home to You
10. Interlude Two
11. Cruel Winter
12. Home Wasn’t Built in a Day
13. Next Time
Strange Faith And Practice was only out just recently, but I’ve been listening to it for a few months now and something really resonates between this album and I. There’s no pretension exhibited, or trends cloned, it’s literally a wonderful man baring his soul through superb and bewitching songs. Jeb Loy Nichols‘ voice is deep and silky – it rides effortlessly over well considered rhythms and graceful melodies. It’s the sort of record you will find yourself returning to over and over again, but without immediately recognising exactly why. The song arrangements are by Riaan Vosloo, the bass player who co-founded Impossible Ark with Ben Lamdin, and who also features throughout this album.
This is a 13 track album spanning a glorious 57 minutes or so. There’s not an average track present, and particular personal favourites, like; Sometime Somewhere Somebody, Can’t Stay Here and If I Can Come Home To You, leave me both in awe and in possession of a fine array of goosebumps. This will, no doubt, be one of the most quintessentially beautiful records I listen to all year. The smooth combination of Jeb Loy Nichols’ pure vocals and the flawless instrumentation make for glorious results – this is a wondrous listening experience, acting as a vehicle towards both escapism and bliss. Please don’t take my words lightly.
Impossible Ark: A Compilation is out 5th October and Jeb Loy Nichols’ album Strange Faith And Practice is out right now. I would urge all music fans to explore both at their earliest convenience. Fantastic jazz from a British label on a mission to spread the message of great music. Get involved!