Weapons Of Jazz Destruction
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? But relax, the only thing that is threatened with destruction is the ignorant belief that jazz music is dead. Jazz music isn’t dead, my friend – jazz music is alive and Ben Lamdin is here to testify. Who is Ben Lamdin?! He is Nostalgia 77, front-man of the Nostalgia 77 Octet and producer of the new Octet LP Weapons Of Jazz Destruction, out now on Tru Thoughts! That’s who!
Weapons Of Jazz Destruction dropped towards the end of November last year and kind of got sucked up into the end of year whirlwind vortex, so perhaps only the staunch fans had this register on the old radar. However, I’m not one to be committed to putting things in particular boxes and I believe that ones enjoyment from the arts does not have to be restricted by any boundaries. Fortunately in the case of this new album, I do think that it is very much accessible to anybody willing to relax and open their mind. The album is an hour long and takes the listener on an immense journey through time and styles. Inklings of legendary sounds, coupled with a fresh modern influence intended to stretch ones ear beyond its usual path. Of course, if you are actually a big jazz fan, then you are in for one hell of a treat.
Although not always an option, it really is advisable to listen to this record on a decent sound system. The array of instruments, and the sounds they obviously produce, is both rich and refined – it is a real sensory experience. You can close your eyes and invisage being dragged along a beautiful journey. Initially sounding like some powerful early Miles material, then later bounding through string laden lounge dreams, as soulful as they are hypnotic.
Ben Lamdin’s career thus far tells an interesting tale of a young man that started in the relms of hip-hop and funk, then made his journey back in time to find a more organic and hands-on sound that perhaps only jazz can provide. If one was to suggest that Danger Mouse or Dr. Dre were to head up their next project with an 8 piece jazz ensemble, you’d probably choke on your cheerios. Alas this is what Benjamin Lamdin did. Many hip-hop aficionados confess to a love of jazz and/or funk, but rarely do you expect them to output such material. I guess the closest we have come recently would be some of Madlib’s work, most of which was largely sampled and remixed. The Nostalgia 77 Octet is just that… an Octet.
This blend of electronic production techniques, paired with jazz and various soulful elements is perhaps what gives the sound such an edge. It would be easy to miss the target with something so bold – but Lamdin and his cohorts seem to pay a lot respect to the sounds they are crafting, no shortcuts are taken. The results are spectacular. Cliche as this might sound, Weapons Of Jazz Destruction truly makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It is exquisite. Powerful, emotional. A set of 11 masterful compositions, that even in their infancy already sound timeless.
It’s all about the peaks – the highs and lows. From melancholy to inspiration, and back again. This album has a lot of depth to it, expressed in such an awesome fashion. Three quarters of it is instrumental, whilst the fantastic vocal talents of Sophie Smith are evident on a few tracks. As I said before, this already seems timeless. The only thing that could possibly better it would be to experience a live session of the said material. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that. Weapons Of Jazz Destruction is in a similar vein to the previous Octet albums Sevens and Eights and Borderlands, although perhaps a bit darker. I’ve always felt that the best songs were the dark ones, and this just goes further to back up my theory. Well Ben, you’ve done it again.