Get The Blessing – Lope and Antilope (Naim Edge Records)

Get The Blessing – Lope and Antilope (Naim Edge Records)

The name of the band is Get The Blessing. It comprises the twin horned attack of Jake McMurchie and Pete Judge on saxophone and trumpet respectively, harnessed to the rhythm section of Jim Barr and Clive Deamer, two men who have previously spent time stoking the considerable engine room of Portishead. Together they cook up a fusion of jazz and rock, two musical genres which when combined have stretched all the way from Soft Machine and Bitches Brew period Miles Davis through Billy Cobham, John McLaughlin and Herbie Hancock to a more modern idiom characterised by Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear. With their innate trip-hop sensibility and the benefit of electronic treatments, though, Get The Blessing inhabit an altogether different world. It is one where Blue Note meets Blue Lines; a universe where the true spirit of that great American jazz record label is channelled through the prism of Massive Attack’s landmark début.

The name of the record is Lope and Antilope. The quartet’s fourth album, it was recorded in an empty pottery in Pembrokeshire and unlike their previous efforts is almost entirely improvised. Extemporization may have held the key to its evolution but such is the consistency and strength of its ten tunes Lope and Antelope hangs together quite perfectly. If it were a soundtrack and given its innate sense of freedom the album would probably accompany some existential road-trip movie; a French film in all likelihood, and to reflect the creeping darkness that underpins the music a young Alain Delon dressed in a black roll-neck sweater and constantly smoking Gitanes would no doubt be cast as some silent assassin.

With its subtle shifts in time, space and technique and the recurring absence of orthodoxy Lope and Antilope does manage to convey strong elements of the free jazz movement. But for all that the music is liberated by the spontaneity afforded it, such freedom is not achieved at the expense of convention or melody.  When further account is taken of their digital dancehall DNA, Get The Blessing have successfully achieved in Lope and Antilope the right balance between what once was and what now is.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Lope and Antilope is released on 20th January 2014 through the Naim Label record company

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