BADBADNOTGOOD have made a name for themselves as the go-to jazz band for listeners looking to hear a jazzy take on their own genre; whether it be hip-hop, trap or indie. 'Talk Memory' though, album number six, sees BBNG in full jazz mode, a nine-track opus of gorgeous musical exploration on their own terms.
Their work with non-jazz musicians and appearances on indie festival stages however means that they keep things orderly, structured, and away from self-indulgence; album opener 'Signal From The Noise' may be the longest track on the record, but its jittery and unrelenting apex is tightly bookended by a sombre and simple melody Mogwai would be proud of.
A sense of timelessness runs throughout the record; whilst the instrumentation and production is thoroughly modern, BBNG prove themselves grand pupils of 20th century jazz; 'City Of Mirrors' could be the soundtrack to the denouement of a Hitchcockian thriller; all romantic strings and dramatic brass, whilst 'Timid Intimidating' truly loses itself in a free-jazz universe, all smoky velvet woodwind and brass, percussion crashing over itself like the drummers of Coltrane or Davis' bands at their best.
Album closer 'Talk Meaning’s urgent staccato riff persistently repeats throughout, while the band explore romantic and dramatic themes around its skeletal structure, before the track gently unwinds itself to the sound of harp arpeggios. In a way, it’s the band and a record in a nutshell - they may grab you with a punky riff or a filthy beat, but they’ll then take you on a beautiful journey of jazzy experimentation.
Words: David Weaver
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