Personnel: Ade Owusu (guitar); Mike Burnham (oud, drums); Ollie Parfitt (piano, keyboards, electronics); Jake Ferguson (keyboards, vibraphone, electronics); Malcolm Catto (keyboards, drums, percussion, electronics); Jack Yglesias (percussion); Tom Hodges (electronics).
Audio Mixers: Jake Ferguson; Malcolm Catto.
Recording information: Quatermass Studio, London.
On their 2016 release From the Deep, eclectic British rare groove enthusiasts the Heliocentrics take a dip through their archives, unearthing a multitude of tracks cut at their former recording home base, Quatermass Studios. As with most of their recordings, however, these outer-dimensional transmissions could have been beamed from seemingly any time in the past, present, or future. The band's heavy, spacy grooves resist easy categorization, laying down heavy, fluid drum patterns and filling them with cosmic synth squiggles, dubby echo, and the occasional squawking horns. Tracks like "Visions of Himself" echo the group's collaboration with Ethiopian legend Mulatu Astatke, while several others reflect the influence of library music, taking suspenseful musical cues and subverting them in order to emphasize their mysterious, surreal qualities. While most of the album's tracks are shorter pieces that feel like they could accompany brief movie or television scenes, there are a few more expansive journeys, such as the wild, vibraphone-heavy "The Pit," which whips up a furious groove, nearly tipping into chaos with the addition of bleating saxophone and rippling analog synthesizers. "Telekinesis" seems like it could melt down at any moment, with loose synthesizer blips and thrashing harps dancing around the slippery, spiraling-downwards groove. "Night and Day" turns the spotlight on strings, while a layer of shimmering electronic delay dances around the standup bass and viola. It may be easy to detect some of the Heliocentrics' influences (David Axelrod, Ennio Morricone, Sun Ra, etc.) but it's still hard to pin down exactly what they do; their sound is so amorphous, immersive, and all-encompassing, and they seem to have an abundance of ideas, leading one to believe that they could've picked more than 19 cuts for this album. From the Deep is an exciting, adventurous psychedelic jazz-funk trip that keeps the listener constantly guessing. ~ Paul Simpson