Rhythm Section International releases are connected by a certain sound; there is a feeling that brings these records together and makes them cohesive. Rhythm Section has cultivated this Peckham vibe despite the fact that several of its artists are transplants from the opposite side of the world: Dan Kye (aka Jordan Rakei) comes from Brisbane, and Chaos In The CBD relocated from Auckland. The group behind the track we are premiering today also hails from down under.
30/70 (SoundCloud) are a collective from Melbourne who fuse jazz, hip-hop, r&b, soul and funk to create striking pieces. Their debut album, « Cold Radish Coma, » incorporates free-jazz experimentalism into lush harmonies alongside the addictive melodies of lead singer Allysha Joy. It truly is an incredible listen.
The band’s new record, « Elevate, » presents a stylistic synthesis with a refined structure. Instead of separate interludes, songs are accompanied with preludes and conclusions reminiscent of Radiohead’s robotic ‘Fitter Happier,’ as well as ad-libbed instrumentals. The opening song, ‘Slangin,’ is a slow-burning cosmic-jazz exploration until its dramatic change-up to distorted funk-rap. The A2 track, ‘Lucid,’ provides a transition, contrasting complex rhythms beneath an arpeggiated synth motif, which feeds perfectly into ‘Nu Spring.’
A guitar riff and shimmering ambience introduce a syncopated drum rhythm that gives the impression of two time signatures. The additional horns, keyboard and bass fill out the harmonic texture while Joy’s vocals become the focus, her repeated motif alternating between centred calls and chorused responses. The record’s production is particularly evident in this track as instruments appear across the soundscape. At times the bass flitters to the right, until the sax takes the spotlight with a blistering solo at the climax. The vocals return, with lyrics, as the instruments slowly fade into a short gospel song, only to be overridden with the repeated phrase “celebrate yourself.”
The following tracks juxtapose up-tempo neo-soul with groovy jazz-funk and relaxed, borderline-ambient r&b. As a whole, « Elevate » combines these styles to great effect. The result is an Amy Winehouse-meets-Hiatus Kaiyote-and-Erykah Badu beauty that is a joy to listen to. The final track, ‘Takin Me Back,’ is absolutely extraordinary.
Although this may seem superficially different from other releases – it’s certainly not a 4-to-the-floor dance record – « Elevate » undoubtedly fits within, and indeed expands, the Rhythm Section catalogue. The sound and the feeling are there.
Pre-order the record via Rhythm Section’s Bandcamp.