Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery – The Comet Is Coming (Album Review)
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
The Comet Is Coming
Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
15 March 2019
Album Rating: 4/5
Live Potential: 5/5
Diversity in Songs: 4/5
Favourite Songs: Birth of the Creation, Blood of the Past (Feat. Kate Tempest), Super Zodiac
The space themed trio are back with a bang in their latest outing, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, their Impulse! Records debut. The highly anticipated 9-track album is their fourth release since their formation back in 2013, the follow up to the EP Death to the Planet (2017) and their second album since their mercury-prize nominated album Channel the Spirits (2016).
The trio consists of the synth player “Danalogue the Conqueror” (Dan Leavers – Soccer 96), drummer “Betamax Killer” (Max Hallett – Hothead Show) and of course the highly in demand “King Shabaka” on saxophone and clarinet (Shabaka Hucthings – Sons of Kemet, Shabaka and the Ancestors).
We were given a taster for this release with the first single, “Summon the Fire” (track 3) coming out in January 2019. Compared to their previous material, the first single felt a little light and lost, somewhat uncharacteristic. For those unfamiliar to their work it might seem relatively heavy, but to those who have followed them for a while it felt a little lacking and simple. The second single, “Unity” (track 8), showed a completely different side to the group. “Unity” is a lot subtler than “Summon the Fire”, with Shabaka’s saxophone glistening off the top of clicking beats and swirling synths. Yet despite being an interesting single, it still felt that the group were not fulfilling their potential. However, the album completely dispels any apprehension which diehard fans may have had after listening to the first two singles.
Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery is a true album. In the age of shortening social-media-fuelled attention spans, some artists have turned away from writing albums, instead releasing collections of standalone songs to appeal to the streaming generation. Trust in the Lifeforce follows the true art of record writing, it has been made to be appreciated as a complete entity. It’s an album with an overarching story; the trio pilot and guide the listener through astral planes and unfamiliar planetary systems as they encourage us to embrace the unknown.
We begin with a slow yet grand ethereal beginning with “Because the End is Really the Beginning” (track 1), building to “Summon the Fire” (track 3) which leads us to one of the highlights of the album, “Blood of the Past”. The piece opens with a deep heavy synth before Shabaka magnificently blares out traditional Middle Eastern scales, sending us on a psychedelic trip. This delicately falls back to Leavers on the synth as the texture thins to make room for Kate Tempest. Tempest’s feature on the album is a wonderful touch, as her distinctive spoken word prose fits neatly within the narrative and the trio gives her space for the listener to give her our full attention before we switch back to Shabaka and Leavers who unleash a wall of mind-expanding whirrs. Although tracks like these leave a lasting impression, it is the contemplative bridges such as “Astral Flying” (track 6) which binds it together, allowing us to reach our fitting final destination with “The Universe Wakes Up” (track 9).
There is no doubt Shabaka is the standout figure of this album, he can alternate between a punkish energy on the saxophone to the rich and beautiful tones of the clarinet. On this album he proves he is a master of both. This is not to discredit Leavers synth playing, which is written adeptly to create a blanket of atmosphere through a mixture of deep drones, video game like strings, sci-fi flicks and phasers. This is driven by the beats of Hallett, whose playing is left a little side-lined to the other two, except for when he unleashes his fury on “Super Zodiac” (track 5) and “Timewave Zero” (track 7).
Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery is another impressive release from the trio. Few contemporary artists are able to create such a distinctive sound but are still able to keep that sound fresh and original. This is a sublimely crafted album and its rhythm, pace and story is written with care and attention. The album firmly holds itself within the cosmic jazz world. Sun Ra, the Coltranes and Pharoh Sanders would surely be proud to see the evolution of their music reaching this point with The Comet Is Coming’s contemporary interpretation of their sonic canvases.
Danalogue – Synths, Betamax – Drums, King Shabaka – Tenor Saxophone & Bass Clarinet, Granny – Violin (Track 4), Kate Tempest – Vocals (Track 4)
- Ally J Steel (21/3/2019)