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Vertaal - Paradigm Shifting Extended Vinyl Edition (Album Review)


Paradigm Shifting Extended Vinyl Edition

26 March 2021

Album Rating 4.5 / 5

Live Potential 4 / 5

Solo Performances 5 / 5

Diversity in Songs 5 / 5

Favourite Songs Dilla5, Drop Off, Dual, Husky, Cut Idea

London-based duo Vertaal have released their extended vinyl edition of their Paradigm Shifting mixtape which received much deserved acclaim last year. The mixtape moves into a phat LP with 6 additional tracks and a further 6 musical ‘skits’ recorded separately by all the contributing musicians during lockdown.

And what a record this is, perfectly capturing everything that excites music fans about the crossover links between jazz, hip hop and electronica, and Paradigm Shifting delivers immensely.

After we exclusively premiered 'Kora' last week from this extended mixtape, a song that laid the foundation for their future output, the rest of the songs got us just as excited. The duo drummer Ajit Gill and multi-instrumentalist Theo Howarth are joined by Severin Bruhin (bass), Luca Gianassi (guitar), Loren Hignell (saxophone) and Simon Todd (congas) as they blend melodies superbly with different musical traditions from around the globe.

Having praise from BBC Introducing, Jazz FM, WorldWide FM, and Soho Radio as well as being nominated for EP of 2020 at the Jazz Revelations Awards, one wishes they released all of these tunes sooner.

'Drop Off' is such a fluid banger with Howarth's synths beaming out sunshine goodness and the drums grooving with delightful rolls flicking in perfect time. The change in mood towards the end feels equally spectacular and blends brilliantly into the lofi funk of 'Grizzol'.

The squelchy shuffling 'Duels' sees the hihat texture rub off Bruhin's bass line nicely. It's sibling 'Dual' crunches out and you can fall into the depths of the grooving here. 'Husky' is electrified hip hop at its best and turns into a swirling electro funker

A wonderful sax solo from Hignell in the jazz funk 'Paradigm Shifting' amazes before the changes in intensity that overwhelms with the drums chopping and pounding hard away alongside the electronics piling on top. The relaxed reprise allows sufficient time to calm and 'Cut Idea' has a hypnotic beat to it that allows you to transition into another set off bangers.

'Dilla5' is slick and moves effortlessly in the jazz hip hop realm - perhaps the standout track on the album and definitely conveys Vertaal's style impecably. The jungle inspired drums of 'Love24' shows Gill's tight feel and flow to the beats all heard on the album.

'Hs2' is the lost cousin of Kamaal Williams' 'Salaam' and generates a warmth with all the improvising parts combining for the synth to lead confidently here. 'Khali' is perhaps the most beautiful journey on the album with Hignell's saxophone flourishing with freedom throughout the song.

This album has so many more tracks that could have been poured over. All the flavours present on the initial mixtape seem to have blossomed out of lockdown even more and this record will do nothing but help Vertaal rise from the underground scene to join the heavyweights they are on par with in the UK scene. We look forward to even greater things from the duo in the future.


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