Pacifisticuffs – Diablo Swing Orchestra (album review)

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(An audiogasm from start to end)

Oh my fucking lord! I think I have the potential to actually be happy after all and all it took was an Avante-Garde Metal band from Sweden! For those unaware of the genre, Avante-Garde is usually the result of a mass orgy of genres brought together like some kind of outrageous multi-cultural fuck-fest so, as you can expect, this album shines versatility out of it’s perfectly shaped ass! The album simply radiates character and style in such a way that it simply blows my fucking mind. 

It’s like being bent over and being held by your hair as you get gang-fucked by drunk Ukrainians; you would instantly dismiss the idea as a filthy degradation-fest but, at the end of the day, there’s an inner slut in all of us that just yearns for that kind of experience. 

Only those beautiful Swedes could shock me out of my harsh and cold negativity cave with such a monumental model of fucking awesomeness and I am more than happy to embrace this after the continuous poundings the contemporary music scene ceaselessly forces upon me ears. Not since Gogol Bordello have I enjoyed such an absolutely joyous display of sheer balls and wonderment. 

Rare is it to find something which presents both immaculate levels of class and also something so physically driving in one piece, but multiple tracks on this album do just this and this makes for a monumental display of style in such a totally respectable manner that it could potentially appeal to fans of all styles of music. Well, apart from die-hard Pop fans. 

If you’ve ever been put off an album because it was “too weird” then you should avoid this album like the plague, but if you’re feeling adventurous and curious about the style then this still serves as the perfect vessel to enter the genre. Unlike other acts of the genre, such as Mr. Bungle, the album retains a magnificent flow and absolutely nothing feels out of place. It’s like a large-scale Indian blockbuster in the way it encompasses whatever style and theme it needs to present you with a magnificent experience. 

This is a flawless manifestation of pure bewilderment and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anybody with a passion for discovery and a love for music as a true art form. Seriously, just open up Karma Bonfire, give it a minute and a half and tell me it’s not the best ninety second of music you’ve experienced in a long time! I feel confident in stating that this album has been my favourite release of the year and I want to share this absolute gem with you all. 


…And I’m spent.


Automaton – Jamiroquai (album review)

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(official album artwork from the Automaton album)

And so I return! With an abnormally long absence from writing, I return to write about one of my more anticipated albums of the year and my closest connection to contemporary Pop Music (read into that as you like), Automaton by Jamiroquai! I imagine that Jamiroquai isn’t a name that stands in high regard to most, but as a die-hard fan of anything cheesy and funky, it appeals heavily to me and I am happy to declare that this album flies the same banner as all of their preceding albums – with beats and grooves teasing my adoration for the genre.

To detriment of my dear neighbours, I have decided to review this album at 12:30am and, regardless of social decency, I can’t help but to crank it up and feel the groove as intended by mister Jay Kay. Jamiroquai have long held a place in the hearts of people who respect and love the Funk and Disco genres and they have produced a great many songs which have brought influence in many areas of the Pop scene – with tracks such as Little L and Cosmic Girl still considered classics, despite their diminishing audience.

Discussing this band has always been a bit difficult for me on the basis that they cater perfectly to me as a musician and an individual and few others. Though I love many styles of music, I naturally gravitate towards Funk and cheesy 80’s Pop music – and I can’t expect this niche to appeal to many in the current musical world we live in. I would gladly give a recommendation to this because, in spite of the flaws the album may have to some, it strikes a chord in my heart and I just love it unconditionally. My recommendation would be as shallow as “Do you like Funk, 80’s music and/or a heavy snare sound? If yes then yes!”

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(more album artwork from the Automaton album)

If I were to criticise the album, and I am going to, I would say that much of the album is fairly difficult to connect to on a personal basis, but I feel like it’s not supposed to be a personal experience – it’s supposed to be a groove you flow to and something completely inoffensive that anybody can enjoy. A fan and newcomer alike may claim that the album does little to establish its own voice and do anything fresh, but a fan of the band might instantly protest this in claims that the band never aimed for complexity and depth, with only a handful of songs coming close to communicating a deeper and more thoughtful perspective.

Despite my history with the music, I would totally understand if somebody accused the music of being fairly flat and lacking in humanity, but I would never declare this a reason to dismiss the album. In my eyes, this music represents a different period of society and art in general – a time where we didn’t have to bow to any of the expectations of art that modern society and culture encourages. Maybe I share the opinions of out-of-touch pre-millennials, but I believe we live in a world where all media is monetised and everything is made with the purpose of being sold – when we watch a movie it is being written in the most simplistic and dumb way possible, and contemporary music seems more like some kind of cheap candy than anything else – with each Pop hit being the most blatant off-the-shelf object a song can be. Where older music can be simple, nothing of a previous era feels as much of a product as what is shovelled to us today.

What I mean with that rant is that music of previous musical generations had more heart to it and far more ideas than our current mainstream pop culture allows, and though one might come to such a conclusion when listening to the Automaton album, I believe that the instrumentation and feel of the album does much to imply a more caring and thoughtful approach. The album draws heavy influence from the synth feel of a different era and I would say the album should be commended for not losing sight of what the music was always supposed to be.

My final word in this review would be that it isn’t as worthwhile as their previous albums as a listening experience, but nobody should go out of their way to avoid this album. I can’t sing the praises of Funk Odyssey enough and their entire discography holds a great number of classics, and the character behind albums like Space Cowboy makes for a fantastic investment for one with an interest in Funk and Fusion music – but for those more demanding of complexity and a stronger message I wouldn’t recommend this, I would divert you to OK Computer, like everybody else with a snobby mentality and unchecked ego.

Drunk – Thundercat (album review)


(image sourced from Ninja Tune official website)

A large part of why I wanted to pursue a career in critiquing was my inherent love of music and desire to hear lots of different styles, to this end I take recommendations from people all the time on which albums to check out, which is actually how I decided to review Pure Comedy. This album, however, was one that caught my interest in passing – a Jazz Fusion album written by former Kendrick Lamar and Suicidal Tendencies bassist, Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) and captures a feel I haven’t heard since my past obsession with acts such as Weather Report.

Drunk, released February 24th, 2017, is a wondrous modern interpretation of Jazz Fusion – a genre largely neglected for decades that combines the free nature and technical wizardry of Jazz music with the visceral grooves of Funk whilst also taking influence from many other surrounding genres such as Soul and R&B. This album is no different in this respect, but far exceeds anything anything of its kind. This work of art shows clear influence from throughout history with clear musical inspiration of old bands and new bands alike. Never before have I heard a band that so perfectly displays the progression of music from early Jazz and Funk to modern Hip-Hop, Electronic, R&B and Soul with tracks such as Drink Dat and Walk On By being two of the best examples I’ve heard of modern R&B and Electronic-influenced Jazz (respectively) I have ever heard, Walk On By also containing such a phenomenal combination of Jazz and Contemporary Hip-Hop with a brilliant contribution from Kendrick Lamar.
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(image sourced from @thundercat_music)

Perhaps I should state now that I don’t imagine this album receiving much attention in the UK given that the album only seemed to receive a measure of success in the US 200 Billboard and high success in the US R&B Billboard at the date of release and is a representation of a genre so rarely appreciated in the UK at present. Still, I can’t recommend this highly enough to anybody who wants to hear something different to the Pop and R&B we have come to expect whilst retaining the superb levels of production quality that comes with the advancement of modern technology.

Friends of mine are completely aware of my obsession towards Bonobo and part of that adoration stems from their combination of groove, colour and accessibility, a trait this album contains in abundance. Despite being a fan of Jazz Fusion already, I can happily admit that it can often be hard to a new listener to admire, especially one who respects feel over technical prowess and I genuinely had concerns that this album would appeal primarily to the musical elite, given the style it describes itself as – but this is seriously not the case! This album shows incredible respect to music of most styles and has something that can appeal to anybody who appreciates chilled out and creative music.

I stand purely in awe of this album, entranced in the thrill of seeing so many ideas formulated into one beautiful, inoffensive and well-crafted work of art. Everything has its place, everything is so perfectly mixed and every instrument and aspect serves as an inspiration in its own right. Listening to this feels like musical history unravelling before my eyes in the most perfectly constructed way and it is so rare to find a gem such as this in today’s age. The recurring flow in this album seems to start on a fun, free-flowing and fast pace and slowly eases into such a relaxing and calm experience and before you know it you’ll be sitting in a relaxed R&B state, absorbed into a wave of pure groove with only the fun of the Parliament-influenced grooves and additions to distract you from the fantastic feel.