Wednesday 22 February 2017

'Islands' by Diazpora [Review]

Formed in 2002, ‘Islands’ marks the fifth album release from the nine-piece funk and soul orchestra from Hamburg, Germany, that is Diazpora.  It’s a staggering achievement for any band or artist, but particularly when the band’s members are so active in solo and side projects…

Collectively members of Diazpora can boast having recorded or performed with fellow titans of contemporary funk, The Mighty Mocambos, US jazz vocalist Gregory Porter and Truth & Soul Record's, Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, but Diazpora’s members are just as immersed in Hamburg’s burgeoning music scene and can add names like soul singer Miu, Smith & Johnson, Meute and Uebertribe.

Released  through Legere Recordings, ‘Islands’ marks the first album to see the group paired with Axel Feige who, primarily known for his work with Absolem Max, tackles lead vocal duties throughout.  His smoky and seasoned vocals act as an apt accompaniment to Diazpora’s musical prowess – he soars on the funk numbers that steam ahead at 100mph (‘Nap Xtra Long’ and ‘Moon’) and he mesmerizes on the more provocative songs like ‘Me & I’ and the album’s title track.  ‘Islands’ is definitively an album that takes listeners in different directions and Diazpora treat the music here as very much an explorative process – and it’s a joy to listen to.  Aside from the aforementioned tracks, there’s the excellent singalong chorus of ‘Yaroslava’, the fantastic horn section that elevates the music as in ‘Piece By Piece’ giving it an almost orchestral feel and then there’s the brilliant swagga-filled instrumental album closer ‘Numbers’.

‘Islands’ is an incredibly versatile and accomplished funk record from nothing less than an incredibly versatile and accomplished band.  I use the term “band” but Diazpora is more like a super group.  Each of its members boast a wealth of experience, from playing in other bands, to the earlier-mentioned past collaborations… we also proudly covered bass player, David Nesselhauf, and his hugely innovative ‘Afrokraut’ solo release of last year.  The Diazpora Dynasty continues to flourish and ‘Islands’ gives them another jewel in their crown.

Diazpora are:

Hans-Christian Stephan (trumpet), Jonathan Krause (sax), Alexander “Kimo” Eiserbeck (sax), Lucas Kochbeck (drums), David Nesselhauf (bass), Thomas Neitzel (percussion), Legbo (guitar), Christoph Hinrichsen (keyboards) and Axel Feige (vocals).

No comments:

Post a Comment