Sunday 16 April 2023

'In Search of a Better Tomorrow' by EABS meets Jaubi

'In Search of a Better Tomorrow' is the first collaborative project from Astigmatic Records stalwarts, EABS and Jaubi.

In complete honesty, if anyone reading this is a fan - or even remotely familiar - of either musical collective then the monumental nature of this collaboration should in no way be lost on you.  But to bring everyone up to speed... through Poland's EABS, we're introduced to a progressive, innovative and incredibly diverse band that create music that draws from everything including golden era hip-hop, music that typically sees EABS immersing themselves within Poland's rich history and culture, or even creating music that pays homage to the works of Sun Ra while envisioning something of a dystopian future.  Never making the same album twice, theirs is a wonderfully organic, all-inclusive and free-flowing melting pot of styles that have proved invaluable for Astigmatic over the years.

Jaubi's releases with Astigmatic have presented some fascinating facets of the quartet's music to western audiences as well; what proves to be particularly fascinating is that for a collective that ultimately creates Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, to see the impact of hip-hop culture permeate through their sounds is genuinely inspired.  From previous tributes to the music of hip-hop icons J Dilla, Nas and MF DOOM, Jaubi - like EABS - proudly wave the flag for their respective heritage and culture but refuse to restrict the boundless possibilities that they are striving for their music to reach.

Jaubi's debut full-length release for Astigmatic came in the form of 'Nafs at Peace' (2021) which somewhat went on to pave the way for the current 'In Search of a Better Tomorrow'.  From sessions in 2020 that saw Ed "Tenderlonious" Cawthorne and EABS, Błoto and Zima Stulecia member Marek "Latarnik" Pędziwiatr fly out to Pakistan specifically to collaborate with the Lahore-based quartet, the results came in the form of the Tenderlonious project, 'Ragas From Lahore' (22a Records, 2020) and Jaubi's 'Nafs at Peace'.  

And while 'Nafs at Peace' proves to be a sensational meeting-of-the-minds project, it really only touched the surface of what the groups were capable in creating together.

Recorded over the course of a week at Monochrom Studio in Kłodzko Valley, 'In Search of a Better Tomorrow' takes a startling and fairly abrasive take on global events skillfully conveying an eerie and foreboding presence that permeates through into the album's compositions.  Tracks like 'Raise Your Hearts, Drop Your Guns', 'Judgement Day' and the frenetic and chaotic climax to 'Whispers' portray a like-minded and perhaps harsh take on the current times but it is elegantly balanced with the flip side of that coin through songs like 'Sun' and 'Madhuvanti' that embrace the notion of love and hope, perhaps most aptly captured through the album's scene-stealing moment, 'Tomorrow'.

'In Search of a Better Tomorrow' is a project born of two vastly different factions with vastly different interpretations of contemporary jazz and while the EABS-Jaubi union comes as a thrilling and somewhat inconceivable notion... when bearing in mind the parallels and the work of each group to date, you'd be forgiven for wondering why it hadn't happened sooner. 

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