Sunday 1 October 2023

'Tales of Utopia' by Shalosh

'Tales of Utopia' marks the latest album release from the prolific Israel-based trio, Shalosh.

The same way music fans and critics marvel at the wave of young and innovative jazz musicians that have spearheaded a jazz revival in the UK, Israel - and specifically Tel Aviv - are absolutely placing themselves in the conversation when it comes to the wave of progressive and inspired jazz releases.  Whether we're discussing the music of bassist Shay Hazan, trumpeter Sefi Zisling or any number of the phenomenally talented artists who wave the flag for the Raw Tapes label, Tel Aviv continue establishing themselves as a hot bed of talented artists with the latest release from Shalosh.

Comprised of pianist Gadi Stern, bassist David Michaeli and drummer Matan Assayag, Shalosh have amassed an impressive catalogue of music - dating as far back as 2014 with 'The Bell Garden' - that not only does justice to their years of friendship but also to the sheer skill and class they have brought to their music for that project and for subsequent releases.  

Although not always specifically present within their compositions, Shalosh's music is born of a vast array of influences where the band such inspirations as rock, classical, electronic, African and Middle Eastern music.  Such affections for a broad spectrum of sounds seems to leave its mark on the band's aesthetic, particularly when it comes to their live performances.  Having graced stages across the world, the Shalosh soundscape has evolved beautifully over the course of the band's releases.  And even beyond that with their fantastic "Plus One" series - a truly remarkable endeavour that has seen the trio, over the course of nine separate taped performances, invite a floating fourth collaborator to perform alongside them and revisit a track from the Shalosh catalogue.  The videos are lovingly recorded as a single shot and have featured some wonderful talent, notably a range of sensational vocalists who provide new contexts to the tracks including Tula Ben Ari, Yasmin Leselrot and Daniel Sun Krief.

Shalosh seem to have always had a penchant for an over-arching narrative for their full-length albums - even just looking at their affectionate and playful song titles over their releases to date: 'David Bowie Contemplating Art and Death in a Café in Berlin', 'The Orphan Boy Who Wanted to Be a King' and 'Even Cowgirls Get the Blues' all point to stories with the potential to expand the narrative amidst a variety of different situations.

Shalosh's limitless talents are on full display for the vast scope that the trio strive for with 'Tales of Utopia' with much of the album's ambition seemingly representing the archetypal monomyth, perhaps better referred to as "the hero's journey".  Just as Professor of Literature, Joseph Campbell's theories were famously outlined over ten steps, Shalosh deliver ten tracks charting their very own captivating adventure – from the trepidation of 'Tales of Utopia' to the unease and despair of 'Views of Road in Crimson Red' and the celebratory conclusion with 'Wedding Song'.

Both understated and intricate in its delivery and composition, 'Tales of Utopia' is an absolute gem within a treasure trove of Shalosh releases that sees them strive for something new with each outing.  Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment