Album of the Week: Discipline of Sun Ra — EABS / Ghetto Kumbé — Ghetto Kumbé
Eastside’s Album of the Week show this week features an afrofuturism double whammy; with Polish group EABS reinventing the psychic sounds of Sun Ra, and Colombian outfit Ghetto Kumbé – a ‘psychedelic African tribe from the 21st century’.
EABS have made waves in the Polish jazz scene of late, earning them a cult-like following for their previous album Repetitions inspired by late great and tragically underappreciated artist Krysztof Komeda. This their newest release follows in the same ilk. Discipline of Sun Ra was created under the ethos of American jazz musician Sun Ra, who rose to prominence in the 1940s and 50s when he claimed to be ‘an alien descended from Saturn here to preach peace to the masses’. The EABS album was made with this spiritual and mystical mindset, taking samples from Sun Ra’s time on earth in the form of interviews or live recordings. The music is afrofuturism in jazz form, erratic and frantically cramming in every jazz concept into a mere 40 minute record. It is an excellent experiment made for jazz traditionalists and skeptics alike.
Ghetto Kumbé’s self-titled Ghetto Kumbé is afro-futurism of a different kind. With three core members coming from a percussion background, the drums on this one were always going to amaze. The group hail from Colombia, and bring together the afro-carribean sounds that once were the foundations of Colombian dance music. The mix of traditional African rhythms and an almost house-like Latin dancefloor sounds makes for a record that you can’t pin down, with every track its own flavour of Ghetto Kumbé’s original sound. The album consists mostly of instrumental pieces with some rhythmic call-and-response and the occasional rap from member Guajiro, with the exception of the track “Djabe” which features soft vocals from French artist Melanie Bourire of Saodaj fame. The album is seething with energy, emblematic of Ghetto Kumbé’s career momentum.