Oobleck recently had their EP launch at the Post House. I’ve been mulling whether to focus on the EP release itself or the gig, and have landed tails. In fairness it was a difficult choice, as the gig was well attended with fantastic opening support from Chris Method, and the music being, once again, utterly flawless in its execution.
Over an hour of jazz funk originals and their own arrangements of various suitable covers, with talented saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Gemma not only singing, but also adding flute to the mix. With something this good, you can but just grin at the person next to you as you weigh up selling your instruments. I ended up looking for the more pantomime-esque elements of the performance; looks between performers after particularly difficult sections of erratic timing and melody, and the clear exhaustion of the drummer Ben in the final three minutes of the closing extended solo by keyboardist Dom. They’re definitely something you should see live, especially as they’ll add some light to these dark nights that are fast approaching.
The EP contains five highlights from the live set recorded in a studio environment. The opener Collective is an excellent choice of opener with its upbeat and funky groove which after an initial brass intro brings in the remaining instruments section by section, subtly without being intrusive or obvious. It sets the stall out for the sounds to follow across the EP as well as letting you identify instrument placement in the mix early on. Guitars are almost hard-panned left and right which gives clarity of rhythm and allows you to pick out individual stylistic elements of Richard and Jason’s performances.
The smooth introduction and pace of Epic is reminiscent of the laid back jazz of Sim City 2000 but with a stronger melodic focus. Guitar tracks saxophone on the main lines whilst organ and trumpet pad out behind before a fat buzzing bass synth layers up on top of the bass guitar, followed by both guitars. Thick layering is adding to the texture and the octaves approach is a nice contrast to the more polyphonic sections elsewhere.
Trick of the light wouldn’t be out of place in Breaking Bad south of the New Mexico border and can be best described as a tense lead in to an angry Mariachi fiasco. One of my favourite tracks played live, the distorted guitar doubled by the bass really bluntly and aggressively is a shift in style away from the funk, but is wonderfully countered by the melodies across the monophonic instruments and keyboard.
44 Funked is a return to the pace and style of opener Epic before the EP closes with the nine minute showcase of Just Go With It which sees a plethora of individual soloist opportunities across the board. The five songs are a well rounded example of what these musicians are capable of delivering.
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Images by Ian Cudmore @ I C Things Photography