Badge Époque Ensemble announce sophomore album Self Help out November 20th on Telephone Explosion Records. The full-length was made before lockdown, Self Help is described as an exploratory record that dances across time and genre, guided by fidgety miniatures and jazz inflected collage. While constructed from the inspiration of soul, funk and film music.
Badge Époque Ensemble is comprised of Maximilian Turnbull (who previously released music as Slim Twig) on Rhodes, clavinet, and synthesizers, Badge Époque Ensemble is now a seven-piece, comprised of Toronto musicians, many known for their work with U.S. Girls and Andy Shauf. The newest member, saxophonist Karen Ng (Feist, Do Make Say Think), joins Chris Bezant (guitar), Giosuè Rosati (bass), Ed Squires (conga, percussion), Jay Anderson (drums), and Alia O’Brien (flute). They recorded at Toronto’s Palace Sound Studio over three weekends, building Self Help’s songs from Turnbull’s drafts. Contributing guest vocalists include Meg Remy (U.S. Girls), Dorothea Paas, James Baley, and Jennifer Castle.
The resulting Self Help fuses jazz-funk and spiritual contemplation, which musically manifests as arresting hooks in sideways song forms; echoes of Gainsbourg spooled through Azymuth-style Brazilian grooves punctuated by the whip and snap of Steely Dan. It’s lyrics search beyond cliché and intellect in a desire to invoke a borderless consciousness. On lead single “Sing a Silent Gospel,” Remy brings serenity to antic melodies as she conjures a conflicted mysticism cooing “nigh must be my lofted peak / or else a sacred landfill.” Lyricist Turnbull expands: “‘Sing A Silent Gospel’ expresses a paradox I have felt while making this album. While the habitability of the world disintegrates, I sense the spiritual realm calmly persists. The world moves through a cycle of apocalypses and it is up to us each to find this movement either meaningful or banal.”
Badge Époque Ensemble
1. Sing A Silent Gospel
2. Unity (It’s Up To You)
4. The Sound Where My Head Was
5. Just Space For Light
6. Birds Fly Through Ancient Ruins
7. Extinct Commune
Pre-order Self Help here