As challenging as writing about instrumental music can be, the challenge of actually crafting instrumental music is that times a million. There’s no hand holding throughout the process but if the musicians are good and thoughtful enough, the genre can transcend pure wankery and be elevated to euphoric levels. BADBADNOTGOOD have been working on their craft for a decade plus now and when the group is really locked in to each other and what they are trying to accomplish the outcome can be absolute bliss. On their latest album, Talk Memory out today via Innovative Leisure/ XL Recordings, the band eschews the formula they’ve been trading in the last bunch of years and have created a sonically scrumptious and lively collection of tight tracks. Now a trio, minus founding member Matthew Tavares, the band has partnered up with some great collaborators such as Brandee Younger and Karriem Riggins but the spotlight remains focused on the craft they bring to their musicianship and arrangements.
Sprawling nine minute long opener, “Signal From The Noise” shows the group practicing some patience. Opening up with some dirge-y piano and rumbling drums, just slightly underneath a hypnotic synth, before it thunders out the window with some genuinely impressive bombasery before coming back down to earth. Gone are the Odd Future covers and hip hop collaborations and what is left is a tightly focused jazz trio allowing the air to breathe between notes. “Beside April” showcases some stunning strings and drumming that seems to hold the entire proceeding together, all the while doing its complete own thing. The track is reprised later on the album focusing more on the beauty of its themes and it shows that, while it is easy to get caught up in the musicianship, what really matters is the songwriting.
While the bluster of some of their previous work isn’t as strongly felt on Talk Memory, the album does show the group seemingly more focused than they have ever been. The power of this type of music is mostly felt in a live scenario but if you have some time to explore some exciting and interesting musicianship and want to dig into some songwriting that won’t tell you exactly how you feel but just make you feel, Talk Memory is a great place to start.
Order Talk Memory by Badbadnotgood HERE
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