Battersea Arts Centre may be the venue of choice for comics finetuning their Edinburgh festival sets, but there is no kidding around with the stellar selection of music they have programmed in collaboration with GOAT Music. As the comics migrate north, the musicians takeover for Borderless, a new festival that will soundtrack the Olympic summer with irresistible global grooves.
The line-up reads like a rough guide to the hippest acts on the frontier of any genre, taking in the crackling cuts of electro outfit HAELOS, the jangly it-rock of Manchester band Money, and the percussive punch of afrobeat allstar Dele Sosimi. Amidst a celebration of music that combines the cerebral with the danceable, jazz sympathisers will find plenty that illustrates the genre’s growing influence on the broader alternative music scene. From a strong field, here are three submissions for best in show.
Sons of Kemet
Drummer Seb Rochford has quietly carried the torch as U.K jazz’s arch-innovator since his time with Acoustic Ladyland and Polar Bear in the noughties. The union of Rochford’s inventiveness with the vision of reed-player Shabaka Hutchings has seen Sons of Kemet capture the zeitgeist again, picking up the MOBO for Best Jazz Act in 2013. Theon Cross’ tuba menaces in counterpoint with Hutchings’ spiky melodies, whilst the presence of second drummer Tom Skinner proves the Sons’ dedication to the beat. The live experience is unique, akin to witnessing a ritual hoedown at New Orleans’ Mardi Gras.
Hackney Colliery Band
The East London based brass band continue a trend that has seen horn led groups like Moon Hooch demonstrate you do not need decks to drop the beat. Best known for good-time arrangements of classics from the likes of Prodigy and Dr Dre, this year HCB released Sharpener, an album bursting with fresh original material. Having played out the London Olympics with a set at the closing ceremony, there will be few better places to see in the Rio edition than with Hackney Colliery Band on the 2nd August.
For those who prefer less bombastic vibes, Mammal Hands weave melodic fragments into a tapestry of sound far greater than one would have thought possible from the trio who create it. Building on the formula pioneered by Gondwana label mates Go GO Penguin, Mammal Hands base their pieces around trance-inducing patterns. The addition of borrowings from Indian and African musical traditions enriches the approach, adding an emotional heft to the minimalist textures.
Borderless — presented by Battersea Arts Centre and GOAT Music — runs 2 August – 29 September. Full programme here.