THE WILD West Country has always taken beats and grooves seriously. From the dub haze agitation of The Pop Group, through Smith & Mighty’s mashed -p visions to trip-hop’s treasure trove and beyond, it’s a place with a sonic core like no other, always bubbling, always explosive.
Now courtesy of Bristol sound purveyors Worm Discs comes a new group of agitators, Dundundun, with their Afro-jazz electronically charged self- titled debut EP, available now.
It’s a strident and confident first release from the six piece collective of session players who’ve racked up the hours with the likes of The Heavy, Alice Russell and Dele Sosimi. Not that breaking out of the shadows has meant an excuse for noodling or self-indulgence, as on the EP Dundundun keep it tight and focus on developing their own sound.
Kicking off with a roaring celebration of Sun Ra’s “Love In Outer Space”, re-imagined as “Dun In Outer Space” (you can hear that below), the band show how they can rapidly speed through the gears and shift the atmospherics. The lilting bass and neo-schmaltzy horn lines soon gather swing then somehow, without a health warning, we’re dropped into a full-,on cross-rhythmic blast singed with drum and bass colours. Synth and horns lock in and partner up, quirky electronic whoops and barks snap at the tune’s heels before a sax work out picks up the momentum. It’s impressive stuff, a bundle of controlled energy arranged to push hard and pull back at just the right times.
The Dundundun EP keeps things smart and symmetrical by neatly pairing a band track with a remix version on each side. Label mates and fellow jazzers Ishmael Ensemble get to play with “Dun In Outer Space”, stretching the atmospherics out and suggesting pulses before breaking into the framework that the band put up in the original. The bass riff gets a fuzz injection, the sax hook takes the driving seat and the synths go for power rather than sparkle as the remix hits a Comet is Coming level of intensity. Not as agile as the original then, but an mighty slab of piledriving jazz-metal to propel the needle to the run off groove.
On the flip is “Anansi!, a rhythmic travelogue of a track that starts in dropped beat, Malombo jazz territory and ends in a swirl of carnival syncopation. Along the way you get mega chords and house drops, a gorgeous jazz funk vamp, witty sax/ synth interplay with touches of out-there P-funk and a parp-off The Blessing would be proud of. Sounds chaotic, well it’s not, everything flows in a dazzling six-minute canter.
Rebecca Vasmont, the Glaswegian DJ, record selector and composer, gets the honour of remixing “Anansi” for the EP’s closer. She brings a soulful, spiritual ambience to the interpretation, lifted by cascading harps, and woven through with resonant tumbling vocals. Hooked around the sumptuous keyboard shapes plus the percussive agility of the band version, the revision rides on a wave of deep shifting funkiness and good, good, good, good vibrations.
Worm Discs have got form for spotlighting the vibrant Bristol nu-jazz scene (catch their fab New Horizons compilation) and it looks like Dundundun should get plenty of justifiable attention after the release of this head-turning EP. It’s already got your man Gilles Peterson ruffled in a good way, so now is the time to get familiar with this band and stay ahead of the crowd … more soon please!
Dundundun’s Dundundun EP is available now digitally and on limited heavyweight 12″ from Worm Discs and may be ordered over at Bandcamp.