THE WORLD of Belgian Eastern jazz outfit Black Flower is a well-woven and beautiful one; the quintet, shortly to unveil their sixth full-length album for Ghent’s rather groove-obsessed Sdban Ultra imprint, with whom they’ve released two of their past three albums this past five years, has today dropped the organ-led souk beauty of “Magma”, the lava-like flow of which also lends its name to the album. Through this arch, if you will, to enter their aural world.
“Magma” rolls through a dazzle of sub-Saharan jazz colours in a complex weave, yet with a grand groove; each instrument steps up in turn to curl luxuriantly, like smoke, subducting like the liquid rock of the title as new elements and motifs flow and arise; the brass proud and wending the main melodic flow, a warm organ, redolent of recent Jimi Tenor, patterning and adding its glow; little skitterings and smatterings of electronica bringing the grain and the texture. It’s somewhere to spend some time, maybe with a hookah and a strong coffee.
That organ is the latest colour to be added to the gradually evolving Black Flower aesthetic, and comes courtesy new recruit to the melodic cause Karel Cuelenaere, adding another texture to the sound.
Black Flower have been expertly piloted by Brussels-based saxophonist, flautist and composer Nathan Daems across their decade-long existence; they are, as you can hear, influenced by the likes of Alice Coltrane, Mulatu Astatke, Feli Kuti and others, bringing it all together in a tapestry of Afrobeat, souk psych and more.
The band have issued this communique in regard to this single, saying: “We present this latest single as a metaphor for what is to come – moments in time when music comes to the surface taking a concrete form, shared and used to amplify the beauty of life.
“Being the title track of the upcoming album it reflects a boiling, churning, silent energy. It is the core, the source. It is a state between solid and liquid and represents ancient energy and new potential. The track. An arching melody from the cornet gives way to an eruptive solo on baritone sax.”
Black Flower’s Magma will be released by Sdban Ultra on January 28th digitally, on CD, trad black and limited smoky vinyl; you can order yours now from Bandcamp.