"Drawing inspiration from a Marilyne Blais painting hanging in their studio, the EP is an ambitious exercise in synth-funk synesthetics"
Following up last year’s excellent ‘Olympus Mons’ EP on Incienso, People Plus, the collaborative project of Joli B and CZ Wang, are back with some more scorching fusion jams. Drawing inspiration from a Marilyne Blais painting hanging in their studio, the EP is an ambitious exercise in synth-funk synesthetics.
From the first shimmering chord of “Third Space” you know things are about to get extremely snazzy. Playful pitch-bends and rhodes flourishes dance around a sturdy bassline and some subtle cymbol-ism. CompuRhythmic drum patterns do a zero gravity jog around the control room, stopping every so often for a quick breather.
“Ascension” starts out more straightforwardly with a nice punchy kick before launching into some Azymuth-ian lounge disco. The camera slowly pans over to George Duke who is reclining on a rotating shag carpet and playing a floating Yamaha SY-1. After a satisfying shred sesh he puts his space suit back on and goes outside for a quick smoke, letting the marimba and perfectly snappy snare hold it down until he gets back.
“Jungle Room” opens up the B side with a nice polyrhythmic synth line playing off of some white marble pads. Real space station greenhouse vibes. Plants and machines living in harmony and mutual respect, Brautigan’s dream of cybernetic ecology fully realised. The fretless bass and clav lead evolve into perfect symbiosis as Herbie stops by to refuel his Thrust rocket and grab a quick coffee before getting back on the road.
“O.S.C. 1” you might recognise from Powder’s recent (and excellent) Beats In Space mix. There’s a real “chef’s kiss” moment early on when the tom is solo’d for just a second, a prime example of the subtly expert engineering that can be found all over this record and on Mood Hut releases in general. The syncopated bass and keyboard parts bounce off each other interrupted every so often by some alien brass stabs and slanky guitar strums. Jon Hassell nods approvingly.
The final track “Journey to Being” is loose but lush. It’s been a long day on board the space station. You’re feeling pretty tired but not quite ready to enter cryo-sleep just yet. Maybe stay up for a bit and throw on an episode of something. It’s chill, the ship’s AI system has everything under control anyway. Just kick back and enjoy all the amenities that Casa De Haiku has to offer.
‘Third Space EP is out now via Mood Hut. Order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Third Space
3. Jungle Room
4. O.S.C. 1
5. Journey To Being