Like many determined futurists, London trio the Comet Is Coming have a foot firmly in the past. Their 2016 debut, Mercury-nominated Channel the Spirits, paid homage to the “cosmic jazz” of Sun Ra and John and Alice Coltrane, an influence that persists, principally through the lyrical sax of Shabaka Hutchings, the reigning titan of British jazz.
Now signed to Impulse, the label that issued many of their heroes, the group take a more startling turn here, with much of the album shaped by studio post-production, where drummer Max Hallett and synth player Dan Leavers have created an ever-morphing mix of textures and beats. The influences are often 70s prog – King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra – with dreamy introductions mutating into fractured rhythms and wonky synthesisers.
Timewave Zero and Super Zodiac are clattering and confrontational, Birth of Creation features Hutchings on elegant bass clarinet over a funk beat. Blood of the Past is an ambitious fusion of heavy metal guitar, soaring Coltrane sax and a fierce poem from Kate Tempest proclaiming: “There’s nothing but progress to eat”.
This is hardcore music for a generation weaned on rave and grime, jazz’s cutting edge. The comet isn’t coming, it’s arrived.
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