June 6, 2013
Perhaps feeling the meed to explain himself after X/Y, Goran Kajfeš´critically acclaimed but impossible-to-categorise album, The Reason Why Vol.1 is a CD of surprising and varied covers that goes some way to showing where Kajfeš and his Subtropic Arkestra get their experimental jazz sound. Although the group´s name tells you that Sun Ra is a big influence - Ra´s Arkestra were the originators of cosmic jazz - there are no names as well-known as his here. Instead, the ensemble covers the big-band highlife of Nigeria´s Celestine Ukwu, The Swedish jazz of Archimedes Badkar and the modern psych-rock of Australia´s Tame Impala - the sax solo on "Desire Be, Desire Go" proves to be truly mind-blowing. This is both experimental and rhythmic music. With two sax players and Kajfeš on trumpet, the group is able to approximate the bass-driven grooves of Afro-beat, while also showing love for Krautrock in the repetitive rhythms that underpin many of the songs. Upon that base they explore melodies that could originate from anywhere in the world, which is fitting given that the material is sourced from Turkey´s Edip Akbayram, Brazil´s Arthur Verocai and England´s Soft Machine, among others. By adding groove to jazz and prog rock, Kajfeš and his group have found their own particularly European version of Sun Ra´s Afro-futurism: a cosmic fusion that defies classification.