May 4, 2015
The Subtropic Arkestra´s name is a nod to Sun Ra and the master´s pan-galactic vision of the power of music. After all, if you hail from Saturn, borders between musical genres must seem a mere bagatelle. Group leader Goran Kajfeš is another musician working across borders, a Croatian settled in Sweden and the creator of two albums of eclectically sourced covers, this second following on from the first volume in 2013. This Arkestra are somewhere between the electric groups of early 70´s Miles - especially when Kajfeš´s own effects-treated trumpet comes to the fore on the version of Francis Bebey´s "New Track" - and the group sounds of Gil Evans more expansive moments, or perhaps Axelrod´s similiar outings. The mix of rhythm and psychedleic colour is a reflection of the source materials as much as an interpretation of them. The opener, for example, is a version of an Okay Temiz composition "Dokuz Seki". Temiz was the product of the Ankara conservatory, but made his own instruments and a na,e for himself reinterpreting the traditional wind sounds of Turkey. Here electric guitar picks up the snaking lines of the woodwind. The Afro feel of the horns on the Francis Bebey track fleshes out the latent ambitions in the thumb piano and electronica arrangements of the Cameroonian´s own reinventions of his source material. It´s this careful sourcing of already eclectic sound that makes The Reason Why Vol. 2 work. They´re all musicians borrowing from the same cosmos of sound over and over again.