February 22, 2018
I get impatient with casual appropriation of the "Arkestra" tag. It promises much - not least association with the mighty Horace Tapscott. Sun Ra and Fela - and often delivers little more than a few "world" or "otherwordly" stylings. Kajfeš can use it with my blessing and forever and a day, though given that this is the last release of the trilogy, there may now be a hiatus in Subtropic activities.
Volume three is the best of the run so far, opening with the joyous swing of Hailu Mergia´s Ibakish Tarekigne, but swerving into the electronic world of Bernard Fevre on Le Monde Avait 5 Ans, and US 69´s I´m Om My Way (Patch Of Blue) which is listed as if a medley, which it ain´t, and even the lovely You Can Count On Me by Panda Bear.
There´s great Afro-guitar, heavy baritone work from Ruskträsk, exotic sounds from mellotron, synth, celeste, EVI and Oboe, but they´re all used functionally and to great purpose, held together by Holmegard´s torrential drumming. The Fevre tune sounds like a theme to a 60s adventure serial, but there´s nothing kitsch about Subtropic, who often sound like they´ve been influenced not just by Sun Ra but by Britsih jazz of the 70´s and maybe even Jah Wobble´s Invaders of the Heart. Kajfeš the instrumentalist is less in evidence than he was with Oddjob, but that´s ok. This is an ensemble and The Reason Why is ensemble music, or maybe that should be arkestral. It´s one of the freshest things around at the moment. Goran hopes you´ll go to see them "somewhere in the universe". Even if that doesn´t work out, you should definitely have this record.