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Heliocentrics - A World Of Masks album review

Eighth album from Syd Arthur-related London funk psych jazz collective Heliocentrics

Heliocentrics - A World Of Masks album artwork

Already renowned for their fluid approach, incorporating as they do hiphop, Krautrock and musique concrète – eschewing conventional song structure for live improvisation – the London group have thrown another random element into the mix: Barbora Patkova, an improvisatory vocalist with lyrics sung in her native Slovakian.

The results are not unlike Amy Winehouse were she to have free-associated wildly over David Axelrod’s baroque instrumentals or the manic peregrinations of Sun Ra’s Arkestra. Made Of The Sun is languorous and jazzy; Time is electronica with a patina of exotica. Amid the quiet cacophony of Human Zoo, the squalls of sax and pattering percussion, The Heliocentrics – bassist Jake Ferguson, drummer/ producer Malcolm Catto, guitarist Adrian Owusu, multi-instrumentalist Jack Yglesias and a supporting cast including Syd Arthur’s Raven Bush – manage to corral the components towards something resembling a vague 70s blaxploitation movie theme. Depending on how closely you listen, you will either hear bustling sound-bursts, quixotic rhythms and jazzy noodling, or desolate torch songs for the broken-hearted: Capital Of Alone is the future-soul sound of London.

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.