Grains is Move 78's third studio album. It confronts head on the question first posed by Herbie Hancock on "Rockit," the hit single from his 1983 album, Future Shock (Columbia). The question is: how do you reconcile free-flowing, improvised jazz and programmed, automated hip-hop? Post "Rockit" the question became more urgent with the arrival of digital technology, and has become yet more urgent with the rise of AI.
The answer is the same as it was in the mid-1980s: through articulate musicianship. Which Move 78 and its auxiliary members and guests deliver in spades. Parts of Grains are more "jazz" than others, but substance and artistry rule throughout.
The album was tracked during jams at Trixx studios in Berlin in late 2021 and then chopped up, rearranged and remixed multiple times, with home recordings woven into the final mix. Like Trixx and like Move 78, the eight tracks inhabit both analogue and digital spheres. The result is organic and demonstrates that in the right hands, the title of the third track, "Technologies Of Freedom," is not just wishful thinking.
Unfolding Forms; Grains; Technologies Of Freedom; Neuralgia; Regular Groove; Feed Them To The Machine; D.O.T.S.; Storms Of Our Grandchildren.
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Chris May is a senior editor of All About Jazz. He was previously the editor of the pioneering magazine Black Music & Jazz Review, and more recently editor of the style / culture / history magazine Jocks & Nerds.