Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

17

Noya Rao: Icaros

Rokas Kucinskas By

Sign in to view read count
Something that started as a solo project by Tom Henry in his bedroom studio transformed into something much more mature: first his ideas were executed in an instrumental trio setting that eventually evolved into the vocal electronic-soul quartet—Noya Rao. What kind of music does the quartet play? The kind that Gilles Peterson is famous for." With Noya Rao's debut album, Icaros, one can hear everything from LA beatmakers (e.g. Flying Lotus , Tokimonsta, Teebs, etc.) to acts such as Little Dragon, James Blake (especially his keys' sections), or Yussef Kamaal.

The music played by the quartet is very melodic: songs such as "Moments" or "This Time" have very catchy melodies that can be easily remembered after listening to them once. Most importantly, however, none of it sounds cliche, too simple, or "cheesy." They all maintain a distinct alternative outfit articulated by the opening track "Azimuth" and carried throughout the album by the rest of the tracks.

The lo-fi sound of drums brings warmth and adds an overall subtlety to the quartet's debut release. In term of sonic characteristics, the low fidelity also interplays well with the keyboards' sounds creating an "underwater" atmosphere: dreamy, floating, and spacious. Keyboard parts, on the other hand, are very rich, glueing the rest of the instruments together. Yet, because of particular selections made when choosing their sounds, the richness does not overwhelm, allowing vocals to breathe and shine (something of an extreme importance, since the vocalist's voice isn't extremely strong and her timbre can be easily overshadowed). Instead of making everything too polluted, it produces quite the opposite effect bringing lightness and elegance to the whole album. It is also surprising how rich both keyboard and vocal parts are and how well they interplay with each other. Perhaps it results from the softness of the vocalist's timbre in relation to the sonic characteristics of keyboards' sounds, or maybe the rich arrangements in vocal parts mirror the keys' sections? Maybe it's the contemporary pop music's touch in vocals' arrangements that further extends where the keyboards leave? In any case, both make a combination Icaros is built upon.

The only downside of the entire album is the lack of a few instrumental tracks on it, which Noya Rao has in its repertoire! Even if incorporated as a few interlude numbers, they would have brought more colours to Icaros, which for the rest is simply brilliant.

Track Listing: Azimuth; Moments; Golden Claw; Midas; Dreaming, Pt. 1; I Feel; Same Sun Will Rise; Fly; This Time; Dreaming, Pt. 2.

Personnel: Olivia Bhattacharjee: vocals; Tom Henry: keyboards; Jim Wiltshire: bass; Matt Davies: drums.

Title: Icaros | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Gondwana Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Icaros

Icaros

Gondwana Records
2017

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Correlations Album Reviews
Correlations
By Peter Hoetjes
March 19, 2019
Read Schizophrenia: The Yang Project Album Reviews
Schizophrenia: The Yang Project
By Roger Farbey
March 19, 2019
Read Zyklus 1 Album Reviews
Zyklus 1
By Mark Corroto
March 19, 2019
Read Apotheosis Album Reviews
Apotheosis
By Chris Mosey
March 19, 2019
Read Silverthorne Album Reviews
Silverthorne
By Glenn Astarita
March 19, 2019
Read Absinthe Album Reviews
Absinthe
By Mark Sullivan
March 18, 2019
Read Chi Album Reviews
Chi
By John Ephland
March 18, 2019