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Album Review

Lupa: Koki // Sketches of Trees

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Lupa: Koki // Sketches of Trees
Lupa is a Latvian four-piece band. Their music fluctuates between funk, soul, electronic and jazz. In 2019 Lupa released their warmly welcomed debut album, Sequences and Consequences (Jersika Records, 2019). Koki // Sketches of Trees is the follow-up.

The album features eleven tracks with a heavy electronic influence. The band follows its debut aesthetic direction but with a more energetic, even slightly aggressive, attitude. While the use of keyboards and synths gives the Koki // Sketches of Trees a sturdy electronic taste, strong jazz influences are still on top.

Lupa blends the warm, well familiar vintage sounds of the Rhodes synth, vivid and melodic alto sax lines , and switches between cozy acoustic drumming and colder drum machine patterns. As well as this, electronic effects are used throughout the album, adding extra layers to this relatively dense soundscape.

The key figures in Lupa—Davis Jurka, Ritvars Garoza, Valters Sprudzs and Andris Buikis—are familiar with broad range of different musical styles. They step into the funk era with opening track "Osis // Ash" then turn to a pop music direction on "Akācija // Acacia," then go to drum 'n' bass on "Pīlādzis II // Rowan Ii." Koki // Sketches of Trees takes unexpected turns.

Compared to Sequences and Consequences, however, the new album lacks completeness. On a first hearing, the tracks are varied enough to be interesting—but unfortunately only for a while. It seems the quartet decided to put everything that came to mind into the album without prioritisation and filtering. Compositions sounds rather like a pool of sketches (ironically the word already inscribed in the album title), with reminisces from the previous decades.

Track Listing

Osis // Ash; Kastanis // Chestnut; Ozols // Oak; Egle // Fir; Pīlādzis I // Rowan I; Akācija // Acacia; Dižskābardis // Beech; Pīlādzis III // Rowan III; Kadiķis // Juniper; Ceriņi // Lilac; Pīlādzis II // Rowan II.

Personnel

Davis Jurka: saxophone, alto; Ritvars Garoza: keyboards; Valters Sprudzs: bass; Andris Buikis: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Davis Jurka: alto and tenor saxophones, flute, clarinett; Ritvars Garoza: keyboards and synths; Valters Sprudzs: bass; Andris Buikis: drums and analog drum machine.

Album information

Title: Koki // Sketches of Trees | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Jersika Records


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