thu 30/05/2024

Album: Jonny Drop • Andrew Ashong - The Puzzle Dust | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Jonny Drop • Andrew Ashong - The Puzzle Dust

Album: Jonny Drop • Andrew Ashong - The Puzzle Dust

Bottled sunshine from a Brit soul-jazz team-up

As I sat down to write this review, the sun came out. It was a salutory reminder of the importance of context: where I’d previously thought “mmm, that’s pretty nice”, now it was more “mmmmmmm, that’s pretty niiiiiice!” That’s not just a suble distinction, either. It was a fundamental shift in how and where the music was hitting mentally, emotionally and physiologically.

It went from being a slickly pleasant mood enhancer to something that made my shoulders drop, my chest expand, my limbs loosen, my attention let go of distractions zoom in on what was happenning in the moment. 

All of which is clearly in line with what the musicians had in mind. Producer Jonny Drop – also visual artist and co-founder of the Albert’s Favourites label with musician Scrimshire – and singer/songwriter Andrew Ashong are both great connecting figures in the soul-jazz underground which has running through it strong threads of inclusion, uplift, spiritual wellbeing and general good vibrations. And the album itself, rooted in mid-90s hip hop soul and the most laid back end of broken beat, is jam packed with messages about counting your blessings, realising your purpose, and – yes – enjoying the sunshine. 

Of course in this era of wellness snakeoil, sometimes this sort of rhetoric can ring hollow. But just as going to We Out Here festival – ground zero for this music – can remind you that the inclusiveness and sense of community have real world value above and beyond just words, so hearing the craft and physicality of this music communicates commitment and depth that makes it way more than just fleetingly analgesic. The rich layers of funk and harmony all speak directly to the proportions and articulation of your body, to the sensation of breathing, and if you’re receptive it can be a kind of profound experience. It’s still pretty nice even if you’re not receptive, but if you find the right moment then it’s something else again.

@joemuggs

Listen to "Sun Sailing":

It's jam packed with messages about counting your blessings, realising your purpose, and – yes – enjoying the sunshine

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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