Even though this is only their second album, Flying Machines have generated a serious name for themselves on the London jazz scene. Their 2016 self-titled debut album led to them playing some very high profile UK shows, including a sell out gig at Ronnie Scott’s, as well as opening for Mike Stern at the Jazz Café. Led by singer and guitarist Alex Munk, the four-piece create a heavy, modern blend of rock, jazz, and the experimental.
The title track is a powerful riff-based piece, with Munk immediately showing off his guitar skills, switching between overdriven licks and delicate arpeggios, before an eye-watering free-form solo. “Moondust”, on the other hand, uses a sparse, reverb-drenched guitar melody over the top of Robinson’s spacious piano to create a brilliant, ethereal atmosphere. The fifth track, “Elation”, has an incredible motion to it, provided by Hamblett’s evolving drum rhythms. “Standing Still” leans more toward the experimental through its rich, electronic soundscape, as Munk’s guitar wails with Santana-like sustain. The final track, “Take Time”, goes from more gentle arpeggios to a huge outro, led by Munk, and underpinned by a fantastic bass line from Chaplin.
New Life is a modern, versatile album, from a band who really are at the center of the UK’s contemporary jazz scene. From start to finish it’s full of ideas that are executed with a great degree of skill, and with a really unique sound. Flying Machines play a host of UK dates in spring 2019, and they are certainly worth seeing.
New Life; Blink; Moondust; Prelude to Elation; Elation; Standing Still; Kilter; Fall In; Bullet Train; Take Time (44.28)
Alex Munk (g, v); Matt Robinson (p, syn, elp), Conor Chaplin (b); Dave Hamblett (d). London, 2018.
Ubuntu Music 0017