Recording of the Week,
Mosambique - Big City Moves
I seem to be getting a bit Scandi-obsessed at the moment, having had fun-with-a-Finn for last week’s Recording of the week, the Alexi Tuomarila Trio’s Sphere, and now Norwegian group Mosambique’s Big City Moves has caught my ear. This is far more irreverent and plastic than the Tuomarila though, sounding a bit like a Weather Report collaboration with Plaid (…they’re so much fun, and easy, to come up with, these analogies, i.e. sounds a bit like Herbert Lom remixing Right Said Fred, and the beauty is nobody ever takes you to task over them if you keep the references vague enough…). I don’t have much background info on the group, but this does sound cracking played loud. Led by keyboardist Ivan Blomqvist, the group features Henrik Lødøen (drums), Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll (sax), Lyder Øvreås Røed (trumpet) and Kristian B. Jacobsen (bass) playing day-glo memorable tunes which don’t take themselves too seriously.
How to describe the music – it successfully walks the fine line between fusion cheese (should try and market that – Fretless Feta – the Fusion Fromage) and more contemporary influences like hip-hop, electronica and certainly afro-beat (even naming a track after Fela Kuti). Blomqvist’s often ironic sounding keyboard frequently take centre stage, ensuring the proceedings have a synthetic crispness to them. I like the way the short synth solo Mila Mo segues into the dreamy The Underdog; Liston Smith’s Expansions sprang to mind as this has the floating effect of that fusion classic, and Bob James’s Nautilus too.
That’s Too Fast (great title chaps) is a frantic race around the block, recalling fellow Norwegian Todd Terje’s Swing Star (Part 1), a similarly paced house track, pulling off the trick of appearing to speed up as the track progresses. The album ends with the glorious Into the Night, which has a big fat tune at its heart that would have worked well in a Busby Berkeley choreography sequence. And it’s over, finishing at a mere 32 minutes, leaving me ready for another spin rather than checking my watch. Good family fun.