Aug 5 2016
The strength of And I See Night lies is in how the quintet Gadadu commingles its different elements. Nothing sits plumb and the ratios are never consistent or equal, and there is a grand sense of nothing quite snapping into place as neatly as it could, and it’s from this place of seeming muddled confusion that all kinds of personality springs to the surface. This is a state where no flaws exist, because everything new simply adds definition and character to a place where intrigue already rules the day.
Some tracks roll out a mainstream groove and lead with a pop song attitude. The sunny “Someone” skitters along, even with the loping melodicism adding a nice bit of anticipation for when the final note hits the ground. And “Everytime” gets a charge from a casual delivery interrupted by sudden spikes of intensity.
And then there’s tracks like the gorgeous “Project Runway” and “Corpse,” where strings and trumpet sweep in and take the album into chamber territory and a straight-ahead jazz with strings expression. But even here, the quintet veers away from the well-traveled road with some staggered cadences and a willingness to let melodies trail off into slightly divergent flight paths.
But then there’s the tracks where the quintet amplifies the odder personality traits. “Strangeties” has an alluringly hazy melodicism compounded by striking harmonics, and together they shake off the burden of form. It’s a song that lives in the moment and that’s the best place to find its beauty. And when it’s not zigzagging the melody back and forth, “Oceansmell” shimmers like sunlight on a rippling pond.
The thing of it is, it’s not like this album heads off into avant-garde or experimental territory. This lighthearted, quirky music orbits common forms of expression. But the quintet’s eagerness to warp these expressions into unconventional shapes, to go all-in to make everything just a little bit different, the cumulative effect of those oddities resonates with an impressive strength. It also results in a seriously engaging album.
Your album personnel: Hannah Selin (vocals, viola), Nicki Adams (keys, vocals), Pat Adams (trumpet), Dan Stein (double bass) and Moses Eder (drums, percussion).
The album is Self-Produced.
Listen to more album tracks on the artist’s Bandcamp page.
Jazz from NYC.