Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Two of the UK's modern jazz heavyweights team up for a wonderfully contrasted pairing

"What Kinda Music"

Release date: 24 April 2020
Album of the week
8.5/10
Tom misch yussef dayes what kinda music 1024x1024
27 April 2020, 09:00 Written by Joseph Blais
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Fans of the modern UK jazz scene are more than likely aware of these two modern heavyweights.

Tom Misch is a singer, producer, and guitarist, releasing music since 2012. He's also the star child of nū-jazz, and a master of the Instagram pick-up jazz guitar sound. Yussef Dayes, for his part, is best known as the man behind the drums of duo Yussef Kamaal, as well as collaborations with Alpha Mist, Mansur Brown, et. al.

Though not the most likely of bedfellows, it is immediately apparent this pairing have found a comfortable gestalt in their music: Take Misch’s pretty-boy melodies and clean, almost plastic Niles Rodgers guitar production, and throw them over Dayes’ psychedelic hip-hop tinged jazz beats. Dayes’ wild energy contrasts Misch’s chilled-out vibes perfectly. The result is a warm, vibe-y album for hype beasts and chops aficionados alike.

Basically, What Kinda Music bridges the gap between these two musicians. For fans of Misch’s tunes, there is some tasty guitar net-soul riffage and some crooning R&B bops. Fans of Dayes’ ever-evolving groove-based instrumentals get their fix too, with a barrage of drum-led jams.

Indeed, the drums are mixed front and centre, as much a melody instrument as the voice or the guitar — sometimes more so. The production is what really makes this album special — warm, compressed, and very saturated. Big synth basses carpet the bottom end, while Misch’s guitar and voice occupy the middle of the mix as wide, woozy synths and analog delay effects fill the spaces in between. There are even a few moments of choice string arrangement, reminding listeners that on top of everything else, Misch is also an accomplished violinist.

The majority of the vibe comes from the reverb / delay ambiances on everything from the vocals to the kick and the warbling white noise flutters filling up the sonic pallet. Good use of post- production makes what would otherwise sound like a jam session level up to be a fully realized project.

What Kinda Music also features an unlikely collaboration with acclaimed MC Freddie Gibbs. Sonically, it fits perfectly: the Misch / Dayes project is not far off from Gibbs’ main production collaborator Madlib.

It's refreshing to see legendary jazz label Blue Note take an interest in the new generation of UK musicians. Historically known for producing a score of influential hard bop albums in the 1950s and 1960s, in recent years their output has been focused on established American instrumentalists (trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire, drummer Chris Dave, and bassist Derrick Hodge, among others). Here's hoping Misch & Dayes will help bridge the gap between the vibrant UK jazz scene and the far reaching American audiences.

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