• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Moses Boyd delivers exhilarating and poignant new party-jazz on ‘Dark Matter’

ByRufus Pickles

Mar 3, 2020

Five stars

The 28-old producer-slash-drummer and avant-garde jazz pioneer Moses Boyd once described his mother as a ‘hipster’ before the word came into being; in an interview with Trench two years ago. He attributes this to his upbringing in a household which was often permeated with an eclectic array of sounds ranging from reggae and hip-hop to classical masterpieces. Like his West-Indian parents, Boyd has a deep deference for musicality and crucially a belief that music should be enjoyed across genres. This enthusiasm for diversity and difference is what defines the ever-evolving UK jazz scene and Boyd’s long-awaited and defiantly delectable debut. 

Dark Matter begins amidst a dreamy and reverberating piano opening which is out of nowhere perforated by an optimistic-sounding and fabulously stylish tuba and trumpet interchange. ‘Stranger than Fiction’ is the record’s most outstanding track and gets the album off to a swaggering, grime-esque start. BTB and Y.O.Y.O delve into afrobeat and classic jazz with meandering yet danceable guitar and trumpet improvisations that help to build suspense and anticipation. 

On ‘Shades of You’ and ‘Dancing in the Dark’, Boyd brings the record to a climax with trendy and party-friendly synth lines that play to his extensive experience in electronic music with the likes of Floating Points and Four Tet. Here Boyd is doing the same as all his other visionary jazz contemporaries: crafting something entirely new. On Dark Matter, it’s an exhilarating party-jazz narrated by the hauntingly effective vocals of Poppy Adjudah and Obongjayar. Of particular interest are the latter’s lyrics on ‘Dancing in the Dark’: “the world is changing/ the rules are not the same/ why my brothers full of hate/ why they so afraid”. If there were ever an anthem and an album for our post-brexit, hostile environment Britain; this is it.

Image: Zi Owl via Flickr