One of my favorite releases from last year was the debut from London Odense Ensemble. The record brought together a few familiar names — Causa Sui’s Jakob Skøtt and Jonas Munk, Sun River’s Martin Rude, with a few new faces. London keyboard player Al MacSween joined alongside woodwind player Tamar Osborn. The latter had joined Rude and Skøtt as a trio just a few months prior, but with the full five-piece setup the world of London Odense Ensemble took on a new and deeper form of psychedelic jazz. The first album was entitled Vol. 1, leaving expectations for a second volume which has now arrived just moments into 2023, a companion piece that’s essential to fully grasp the nature of the sessions.
Where the first volume finds the ensemble working in longform pieces that focus on the dynamics of the combo, dodging Osborn’s flute lines and injecting a sense of Hancock-indebted funk to the mix, the second stretches the ideas of psychedelic jazz. The pieces here are shorter, save for the 8 1/2 minute “Caspar’s Green,” but the ensemble uses the limited space to dig deep into production ideas, layering performances, stripping songs back to spare, haunted shapes, and dousing the results in Munk’s effects-laden workups in the editing process. There are still plenty of moments that draw blood like the first record, but Vol 2 is a more exploratory record, unfolding in often surprising directions that trickle into the far corners of the listener’s brain. What was born out of a two day session has yielded a pair of albums that beg deep and repeated listens.
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