Hypercolor ‘Hypercolor’ (Tzadik) 4/5

hypercolorAs far back as the 1960’s, where many musical developments erupted, the combination of jazz and rock could be heard. A collaboration between improvisation, usually associated with jazz, joining forces with the plug and play amplified rock phenomenon. Together, over time, they created some of the most memorable albums with ‘Love Devotion Surrender’ by Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin and ‘The Inner Mounting Flame’ by The Mahavishnu Orchestra sitting tall in this powerful world. This fusion has metamorphosed itself many times over the years, with perhaps Soft Machine sitting at the head of the table for this reviewer. Now rock, skip and jump to 2015 and welcome guitarist Eyal Maoz, bassist James Ilgenfritz and drummer Lukas Ligeti, who together make Hypercolor. The Trio’s self titled ten-track release is in response to their desire to learn complex arrangements and work them in a free improv way to produce music that is interesting – and something they have certainly achieved. You may have expected Eyal Maoz’s Israeli heritage alone to have opened up a colourful blend of influences here, but it is fair to say the trio do all bring an abundance of flamboyance to this release. African rhythmic traditions are very much behind Lukas Ligeti development, having traveled regularly to Africa for now twenty years, and the work of James Ilgenfritz has seen him branch into music for Opera albeit with a jazz and contemporary classical training background. Be sure to sharpen your senses before listening, as the abilities within each musician here bring the listener such a diversity of sound across the album that any attempt to formulate on a brief listen would be futile. From the delicate ‘Far Connection’ through the structural excitement of ‘Transist’ to ‘Little Brother’ – a crescendo which should be highly regarded by both listener, and creator of, such magnificent pieces of progressive 1970s music as mentioned earlier, there is beauty. Remembering first, that each experienced musician here has his own strong direction, it is then delightful that on their debut release together they can fulfill and execute this collection of songs with such impeccable skill.

Steve Williams