Organic Pulse Ensemble ‘The Light Comes Black’ LP (Urban Waves) 4/5

Organic Pulse Ensemble is the Swedish ‘One Man Ensemble’, Gustav Horneij. As is his way, ‘The Light Comes Black’ is entirely composed, produced and recorded by him, alone. Extraordinary chap.

It is an ode to the cycle-of-light-compelled way of living experienced by those in the northern parts of our world. Where days and nights blend together in a long period of darkness but when sun returns, the birds sing again and it feels like rebirth. It’s an album of moods where each track lays bare its sensitivity to today’s light prejudice.

‘Descending’ is portentous; watchful and deep but timidly one-dynamic. Its buzzing spiritual jazz layers are atopped by loosely braided melodies with flute and sax meandering noncommittally. ‘Long Time Of Darkness’ is patient; serene and understanding, submissive. Its bewitchingly resigned, hovering woodwind wash awaits the inevitable. ‘Mighty Cold’ is stoic; plodding, wrapped up against the elements. A hypnotic lilting bassline underpins lightly cascading eastern-edged motifs.

‘Ascending’ is hopeful; faithful and blithe. A carefree flute nimbly frolics through a field of uplifting spirituality with the bass confidently pathfinding. ‘See the Sun Rise’ is purposeful; swaggering. It’s a slow ride on the funky train, a less sensual, more spiritual take on Yusef Lateef’s own long and lat adventures. ‘Reinvigoration’ is grateful; relieved and healing. African melodies gambol as the layered percussion strat to wash away any ill thoughts.

‘First BBQ’ is breezy, baby; jaunty and impish. Angular stabbing Rhodes n bass and flirtatious flute (in the great Gil tradition) with an occasional dead-set, hipcat harmonised sax line to beef things up. ‘Midnight Sun’ is emphatic; resolved yet sober. Exotic, slightly trippy, a moment for awe and reflection with eyes looking towards the omnipotent star deity during its most persuasive expression, the polar day.

‘The Light Comes Black’ is a spiritual jazz album; a sincere, respectful call to the Sun. It is serene and knowing. Wise. A captivating, hypnotic and calming experience with a Stata-East ease. It begs to be performed live with a gang of skilled musicians who ‘get it’; enhancing Horneij’s singular voice with the dynamic, instinctive, multi-voiced energy a band creates. Yep. You’ve heard it right – I wanna see an ensemble organically vibing on Gustav’s pulse.

Ian Ward