So I had downloaded Jyoti’s new album ‘Ocotea’ and was listening for the first time whilst surfing the ‘net when a track struck me as a homage to Patrick Gleeson’s work for Herbie Hancock, then I checked the title to find my player had moved on to Morton Subotnick’s ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’ – ha!
Well, funnily enough, it was a great follow-on, the kind of link I might have made when I was DJ-ing, had ‘Ocotea’ been released 15years ago...and I played CDs, which I didn’t, but MK Ultra did, and I recall him spinning Herbie’s ‘Rain Dance’. For those of you unfamiliar with our club, The Rumpus Room, you may gather that it wasn’t your average four-to-the-floor all-dancing kind of night, not early on anyway.
I wouldn’t have played all of ‘Silver Apples’, of course – how much would I have dared to air? I’d guess about three minutes before mixing in...oh...maybe T-Power’s ‘Turquoise’? That might work. Shucks, such talk almost makes me wish I was behind the decks again...
Listening to ‘Rain Dance’ again, it’s pretty obvious that Georgia Anne Muldrow (Jyoti) has also paid it close attention and that certainly is no bad thing. I do recall a time back in the mid-90s when every music-maker seemed to namedrop Herbie...or perhaps I just read too many interviews with Ian Simmonds.
One of the pleasing thing about ‘Ocotea’ is that it doesn’t feel the need to always placate restless beat-junkies and, let’s face it, that’s quite a temptation. I’m sure it would get her more attention. In this respect, ‘Thread’s First Stitches’ and the brief ‘Psalm Of Rubble’ are great examples of moody, spaced-out ambience over slavery to rhythm. On the title track the synths (one impersonating a flute!) dance to a rhythm that’s nicely off-kilter. The slow-jam of ‘Blessed Matches’ is offset by some good piano-playing, which sums up the LP in that it’s not a solo in the traditional sense, but weaves around, adding colour.
It’s an impressionistic take on the space jazz genre, bereft of players demonstrating their improv skills, but no worse for that. Perhaps she strikes just the right balance between jazz for the Flying Lotus generation and the more adventurous modes of earlier pioneers.
(With thanks to Kevin Pearce, who put me onto this record)