Album: Jah Wobble
Fly, 30 Hertz
Friday 24 January 2003
Jah Wobble's output can be irritatingly uneven at times – a function, perhaps, of the diversity of his musical interests – but with Fly, he delivers the most satisfying album of his career, one that deserves to extend his appeal deeper into mainstream club territory than before. "Fly 1" (and its remix "Fly 11"), for instance, is the epitome of Hoxton Square cool, its trancey jazz-dub groove lit here and there by flurries of Steve Reich-style xylophones and speculative trumpet forays from Harry Beckett. "Fly 3" – all the tracks are called "Fly" – is a similarly chilled concoction of trumpet and electric piano, funked up with the occasional wah-wah guitar hook, while "Fly 2" finds Wobble musing mystically on the unity of creation over an insistent techno pulse: "There are not many things, only one/ Look at the silver moon, same as the sun." Various members of Wobble's Deep Space band contribute to several tracks, notably Beckett and the piper/ flautist Clive Bell, with Jean-Pierre Rasle's bagpipes bringing a Celtic-Arabic flavour to "Fly 10". Left to his own devices, Wobble essays quizzical keyboard instrumentals such as the enigmatic Monk-ish piano progression "Fly 6", rightly favouring character over technique. "Fly 5", meanwhile, finds him gazing out over east London, contemplating life, death and eternity with a lightness that belies his subject matter: "The gods do love a laugh, as you know," he notes helpfully at its conclusion.
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