RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Robert Anbian & The Unidentified Flying Quartet: "s/t"

img  Tobias

In its very essence, Jazz is a form of art fascinated with that which surrounds us – the tangible not the transcendental, the physical rather than the fantastical. The paradox over the last two decades has been that the more it has tried to approach its roots, the more it seems out of touch with reality and in love with the past. This may partly be down to the fact that it has been too succesful, its vocabulary so refined by endless musical interactions until nothing but a perfect cliche has remained – the very idea of a “classical” form this style has always openly opposed. But what weighs in even more is the closedness of the Jazz cosmos in a time when everything around us seems to be prone to permeability and cross-overs. Which is why Robert Anbian and the UFQ may have succeded in bringing it back to its beginnings by opening up.

Right from the very first note, terms like “hip” or “cool” suddenly start making sense again and the distinctly urban side of Jazz comes crash-landing in the 21st century on wings of smoothness and poetry. Anbian could make a metal filing cabinet in a tax agency feel sexy with his warm, deep and sonorous voice, even without paying too much attention to his lyrics about “watching the twin shadows of your nipples lengthen in the sunlight across your swimsuit”, the places where “all the hot and horny kids used to go” and meetings with  women “extending their vaginal aura”. He cites Bunuel and mentions Sartre in subordinate clauses, as if he were just another protagonist in his vivd street scenes. Of course, these stories have erotic connotations, but much more than describing fantasies, they are depictations of a life that is rewarding and rich and sees something exciting happening around every corner. It is hooked by all the little things, by small moments that can mean so much as well as by the colourfulness of a city filled to the brim with manifold languages and cultures.

In addition, Anbian also proves the proximity between a poet and a politician in “Haikus for the White House”, a breathtaking assualt fueled by the weight of the word and the gift of the gab. Coincidingly, sticks of felt dance on glistening marimbas, an invisible hand plucks elastic bass lines from a rubber tree, swashes of synthesized harmonies come trickling in through oversized shades and in the back of the cavernous club, a group of aliens sporting tailor-made suits dives into “All Blues” by Miles Davis: This band is frank about its influences and that is probably what makes its sound so personal. It is almost, as if the sampled Jazz-derivatives of the 90s are taken from the studio onto the stage again – the original reading exciting extracts from its own plagiarism.

What shines through in this approach is the firm belief that our world has most likely not changed as much as the media with their everquicker cycles of trends and decay want us to believe. Underneath the surface, the same blood pulses through the veins, the same obsessions crawl into the brain’s cortex and the same feet walk the same gutters with the same feeling of lonliness and fascination each day. If that is Jazz, then it doesn’t have to go anywhere to be “real” again. It's all around us.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Robert Anbian and the UFQ at MySpace
Homepage: Robert Anbian and the UFQ
Homepage: Edgetone Records

Related articles

Eddie the Rat: "Food for the Moon Too Soon"
Never soon enough: A wide ...
CD Feature/ C.O.M.A.: "Ornamental Urban Shrubbery"
Unregulated musical turbulence: Not as ...
CD Feature/ M. Baron, B. Denzler, J-L Guionnet, S. Rives: "Propagations"
A distinction from tradition: This ...
CD Feature/ Savvas Ysatis + Taylor Deupree: "The Sleeping Morning"
Searches for magical abeyance: A ...
CD Feature/ Tom Nunn: "Identity"
Intelligent invention: Tom Nunn masters ...
CD Feature/ Marc Hannaford: "The Garden of Forking Paths"
A nervous nocturnal vibration: An ...
CD Feature/ 3Banditos: "Sympathy for the Donkey"
Astounding: Stammering syllabels uttered by ...
CD Feature/ Dr. Bob: "Dark Times"
Works like homeopathics: Just so ...
CD Feature/ brekekekexkoaxkoax: "We used to be such good friends"
Covered in soft felt: Tender ...
CD Feature/ V.A.: "The Sound 1"
For Ozella-newbies and long-time label ...
CD Feature/ Mad EP: "The Madlands Trilogy"
Redefines what is possible and ...
CD Feature/ Eddie the Rat: "Once around the Butterfly Bush"
Gestures of intimacy: Rolling insecurities ...
CD Feature/ Rent Romus' Lords of Outland: "Culture of Pain"
Once this machine has started, ...
CD Feature/ Edoardo Ricci & Thollem Mcdonas: " SONOCONTENTODISTAREQUA"
Their language is highly educated, ...

Partner sites