You may have believed that Promises, the extraordinary ambient jazz album from Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the LSO, would have had few rivals this year. But a competitor has emerged.
London-based composer and harpist Nala Sinephro’s debut album reaches elegiac heights – and penetrating depths. Space 1.8 (released via Warp) is a healing sound bath full of rigorous psychoacoustic knowledge and elegant playing. It combines live instruments from notable names from the young British jazz scene (percussion by Edward Wakili-Hick from Sons of Kemet, for example) with modular synths and multi-layered audio processing from Sinephro, adding anotherworldly sound. .
This clarification does not do justice to its process or the end result. Any cosmic jazz harpist can’t help but remember Alice Coltrane; Sinephro’s music is also rich in awareness of planetary alignments, and “frequencies emitted by Perseus’ black hole – a B flat note 57 octaves below middle C and well beyond the hearing range of humans.” , notes the biography accompanying this release.
Although integrated into the London scene, Sinephro grew up between the song of the birds of Belgium and the humid tropical soundscapes of Martinique. In her early twenties, she saw a tumor, revealing her interest in music as medicine: Space 1.8 is a deeply restorative addition to the 2021 hearing first aid kit. Joy Heals Too: Here, Space 4 was recorded with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting of the Sumerian goddess Ishtar chairing the session, Nubya Garcia’s saxophone doing echoing his bold brushstrokes in the sound.
Space 1.8 is released on September 3. Nala Sinephro performs at St Matthias Church, London N16 on Friday September 10th; tickets here