Published Feb 11, 2019Before you even get to The Gratitude Principle, the second full-length album from Matthew "Doc" Dunn's intergalactic collective, the Cosmic Range are seriously cool. Aside from the fact that their Toronto-based membership boasts such scene luminaries as guitarist Maximilian "Slim Twig" Turnbull, DIANA drummer Kieran Adams, keyboardist/bassist Mike "Muskox" Smith (who has played with the likes of Jennifer Castle and Sandro Perri), Lido Pimienta's percussionist Brandon Valdivia, keyboardist Jonathan Adjemian (Hoover Party), vocalist Isla Craig, and former Martha and the Muffins saxophonist Andy Haas, they recently acted as the backing band for U.S. Girls' critically lauded breakthrough release, In A Poem Unlimited. Those are mad credentials.
Forget the feminist alt-pop sound of U.S. Girls, though. The Gratitude Principle is clearly the followup to their 2016 debut New Latitudes. This album is a pure expression of lysergic free jazz and mutant funk, somewhere between Kamasi Washington's textured conceptualism and fusion-era Miles Davis, with an ear towards Sun Ra's psychedelia and Fela Kuti's Afrobeat momentum. These jams surf the cerebral waves, without strain or pretension.
Drop a tab, drop the needle and go wherever the sounds take you. From what I gather, that's pretty much what they did making it. A spark of inspiration ignited flames that burned bright across the ensemble, for incomparable moments that can never be repeated except in our headphones. (Idée Fixe)