Published Jan 03, 2020So much of jazz and modern composed music is recorded with crisp clarity and high sonic fidelity, but this is not necessarily Higienópolis's jam. The debut from up-and-coming Toronto-based trio Local Talent, featuring James Hill (Autobahn Trio, BADBADNOTGOOD) as the lead composer and keyboard player, challenges the notion that a jazz-classical fusion can't sound awesome with a lo-fi aesthetic.
Higienópolis uses synths to perfection to soften compositions, while also applying a warming effect across the rest of the instrumentation. "Blue Rainbow" makes the largest statement in this regard, filtering out most of the high frequencies, to the point where the hi-hats and cymbals are initially barely audible. The result is a gorgeous record both warm and chaotic, inviting and complex, relaxed and edgy.
Hill's piano tangents are brilliant, perfectly supported by the lo-fi hip-hop-esque rhythms of Ian Wright, and the overly stated bass lines from Rich Brown. Hill also intersperses moments of soft traditional piano music in and among the jittery jazz improv. As a whole, Higienópolis sounds like the trio effortlessly played their instruments in a basement and hit record on a tape machine, a vibe normally celebrated among indie rock acts.
In this way, Higienópolis has a punk spirit as it waves goodbye to what are the typical approaches to reproducing sound in jazz and compositional music. (Independent)