The No-Nation Orchestra

It’s always exciting for me to gets my hands on something different instead of alternating between rock and electronic the entire time, as much as I do love writing about them both. I haven’t really gotten stuck in with more exotic flavours and soundscapes since starting the blog and that’s down to me settling into a nest of complacent comfort, and not spreading my musical wings as far as I could. Don’t get me wrong, I adore jazz and world music. I had the express pleasure of DJing an evening of jazz once. A local festival to me happens to be called Rhythms of The World and both the times I’ve been in attendance have been tremendous fun. Just my expeditions and forays into the gargantuan territory of world music have been limited and I’d be unsure how and where to start. I’ve given some exposure to culturally diverse musicians beforehand, Orange Tulip Conspiracy, International Diamond Thieves, Golem! and Hallouminati to name a few but that area has been lacking in company. So hopefully this collective I’m about to have the pleasure of reviewing will be the start of a more frequent genre of music and the start of that aforementioned expedition. For today, we focus upon The No-Nation Orchestra, an experiment put together by many Salt Lake City, Utah-based musicians, the union of which has crafted two EPs thus far of Latin-spiked, afrobeat-infused progressive jazz rhythms. As you’d expect, the combination of these elements make for an intoxicating feel-good wave of boisterous brass, intricate percussion, occasionally jerky yet funky guitar string swiping, all while adding a set of soulful vocal enchantments, with a surprisingly deep moral compass to them. The Coil EP released in November last year, houses the almost ironically sunshine-soaked conga of Past Shadows, a warning served to the hardships of war expressed from a menagerie of percussion driving funk-based jazz. What I enjoy most is the baton passing between each instrument section, switching from the glowing guitar notes and bass groove, to the decidedly shrill male and warming female harmonies, to the empathic brass greeting, the wall of beats and texture behind it maintaining that exotic zest that these musicians clearly are thriving upon. While there are words to ponder and reflect over, Past Shadows, with the help of an irrepressible Latin charm, lives its four and a half minute running time as one of the most sophisticated party compositions I’ve encountered in some time. Even nearing its climax, it doesn’t lose its composure, keeping the tempo steady but mellowing in tone ever so slightly enough to finish on a satisfying high. The collective of The No-Nation Orchestra is a collaboration, but there’s a chemistry here that defies meeting every year or so, almost woven by the threads of fate themselves. Suave but flamboyant in their mannerisms, their recordings invite political delegates from all over the world for a poolside barbecue and leaves all the party accessories out. Mature in intention and execution, but an utter delight of an experience to become part of.

The Coil EP and the More More More EP from 2011 are both available from the group’s Bandcamp page in digital or vinyl quality, both for a very reasonable sum. More More More can also be bought from most respectable music retailers in digital format. Go buy their music because it really is joyous listening.

Go show them some support because their social media numbers make me sad:

And if you would like to support me to make me less sad too, then be my guest: