THE PRESS RELEASE: “Dig it: Who Sent You? is the punk-rocking of jazz and the mystification of the avant-garde, a sci-fi sound from that out-soul-fire jazz quintet Irreversible Entanglements. Who Sent You? they asked and tried to lock us in their distress chambers, and yet here it is: an album that functions as a heat-sealed care package for the modern Afrofuturist’s pre-flight machinations. This record weaves kinetic soul fusion, dreamy yet harrowing spectral poetry, and intricate force-field-tight rhythms into wild, warmth-giving tapestries that comfort and conceal, confront and coerce all at once, with the dark matter of the deep, black all-consuming universe as its thread. Where the band’s self-titled debut was all explosive noisy anthems and glorious cosmic bluster, Who Sent You? is a focused and patient ritual. Irreversible Entanglements take their time in between these grooves, stalking the war-torn streets of the Deep South and post-Columbian apocalypses — taking their time to add our DNA to the centrifuge, to dream up an alchemical amalgamation that sounds truly euphoric, drenched in the epic star-flung fallout of a nova only they can conjure. More than the sum of its parts — Luke Stewart’s war-like basslines, Keir Neuringer’s haunting saxophone, Aquiles Navarro’s cyberpunk brass, the unwieldy storm of Tcheser Holmes’ drums, and the oracular phyletic incantations of Camae Ayewa — Who Sent You? is an entire holistic jam of “infinite possibilities coming back around,” a sprawling meditation for afro-cosmonauts, a reminder of the forms and traumas of the past, and the shape and vision of Afrotopian sounds to come.”
MY TWO CENTS: In my world, it’s been a great year for jazz. I honestly don’t know if that’s because there are more great albums being made, or because I just happen to be stumbling across more of them. Either way, I’m good. Though not half as good as this mind-altering, consciousness-raising sophomore set from Irreversible Entanglements, a groundbreaking collective whose members hail from Philadelphia, New York and Washington. Most prominent among those members: Poet Camae Ayewa (aka the prolific verbal and visual artist Moor Mother). Her urgently potent, politically charged spoken-word monologues about mad popes, infinite possibilities and making bread from stone not only serve as the focal and vocal centrepieces to these restlessly exploratory post-modern jams; they also keep the sax and trumpet-led combo’s fiercely propulsive grooves, intricately interwoven lines and hard-blowing flights of free-jazz fancy grounded in the here and now — while keeping one eye firmly fixed on the future. If you come across a more vital and fully realized album — especially one that was cut in a single day — you let me know. Until then, get on this sucker and stay on it!