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Irreversible Entanglements | Who Sent You?

The ground-breaking free-jazz collective unfurl a mind-altering sophomore set.

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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 AyewaWho 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!