Graham Costello’s STRATA – OBELISK
Filled with texture, OBELISK is an hour-long journey that demonstrates all of the most gripping aspects of a rising ensemble
From the very first notes of the opening, title track, as propulsive and agitated piano kicks in, it's almost instantly apparent that OBELISK, the debut album from Graham Costello’s STRATA, takes influence from more than just jazz standards. Indeed, OBELISK is an album that sees the sextet pushing the boundaries between jazz and rock, a polyrhythmic, genre-melting journey.
All of the ingredients of a more traditional jazz outing are here, yet there are often more staccato, repeated refrains that run through tracks. At times it almost mirrors the urgency of math rock while still feeling free-flowing and maintaining an improvisational edge. The brass is sometimes punchy and at others smoky; piano melodies can be smooth or insistent, while the guitars come to the fore in dramatic, squalling fashion. Composer Costello ties all of these elements together with his own drumming that can sometimes feel airy and at others carry a greater weight where the percussion joins the musical dialogue, rather than simply acting as an anchor.
Yet, although the bombastic but groove-laden moments could easily become overwhelming, there’s just enough variation in tempo to make sure that the listener can catch their breath. Filled with texture, OBELISK is an hour-long journey that demonstrates all of the most gripping aspects of a rising ensemble.
Listen to: OBELISK, OCELOT