The Heliocentrics – 13 Degrees of Reality
It’s been a long wait for the follow-up to the Heliocentrics’ 2007 debut Out There, but given the bewildering range of influences and ideas here, the length of 13 Degrees’ gestation is understandable. Where the debut drew primarily on cosmic jazz, funk and afrobeat, those influences are embellished here with dense clusters of syncopated post-punk percussion and guitar fuzz; the sonic diversity reflects the size of the UK-based collective, with ten contributors on this outing.
Perhaps inevitably given this approach, 13 Degrees is a fragmented affair: ranging over 21 tracks, the LP is punctuated by spoken-word samples and brief free-jazz excursions. As a result, there’s little sense of thematic cohesion or narrative development; although that is presumably the point, since the Heliocentrics’ refusal to adhere to generic classification or tidy structuring is part of their appeal. The diffuse mass of influences consequently gives 13 Degrees a kind of unkempt charm. [Sam Wiseman]