Born from ten-hour jam sessions in peeling Brighton bedsits, the technical parameters of a bootstrap recording process and the osmotic, multi-genre influence of internet music archives, quintet Ebi Soda have been steady-cultivating a unique sound amidst the exploding UK jazz scene.
The quintet’s new single “Chandler” features the highly-acclaimed British-Bahraini trumpet and flugelhorn player Yazz Ahmed. Renowned for her ability to blur the lines between jazz and electronic sound design, Yazz brings together sounds of her mixed heritage in what has been described as psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling. On “Chandler” she brings her sublime idiosyncratic solos to the organised chaos of Ebi’s mischievous jazz horns and overdubs. “Chandler feat. Yazz Ahmed” is the lead single from ‘Honk If You’re Sad’, Ebi Soda’s sophomore full-length album.
Talking about how the collaboration came into being, Ebi explain: “Our management has a connection to Yazz, and knowing her work and her talent, we knew we had to try and get in contact. We were overdubbing the track in the midst of a lockdown and so Yazz (and Noel) worked on it remotely after VV had sent over the scores. Of course, we were expected to be blown away once we received the parts back but there are still some things which you can't anticipate - and once we heard her solo we were just in awe.”
Balancing irreverent musical and technical improvisation with an uncompromising instinct for vibe and prodigious musicianship, the Ebi ascent has been swift. Their eponymous debut EP, follow-up aptly titled “Bedroom Tapes” and debut LP ‘Ugh’ were originally released on Sola Terra, and won international plaudits, major radio plays and performances at Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here, London’s Jazz Re:Freshed, EFG London Jazz Festival and Latitude. Tru Thoughts were excited to pick up Ebi’s back catalogue, repressing their first two EPs – that had long been out of circulation and garnering high prices on Discogs – on limited edition vinyl.
Despite their steep rise – the Brighton outfit have preserved as much as possible of their unique recording process, originating from their very first sessions. With just a two-track recorder around, the band would lay down whole takes, one instrument at a time, then immediately transform the overdub, digitally reshaping the sound with the same mischievous, adderall energy as the musical performance. This call-and-response between performance and production spurs an instinctive development – with musicality, player and producer egging one another on through naturally developing phases and textures.
‘Honk If You’re Sad’, stays true to these foundations while bringing more ambitious experimentation, technical mastery and a stellar lineup of guest players to the studio including Yazz Ahmed, Deji Ijishakin and Dan Gray. In typical Ebi style, while recalling jazz pioneers in playing style, ‘Honk If You’re Sad’ draws from a vast neural network of influences: the Ebi Brain has been marinating in a digital soup of trap, drill, dub, post-punk and no wave to name but a few. The result is a mercurial record that beams in psychedelia, dissonance, serene ambient passages, tough, neck-snapping beats and lush textures, all underscored by the intersection of jazz, hip hop and electronic music.
Ebi Soda – ‘Honk If You’re Sad’
1. My Man from College
2. Tang of the Zest
4. Soft Peng
5. Yoshi Orange
6. Chandler feat. Yazz Ahmed
7. Giraffe Bread
8. Listen, King
10. Gated Community with a Public Pool
11. Christmas Lights in June
Ebi Soda are:
Conor Knight (Guitar)
Hari-Lee Evans (Bass)
Louis Jenkins (Keys)
Sam Schlich Davies (Drums)