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Will Schube is a club kid.
When Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams announced they would stop making music together, I was rightfully heated—as was everyone, I imagine, who listened to their collaborative LP, Black Focus. Their work under these combined names was a daring project that captured the surprisingly fertile intersection of jazz, funk, UK dance, and American soul music. But after the split, Kamaal Williams released the stoned psych-funk The Return in May of this year, and the prospect of a Yussef Kamaal-less world wasn’t quite so grave. The skies have cleared completely with the release of Dayes’ first solo effort, a collaborative track with UK jazz composer Alfa Mist, also featuring Mansur Brown on guitar.
“Love is the Message,” which POW is excited to premiere below, is a sizzling piece of astral contemplation, blending Dayes’ octa-arm approach to the drums with the warm, mesmerizing tones of Mist’s Rhodes piano. Sometimes with drummer-led bands, dynamic and complex grooves can take center stage, casting other instruments to secondary roles, but here, Dayes, Mist, and Brown interlock with ease and run through a haunted spin on acid jazz.
Dayes’ intricate cymbal work grows heavy like an enveloping blanket, and Brown’s guitar solo grows and grows until it’s knife sharp and spreading its energy throughout the entire composition, like a pinball let loose. The track almost loses its footing towards the last minute, with Dayes pushing his drums to the brink of rhythmic coherence before bringing it back with a staggering fill and eventually cueing the outro. The band never loses control, instead seeing how far they can stretch their grasp. Pretty far indeed, it turns out. “Love is the Message” is another convincing argument that UK jazz is as exciting as its American counterpart. Perhaps, more importantly, it proves that not all break ups need to be messy.