The fact that I have been saying the same thing more and more in music reviews lately means that there must be something going on. Some music is all about having fun, about letting off steam, about just enjoying the moment and moving on, and that’s fine, but I am finding more and more music crossing the review desk that has something more to say, a deeper rooted agenda, a message. A lot of musical movements have their birth in action and reaction. Rock and roll, hip-hop and punk were all borne out of boredom, dissatisfaction, intolerance and unrest and there seems to be an upswell of artists who wish to address those issues once more. And whilst the likes of Idles do it with and iron fist, The Judex rabble-rouse and Ignacio Pena uses articulate rock, Nine Beats Collective have subtler but no less poignant musical weapons to hand.
They blend soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, rock…anything that comes to hand really but lyrically they rely on much older ideals. They take ancient writings, wisdom taken from The Biblical Beatitudes and weave it through their music. The songs become a call for tolerance and understanding, taking their lead from archaic communication and hearing in them the whispers of another world and the invitation to a path of recovery and hoping that the empty hand is a mightier weapon than the sword.
The music often takes the form of spoken word over soothing and groovesome musical vehicles, from short jazz backed sound bites such as Purgatory to the gang vocal driven Call ‘Em Out (chants would be a fine thing) but it also evolves via evocative instrumentals such as Song For The Earth and funky and joyous workouts like Wild World.
It is a new approach to music, a new form, a new genre and it isn’t everyday that I get to say that. But this is a totally new approach one that blends wonderful new musical fusions with the fundamentals of what it means, and what has largely been forgotten, to be human.