GADADU initially was the collaboration between Hannah Selin (viola/voice/composition) and Nicki Adams (piano/voice/composition). Within about a year’s time the band added Pat Adams (trumpet), Dan Stein (double bass) and Moses Eder (drums, percussion) and most recently released their debut album entitled And I See Night.
GADADU melds avant-garde tendencies with free jazz that also manages to interject poppy vocal melodies in the mix. Fans of Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman and Roisin Murphy should all embrace this music. The music feels so spacious as well as loose that I find it hard to believe there are people out there who wouldn't appreciate what this band offers. No one in the band rushes and they let the music breathe. It’s dynamic and so easy to catch the groove the band is in.
And I See Night is such a refreshing change to what is dominating the mainstream culture as well as indie culture. The reality is that free jazz isn’t all that popular with hipsters this day and age and I’ll be damned if anyone listening to FM radio knows who the Chicago Art Ensemble is. The really impressive part of And I See Night is that it is accessible and doesn’t go so far down the rabbit hole of the avant-garde that it would completely ostracize anyone. Selin not only has a good voice but the melodies are often infectious and get stuck in your head.
The band opens with “Green Cocoon.” The instruments weave into and out of existence as Selin showcases her voice. There is a change about a minute-and-a-half in that displays the band’s experimental nature. Subtle delay effects on the trumpet are a nice touch as the foundation of the song is barely held together.
The drumming builds the energy on “Someone” as a walking bass line creates a symbiotic relationship with the electric piano. Selin’s vocals are sporadic but effective. She harmonizes and then sings “Cause everyone needs someone.” The band gets into very interesting territory with “Oceansmell.”
They create a ambient soundscape that is dreamlike and fleeting. It’s layered with vocals and further demonstrates the band's artistic range. “Project Runaway” is arguably the centerpiece of the album. The song has more of a foundation than some of the others and the vocal melody feels like a focal center here.The band goes dark and minimal with “Strangeties” while the closer “Alone” plays into the band's strengths.
Suffice it to say GADADU is an exceptional band that is going largely unnoticed. Jump on this ship now and spread the word.
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