Following the success of their 2015 album “Astronautics,” jazz-rock mavericks Get The Blessing return with their spellbinding new album “Bristopia.” Blending their mutant jazz sensibilities with spacey electronics and post rock atmospheres, “Bristopia” ventures into new, unexplored territories. From the jagged, interweaving brass patterns of opening track “If It Can It Will,” through the brooding atmosphere of “Bristopia” and absorbing, haunting melodies of “Not With Standing,” the Bristolian quintet channel subterranean depths and soar from dizzying heights, leading the listener through a complex labyrinth of tangled melodies and sliding soundscapes of dark, immersive production.
Having been conceived, born and raised in Bristol, the band now pay tribute to their hometown with an album that careers around the city’s one-way system (not always in the correct direction of travel), darting into some of its hidden alleyways and lesser-known night-time hot-spots, and occasionally just stopping to take in the dizzying vistas of sprawling buildings and distant hilltops.
“Sometimes you have to go away to see where you’re from” – with this in mind, they headed up into the the picturesque setting of Vale Studio, Worcestershire- taking their old friend Tim Allen to engineer and to select from the studio’s excellent vintage mic collection.”We recorded as we have for the last two albums, dividing the time between prodding and poking at things we’d prepared in advance, and summoning up the spirits of invention from complete unpreparedness, unleashing little soundtracks for imaginary films. After three days we returned to base camp to pick over the spoils, at which point the process became more like sculpting: Jim wielding the chisel and the rest of us jogging his elbows until we’re left with some beautifully strange shapes.”
Enlisting the help of regular/irregular collaborator Adrian Utley, whose guitar-sprayed some strikingly unexpected colours across some of the objects, they then persuaded pedal-steel guitarist Margerethe Bjorklund to add some skilfully applied brushstrokes to the piece.
Just as they were examining these new creations on their sonic plinths, and wondering what exactly they were, the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival invited GTB (and their long-running visual collaborator John Minton) to scour the Bristol Archive and create “Bristopolis”, an abstract, poetic film homage to Bristol. “We realised that some of the new music is the soundtrack for a real film after all, even stranger than the one in our heads. We get to play these new tunes live at a one-off happening for the festival, with John’s visual creation filling an enormous screen behind us. All begins to make (non)sense.”
With this powerful return, Get The Blessing send their sonic transmission deep into the furthest corners of the universe, setting the pace for the current UK Jazz revival, demonstrating that the early pioneers of the scene still have something important to say.
Formed back in 1999 by bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer (rhythm section of seminal act Portishead) alongside Jake McMurchie (on sax and electronics) and Pete Judge (trumpet and electronics) the Bristol-based four-piece boast a truly international fan-base, having forged a unique signature sound that defies easy classification. Despite several short breaks for other projects over the years – most recently in 2016 when drummer Clive Deamer was on tour with Radiohead, they have never lost sight of thumping tunes, monstrously infectious beats, or joyous collective spontaneity. After eighteen years, their ability to produce such creative and intelligent music – balanced with wit and passion – is testament to the free spirit that they embody.
“Bristopia” will release worldwide on Friday, October 21, 2018.