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New Features by HiM

Aways back, I reviewed in these (web)pages the HiM album Sworn Eyes - that album was a fine jazz-oriented dub/world music disc. Their latest, New Features, finds HiM moving in more of a jazz direction, but without leaving their more "exotic" inclinations behind. Rather, Features finds the band (nominally led by drummer Doug Scharin) weaving the Afro-funk and spacey dub-reggae ingredients seamlessly along with their groove-oriented take on Miles-ian fusion (Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson). "In Transition" has an undulating, mesmerizing groove that recalls Miles Davis’ "Spanish Key," with bubbling electric piano (a la Hancock/Zawinul) and sax and guitar lines that tantalizing dance over/around the rhythm before they cut loose with some restrained skronk. "Out Here" begins with some slippery New Orleans-styled drumming, then they lay down a thin layer of James Brown-style funk guitar and the (irresistible) melody is carried by the Fela Kuti-meet-Hank Crawford/David Fathead Newman horns. "Were Once" is a sort-of ambient-groove-ballad with ghostly electronisounds, slightly Miles-ish muted trumpet and shimmering John McLaughlin-meets-Jerry Garcia guitar. You can imagine the waves lapping the shore ‘neath the full moon- only the shore is on Mars and the moon is one of Jupiter’s. If you liked fusion circa 1969-1974 and felt that the promise it held was betrayed -- if you think fusion is played-out creatively and has been "taken-over" by smooth-jazz types - if you like "groove" jazz but crave something that’ll test your synapses a bit, then seek out HiM’s New Features right away.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: HiM
  • CD Title: New Features
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Bubblecore
  • Rating: Five Stars
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