The Comet is Coming is a London-based jazz group headed by saxophonist and pillar of the British jazz scene Shabaka Hutchings. Together with keyboardist Dan Leavers and drummer Max Hallett, they’ve pieced together records in a fusion that some may describe as cosmic jazz. Their 2019 record Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery combines cinematic synths, jazz improvisations, grime and a melting pot of different styles into instrumentals that elicit emotions of epic proportions. The music’s scope is sprawling, oftentimes reaching out to moods and soundscapes that feel larger than life. Their ideas soar through heights that defy convention. Swelling synths and grand saxophone solos that glide through classical, jazz and psych, balanced with earthy rhythms that encompasses world music.
It starts with “Because The End is Really The Beginning” which feels like an adoration that heralds the arrival of sunrise. Glorious horns and synths reach for a brighter future ahead, but there’s a dissonance brooding from within — a sound reminiscent of Hitchcock horror which adds caution to its hopeful harmonies. “Birth of Creation” is jazz fusion at its finest, blending the beats of hip-hop with electronica and organic woodwind. Slow and methodical, just like the evolution of life in the universe. This is one instrumental that I find hard to not dance long with as it develops and progresses.
Yet no doubt the highlight of this record is the centerpiece “Blood of the Past”. Jazzy and mired with the gritty attitude of grime. Hutchings’ sax raps as much as it riffs, adopting a rhythmic flow in between ear-melting improvisations. Kate Tempest lends her voice at the midpoint, with a spoken-word section that lays down the failings of our modern civilization. By the end it shifts into progressive rock sans guitars while still keeping its effortless flow. With all of this cerebral shifts going on the song remains smooth and effortless, proving its creators as masters of their craft.
Others may lag behind this masterpiece, but certainly not by much. “Astral Flying” is moody jazz with a space-faring cosmic twist. “Timewave Zero” is a rhythmic extravagance that could easily be the title and soundtrack of a sci-fi novel. “Unity” takes the whole album back to earth with a base of tribal world music and a melting pot of other styles from smooth jazz to samba. It’s as if all of the civilizations of the earth gathered together to create this masterpiece. Truly a monumental feat, as if we don’t have enough in this whole record already.
Trust in the Lifeforce soars to greater heights, and in doing so ponders who we are as a civilization. This is one record that I highly recommend regardless of taste, it’s just that good.