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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM: The Heliocentrics - Infinity of Now

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Nothern Virginia, USA

    FEATURED ALBUM: The Heliocentrics - Infinity of Now

    Any fans of The Heliocentrics here? They are a fun blend of psych and jazz, perhaps through the lens of Krautrock. I got on board with A World of Masks from 2017.


    Review from Exclaim
    London, UK-based jazz fusion outfit the Heliocentrics made a ripple with their appearance on DJ Shadow's generally underwhelming 2006 effort, The Outsider, but that subtle vibration has turned into a tidal wave in the years since. Along with their own heavily instrumental works, they've produced lengthy collaborations with such legends as Melvin van Peebles, Mulatu Astatke, Lloyd Miller and Orlando Julius, and created the score for the LSD documentary The Sunshine Makers in 2017.

    Also released in 2017, A World of Masks was their first album with Slovakian vocalist Barbora Patkova. While the creative core of the band remains drummer Malcolm Catto and bassist Jake Ferguson, Patkova's spooky, cerebral voice seems to embrace an even larger role on Infinity of Now. Granted, that could be due as much to the track selection as anything, there being only eight numbers on this album, with her prominently featured on most of them, but to the outsider, it feels like she has gained well-deserved confidence within the group.

    Like the rest of their catalogue, Infinity of Now was recorded at the analogue dreamscape of Catto's own Quatermass Sound Lab. The title may evoke exotica composer Esquivel's 1960 effort Infinity In Sound, but the sound that the Heliocentrics produce here is more of a psychedelic blend of Fela Kuti's propulsive Afrobeat, David Axelrod's symphonic library psych, and BADBADNOTGOOD's hip-hop-flavoured post-apocalypse jazz.

    Certain moments burn themselves instantly in memory. With its sliding strings, boom-bap drums and space-fuzz guitar riff, "Venom" is simply too cool for words. "Light in the Dark" sounds like a discovery from one of Vampisoul's Czech Up! compilations, with Patkova assumingly singing in the similar Slovak while the haunted house organ and warbled violin glissandi lend it an obscure vintage horror film vibe. If you said the fat horns and slappy drums served up with scintillating wah-wah organ of "Hanging by a Thread" was actually the result of a Fela Kuti jam session crashed by Iron Butterfly, many would believe you. Yet, taken as a whole, it has a meditative, if hallucinogenic, flow that focuses the mind through every detour, a flight of fancy with a purposeful direction in fully realized detail.

    The more I listen to it, the more that Infinity of Now sounds like the album I wish Portishead would finally get around to making. Given how much the Heliocentrics continue to advance with each album, it's possible the general public may end up forgetting Portishead entirely. They may not be pioneering a movement, but the Heliocentrics do something no one else can, and it is worthy of the loftiest praise. - Alan Ranta

    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  2. #2
    I have everything they released. Love them. Both their 2020 albums were very satisfactory. I slightly prefer Telemetric Sounds to this one; it has a darker more krautish edge and an angry urgency which I find very rewarding as a sonic reflection of our times.
    Macht das ohr auf!


  3. #3
    Member Munster's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
    Deepest Surrey, UK
    This sounds good. It is interesting you use the word ‘lens’ in describing Heliocentrics, as their albums are very diverse stylistically but always worth listening to. I tend to connect with the band when they are playing within a genre I like, with my favourite being Inspiration Information, where they teamed up with Mulatu Astatke of Ethio Jazz fame (Ethiopiques Four). I agree on the Krautrock feel here, another favourite genre.
    'There are no certain answers and no time to understand / The goal's a changing paradise, a moment out of date'

  4. #4
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    in a cosmic jazzy-groove around Brussels
    They screwed up heavily on the track listings between their two albums (the present and Telemetric Sounds with the similatr-geen cover) on both the Cd and vinyls.

    I suspect they got it right in their Bandcamp pages

    Telemetric Sounds is definitely the darker of the two.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  5. #5
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    I suspect I should be.

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  6. #6
    Member Monet's Avatar
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    May 2021
    The Heliocentrics describe themselves on their Bandcamp page as a "psychedelic jazz collective". Their music is indeed rooted in the classic psychedelia of the late 1960s. Shimmering fuzz guitars, swirling organs, an occasional subtle Indian touch ("People Wake Up!") and everything pervaded by a typical hippy vibe. The music can temporarily dissolve into a free swirl of sound, sometimes for a complete piece like in the appropriately titled "Nonsense Part 1". Barbora Patkova sings in an ethereal outworldly voice, occasionally changing into Slovak language. But The Heliocentrics are not your typical retro psychedelic band. As I already said, they call themselves a 'psychedelic jazz collective', and the 'jazz' can be underlined here in bold terms. Not only that the songs are arranged in a more varied and colorful way than with many retro psychedelics, but also all too comforting flower power-bliss is avoided, the music is often pervaded by a clear jazz influence, so the two saxophonists can even play themselves in complete ecstasy and produce wildly roaring interludes to a psychedelic organ, like for instance on "Elephant Walk".
    "Infinity of Now" offers a nice combination of 'psychedelic' and jazzy sounds with occasional excursions into free waves of sound. Anyone who can imagine enjoying the late '60s psychedelia with a strong pinch of jazz, should listen to this excellent album.
    Last edited by Monet; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    Any fans of The Heliocentrics here? They are a fun blend of psych and jazz, perhaps through the lens of Krautrock. I got on board with A World of Masks from 2017.
    They're probably a band I should like but couldn't really get into them when I tried about 10-12 years ago. Maybe I heard the wrong albums, or perhaps their earlier stuff just wasn't as good.


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