Hejira - Thread Of Gold
Totally excited to have this LP flying in for the early part of 2019, a sophisticated and subtle modern soul record, that somehow marries the prog-laden electronica of Floating Points with the afro-futurism of Kelela or Solange Knowles. And they pull this off from South London no less!! Lead single Ribs is just beautiful, and believe us when we say the whole thing stands shoulder to shoulder.
The album reflects Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne’s changing relationship with her homeland of Ethiopia after the death of her father. She took the band with her on a pilgrimage to Addis Ababa, looking to reaffirm her own ancestral roots and cultural identity, and subsequently on a deeper exploration into the unique, ancient and far-flung lands, peoples and musics of Ethiopia. On this journey, the band members worked through loss and bereavement, through discovery and new experiences, through a moveable songwriting that took place across many years and many locations. The displacement, write the band, gave deeper meaning to their own identities. Connecting this journey with the refugee crisis at the heart of ‘Ribs’, multi-instrumentalist and producer Sam Beste explains: “the pain of loss in one’s personal life, and the pain of leaving one’s homeland and having to find a new identity. It’s in different intensities, but in both cases it’s an experience of loss.”
Both personal and global in sentiment, instrumentation and style, ‘Ribs’ weaves together the many ribbons of Hejira’s musical outlook. Years of performing together in jazz and big-band ensembles, and alongside such profiles as Amy Winehouse, Nitin Sawhney, Floating Points and Eric Lau has informed an instinctual and mutually inspiring compositional relationship within the band. Their intelligent, soulful, leftfield-aligned take on pop music underpins their love of the otherworldly, the mesmerising, and the unpredictable.