Completing The Submersion Trilogy
Ever heard of Shane Cooper? He’s an award winning bassist and jazz artist who’s been called one of the brightest young talents in jazz music today. Still nothing? Well have you ever heard of Card on Spokes? He’s one of the most innovative artists in the electro underground scene fusing jazz and electro to create a synth jazz hybrid that’ll absolutely knock your socks off. If you’ve never heard of either of these two names then you’re missing out on one of the best young jazz musicians this side of the hemisphere.
Cape Town-based producer and instrumentalist Cards on Spokes (Shane Cooper if you’re cool with him like that) has finally released his newest EP, the follow-up to last year’s Sunwalker, As We Surface. Completing the submersion trilogy following In You Go and Lead Me To The Water, the 6-track EP finds Card on Spokes continuing his experimental take on the synth jazz genre and dabbling in some collaborative production too.
In a confirmative genre like jazz, and an even more divisive subgenre like “beat music”, Spokes is swimming against the tide and creating a new wave of jazz that he likens to a vivid piece of art (fun fact: he also created the cover art for the EP himself).
The songs, as he puts it, were “inspired by states of transition, and the feeling that those states can conjure”.
The EP itself was inspired by the energy and creativity of being on the road after releasing the Sunwalker EP and has hints of house, chicago footwork, trap and even orchestral music. Spokes is joined on the EP by frequent collaborator Bonj Mpanza, the lead singer of Cape Town band TheCITY, Jazz singer Siya Makuzeni and trumpeter Marcus Wyatt.
The music is mostly instrumental – sans the features with Bonj and Siya – and sees Spokes return to his roots as an instrumentalist. The EP is laden with his patented nostalgic sound which ironically enough leaves you on the cusp of exhilaration from start to finish.
The EP opens with the first song ‘Impala Parlour/Journey To Life’ – an uptempo rhythmic beat that you couldn’t tell apart from any of the latest house hits if it showed up in a Black Coffee set. It sees Spokes explore the infinite correlations between house and jazz and is definite a party starter.
It then jumps into the psychedelic ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ featuring the aforementioned Bonj Mpanza whose poignant vocals will leave you spellbound “They watch while we can barely make ends meet, it’s always those with little that give too much,” she sings over the uptempo beat.
‘Stone Clouds’ is a definite stand out and features thumping percussions with background vocals from a children’s choir that’ll leave you in awe.
Featured image by David Harrison