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The Comet Is Coming swerve the pitfalls and do it just right on 'Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam' / NARC

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ALBUM REVIEW: THE COMET IS COMING – HYPER-DIMENSIONAL EXPANSION BEAM LEE FISHER DISCOVERS TOUGH BEATS AND VINTAGE SYNTHS

The Comet Is Coming highly anticipated fourth studio album Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam via Impulse! has gained steady critical acclaim from the likes of New York Times, NPR Music, The Fader, Stereogum and more, for its adventurous and experimental sounds concocted at Peter Gabriel’s studio.

The process: emerging straight from lockdown, the trio went to Peter Gabriel’s Real World decked out studio tucked away in the English countryside. With the help of the band’s longtime engineer Kristian Craig Robinson, the trio embarked on a four-day long recording process guided by collective intuition, sheer skill, and transcendent improvisation. Next, Danalogue and Betamax fastidiously sampled the band’s own creations, alchemically weaving the out-of-body musical collisions with microscopic attention to detail in the production room. This distillation process yields a profound coherent musical message about the future of technology, humankind, spirituality, and the connectivity of the universe. Which just so happens to rock.

Tracks like “PYRAMIDS” drenched in layers of controlled synth-syncopation and Shabaka’s iconic minimalism pulsing forward and “ATOMIC WAVE DANCE” are stone-cold bangers, made for a nightclub on a space station. “LUCID DREAMER,” on the other hand is a vulnerable and emotional guided meditation led by Danalogue’s Ensoniq synth, which eerily evokes humanoid choir voicings through technology. This album has the unrelenting, driving and fiery muscle that Comet is known for, but creates a space where ideas about the future – dystopian or hopeful – technology, artificial intelligence, hidden meanings and transcendental transformations can exist.

The Comet Is Coming formed when Soccer96 – Danalogue and Betamax’s synth-drum tron-like duo – were playing and captured jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings attention. After some tentative conversations between the duo and Shabaka, he hopped on stage at a show on a trial run and the energy coarsed between the trio and Comet was born. This union was a result of, as Danalogue describes it, “the algorithm of fate.” See, they all attended Guildhall School of Music where Dan and Max met - but Dan and Shabaka were a tale of missed connections as they shared the same saxophone teacher. Thankfully, fate’s algorithm guided the trio together. Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam follows their 2019 Trust In The Life Force of the Deep Mystery, which garnered praise from NPR, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, Washington Post, and their follow-up EP The Afterlife. This is their fourth full-length studio album.

NARC's LEE FISHER writes…..With Sons Of Kemet sadly winding down and his solo career just beginning, the best place to hear Shabaka Hutchings currently is right here. The kind of fusion The Comet Is Coming deal in – tough beats and vintage synths and fierce sax – can often (usually!) go horribly wrong, but as this fourth album proves, the trio swerve the pitfalls and do it just right.

The opening, face-melting Coda comes on like some kind of hardcore electro joint with Hutchings unleashing threatening sax riffs, while Pyramids is an absolute delight. Recorded fast and then cut-n-pasted into shape by Danalogue and Betamax, the album breaks up the dancefloor ragers with some more meditative tracks and the brooding, intense centrepiece Angel Of Darkness but mostly it’s a breakneck blast.

Fabrice Bourgelle. Edit and graphics by Veil Projects

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