People Plus – Third Space (Mood Hut, 2019)

Jazz Groove Hooze at its most magnificent on one of Mood Hut’s finest releases.

Mood Hut, Mood Hut, Mood Hut. So much can be said about this excellent label, one that has increasingly shown its colours as perhaps the finest purveyors of blissed out house, disco esq vibes and downtempo genius in the last decade. From Jack J, through to Pender Street Steppers, RAMZi and Ciao, to Cloudface, House of Doors and Aquarian Foundation, this label has it all. Each release has cemented its reputation, and every release just builds on its continual search for all things good, deep and melodic. Dreamy aint even the word, more like heaven like, from the clouds and the stars above.

On the first of 2019’s releases, comes the sounds and stylings of People Plus. Already the owners of 2018’s ‘Olympus Mons’ EP, a weird and wonderful collection of techno inspired down tempo oddities, comes a very different animal in their debut Mood Hut release. Upon hearing ‘Third Space’ for the first time, it is comparable to the experimental leap that My Girlfriend made from their first to second EPs. A jazz drenched, soul filled, heart beating trimuph, grooves over flowing from the very off. It has such a delicate balance within the middle of it all, perhaps a testament to the talents of the band members, to pull off such a different kind of record. With long drawn out tunes, the interest never quells or recedes, only grows and grows and grows until you have it on repeat for the fourth time in a row.

The opener, the title track, starts ominously enough, with some cymbals and light drum work giving way for delicate and precious synths to reverberate around just enough to really catch your interest. Then the kicks come in flawlessly (such a switch up), where all the jazz elements come together into one coherent strand of melody. Working as one, never one element over taking the other. The song keeps drifting and moving, seamlessly moving between vibes and tones, tones being the key word here. Drum pads do their work to add further layers, before the tune breaks down into a full on jazz explosion. The deepness here is more remarkable in that the tune feels so downtempo, like its being channelled from the room it was recorded in, yet the backdrop of the tune feels so colossal, so enormous, that it sounds like it was recorded in the Grand Canyon. This balance of tones gives this song such depth, and sets up the rest of the album real nice. Straight into it, we have ‘Ascension’. More structured in its vibe, already the goodness seeps through. You can feel it from the toes up to the hairs on the top of your head, wrapping you in this deep warm embrace. This tune is seriously flawless, listening to it just takes you away on this perfect groove. Elements drop in and out perfectly, timed to a t, to keep the groove alive, yet keeping this feeling that each scene and bar doesn’t sound like the last. Like the most unstructured yet most structured jam, this is jazz but done in a contemporary, Harvey Sutherland/Kamaal Williams sort of way, but even they don’t conjure up such feelings of euphoria from this kind of vibe. Simply majestic, please don’t stop! (maybe time for a repeat).

Up next comes ‘Jungle Room’, a homage of sorts (through the spirit of Jazz) to the 1990s. Channeling Roni Size, Plug, A Guy Called Gerald and the like, the double bass pounds, the breakbeat style live drumming growls, the dreamy synth pads delight and keep things going. Again, one element seems to be holding down the anchor whilst the rest fly around, sinking deep and rising high, in creating a track of sheer genius. Not once does the tune slow down, the bass keeping things ticking over, and only adds to strength in depth of this EP. Mystic meets method, timing meets energy, this tune has it all in spades. Up next comes the trippy ‘O.S.C.1’, that floats along with effortless energy. Not giving up on itself so easily, this downtempo monster just can’t stay still for one moment, so restless is its caffeine boosted demeanour. A brilliant condensed vibe following on from the timeless vibe that was ‘Jungle Room’, it channels all feels, but has experimentation at its core. To end it all comes ‘Journey to Being’, and seems and feels named appropriately. Downtempo drums mirror swirling synths, that poke their head above the wall on the occasions they need too. Depth and balance again play a key part in this tune, with the empty spaces acting as musical holes for one to dive into. The spaces create little domed features for the listener to reside in, and with so many to pick from, it requires much frequenting before the bliss can end (and even then, you might as well give it a few more tries).

Woah. What a journey this ep is. Starting off as it meant to go on, the ends and starts describe a band with bags of energy and brains giving it their all, just going for it, with as many instrunments as possible, that create a fitting narrative to be told, whilst also leaving the listener begging for more. In between these two moments, two absolute bangers exist, taking the listener on more structures but equally jazz fuelled rocket journeys, through transitions and changes that delight and blow over in equal measure. People Plus, take a long long bow. Methinks EP of the year lurks within this little masterpiece.

support the troops:

https://peopleplus.bandcamp.com/album/third-space

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