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Stromba - Tales From The Sitting Room

  by Mark Rowland

published: 13 / 3 / 2005

Stromba - Tales From The Sitting Room
Label: Fat Cat Records
Format: CD


Fantastic six years-in-the-making debut album from experimental jazz fusion duo Stromba which finds them, taking in elements of disco, dub, hip-hop and folk to create their own version of 'Bitches Brew'.

Stromba’s debut full-length shows a sound that has come on in leaps and bounds from the group’s 1999 EP ‘The Pinch’. In the six years since then, James Dyer and Tom Tyler have expanded their list of collaborators, taking in sax players, trombonists and drummers, among others. The result is a very live and, for wont of a better phrase, organic sound. The major influences on ‘Tales from the Sitting Room’ are jazz fusion, dub and instrumental hip-hop. The jazz influences are especially prominent on opener ‘Camel Spit’ which could’ve been a Miles Davis track from late on in his career. Jazz and dub seem to be the prime influences for the album, which was recorded in its entirety in Tyler’s sitting room (hence the title). Tracks like ‘Blue Skin’, ‘Perculator’ and ‘Invisible Stink’ are intense, driving jazz-funk, with the latter melding that with a heavier hip-hop and electronica influence, whereas ‘Septic Skank’, ‘Tickle Me Dub’ and ‘Feed her Procedure’, are full on dub tracks, albeit with occasional jazzy brass and sax bits. There are plenty of points on the album where the influences are more mixed. Recent single ‘Giddy Up’ has a disco beat but is augmented by jazzy brass. It certainly is the most direct, dance-y track, but it still has the same feel to it as the jazz funk of Miles Davis’ or Herbie Hancock’s 70's albums. Tracks here are also lightly peppered with samples and the odd bit of scratching, a hint of Stromba’s origins making sample-based music in the late-90's. The last two tracks stick out most on the album, as they don’t really sound much like anything else on the record. ‘Swamp Donkey’ is really out there, blending Eastern instruments such as Indian tabla and Indonesian Gamelan bells into a weird but compelling cultural stew. Closer ‘Jewell’ is even stranger within the context of the album, sounding like a Nick Drake song without the vocals- a gently plucked guitar accompanied by strings and brass. That said, it does not seem out of place. Stromba have come on in leaps and bounds since they first started out, moving on from generic, sample based instrumental hip-hop to create a fantastic modern jazz fusion album, taking in disco, dub, hip-hop and folk to create their own 'Bitches Brew'.

Track Listing:-
1 Camel Spit
2 Septic Skank
3 Manphibian
4 Blue Skin
5 Feed Her Procedure
6 Perculator
7 Invisible Stink
8 Giddy Up
9 Swings and Roundabouts
10 Tickle Me Dub
11 Swamp Donkey
12 Jewell

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Giddy Up (2005)
Middle of the road avant-garde jazz and instrumental hip-hop from London-base duo Stromba

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