The Comet Is Coming – ‘Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery’ (2019)
For those of you not around in 1997, as the end of days approached, there was a doomsday cult in which visionary believers considered the approach of the Hale-Bopp comet to be hiding an alien spacecraft, which would take the true believers, or at least their essence home to the real world … hence the band’s moniker The Comet Is Coming. I can only hope that the album’s title Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery isn’t some sort of coded psychedelic jazz clue.
“What is exciting is their fusion with established atmospheric psychedelic jazz outfits.”
That being said, the group do immerse themselves, though perhaps submerge themselves is a more apt description, in the cosmological visions of Sun Ra. While nothing on this release is new, what is exciting is their fusion with established atmospheric psychedelic jazz outfits from the past (with Tangerine Dream instantly coming to mind), as what’s being laid down here is very much in line with Tangerine Dream’s imaginative soundtrack dreamscapes, sounding very modern and very nostalgic within the same breath. Shabaka Hutchings has been traveling the outer edges of the planet, not only in search of new visions, but in search of like-minded players, where that like-mindedness is not entirely about the sound, but as much for the inspired conceptual ideas, notions and storytelling, as the actual linking of musical notes.
Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery is very much a musical postcard drifted back from the great beyond, or perhaps from some place existing in an eternal present. If there’s anything that turns me away from this experience, it’s that (and this relates to the band’s other outings) the music created comes from a vision of an impending and unavoidable cataclysmic event that’s part of some mystic preordained manifestation, where the world is ending, at least as we know it, leaving us nothing to do but to don our best clothes and dance the nights away toward that impending apocalypse with a sly smile. This all leaves me to feel that it matters not if the sophisticated impressive sound structures housed within these grooves are ever heard at all. Though I doubt that any member of this assemblage is a true nihilist at heart, as actual nihilists don’t create, and if I may be so bold, I’ve never encountered a actual nihilist in my long life.
“The music is weighed only in the fashion that it exists.”
The album rides low keyed in the low to mid tempo range, an album that blends one song into the next so effortlessly and seamlessly even efficiently, that listening with the shuffle button engaged would only reveal the same linear but rearranged picture. Within this construct the band weaves, sometimes skillfully, while at others, more overtly, radiant and bleak tones which engage what I can only describe as ambient spoken word manifestations. The music is weighed only in the fashion that it exists, otherwise it’s all hazed air awash in impressive yet sullen saxophone cords, where the drumming exists mainly in a background of its own creation, though demise would work equally well. It’s hard for me to imagine using the word ‘energy’ when it comes to any of the songs, as even on the more resounding or festive numbers, things unfold slowly, not out of a birth structure, but as part of a cosmic control issue, where one thing determines the essence and internal rivalries of another.
There is no intensity here, of course there’s no hit single in the abstract sense, all of that has been mindfully avoided or controlled in order to achieve a singular piece of musical fabric that drapes itself around the listener, encouraging them to just stay where they are. Even with the accolades being given, I can’t help but feel that this album will achieve much more resonance, respect and understanding in the future, where like Joan Miro’s early star paintings, Lifeforce will come to hold a more contemporary vision several generations from now.
– Jenell Kesler