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Unknown Mortal Orchestra : 'IC-01 Hanoi'

Those who have been following Ruban Nielson’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra have been keeping an eye out for his yearly SB mixes.

These releases house Nielson’s most cerebral moments that shake off the blues of modern album cycles. One can assume UMO’s latest album IC-01 Hanoi is taking the place of SB-06.

‘Hanoi 1’ pays direct tribute to Miles Davis taking on an almost identical fashion to ‘Right Off’, but with a higher BPM. ‘Hanoi 2’, is a deeply entrancing song marked by talking guitar. The artist channels a bit of Eddie Hazel for good measure.

As the title suggests, these sessions were recorded in the capital city of Vietnam. ‘Hanoi 3’ beams the listener to Vietnam with a sáo trúc flute. ‘Hanoi 4’ is the dud in the track list, with only a strumming guitar to define itself with. Meanwhile, ‘Hanoi 5’ features a very prominent flugelhorn popularised by Miles Davis. It is distracting how much UMO was okay with copying and pasting the jazz player’s signature style.

The album’s centrepiece ‘Hanoi 06’ is an almost 10-minute fall into the rabbit hole. ‘Hanoi 7’ winds down the album into oblivion. UMO have always grasped for new sounds. Their original ‘60s psychedelic-pop inspired sound remains present even while it wrestles with the album’s more lucid moments. Here’s to creativity opening new doors to the fading popularity of jazz.

8/10