The concept for this album takes a little explaining. Mark de Clive-Lowe is a Japanese-New Zealand producer, musician and DJ. Having embraced the piano as young as four he went on to become an accomplished Jazz musician. Having spent a decade in London working alongside the likes of Bugz In The Attic and Jody Watley, Clive-Lowe relocated to Los Angeles last year and released his 14th solo album Renegades through Tru Thoughts.
New album Take The Space Trane is an appropriately titled trip into both jazz's future and past. In collaboration with The Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, Clive-Lowe came up with the concept of applying a distinctly modern take on the vintage Big Band sound. The resulting album is a combination of tracks from Clive-Lowe's career together with two new compositions and a cover the jazz standard 'Caravan'.
The result is an arresting combination. We're used to hearing elements of jazz plundered but until now the Big Band sound has generally been left to age more gracefully. Notably not everyone is pleased with the result - when performing their first show a Amsterdam's Melkweg venue Clive-Lowe recalls an audience visibly divided, with older Big Band-purists fleeing for cover whilst many younger listeners lapped up the opportunity to consume something new.
The music has an experimental, near Acid-Jazz sound at times - the brassy melodies are affronting and here, in all their polished glory, the album is quite the thing to consume. The cover of 'Caravan' is a fractured piece that layers funk rhythms with left-field experimental jazz.
The album title itself comes from the classic Jazz-player Duke Ellington's 'Take The A Train', combined with the experimental modal techniques of John Coltrane. Add in the electronic influence and you get Take The Space Trane (obviously!).
Clive-Lowe has created a very full album, with a sound and an idea that simultaneously tries to appeal to a number of styles at once but risks alienating fans of all of those styles completely. Where it slots together and hits its stride Take The Space Trane is a thrilling ride - you just need to be ready to hang on tight for the occasional sharp corner and be prepared for the fact it almost certainly goes on a little longer than necessary.
Take The Space Trane is released on 4 February through Tru Thoughts, available to pre-order on CD from Amazon.co.uk for just £7 [at the time of publishing, affiliate link]. Preview the title track below from Soundcloud: