Album Review

Pyramids, The – “Lalibela” – [Ikef]

Thurston Hunger   7/10/2011   12-inch, Jazz

The Pyramids Lalibela

Combing Rasputin’s in Berkeley, I spotted this (and one
other) Pyramid reissue and flew across the aisles and decades
to nab ’em both. Super 70’s spirit music, Afrosoul infused
jazz. Performance as ritual, art as a communal creation.
Teeming with timeless handheld percussion, choruses rise
up out of the celebration, this is insanely good as expected.
On the previously added “Birth/Speed/Merging”, I name-checked
Brother Ah, and sure enough Ikef Records is doing the honors
this time around, with a release that was actually the bands
initial offering. The album name comes from a 13th century
Ethiopian King and the town that still bears his name. The
town has churches carved out of granite, so the music too has
that deep permanence, and creates a space for worship.
Evidently Irdissa (as he’s listed here) Ackamoor visited
there along with his then wife, Margo. Her flute ignites
the title track early on. That stretches right around the
vinyl, but both long pieces here go through many phases
(you can spot the bands in the vinyl, ah vinyl) and can be
excerpted theoretically for radio. The only trouble is they
are so transfixingly good, I suspect many will just let them
ride. On “Indigo” a bass line really pushes the Ethiopian drums
out onto the dance floor. The freedom of the music is fantastic
but the composed moments too, check out the grace of the intro
for “Lalibela”, those moments have another sort of power.
Do not miss, and here’s to more new groups drinking heartily
from the sonic oasis that the Pyramids thrived upon.

-Thurston Hunger

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