By Alanna Madden
Transient, soulful, exotic, and slightly heartbreaking. These are all words to describe Snarky Puppy’s newest album release, Culcha Vulcha. The group’s composer, Michael League, does not let listeners down with his new release as a true musical mastermind of his time. The tracks seemingly play into one another, pushing the listener into a journey of musical genius and not allowing for a single moment of redundancy: only surprise, excitement, and pure fascination. Tracks such as “Gemini”, “Beep Box”, and “Big Ugly” are all beautiful surprises to the set, allowing a reprieve from funky, upbeat jazz fusion given to you all at once. “Gemini”s sexy bass notes tell us a story without having to say much of anything. The soft humming towards the end of the song seem to let us on into a notion of sadness, or bittersweet endings.
“Beep Box” sounds the beginning of a Zero 7 track; except we know that these aren’t the sounds of a mix board; it’s a complete orchestra of people contributing to a musical story. The song surprises listeners with flutes, intermittent synthesizers, pianos, trumpets, flickering guitars that sounds like a butterfly taking off randomly, hopping from one patch of air to the next.
An album like this is supposed to make you feel and allow for a process. While “Big Ugly”, personally, reminds me of a lost love, the song isn’t about anyone at all. The song is about transition, harmony within an eccentric contribution of soul and creativity. Such is life, and this album perfectly depicts such changes. The album ends with giving one hope of spontaneity of our processes, however painful or seemingly random they appear to be.