|Culled from the juice of 60 hours of live performances at Toronto's Honey Supper Lounge, streams of consciousness Volume One is a collection of airy instrumental delights sprinkled liberally with tasteful loops and organically grown samples.
Kush's live performances are spiced with a very dynamic and energetic flavour as a result of the on-stage theatrics and highly animated persona of frontman and founder, Etric Lyons. Without these visual accompaniments, in contrast, the live music offered on this album is bathed in more of a relaxing, chilled-out sensibility.
The opening piece (Sweet 1) with it's meditative trumpet solo gives the listener the sensation of gliding effortlessly above the clouds. This carefree feeling permeates more deeply while the listener is guided sonically, aurally, as each Sweet blends imperceptibly into the next.
The samples, especially on Sweet 1 and (not so) Sweet 7, are very organic and create pleasant ripples in the breeziness of the workings of the keys, trumpet and bass, calling to mind the brilliance of one of the pioneers of the chilled out sound: Deep Forest.
In contrast with Kushs normal use of percussion and drums, instruments that usually take centre stage and occasionally overshadow the others, on this album they are treated with gloved hands as their effects remain in the background, providing interest but not cracking the meditative calm.
Although samples and loops are abundantly and creatively mined from Kush's toy chest, the effect is not overdone. Instead, there is a consistent feeling of lightness throughout this offering with all the pieces generating similar vibes with very subtle variations.
And the predominantly airy jazz flavour of the majority of the musical creations is interrupted only slightly as a light breeze allows a gentle African flavour to waft onto the first track while another wave gives a ghost-like nod to the Middle East on the final track.
As there are no definite breaks from one cut to the next, the listener has the sensation of listening to one long piece that slopes gracefully up and down, ever-so-gently picking up the pace, from sources that don't offend, but rather, cleanse the palate.
With streams of consciousness Volume One, Lyons, like an executive chef, has procured handpicked ingredients to create a soothing medley for his listener as he utilizes a soupçon of this and an essence of that. Lyons, all the while lovingly marinates this musical foundation with a deft touch, producing a musical rhapsody that massages aural canals and provides musical therapy for beleaguered souls.
by Laila Boulos April 2008