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Spekulation EP by Spekulation

It somehow seems apposite to get a review written early in the New Year and we head off to a surprising corner for this review. The eponymous EP by Spekulation, is a loosely hip-hop based release, as the vocalist from Seattle in the USA combines with: Nate Omdal (Bass), Absolute Madman (DJ), Jason Parker (Trumpet), Mike Dodge (Tenor Sax), Brian Bermudez (Bari Sax), David Levin (Percussion), Stephen Nielsen (Guitar), Jose Gonzalez (Keys), Jakob Breitbach (Violin), Ben Dietzen (Cello) and Michele Khazak (Additional Vocals) with arrangements by Nate Omdal to create a five track EP  Mastered at D-Sane Not2Sane Productions.

Spekulation EP by Spekulation

Spekulation EP by Spekulation

Opening with the appropriately named IntroductionSpekulation flings open the doors to an exciting release. Strings tune-up as the vocal rap emerges and then we are off to an orchestrated piece which uses the powerful Violin and Cello which form a superb back-drop to the vocal. The depth of texture the strings create contrast with the stark imagery of a black and white photograph against the machine gun rattle of the vocal.

Something is Happening Here takes up the next space: Here the listener runs up against the inimitable Bob Dylan, and yet that powerful protest singer is matched by this revision and the Spekulation update to the 21st Century resonates just as sharply. An extremely well thought out track as the wind instruments are given a work out.

I’m Not Sorry which features Michele Khazak, finds us over the half-way mark in an inventive and successful release. Free-style Jazz, meets hip-hop (ouch neither of those sit on my must listen list), but the combination here brings a smile to my face. The two vocalists are so far apart I can imagine the run through session – Have you lost the plot guys? That couldn’t be wider of the mark, this is sublime and I never thought I would write that about rap or jazz, never mind the two in tandem.

The penultimate track I Want It All, ploughs a different furrow, as the EP heads to a vocal led piece, which is supported by the Orchestra developing a picture frame of chaotic decadence on to which the vocal paints a wild imagery of thick blue oils smearing the canvas. I Want It All is very much of it’s time and slots neatly in to the puzzle of the Spekulation EP.

The EP finishes with Inception, which sits as a bizarre title, given the appropriateness of the opening track name, but as the eternal optimist I assume this portends to some similar depth and exploration from future Spekulation material. The listener is taken back to strings as the track opens prior to a warm percussion which is soon joined by an emotive vocal.

Well, well… the bar has been set high for this year and the release for this is only a fortnight in to the year – 10th January. What a sublime release, a lyrical tour de force which has depth and colour added by some signature instrumentalists.

Thanks Spekulation, if this is a foresight in to the music of 2012, it is going to be a superb year.

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