Nikitch & Kuna Maze Releases New Album “Back & Forth”: Streaming
- France-via-Brussels collaboration project Nikitch & Kuna Maze, consisting of Nicolas Morant and Edouard Gilbert, released their sophomore album “Back & Forth” on May 27, 2022.
It is their first album in two years since the 2020 debt album “Débuts”.
The album comprises 10-track and expands on their soulful and subtle combination of jazz-flavours and the syncopated beats of broken beat and UKG.
The duo worked with collaborators for the first time, such as Brazilian singer-songwriter Joao Selva, while also experimenting with their own vocal material.
The album was catalysed by sketches of ideas sent back and forth online from France (Nicolas Morant) to Belgium (Kuna Maze) before being finalised in studios sessions between Grenoble and Brussels.
Nicolas Morant explained, “At the beginning, it was quite weird and new for us, but it definitely added something special to the album. It's not about delivering a message, but a way of adding playful elements to the grooves of the tracks.”
Edouard Gilbert added, “We were listening to a lot of 70s jazz records, where they were singing and improvising melodies without the lyrics. Originally, we recorded the vocals to get some initial ideas down on the track, with the plan of adding in other vocalists. But then we started thinking, 'why don't we keep it like that? It sounds cool actually!'”
- The album opens with the magnificent sonic voyage “Coffee Kingdom”, an ode to the duo's love of coffee.
Followed by, “Zugzwang” (a term for where you wish you could skip your turn and let your opponent play because all the moves available to you are detrimental) with references of Edouard's passion for the game of chess appears.
“507 Miles High” is the distance flitted between the two homes of Nicolas and Edouard) and a nod to the jazz-fusion standard “500 Miles High” by Chick Corea.
“Back & Forth” opens with the magnificent sonic voyage “Coffee Kingdom”, an ode to the duo's love of coffee. The album is bestrewn with references of Edouard's passion for the game of chess, from “Zugzwang” (a term for where you wish you could skip your turn and let your opponent play because all the moves available to you are detrimental); “we are all Zugzwang in our life sometimes” Edouard jokes. To album outro “En Passant”, the infamous pawn-capture move and French-style chess composition.
Lead-single “La Di F…Da” accentuates the duo's flirtation with house music, delivering a road-tested crowd-pleaser that playful meshes dub sirens and Nervous Records-esque vocal stabs with elements of Brazilian samba and protean brit-funk energy. A reference to a Mark Wahlberg quote from the iconic Martin Scorsese film The Departed, “La Di F..Da” evolved from an in-joke on tour to a dance floor-filler at shows.
Other songs spotlighted as singles include the suave jazz-funk of the Joao Selva collaboration “Engatinhar”, a play on the Brazilian expression 'pra sabre tem que engatinhar' that translates to 'you need to know how to crawl before you walk'; and “Sauce Brazil” an intense polyrhythmic palette of Brazilian percussion (a regular footnote throughout the record), that is dovetailed to the superlative alto-sax solo to end.
Elsewhere on the record, fragments of ideas taken from a state of permanent transience seep in – “507 Miles High” (the distance flitted between the two homes of Nicolas and Edouard) and a nod to the jazz-fusion standard “500 Miles High” by Chick Corea; “Bus de Nuit” aka the night bus, a frequented visitee in the early hours after recording sessions; as well as stories sifted from the vivid narrative snapshots of their homeland, such as the death of a French politician (“P.P.'s Dream”).
Photo by Baudouin Willemart
- source : Apple Music