Last year Goran Kajfes released the beautifully bound X/Y album with his Subtropic Arkestra playing largely original works on disc X and Kajfes with David Österberg doing a modern variant on In A Silent Way on disc Y, the latter is more ambient and has proved the most enduring. The name of this latest release from the Croatian born trumpet player may seem cryptic but is in fact a straight forward explanation of where the inspiration came from to make X/Y. The eight tracks on The Reason Why Vol.1 are Kajfes’ versions of some pretty obscure but now must hear originals from today and back in the day. It kicks off with a bit of Turkish psych in Edip Akbayram’s Yakar Inciden Inciden, me neither, and works its way through pieces by Tame Impala, Soft Machine and Cluster to name the artists I have heard of.
All instrumental and generally high energy thanks to the brass quotient this is a fabulous album if you enjoy jazz rock of the variety found on Zappa’s Grand Wazoo or Jaga Jazzists What We Must to give two contrasting instances, powerful, exciting and pretty much full on stuff. The Subtropic Arkestra is a ten strong Swedish band that combines brass, keyboards/moog/cembalo, guitar and bass plus drums played by highly capable musicians who have either been well guided or have a natural affinity with the work. The sheer quantity of energy and dynamism of the playing means that a degree of obvious compression has been necessary in the production but the result is essential from beginning to end, the sound doesn’t get in the way of the music. I was blown away when I first put this on and that feeling has remained with continued exposure, it seems a bit early to pick an album of the year but this is a very strong contender.