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Thursday, Feb 11 2016 | 07:53
Image: 1602257 It is only natural and consistent for Pete Josef to release his debut album on Berlin based
label Sonar Kollektiv, since it is the very same imprint he has been featured on in numerous
productions over the last three years – as a singer and as a songwriter. The close link with
Sonar Kollektiv took it's course when in autumn 2012 label manager Oliver Glage signed
“Make It Good” by The White Lamp (Josef's project together with Ex-Underworld member
Darren Emerson), for the label. From there, he has made contributions to Alex Barck's album
“Reunion”, to tracks with Paskal & Urban Absolutes and Marlow, and to “Broken Connection”
off the debut album by ComixXx released just recently.
The young Brit, inspired over the years by such collaborations, and socialized in the lively
Bristol scene, has come up with an 11-track strong masterpiece of modern pop music. In the
opening track, “Spring At Last”, he and singer Marie Lister, accompanied by Justin “Captain”
Fellow's industrious drumming and a host of Bristol String and Horn players, praise the thrill
of anticipation of all the things to come. For instance, a powerful pinch of dance grooves and
soul/Jazz elements – always connected to the here and now without making any retro
references at any point along the course.
“Mistress”, with screaming guitars and yet more powerful horn arrangements, reminiscent of
Donny Hathaway’s “Voices Inside”, could almost be a new Stevie Wonder record. In “Move
On” Josef's Jazzpop turns Country-Ska, most notably thanks to his West African style
clawhammer guitar playing and some inspired drumming from Greg Freeman. And on “Night
Gospel” it is the piano that surfaces, over a lilting programmed, club-compliant beat. Variety
is guaranteed in every respect.. “Live Your Life” is a downright Afro-Jazz anthem complete
with scat singing, off-beat double bass from Roshan ‘Tosh’ Wijetunge, and the mantra-like
repeated chorus: “live your life, live it well”. Whilst the Neo-Soul ambience of Running in
series and Many Signs lament lost and broken love, new love is later expressed clearly as
Josef carols.. “feeling the new, feeling cupids smile descend” on the buoyant, summery
“Something Good”.
The production of “The Travelling Song” has just a hint of the legendary Steely Dan
productions, albeit with a modern almost hip-hop slant, and builds to put the listener into a
firmly euphoric space with a Samba-funk rhythm section crafted by the virtuoso
percussionist Rory Francis. In short, “Colour” is every shade of the rainbow, from bright light,
to contemplative dark. “Hope” has all the colours in one, with lyrical positivity set against
almost mournful Afrobeat ballad accompanied. It is a setting of the poem by Emily Dickinson
(“hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul”), and features a glorious improvised
solo by free-Jazz trumpeter, Nick Malcolm, in which he virtually embodies the bird described
in the verse through his fluttering expressive melodies. In closing, as the album's finale, we
are treated to the title track “Colour” ..and it is here where Pete Josef reveals where much of
his inspiration, his optimism and his balance of mind springs from: it is his love of nature, in all
it’s wondrous colour that is subtly expressed throughout his music. Therefore not only the
song “Colour”, but the whole album is de facto an ode to nature, together with the shades of
emotion we all experience in our lives. No surprise here then that Mr. Josef recently settled in
a cottage in rural Somerset amid forests, meadows, and close to the natural world he loves
so much.

A1 Spring At Last
A2 Mistress
A3 Night Gospel
A4 Running In Series
A5 Many Signs
A6 Something Good
B1 Move On
B2 Live Your Live
B3 The Travelling Song
B4 Hope
B5 Colour Available from 18.03.2016
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