13 Degrees Of Reality (Now Again) is the brand new album from The Heliocentrics, but where exactly have they been? The real question is: does it matter?
For now, let’s make it not matter, but we know that the core of The Heliocentrics are Jake Ferguson and the almighty Malcolm Catto. The songs on this album are drenched in the sounds of the funky south, along with its roots firmly planted in Africa, but constructed in jam form. The band sound like they’re playing one big gigantic song, and the album is interrupted every now and then by a “guiding voice”, interrupting when the music feels like it could go somewhere even more adventurous. When that happens, the mood switches from one thing to another. The mix sounds like it was recorded in some dingy basement circa 1969 or 1970, where things aren’t exactly monaural, but “narrow stereo”, with the sarcastic hope that they are recording this for radio airplay when in truth they are playing because they get off on each other’s vibe. That’s how powerful these songs are, where from the outside these could all lead to incredible samples in future hip-hop songs, that whole “I found this in my uncle’s garage” vibe where his record section is soaked in dust and soot.
While some may not enjoy these songs sounding sporadic, I love the vibe of this, where one is unsure where these songs truly fade in or out, or if it’s truly just a band jamming for 50 minutes and it was someone’e smart ideal to slip in interludes every now and then. Psychedelic funk, trippy soul, mind blowing Afrobeat, there are so many ways one could describe 13 Degrees Of Reality but… I’m more curious how this music would sound if one smokes themselves into an inner reality. This is the kind of record that one could roll a joint on, in the hopes that the next person who hears it will get high before placing the platter on the turntable. In the vein of the Whitefield Brothers, Poets of Rhythm, and Medeski Martin & Wood, if The Heliocentrics have not entered your heart yet, allow them to with this.