Their day began at 3am. The day before, BADBADNOTGOOD, the quartet of keyboardist Matty Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen, drummer Alex Sowinski, and tenor saxophonist Leland Whitty, had been rehearsing in their overgrown studio in Ontario in preparation for their 7:40pm Sunday set closing down the Yellow Stage of Austin, Texas' tenth annual Fun Fun Fun Fest at the close of what was a previously damp early November weekend before the sun broke through reminiscent of Ontario's current "heat wave". It'd be a quick trip for them, barely even getting the chance to see the festival, out by midday Monday, though considering they had never seen Austin outside the chaotic, city-enveloping context of a South by SouthWest festival, this was quite the welcome gig. Their playing this gig seemed a long time coming, particularly appropriate, in fact.
Ludovic Navarre's music has always been a little difficult to pin down. It's always had a lounge sound that borrows from jazz, tailor made since its inception for late night internet streaming on Dublab or before them, Soma.fm in some forgotten corner of the internet (somebody out there remembers what I'm talking about). It was trip-hop and acid jazz and downtempo and other subgenres of subgenres that overlap so much that it becomes a thing in itself. Navarre's last two albums, 1995's Boulevard and 2000's Tourist, branded his specific voice in time and for the last fifteen years have been memorable enough for his work to be appreciated but frequently referred to in the past tense, until now with the release of his latest self-titled album on the Nonesuch label that seems to pick up exactly where Navarre, aka St. Germain, has left off.
Pianist/keyboardist Jesse Fischer has always focused on the groove in his music. It's a bent of his that can at times lean to a kind of populism, it can also at times feel like overseasoning. Yet Fischer's latest album, Day Dreamer, and album from the new father, an album more rested, more settled, is his most straightforward collection of songs yet.
Rotem Sivan always surprises on the guitar. Oh, sure, his songs start off unassuming. One would think they're simple little low-energy guitar songs. They can be somber and chill, but they're sneaky. They take sudden musical turns that one wouldn't anticipate. They're playful like puppies that don't have expectations. They unfold in such a way that the ends of them completely belie how jamming they can truly be, song after song. And this is just talking about the arrangements. Yes, Rotem Sivan always surprises on the guitar and he did it again on his new album, A New Dance.