Kavus Torabi – Hip To The Jag: Album Review

The first full solo album from the ultra-busy Kavus Torabi is a divine collection of esoteric music.

Release Date:   22nd May 2020

Label:  Believers Roast Records

Formats:  CD / DL / vinyl

Perhaps not surprisingly, Kavus Torabi has earned the reputation as a key figure in keeping the good ship that carries British psychedelic and progressive music afloat. Amongst others, Gong, The Utopia Strong, Knifeworld and the Steve Hillage Band have all laid claims on the Torabi time, duelling for slots in his increasingly full schedule.

With his previous solo ventures – the Sentinel single and excellent Solar Divination EP – Kavus Torabi has slowly dipped his toes in solo waters and now goes in at the deep end with a full album. Seafaring analogies notwithstanding, on Hip To The Jag, he’s found the obvious outlet for what he’s called songs that kept “arriving and with nowhere to go.”

Hip To The Jag may host a set of songs that focus on mortality, love and loss but they come wrapped in a coat of transcendent bliss. Inspiration, call it what you will, comes courtesy of the multifarious talents of Ivor Cutler and Nico and the acquisition of an Indian harmonium. The latter in particular makes its presence felt with a strong presence throughout the record.

The impact is evident from the curtain-raising hypnotic drones, tuned percussion and acoustic guitar notes that herald Chart The Way. The incoming chants and tribal rhythms might remind those of us old enough to know better of Jon Anderson’s Olias Of Sunhillow opus.

The journey is a rich one that encompasses the psychedelic and the joyous, the spectral and the gossamer. Soft acoustic picking leads Silent The Rotor that ebbs and flows and confirms the absence of any limitations. Not that there ever have been in a genre where boundaries are for pushing. Hip To The Jag moves beyond the astral to a space where the music cascades into astral territories. Swirling through and around the cosmos in a parcel of ethereal space rock. Might sound a bit flowery but hey!

The ambient industrial noise experiment on The Peacock Throne contrasts with the delicacy of You Broke My Fall. The opening line “The night is much darker now” on the latter sets the scene for a requiem of sadness and confession that “the songs I write just turn out sad.” A ghostly quiver comes from the sort of sound that’s reminiscent of what you’d find emanating from a bow on a saw.

Dotted amongst the voyage of transcendence is My Cold Rebirth which offers a much starker offering, avant-garde and the experimental vibe takes a left turn. The thought strikes about the Barrett/early Floyd influence cropping up

Nine minutes that take up Slow Movements take us into the sort of worlds inhabited by his work in Gong and the improvisational and experimental philosophy on Utopia Strong. The extended atmospheres add a cosmic and trippy finale.

The idea of making a record that sounds like “a half-remembered dream, as if the songs had been constructed from shadows and cobwebs,” is mission accomplished. What fantasy footballer team builder would call an MVP. He’s channelling the golden vibe.

Listen to Cemetery Of Light here:

Kavus Torabi online: Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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