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Zoe's Shanghai - Lava Love

Photo credit ~ Joaquim Bayle

Label: Independent Released: August 2021

Typically, Fusion is a style that evokes images of fluorescent lights peeking through smoke in the early 80’s. However, it actually developed in the late 60’s and blurred Bebop’s fierce intellectualism with the beautiful electronic instruments of the early 70’s. These included electric guitar, bass, piano and contributors with a lilt towards prog and psychedelia.

Zoe’s Shanghai’s ‘Lava Love’ continues to broaden this vein, and akin to Hiatus Kaiyote it gifts us the awe inspiring technicality of Jazz within the beauty of Neo-Soul. Continuing the Jazz tradition rather than replicating it is a noble and daunting task. But as we know, Jazz is a spirit that surfaces of its own accord through its descendents and devotees, and its current incarnation is no less exciting than any of its predecessors.

A 4 piece hailing from Barcelona via Paris and produced by Oli Barton-Wood (Nubiyan Twist, Joe Armon-Jones) Zoe’s Shanghai are an extremely tight musical unit with every member a master of their craft. The sonics shape shift silently between acoustic and electric, modal and ethereal. Lyrics that seem initially abstract form complex poems querying the human condition as melodic cultural influences glide effortlessly in and out.

“Every generation, same questions no answer” Atonal oscillations trail ethereally between the instruments then collide into each other on the crest of heavily swung grooves. Soft patches rise beneath dominant basslines and at times heavy guitar riffs. It is undeniably technical Jazz possessing total listenability and I am pleased to see projects such as this raising the bar. Having already caught the attention of Jamz Supernova and Huey Morgan here in London, I dearly hope that we are blessed with some collaborations and shared lineups alongside the versatile talents of our scene in the wake of this fantastic release.


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