Saturday, 11 July 2009
SubVersion Stop 11: Bossaphonik presents Edenheight @ The Cellar, Oxford
In the midst of everyday life, where something normally vibrant within the psyche can be starched flat, given a drubbing, or distorted beyond recognition, there are heaven-sent bands like Edenheight to readdress the balance. Basking in the glow of an illustrious influences list, browsing their MySpace page for the first occasion offers up a titbit of what's to come at this month's afrobeat, latin jazz and funk extravaganza Bossaphonik. Having seen Mankala tear it up two months prior with a meld of Santana-like rhythms and lyrical interplay, fellow Bristolians' Edenheight present a repertoire of dub-inflected meanderings and a healthy smattering of jazz-funk attitude.
With the DJs ushering in funky but reserved tunes to please those seated and standing, starting as a four piece - Manfredi Funk Initiative - jamming out an arousing take on British funk, two saxophonists enter by the third number, while watching the drummer and keyboard player is a visual treat, and like a portable microwave, they know how to bring the heat. Abundant in atmosphere but never sickly like cake icing, seldom have I ventured to The Cellar when the vibes have been this spectacularly intense.
Edenheight are at their best when the instruments are left to ornament and careen wildly - the saxophone sections in particular - and distilled to the most vital levels of conditioning. A cauldron of good eggs as a nine-piece congregation, the interval is a nice touch, giving minutes to compose oneself before giving in to another hour of rockin' jazz-funk. Shortly after, the arrival of Madlox applies an underlying pulse to the evening. The partying audience lap this up, dancing with red shoes on. Working in unison, the sax men vary their inhalation technique to great effect, the group alternating numbers throughout but always making more than just a pretty sound. Madlox rides with the lyric "You know I wanna do anything you wanna do", attracting bodies closer by a word to "Get down", whereby the crowd show an affinity and respect by doing as he says. Ultimately, what's at stake with gigs like this? Edenheight have a simple answer: pleasure.
Edenheight: Official website