*PRE-ORDER: Afrocop - Debut LP [JAZZ / FUSION / FUNK] Wax Thématique #19
*PRE-ORDER: Afrocop - Debut LP [JAZZ / FUSION / FUNK] Wax Thématique #19
*PRE-ORDER: Afrocop - Debut LP [JAZZ / FUSION / FUNK] Wax Thématique #19
*PRE-ORDER: Afrocop - Debut LP [JAZZ / FUSION / FUNK] Wax Thématique #19

*PRE-ORDER: Afrocop - Debut LP [JAZZ / FUSION / FUNK] Wax Thématique #19

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Stream the Single "Elegantly Deceitful Simulation"

The Players:
Carlos Tulloss - Bass
Andy Sells - Drums
Noel Brass Jr. - Keys 

The Credits:
WXTM-019. 
Debut LP. 
Release Date: 07/27/2024. 
Digital Download Included. 
All songs recorded by Brad Kaminski at Vertigo Studios in Seattle, WA,
except “Rare Belief”, recorded by Jay Kenny at Audio Logic, Seattle WA.
Mixed by Afrocop and SCNTFC.
Mastered by Mell Dettmer.
Art Design and Layout: Alexander Vincini.
Afrocop Cover Typography by Bastien Tessanne.
Band Portraits: Damon Kenner
Close-up Photos: David Delmar.
Liner notes by Dave Segal.
Published by Sound Classique / ASCAP.

Smooth telepathists, Seattle trio Afrocop have delivered their debut LP—just in time to score the most exciting moments of the Summer Olympics. Stitched together with flamboyant precision from myriad sessions in various studios, Afrocop extrapolates on the nonchalantly cosmic jams that the group has laid down in live performance and earlier, digital-only releases, including 2020’s Moondust. Afrocop enters the musical underground poised to be heard by true heads worldwide. As longtime Afrocop fans know, they are inveterate sonic chameleons. They’ve been honing their prodigious improv chops for over a decade on the live circuit, playing everything from corporate gigs to psychedelic-music festivals to residencies at classy Italian restaurants and wine bars, and in many spaces in-between. No matter the setting in which they flex their dynamic creativity, keyboardist Noel Brass Jr., drummer Andy Sells, and bassist Carlos Tulloss flaunt an uncanny versatility: they can beautify the background like ambient masters, get up with it à la Miles Davis’ filthiest electric-era band, or fling you into deepest, fusionoid space on a nanosecond’s notice. “Everything was improvised,” says Brass of the seven tracks on Afrocop, while noting that there was some editing. “With [“Splitting The Atom: Sunflower Envelope”], we told SCNTFC, 'use your best Teo Macero mixing techniques.' Because we want this to be a listening experience. When we play live, we're trying to mesh with how people are feeling. We make it different every time, not just, 'here's this change.' Andy might start in a weird time signature and then go into a Latin swing and next thing you know, we're somewhere else.” The album’s opening track, the aforementioned “Splitting The Atom,” instantly alerts listeners that Afrocop are heading outward bound, with soulful afterburners. This is transcendent jazz funk elevated by Brass' organ drones and interstellar-space-thriller swoops, Tulloss's bulbous bass throbs, Sells' “‘'Funky Drummer' goes to grad school" beats, and guest percussionist Jayson Powell’s transportive congas. Vibrating with vibrant life forces and at once earthy and spacey, this nearly 11-minute track sets the lofty tone for Afrocop.  The mellow, dub-infused funk of “Seeking New Strata” comes off like Massive Attack remixing Lonnie Liston Smith. Using his Nord Wave’s Mellotron setting, Brass conjures harmonic majesty that contrasts spicily with Sells' drumming, which has the precise funkiness of Ziggy Modeliste. Afrocop’s sly humor surfaces on the title “Les McCan't”—a reference to late, great soul-jazz keyboardist and Noel favorite Les McCann. After Brass’ spare, icily ruminative piano intro, Sells finesses more methodical funk drumming while Tulloss' bass provides subliminal, elastic cushioning. “The 'Les McCan't' thing was almost a joke,” Brass recalls. “I was just messing around, trying to come up with something on a piano. But the true, improvisational aspect of it came through.” Speaking of titles, Brass says that they “are either easy to come up with or extremely tedious and tough. I'm always writing and coming up with stuff from dreams, random streams of consciousness. A lot of those ideas are just me sitting with the music. We used to have a document with hundreds of possible track titles all of us had come up with. We would grab words off of there. It was crazy psychic wordplay, almost. You don't always want it to be straightforward. Afrocop's a Rorschach thing.”

Afrocop’s also a Miles/Macero thing. They typically prune a massive amount of music into tighter pieces that hit with a more concentrated oomph. “Andy and I are huge fans of that school of listening,” Brass says, “so we approached [the album] a little like that—let it get weird here, let's give it some space there, let's let the congas shift the shape, let's add this to this part. Make it  cinematic, something that has relistenable value. It tells a story or can be adaptable to different settings.” Sells, in particular, spent much time editing hours and hours of recordings into the polished gems you hear on Afrocop. The Miles connection flares up on “Get In, Let's Ride,” which creeps in on chill, In A Silent Way keyboard whorls, then quickly shifts into a freaky electro-funk conflagration. The experimental electronic abstractions that kick off “Cyclical Solution” evoke another musical maverick—William S. Fischer, specifically his 1970 masterpiece, Circles. About halfway in, the bass and drums enter, along with synthetic strings, launching the track into space-funk territory. “That's the thing about Afrocop,” Brass says. “It feels like sometimes the music's in a weird territory because the music's always going. Sometimes you go into a weird space and you have to trust each other to get through it.” The stunning “Rare Belief” arose during Afrocop’s early days and proves that they existed on an exalted plane right from jump. It features some of Brass' most beautiful and crystalline playing, as his gorgeous, soulful piano intro leads into an indomitably hopeful funk strut. “We were cutting our teeth at Stepping Stone, a little bar in Ballard at the time, just to play and get better,” Brass remembers. “Carlos had just joined the band. Everything just clicked in that session, and you can hear it in that track. We're not trying to play a lot of notes. We were just trying to find a groove that locked. It comes out in different ways. It was so long ago, it was almost forgotten.” Afrocop had a long, circuitous gestation. Tulloss suffered the deaths of his brother and both parents during the pandemic’s early phase and Sells dealt with some health issues, started his own band, Select Level, and joined another, Mt Fog. In 2023, Brass became co-host of KEXP’s Jazz Theater show. Everyone in Afrocop has multiple projects brewing at any given moment, a testament to their abundance of creativity. All of these life changes, plus a voracious desire to perform live, delayed progress on this record. But the wait has been worth it—and then some. “[Afrocop’s] a vehicle of creation for us three,” Brass summarizes. “If you're not getting that angst out and you're building that up through your regular days on Earth, you need an [outlet for expression and catharsis]. All of us have so many ideas. We're going to keep improvising and getting better.” Bet.

Liner notes by Dave Segal.


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