I Too Am A Stranger

14/03/2024Leeds-Based Outfit The Sorcerers Conjures Third Album Of Ethiopique Rare Grooves For Cinematic Minds

It's back to the basement, we thought to ourselves as we readied ourselves to review the latest album by Leeds-based outfit The Sorcerers. "I Too Am A Stranger" is the follow-up to the group's sophomore LP "In Search Of The Lost City Of The Monkey God" and their eponymous 2019-released debut and sees the core trio of bassist/guitarist Neil Innes, drummer Joost Hendrickx and reed/flute/vibes/keyboard player Richard Ormrod bolster their brass section with trumpeter Olivia Cuthill and expand their "[percussive] palette" with regular collaborator Danny Templeman as they delve even further into their sublimely evocative Ethio-inspired soundscapes. And so we embark on this, their third journey into Ethiopique rare grooves, another deeply enthralling venture to say the least.

"I Too Am A Stranger" is testament to the fact that Ethio fusion is an actual thing beyond the high culinary arts and The Sorcerers are extremely good at it. Conjuring absolutely wicked sound aesthetics with undeniable cinematic potential, the group blends Ethio vibes with a wide array of personal favourites the likes of Japanese composer Fumio Hayasaka, US jazz-rock band The Stark Reality and the mystical, fellow American trailblazer Moondog. As phrased in the release notes, this album "is a resolutely maximal endeavour, reflecting the cosmopolitan and cross-cultural networks that comprise our world; wherever we've come from, wherever we are and wherever we're going, we are all new to the future." 

This is not to say that the music on the group's latest longplayer is anywhere near futuristic or avant-garde in sound or approach. It is more of a unifying effort, a densely composed musical alliance, calling for a consensus in rather divisive times. Therein lays the magic of The Sorcerers' craft, the ability to create this grandiose world of Ethio possibility from the supposed confines of a basement studio somewhere in Leeds, if only for the length of another album.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom