Phosphenes

27/09/19Berlin's Wanubalé Unveil Their Jazz-Driven Debut Album On Agogo Records

Back in May, the young Berlin/Potsdam-based nine-piece Wanubalé (Swahili for "Brothers") dropped a sizzling two-track EP on Agogo Records, which was right down our alley. The same two tracks now  feature on their brand new eight-track debut album "Phosphenes", recorded in the Jazzanova Studios alongside Axel Reinemer. And so the musical circle comes full turn. 

Wanubalé met in school and, drawing inspiration from the Berlin's jazz and club scene, set out to forge their own danceable style incorporating elements from jazz, neo soul, broken beats, dub and funk – a style that the legendary Jazzanova crew pioneered in many ways. Though Wanubalé's journey began as a live band. Working from a basement, their compositions were originally arranged to be performed live. And it is on stage that Wanubalé really unleash the proverbial beast.

When recording their debut album, the challenge was to rearrange their existing tracks to fit the studio mould, without sacrificing their inherently complex, jazzy nature. And so Wanubalé begann writing polyphonic, brass-driven arrangements, while remembering specific crowd reactions from their concerts.

A phosphene is the sensation of seeing light, shapes or movement without light actually entering the eye. This common human phenomenon can be produced by stimulation to the eye, including sound, and verges on what some might consider hallucinations.

"Phosphenes" then are most definitely the result of listening to Wanubalé's energetic, groove-ridden instrumental bouts. In other words, this album simply sounds incredibly good and we can't wait to get our hands on a copy. You can listen to the full record via the Bandcamp player below. And, if you happen to be in Berlin, swing by Club GRETCHEN tonight for the official record release!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom