4 AGAINST THE ODDS / UKANDANZ4 AGAINST THE ODDS / UKANDANZ 4 AGAINST THE ODDS / UKANDANZ
A decade after the launching of the Ukandanz odyssey,the pioneers of this puzzling Ethiopian crunch got back as an instrumental quartet to the sources of their music. This formula remains magic without the voice of their charismatic singer Asnake Gebreyes. The contrabands of the spirit keep crossing the frontiers, in spite of the movement restrictions imposed by the global health crisis… It’s obvious with these experts in the art of « crunch », a sexy designation standing for an explosive musical syncretism.
« Four Against The Odds »: the title of this fifth album sounds like a new challenge. If the recipe stays sensibly the same, the energy keeps being renewed. Influences that have always guided the band are still there: the Ethiopian musical tradition as its contemporary and libertarian reinterpretation. Fundamental polyrhythms explode on contact with prog rock, punk and experimental music. With Ukandanz, ethiojazz keeps lifting weights and the band offers an even more muscled version of the musical genre… We can bet, the odds are on their side!
Worldwide mythologies are quite clear; any new universe needs a creative impulse. Concerning Ukandanz, the big bang is named Damien Cluzel. Composer and guitarist since the first draft of the band, he comes back with bigger strings to open up new possibilities. Lionel Martin’s roaring saxophone completes the longstanding alloy, simultaneously smooth and bestial. The keyboarder Fred Escoffier was at the beginning of this adventure and he apparently did not get lost ever since; he is as outstanding in the art of building scenes as in exploding those with furious improvisations. A powerful colorist was needed to complete the band, a drummer who is not afraid of standing his grounds with rhythmical exuberance from Africa : Thomas Pierre is the one !
© Amaury Rullière
Damien Cluzel : bass
Lionel Martin : tenor sax
Fred Escoffier : keyboards
Thomas Pierre : drums
All compositions : Damien Cluzel
"Alègntayé" : Ayaléw Abbèbè & Tesfaye Abbèbè
"Ferjign Chereka" : Asnaké Guebreyes
Record : Lucas Garnier @ studio Mikrokosm
Mix and mastering : Rémy Deliers
Graphic design : Florent Decornet