Album Review: Cykada – Cykada LP [Astigmatic Records; March 2019]

Cykada’s first album release, Cykada, is a colourful mix of styles and activity, condensed into five instrumental pieces. The compositions they have created are both unexpected and groovy. The drum kit sounds melodic and the FX helps to transform the musicians’ possibilities. Cykada take on a lot of music styles: from Afro-futurism to jazz, soul, electronic, rock and creative rhythmic and melodic structures, taking you on a journey. Pieces that came from improvisations but have turned into very full and beautiful arrangements.

The sextet is: Jamie Benzies on bass guitar, Tile Gigichi-Lipere on synths and FX, Timmy Doyle on drums, Axel Kaner-Lidstrom on trumpet, James Mollison on saxophone, and Javi Perez on guitar. They work well as a team, melding complex sounds together and building faster, intricate pieces. The music asks for your participation and that you give something of yourself too, before breaking, changing and transforming into new directions repeatedly.

These compositions create effective contrasts; the smoky horns in ‘Creation’ grow against a sliding bass before breaking into a bouncy groove, utilising jazz and afrobeat styles. ‘Dimension Stepper’ starts with the drum kit playing house grooves, then draws upon elements of older African-American music styles. ‘Orphelia’s Message’ starts syncopated, but like the other tracks, does not settle in one place. ‘Realise’ feels surreal and slow, before contrasting into more pushed rhythms, and although ‘Third Eye Thunder’ has a similar motif in the guitar riff that runs through, the other instruments do well weaving in and out of it, from a synthy wash to heavy drums, before settling down into a new riff with the saxophone.

The album is an exciting mix of many elements that push your listening experience. A very detailed range that comes off more polished then musicians playing together, but retains a lot of interest and heritage through the band.