Album review: Snarky Puppy with the Metropole Orchestra – ‘Sylva’
The fifth of Snarky Puppy’s albums to be recorded live with an audience, and their eighth offering in total, Sylvie is the result of a collaboration between them and the critically acclaimed Metropole Orchestra. The result is a soundscape unlike anything we’ve heard from them before; the grooves, breaks and solos are still there, reminiscent of their earlier sound, but there is more attention to the atmosphere and structure of the album as a whole, using the orchestra to emphasize their sound. characteristic, and also to add depth often missed in the heavy and energetic synth grooves that plague previous albums.
It must be said that the first track on the album, ‘Gretel’, released early on YouTube to whet your appetite, leaves you incredibly disappointed. Expecting the bombastic and energetic nature of the Snarky Puppy, it was a surprise to hear instead what feels like the display of a classical symphony, with a bit more synth in places. At this point, it seemed unlikely that the jazz fusion Snarky Puppy is known for would translate well in an orchestral setting. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Listening to the album in its entirety, it is exhibited in a very classic way, with two movements for lack of a better term. “Sintra” to “The Curtain” constitute one of these movements, then “Gretel” and “The Clearing” form the second. To get the most out of it, the album should be listened to in its entirety, or at least those sections in their entirety, as the music moves from track to track, with no clear end to the end of each section. .
Bill Laurence and Cory Henry to play what seems to be a Bach-inspired duet, ending with a beautiful third of Picardy.
The end tracks of the two sequels are perhaps one of Snarky Puppy’s most notable works and certainly the greatest achievement of this album. “The Curtain” is a 15-minute epic, which makes full and powerful use of the orchestra, building on a heavy groove with a crescendo of a New Orleans jazz-style solo, then descending to allow keyboardists Bill Laurence and Cory Henry to play what appears to be a Bach-inspired duet, ending with a beautiful third of Picardy. At this point, the orchestra goes back to the finale of the first section, with an enthusiastic and applauding audience. In the context of the album, ‘Gretel’ is the perfect opening for the second half, and the decomposition at the end is masterful, but for all its excellence it is ultimately overshadowed by the sheer magnificence of ‘The Clearing’ which at a whopping 20 minutes. Beginning with shimmering broken chords on the electric guitar, which are then joined by the string section, it is melancholy but quickly picks up with an upbeat orchestra the motif repeated throughout, the best grooves on the album are definitely contained here too. , with the after the end of the groove showing League and Sput at the top of their game as a rhythm section.
It shows a more mature and refined side of Snarky Puppy, while showing that jazz and classical can mix – and have wonderful results.
Ultimately Sylvie is a strange beast, an outstanding concept album that is both classical and jazz fusion, which, thanks to an incredibly clever arrangement, has managed to merge into an energetic yet sophisticated album, which features the Metropole Orchestra and Snarky Puppy as a winning combination. It shows a more mature and refined side of Snarky Puppy, while showing that jazz and classical can mix – and have wonderful results. This is a great deal and I urge fans of jazz and classical, or just those curious about what happens when an orchestra mixes with modern jazz fusion to listen to it!
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