‘Before we get started, let’s get one thing straight: Hieroglyphic Being is a beast. Since 2008 Jamal R. Moss has released, well, a LOAD of music. It’s something bananas like 60 albums. A few dozen singles/EPs, a slew of DJ mixes, and that’s not counting remixes. What’s even more remarkable is the consistency of quality. Very little of it drops below excellent. Just look at his run of releases on Technicolour. To be releasing that level of quality at this stage in his career is, well, it’s incredible. Jerzy Maczyński is no slouch either. Not as prolific but the music he has released is worth checking out. So, putting them together seems like a no brainer, right? Yup! It is. ‘Tune In’, their first collaborative album, is filled to the rafters with avant-garde horns, dense electronics and melodies for days.
The album kicks off with the title track, a nice mellow number that eases you into this collaborative album. The interplay between these two fearless musicians is a sheer delight. The standout track is ‘Multidimensional Transformation’. It is the only non-instrumental on the album. Moss doesn’t rap, per se, but he does deliver a spoken word piece about knowing your place in the world around you. “It’s a good thing I’m not a rapper, cos me spitting cyphers wouldn’t work right now. Know what I’m saying? I ain’t got no hot bars. Nothing”. This is delivered over a gravely electronic motif with a 4/4 beat. Then a wonky synth melody joins the track and we’re away! Its playful, but not a joke. Moss’ message is one of positivity but also of self-reliance. The vocals add an extra level of texture missing from the rest of the album.
‘The End Of Ur World’ is one of the more abstract pieces on the album. Hypnotic electronics swirl out of the speakers while atonal horns cut through it. The effect is discombobulating. It’s like being on a fairground ride. You’re being spun this way and that, while the sounds of the fair disorient us even more. And like a fairground ride there is a sense of danger. “Will this collapse under the strain?” Luckily for us it doesn’t, but its this vague worry that keeps the senses heightened. This is also true of the album. The feeling of “Will they make it to the end of the song” is strong. Especially on songs like ‘Sam-Sa-Ra’ and ‘Call Of The Wild’.
‘In Tune’ is an incredible album of vision and scope. Both artists complement each other in ways I didn’t expect. Going in, I thought Hieroglyphic Being would be delivering dense soundscapes and Maczyński would be either soloing over the top, at best, or worst, filling in the gaps. While this is kind of the case, it isn’t really true. Throughout ‘In Tune’ it doesn’t feel that either musician is in control and it’s a 50/50 partnership. I hope that ‘In Tune’ is the first of many releases from this duo as it appears this is only the tip of the iceberg. In tune? Yes, they very much are.
Words: Nick Roseblade