Power to the Babies
SCIENTIFIC MAP POWER TO THE BABIES Imaginary Chicago Records 004 ___________________________________ Produced by acclaimed house/electronica artist Anthony Nicholson, the debut recording by Chicago genre-busters Scientific Map is a bold statement of the New Chicago Sound. Moving between Afrobeat, funk, fusion, hip hop, new groove, nu-jazz, psychedelia, and R&B, 'Power to the Babies' could only have been recorded in Chicago. It's stylistic fluency is a result of the varied artistic demands placed on musicians in such a culturally diverse city. Bandleader/guitarist Matt Hudson describes the musical vision of the new album: "We're now experiencing the end of genre. Information from around the world is travelling to us so quickly that we're constantly exposed to new cultural and musical ideas. Musicians can't help but be influenced by this. If they're open-minded enough, the result is a cohesive, genreless sound that is fresh and new." Throughout the album, Matt Hudson's playing demonstrates an innovative and nuanced re-imagining of jazz guitar that is influenced as much by Wes Montgomery as by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. This stylistic diversity is reflected in the range of guest artists featured throughout, including rock'n'roll saxophonist Aaron Getsug (Hi-Fi & the Roadburners) and Pittsburgh R&B vocalist Gene Stovall. ___________________________________ Review from ERIE TIMES-NEWS: Modern yet smooth, accessible, funk-inflected atmospheric jazz with occasional urban undertones. ___________________________________ Review from PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER: Laden with polished licks and fusion grooves. ___________________________________ Review from DUSTY GROOVE: A great collaboration between Matt Hudson and Anthony Nicholson--underground grooves from the current Chicago scene, served up with even more cosmic elements than Nicholson's better-known work! The beats are often quite raw and acoustic sounding, and they're topped not just with the usual keys, but also some heavy guitar too--sometimes a bit fuzzy, which gives the record a nice edge--and which further seems to push the rhythms away from the obvious. There's a bit of vocals on the set, but most of the focus is instrumental. The album's got a tremendous amount of musical depth. ___________________________________ Review from ILLINOIS ENTERTAINER: Guitarist Matt Hudson leads Scientific Map through an adventurous collection of songs that deftly combine jazz fusion and techno on the band's debut, Power to the Babies. Most of these tracks are instrumental, and even the vocals on the haunting 'Merlin's Bride' and futuristic 'Carpenters in Forehead' flow through the arrangements as opposed to leading them. Likewise Hudson's guitar playing (most prominent on 'Port de Patois') melds perfectly with the talents of the other musicians. ___________________________________ Review from ALL ABOUT JAZZ: Power to the Babies brings together funk, house and jazz influences to produce an album that grooves hard with a healthy dose of creative improvisation. The quartet of Will Baggett (bass), Dave Holloway (keys), Matt Hudson (guitar) and Anthony Reid (drums) lay down some seriously funky grooves on every track with a tasteful amount of jazz fusion soloing thrown in for good measure. Melding all of these genres together, Power to the Babies is a cornucopia of groove and melody that is both danceable and intellectually stimulating at the same time. Most of the soloing on the album is handled by guitarist Hudson and keyboardist Holloway. Each has their own distinct approach to improvising that plays well off of each other, while at the same time adding new dimensions to the vibe of each tune. Hudson's soloing contains elements of blues, rock, jazz and fusion. He is constantly weaving in and out of varying degrees of dissonance, such as his solo on 'Day Dream Johnny,' where he alternates blues based bends and streams of highly chromatic runs that act as the yin to the blues' yang lines. Holloway on the other hand, draws more from the '70s funk era with a tip of his hat to the likes of Herbie Hancock and Joe Zawinul in his lines, effects and feel. Never crossing the line into the realm of imitation, he is able to thread his influences through his playing while keeping them personal and unique. Which is as commendable as it is musically enjoyable. The album also features some excellent guest work by several great musicians. One of the highlights of the album is the horn work of Matt Cashdollar and Aaron Getsug on 'Wisefoot.' The funky horn lines during the tune's melody section are perfectly intonated, rhythmically deep in the pocket and so tight that it often sounds as if they are being played by one person. Getsug also delivers a very enjoyable solo on the tune. Where others may have chosen to rely on chops and flash on a groove like this, Getsug digs deep into the time and lays down simple, yet highly effective, riffs that are the perfect interlude for a tune like this. Power to the Babies delivers a hefty dose of groove and creativity on every track. The strength of the album lies in the ability of the musicians to stay true to their funk tendencies without becoming monotonous or losing themselves in the music.