Album Of the Week: Emanative – The Light Years of the Darkness


I swore I posted this months ago, but I didn’t, so here it is. Emanative‘s latest body of work comes in the form of this incredible collaborative piece of art all in the name of the charity, the Steve Reid Foundation. With features from critically acclaimed artists such as Four Tet, Collocutor, The Pyramids, Earl Zinger, Jessica Lauren, Finn Peters, Rocketnumbernine, United Vibrations and Steve Reid collaborator Ahmed Abdullah! This whole double album was conceived from the beginning as a way to raise both money and awareness for Gilles Peterson’s Steve Reid Foundation.

Gilles Peterson had this to say about the project:

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Emanative’s ‘The Light Years Of The Darkness’ album be our first release for the Steve Reid Foundation. In Keeping with Steve’s open-ended approach and his musical history, Nick Woodmansey has delivered a knockout Jazz and beyond album.”

They lead in with a rendition of Alice Coltrane’s Eastern hymn “Om Supreme” which is the setup for the overall spiritual feel of the album. Other more upbeat tracks like “As Of Yet” and “Fire” keep the momentum going throughout the album. The hypnotic vibes created on the Kieran Hebden assisted “Makondi” are simply stunning. One of my favorite tracks is their rendition of Albert Ayler’s “Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe”. Recreating this musically and with Earl Zinger & Valerie Etienne’s vocals was unexpected yet done very well.

“I see this as a celebration of the wealth and depth of the art of black musicians, magicians, who have given us so much; as well as a joining of forces with an emergence of new and present time talent to co-create new versions of music of this era explained Emanative.

I’ve definitely taken inspiration and influence from Steve Reid and the artists he worked with from Fela to Sun Ra, James Brown to Arthur Blythe – from the soulful to the experimental; whilst at the same time, after having been given complete artistic freedom to create something new and fresh in my own way, I didn’t attempt to make it a direct tribute as such, as I did more so previously with our version of Lions Of Judah”. 

Production is top notch, and the project as a whole is more than ear worthy. One of my favourite albums of the year, and a must for real music lovers.


Purchase The Light Years of the Darkness digitally (vinyl sold out) here

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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