Guest Playlist: Yusufla

Guest Playlist: Yusufla.

This week we welcome Yusufla to the Twistedsoul guest playlist series.

Three saxes up front, anchored by bass and drums. The band’s original material spotlights their unusual front-line trio of saxophones exploring textural and rhythmic reverberations.

Influences are wide in range, from their namesake Yusef Lateef, to Indian sax maverick Kadri Gopalnath and beyond.

The quintet is hard at work recording their new EP this month at Soup Studios with Giles Barrett so stay tuned…

For their guest playlist, the band has put together a diverse mix of musical influences, which includes everything from Steve Reich to Blood Wine or Honey.

Without further ado, over to Yusufla who have lovingly put together a track by track guide below…

‘We really enjoyed putting this playlist together as a band. There are some real classics and some recent loves in here. We’ve all shared and come to these tunes together over our history as band: using them as inspiration, magpie picking shiny sounds and silver coloured tones to weave into our tunes.”

Guest Playlist: Yusufla

Aster Aweke – Libe Tesaghere

This is such a slippy beautiful track, we love the rolling beat and softly tongued saxophone in interplay with guitar.

Tortoise – The Taut And The Tame
This tune is a favourite of our bass player David Ruiz. We love the thematic of this tune, a simple idea done really well, succinct in its aims and a total groove at the same time.

Dinosaur – Robin
Dinosaur are a ridiculously good band, so many sounds and approaches melded together in a quietly
original way. Seeing them live has been a real inspiration to us, this is one of our favourite tracks – it has such distinct changes of feel but coherently links together. Their playing feels second-skin natural and is a delight to eat through our ears.

Jeff Parker – Cliché
That caramel voice wandering in unison with the sax melody is just liquid gold. That is all.

Alogte Oho & His Sounds of Joy – Mam Yinne Wa
James Storer our drummer, has been really digging this recently. The tight together horn harmonies are super easy on the ear and the opening groove locks under them so nice.

Blood Wine or Honey – Anxious Party People
Celyn Thomas our Tenor Sax man came across this gem and shared it with the band a little while back. We love the mad tonality and intricate sounds building up the texture, it’s not that similar to anything else we’ve been hearing right now – a total left-field wonder.

The Shaolin Afronauts – Journey Through Time
Our Live Sound Technician James Runciman contributed this track. These guys are from his hometown of Adelaide, Australia. The horn playing is on point and their sound a sweet tasting tribute to the immortal Fela.

Christian Scott – Diaspora
This sunshine of a tune has so much energy all rooting out from one looped piano figure. Christian Scott’s arrangement is beautiful and evolves slowly, using repetition to build familiarity and intensity in equal measure.


Lata Mangeshkar – Kabhi Kushie Kabhie Gham
I’ve (Rachel Jackson – Alto Sax) always listened to a lot of Bollywood soundtracks and Indian Classical music. Lata’s voice just brings so much grace and understated style to the table every time. I love the epic scale of this track, with the suspense-filled 1980’s feeling middle section, double-tongued flute, full choir and swooning strings.

Daniel Herskedal – Seeds of Language
One of Imogen Walker’s (Soprano Saxophone) choices picked for the spotlight on the bass registers. Daniel Herskedal’s music always journeys into that lower range, not just because he is a tuba player, but because his arrangements warm up those deep, ochre bass tones across the whole ensemble.

Steve Reich – Nagoya Marimbas
I’ve been struck down with an unabiding love for this piece for the last decade or more. It’s an absolute lifetime study in knotting, plaiting, literally weaving and binding melody and instruments
together. Seeing it live was a really striking musical experience for me that’s influenced much of what I try to write since.

Yusufla Band

Girls In Airports – The Grass by the Roses
We love the way the melody passes around the saxes here, something we like to play within our voicings. Like achieving symbiosis then slowly drawing apart to musical poles.

Yves Tumor – Limerence
This is a more a piece of cinema than a musical composition. An enveloping journey including a really intimate piece of recorded speech pregnant with mystery and familiarity. It calls to mind live experiences we’ve had seeing Laaraji – Yves Tumor also creates that kind of meditative musical state that swallows you up and slowly digests you whole.

Shibusa -Shirazu Orchestra – Hikouki
I came across this track a few years ago and was really taken by the trumpet solo in the second half of the tune. It’s sparsely put, with a wild tone that builds into this celebratory cacophony across the ensemble. It’s totally weird, almost hedonistic. The slow rising pressure of this track really reminds me of Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain’ and has that same super raw emotion searing out of it too.


Listen to the music of  Yusufla via Bandcamp.

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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