Bahla show expansive development in Life Long.
London-based duo Bahla (Tal Janes/Joseph Costi) have shown no signs of slowing down. Following their more distinctly jazz-oriented debut album Imprints four years ago, Life Long encompasses a sound of greater authority and independence.
Essentially, what you find in Life Long is the total culmination of a multitude of influences, some which headline themselves with vivacious confidence and others which prefer an understated existence in the further reaches of the compositions. This doesn’t undermine their presence, however – though a more illusory presence behind a delicious groove, the mid-point of ‘Still’ nods to the ethereal atmospheres of Warpaint to wonderful effect.
Suitably, then, the EP is a goldmine of moments like these which brush off suggestions of standard practice. Most overt to Life Long is the adoption of electronics in the flowering of the overarching theme. It’s a more inviting and prevailing addition that is keen to offer a sense of familiarity while opening doors to lesser-accessed stylistic worlds.
Reflecting this best is ‘Time’, a track that, while unmistakably rooted in freer variations of jazz, dabbles in overawing bass synths before coming to fruition with a beat that just about shies away from a complete submission to disco.
The finest moment of Life Long comes in ‘The Source’, a number that has staked its claim as one of the finest songs of 2021 so far. Anchored by a layering reminiscent to Metronomy, the vocals of Inês Loubet steal the show. There’s something to be said for the way that her voice, alluring in its subtlety, has been expertly blended with the more punchy percussive company, but the track is undeniably led by her meticulous delivery.
There is something for everyone in ‘The Source’, which is a trait possessed throughout the EP altogether. Bahla have created a collection that offers both an excellent display of their talents and the ways in which jazz can be expanded to carry a diverse range of interests and tastes.
Bahla are Tal Janes and Joesph Costi, with guest musicians Inês Loubet (vocals), Ben Brown (drums) and Andrea Di Biase (bass).