Outhouse - Free your mind

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Outhouse makes its eponymous debut next month with the Anglo-French quartet joined by singer Jeanne Added and tama drummer Kaw Secka. The group grew out of Loop collective sessions in Kentish Town influenced partly by its empathy with the Parisian Hask collective scene and the burgeoning confidence of the new wave of post-Polar Bear London bands pouring out of the London music colleges.

Outhouse - Free your mindEarly listens of the album suggest a two-pronged visceral reed attack tempered by a laconic lateral flow that succeeds in developing its own jagged sense of momentum. Yet there could be more to Outhouse than meets the ear, as Daniel Spicer discovers, as ongoing separate collaborations with Wolof percussionists in the Gambia and England coalesce in the spring.

North London quartet Outhouse has come a heck of a long way since its first improv sessions in the eponymous shed-cum-studio behind the house shared by drummer Dave Smith and saxophonist Robin Fincker. Since those early days in summer 2004, it has not only been hotly tipped as the next band set to burst out of the LOOP Collective stable and on to the wider national scene, the band members have also embarked on a musical journey that’s taking them to new continents and right to the heart of unfamiliar cultures. It’s all the more amazing, then, that this youthful four-piece – also including among its number bassist Johnny Brierley and saxophonist Mark Hanslip – is only just releasing its self-titled debut album this month.

Happily, it seems the hype is justified. It’s a mature and self-assured set that blasts straight out of the left field with a powerful blend of free jazz, groove and African rhythms – and one that makes refreshingly few concessions to the so-called punk jazz stylings currently in vogue with a lot of younger
bands and audiences. Sure, there are razor-funk grooves on the album that recall the downtown New York city scene of the 1980s and 90s but, as Fincker explains, they are less homage than unavoidable elements of the 21st century jazz lexicon.

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