The Return by Deep Energy OrchestraRelease date: February 21, 2020
Label: 7d Media
It’s been two years since the Deep Energy Orchestra have unleashed a new album after their grand slam debut in 2018 with the release of Playing With Fire on Trey Gunn’s record label, 7d Media. This year, this incredible ensemble are stepping up the motif once more with their second album, The Return.
With their latest release, Jason Everett has fired up the munitions once more by seeing where he would take these big giant steps to fill up those gigantic halls. This time he’s brought the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, guitarist Fareed Haque, vocalist Ujwal Nagar, Suhail Yusuf Khan on Saran, and returning to lend Jason a helping hand is none other than V. Selvaganesh who had worked with the legendary John McLaughlin with Shakti from 1974 to 1978.
It’s not just the who’s who that is on this album, but pulling all of their might to bring this album to the forefront. The Return is a spiritual journey worth exploring throughout some of the highlights that are on here. And believe me, this ain’t no Prog or Jazz album, but an adventure that you are about to embark on from start to finish.
The four-part suite entitled ‘Moksha: The Elimination of All Duality’ opens the album off with a surreal atmosphere into the unknown with the Tabla, scatting vocals, percussion, and the intensive guitar work that has this fast-sped swirl as the instruments are combined into this complex swirl. Suddenly, it changes into this ominous approach with a droning twist around the third section as Everett and the percussionists walk through the hot and humid emerald forests that has now turned into an improvisational workout.
Not to mention Steve Sklar’s nod to the Tuvan Throat Singing or simply known as Mongolian Throat Singing, Khoomei, or Hoolin Chor as he comes center stage for a few minutes. The climax on the fourth and final section of the piece, sees Ujwal Nagar’s melodic vocals share Jason’s bass lines as the ensemble go into this jolt of electricity that adds a little twist to the Hot Rats-era.
Paco de Lucia’s composition of ‘Zyryab’ is a spectacular piece of music. Listening to this track, I believe that it is Fareed Haque doing his tribute to the master as he and Jason do this duel between guitar and bass in channeling Paco’s arrangements. There’s the flamenco-fusion vibration, the intensive tango dances, and the work-out that is getting you ready to be a part of that proposition.
The fires of transformation on the ‘Call of Kali’ has been set for Trey’s Warr Guitar, Don Gunn’s drum work, and Jason’s bass. It’s almost as if the three of them had wrote this composition as a ballet they had written for the gods that Stravinsky, his big stamp of approval for what they’ve accomplished. ‘Resolve’ sees the rhythmic chords of Fareed, Anil’s tabla, and Jason’s flamenco touches, make a sudden return back into the unknown forest to see what pieces of the puzzles they were missing. Radhika’s electric violin sees the clues and finally starts adding up the details on what has happened by bringing the curtains up one more time by returning to the ‘Mysterious World’.
The Seattle Municipal Chamber Orchestra comes together by bringing the album in full circle. You can imagine yourself being in that audience watching both the ensemble and the orchestra are having a ball with some incredible workout between the Violin and Tabla. The complex is more instructed than ever before. The audiences are completely spellbound in the closing track as the two partners bring the house down for an eruptive applause to a job they’ve finished with more extensive cheers. I just wished there was more from that performance.
For me, Deep Energy Orchestra are soon going to be one of my favorite bands. After now having two albums in the can, you can never tell what Jason will think of next. And my earbuds will be waiting for the next release. However, The Return shows that the D.E.O are just getting warmed up.