Organic jazz and funk-fusion occasionally makes its way back into the mainstream with sudden style and flair, often when there’s a genuinely creative and musically impressive artist or band behind it. Mr. Giant could well be the force that pushes that occurrence in the near future.
Rather than feeling like a particular genre, this EP is simply an easy pleasure to have fill the room. Where electronic music offers a common source of escapism, the realness that floats through within these soundscapes brings an element of peacefulness alongside a dash of humanity, so the experience seems to connect a little more personally.
Seven Feet Tall as an opener offers calming ambiance and colourful melodies all at once. Throughout the track, the leading riff is presented by a few different roles – the instrumentation on the top line varies, but always that lightly rhythmic backdrop keeps things warm and flowing. During the latter half, the story-line seems to veer off into some other-worldly arena – feeling a little sci-fi-like for a second, then soon after feeling notably soulful and rock-like. The essence of jazz back in the day was this freely meandering, unpredictable aura, but even with that – you don’t get much modern jazz that manages to thoroughly surprise an audience; at least you didn’t before Mr. Giant came along.
The latter half of this opening composition explodes into life, the energy rises high and lifts you up and away with it – right before calming you back down to consider what you went through. The creativity is through the roof and that’s a totally refreshing thing to witness in organic instrumental music right now.
As the project continues, there’s not much room for complacency or to think you know where things will go, but this is not in place of effective, enjoyable escapism – far from it. Jazz and funk fans will feel as at home here as the average music lover looking to disappear into the moment for a while.
Electric Eel is like a classic movie scene in some ways, the near eight minute journey offers plenty more in the way of unexpected creative freedom, always holding tight to your interest. It feels, to me, like the long walk through the Las Vegas casino or hotel – mellow at first, slowly getting stranger and more colourful, eventually veering off down some chaotic hallway where all sorts of impossible wonders are in action.
Maze takes things back a little further, the sax and the seemingly free rhythm of the click offer a smokey-jazz-bar feel to begin with, setting a new kind of mood and letting your mind wander in a slightly different direction. Still the set-up has plenty of surprises in store. This one grows to be rhythmically immersive, a big-band vibe comes through – suddenly energizing and expressive in a captivating way. As you might expect a literal maze to be, the track sees the listener get lost among another unpredictable series of moments. Rising intensity is one of Mr. Giant’s most unique and fascinating characteristics, something you grow to look forward to and revel in about their music.
Phy-Pho offers the final quarter of the project, another piece that starts of subtly – lulling you into a false sense of delicacy and peace. The latter half introduces a superb touch of something a little Santana-like. The electric guitar reappears throughout this EP, but during these final moments is where it really reaches superb new heights and entrances the listener in a confident, satisfying way.
Face to Face is a must, for all music fans – don’t make up your mind about any of these tracks until you’ve heard past at least the first couple of minutes. Look out for their full-length album early next year.