It brings musical ideas from the past squarely into the future.

Animal Music

Lubos Soukup (tenor/soprano saxophone, clarinet); William Larsson (rhodes, keyboards, effects); Graig Earle (double bass); Daniel Johansson (drums); Karmen Roivassepp  (vocals)

Ancient philosophers thought the universe could be reduced to completely mechanical principles; the motion and collision of matter. This was one of the inspirations for the Lubos Soukup Quartet’s new project MACHINA MUNDI.

MACHINA MUNDI’s musical inspiration came from Weather Report and The Chris Potter Underground. Chris Potter said he wanted to play as free as he could over a funk band. Weather Report played funk as well but they added electronics with a lot of group improvisation.

I really like Lubos Soukup’s playing on MACHINA MUNDI. I wish he would have played more clarinet but his work on tenor and soprano saxophone are superb.

Lubos Soukup wrote all seven compositions, and he used tarot cards to help pick titles for them. ‘Dream’ starts the album off with a cool funk groove. William Larsson on keyboards uses a lot of electronic effects. Soukup’s tenor sax is placed beautifully on top of things. Graig Earle on bass and Daniel Johanson on drums keep things grounded.

Getting the tarot dream card means you may gain insight into something but you may be surprised by what you find.

‘Mundi Special #1’ is a short sax solo that leads into ‘Black and White Sphinxes.’ It feels like an exploration. Bass and drum are plodding along. Larsson’s keyboard has some serious effects and reverb going on. Soukup plays a pretty but mournful sounding clarinet.

The “Sphinx” tarot card tells you to go after your goal no matter what is trying to hold you back.

‘The Wheel Of Fortune’ in tarot means change and this song takes off and doesn’t let up. Bass and drums push things forward. Sax and keyboard fight for dominance until electronics and reverb take off into outer space. The tenor sax slows things down, bass and drums put on the brakes, and the Lubos Soukup Quartet land peacefully.

Danish Karmen Roivassepp is guest vocalist on ‘The Eighth Star’ and adds a bit of the ethereal. If the “Star” card appears you are likely to find yourself feeling inspired and blessed; a fitting description of ‘The Eighth Star.’

Tarot cards can be used to play games or look to the future.

Earlier this year Lubos Soukup put out a duet recording with pianist Christian Pabst. LEVITAS was serious, masterfully done, with heavy nods to classical music. MACHINA MUNDI is a lot more playful. It brings musical ideas from the past squarely into the future.

Reviewed by Tim Larsen