Music is pervasive in my life. Simply stated, in some way, form, or fashion, I plan to make a career out of the music industry. Either in the field (if you can call it that) of performing or working in some sort of music non-profit organization or with an instrument manufacturer, I want to take something I feel passionate about and make a living doing it. (And yes, I’m aware what the pay is like. And no, I’m not in it for the money.) However, in the meantime, I have taken great joy in supporting people and artists that already have made a fair amount of headroom for themselves, be it by recording albums, signing record deals, touring, etc. One such artist is a group called Submotion Orchestra.
It’s somewhat challenging to describe the U.K. group’s sound. Consisting of six instrumentalists and a talented vocalist, it seems appropriate to label them as ambient electronic jazz, which I realize sounds like a bunch of musical genres that I just threw together. But in all actuality, it really seems appropriate. Upon listening to the group for the first time, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was listening to an electronic music artist that had recruited a singer and wrote some decent MIDI horn parts. As it turns out, the band plays almost all of their music live, that is to say, not a lot of their music consists of pre-recorded samples.
One of Submotion’s biggest strengths (and this article is 100% subjective, so please let me know what you think if you disagree!) is how well they blend genres to create a truly unique sound. From a jazz standpoint, they create some very melodically interesting and harmonically striking music. From an electronic music standpoint, they are more ambient and laid-back, as opposed to some electronic music that creates a sense of disorientation by a bombardment of your ears by any and all samples that can be thrown together. You should listen to Submotion Orchestra for the relaxing quality of their music. You should listen to them because of the interesting jazz turns and harmonies. You should listen to them for the smooth trumpet solos and soothing vocals of Ruby Wood (which just sounds like the name of a jazz singer, let’s be real.)
Submotion Orchestra’s most recent album, “Colour Theory” was released by Counter Records in 2016 and is available on most listening or streaming platforms.
Photo Courtesy of http://efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk/