When musicians are members of a rich community of artists, the potential for collaboration is tremendous. Fruitful alliances are currently the norm in London, where the jazz scene continues to redefine the genre. One such example is the experimental group Cykada. Founded by Tomorrow’s Warriors alum and bassist Jamie Benzies with drummer Tim Doyle (the driving force behind last week’s Jazz Cafe feature, Maisha), the group explores both traditional and digital sounds which expand the boundaries of the genre. Joined by Ezra Collective’s James Mollison (sax), Tile Gigichi-Lipere (keyboards/electronics), Axel Kaner-Lidstrom (trumpet) and Javi Perez (guitar). Cykada has recently released its long-awaited eponymous debut.
The record was definitely well-received. Clash Music called it “an explosive introduction to the group’s music, with its infectious, relentless energy levels,” while Rhythm Passport noted the songs are “unexpected and groovy.”
Doyle has described the inspiration for the group’s unique electronic formulations by relating some early experimentation. Using microphones on the drum or cymbal, each sound was captured and synchronized using tools like Ableton and Jitter. With a mix of Turkish, African and Flamenco influences, Cykada recorded the five songs for this record in 2017 at Total Refreshment Centre, a performance and recording space at the heart of the scene.
While each member is busy with various projects, fans hope the group’s follow-up will be forthcoming with a shorter wait next time.