REVIEW: Smoke – Smoke EP (2018)

Smoke is a doom jazz duo hailing from Toulouse, France. Their self-titled EP was released on November 19th, 2018 and as of now remains their only public release.

While the trappings of doom jazz are certainly there, the duo approach the emotional and cinematic palette of doom jazz from a very different angle. There is an almost industrial feel to Smoke’s use of synthesizers. Stripped of the doom metal elements of doom jazz, its mid-tempo swagger is fairly fast for the genre. Layers of droning organ and harmonica crawl out from under each other, gliding along side shuffling drums and musique concrète texture samplings.

At times, the album comes across as more triphop or post-rock. Cinematic mystique is achieved first and foremost with textural sampling; trickling rain, distant trains, and the creaking and squeaking of traffic all play parts as important as the meandering Moog synthesizers and haunting saxophones snippets.

While it might not be the crème de la crème of the doom jazz genre, I don’t believe it is trying to be. Smoke is a creature of its own nature, and in doing so they help expand the boundaries of the small circle we call doom jazz.

For fans of: Dale Cooper Quartet, Mogwai, Bohren & der Club of Gore

Enjoy Smoke? Give these a listen: Luna Honey, Lower Level Bureau, Côte Déserte

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