Composer and percussionist Eli Keszler has very likely been a vital force behind some of the 21st century’s most forward-facing music. Among his CV highlights are collaborations with the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never, Laurel Halo, Kevin Beasley and Rashad Becker, as well as a hand in crafting the nightmarishly psychedelic score for Uncut Gems. Now, Keszler returns with a solo album of beguiling fourth world jazz.
Icons begins with an ambient synth swell, where the only hint of rhythm comes in the distant thunder of a tribal drum invoking the past-future amalgamate of 1980s Ryuichi Sakamoto. Gently tumbling kalimbas and pitched percussion turn foreboding and vaguely industrial in the smoke-filled room of ‘Static Doesn’t Exist’, while the steady drawbridge between jazz and drum & bass is lowered with ‘The Accident’, a track filled with Flying Lotus Until the Quiet Comes era spaced-out atmospherics and propelled by the praying mantis like quick-fire percussion. Throughout Icons, Keszler masterfully balances rich production with fire-starting spontaneity, standing in trepidatious awe of our modern times.