Orakel's debut album couldn't have arrived at a better time. The Austrian collective's take on nu jazz neatly opens the door for breezy summer dreams whilst also providing something of a respite (for those who need it) from the glut of excellent industrial techno, the looming overdose of retro-styled house and the chronic exhaustion from pursuing bass music's constant mutations. When Time Doesn't Know Itself also sets itself apart, particularly from its nu jazz contemporaries, by being gentle and life-affirming...but never condescending or cheesy. This is not an album of showboating obscure samples or cut-and-paste technique. Nor is it drowning in coffee lounge chic. Time is an album of hope and goodwill where the medium is also the message.
The press release may talk up the glitch elements of the music, but they're barely noticeable. More often than not, tracks contain a seamless blend of samples and live playing with flourishes of strings, a touch of brass or wind instrumentation and—most noticeably—vocals. The arrangements are also particularly impressive, easily avoiding any sense of programming or having been overly orchestrated. Collaborators include the enigmatic Austrian musician Dorian Concept, who plays synths on "After All," and Flying Lotus collaborator Richard Eigner, who adds "toy percussion" on several tracks.
What stands out most, however, are the vocal performances from three distinguished guests. Finnish vocalist Vilja Larjosta, who has partnered Lusine on many occasions, is a constant presence. The quasi-title track "When Life Has to Confer," whose lyrics generate the album's name, sees her approach recalling Sun Ra's long-term vocalist June Tyson in summoning a higher spiritual plane. Canadian singer Sacha Williamson makes a cameo on "After All." The presence of Dwight Trible, meanwhile, is a major coup. A contributor to many diverse projects over the years from jazz to hip-hop, he is best known for his vocal contributions to the Pharoah Sanders Quintet, whose deeply humanistic and karmic spiritual qualities he transfers to this project as well. Trible ranges from the beautiful smooth baritones of "Recreation Song" to a more freeform style on opener "The Gate," which pays homage to Sanders' "The Creator Has a Master Plan."
Tracklist 01. The Gate feat. Dwight Trible
02. Wandering Spirit
03. Recreation Song feat. Dwight Trible
04. Sou Do Futuro feat. Vilja Larjosto
05. Ignore C.H.A.N.G.E.
06. Travessa feat. Vilja Larjosto
07. Come Closer
08. Feel The Process feat. Vilja Larjosto
09. When Life Has To Confer feat. Vilja Larjosto & Anya Stuart
10. Interplanetary Jaunt
11. After All feat. Dorian Concept & Sacha Williamson
12. The Beginning Of The End feat. Dwight Trible