Charlie Stacey / The Light Beyond Time / Night Dreamer – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

‘Music is a type of yearning….music is a type of dreaming…’sings Vula Malinga on Music Is Healing and straight away you’re in: locked into the sound of five super-talented musicians in a room together, making music that’s cut directly onto a lathe. All live, all good: creation rebels forging something magical in the sacred furnace of the groove.

No pressure then , but no problem with players like this: keyboardist Charlie Stacey’s flying fingers have graced the stage with Moses Boyd, Ezra Collective, Yussef Dayes – he has the chops to get the props and then some. Backed up by Tom Driessler‘s boogie-down bass, Jay Phelps‘s sinuous trumpet, Mamour Seck‘s percussion and Oscar Ogden on the drums alongside Vula’s wonderful tones, it’s a veritable cauldron of inventiveness, musicality, and knowledge – and, crucially, fun.

These cats are laying it out and enjoying it immensely: you can’t help but smile at the sheer virtuosity of Charlie’s Tune, for example: rippling piano runs leap into Vula and Jay doubling up on the riffs – it’s wild, and free, and exhilarating. This is the sound of youthful endeavour, of hours and hours and hours of practice distilled into a white heat of musical explosion. Shockingly good.

Charlie Stacey The Light Beyond Time

Vula lets rip with some classic scatting on the cosmically-inclined Rivers of Gondor: Stacey’s synth work echoing Herbie maybe, delayed and wandersome, a lost trek through planetary soundscapes, a questing vision of higher musical consciousness, an escape from the dreary mundane of much of our waking lives.

Charlie Stacey The Light Beyond Time

This is music as transformation, expertise, and skill, and timing, repurposed as a calling. It all coalesces on Music Is Healing: eight minutes of mainlined wonder and childlike visions of eternity, wrapped up in soulful chords and lyrics of hope and endeavour. It’s already had Mr. Peterson’s seal of approval: a future classic without a shadow of a doubt.

There’s magic, then, in these compositions: a one-off, never to be repeated performance from musicians right at the top of their game. Lightning in a bottle, captured on wax, the eternal quest for a better world, a more loving world, a world in which melody replaces malignancy. We can all dream, right?

Charlie Stacey The Light Beyond Time

Charlie Stacey’s The Light Beyond Time is out now, on Night Dreamer.

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