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Jim Ghedi Satori

Jim Ghedi’s debut solo album Satori is without doubt one of the most unconventional records you’ll hear this year - intelligent yet untamed, open-ended yet controlled. It’s a mass of pure creativity, sometimes confusing but in the end beautiful, affirming and uplifting. At times you’ll hear shades of Beefheart, Zappa and maybe Colin Stetson. The many world music influences channel African rhythms and Middle Eastern harmony. Avant garde jazz pervades and the late John Tavener is never far away. But with such a patchwork smorgasbord of influences, Ghedi has created a sound belonging solely to him.

The album is a mix of extended song and spoken word compositions and some sound collage accompanied by Ghedi’s finger-picked guitar and a large ensemble of some leading Sheffield musicians, including members of Blood Sport, Oxo Foxo, Screaming Maldini, The Purgatory Players and this not-entirely-humble reviewer. There are over 20 instruments recorded, including zither, sitar and harp alongside strings, woodwind and brass. The resulting sound is full and lush, richly orchestrated but based on improvisation and allowing chance moments to happen. Combined with Ghedi’s flexible and unstructured songwriting style, this approach to recording could have led to a chaotic sounding album, but it always sits the right side of the knife edge, full of verve and excitement, but never going too far.

The album launch event on 5 April at Bank Street Arts will see music played in a similar way. A seven-piece band will play a new piece from semi-structured improvisations based on songs from the album, while live artists create work based on what they hear. This unique, one-off performance typifies Ghedi’s ultra-creative style. A gem in Sheffield’s burgeoning experimental scene.