Konda taps into interstellar melodies

Self-titled record diversifies the group's musical palette

Photo credit: Courtesy Konda
KONDA: The group's self-titled debut how far out one can get with a minimal yet deeply expressive sound.

Marquinn Mason dazzles. Behind the saxophone, Mason communicates with constellations, planets, and the spirits of John Coltrane and Sun Ra circling our blue orb. Once he’s got the message, it gets transcribed into sometimes soft, sometimes hard-hitting noise. What the message is exactly, we may never know. But the kinetic energy Mason curates with his bandmates in Konda on the group's new slef-titled record is truly transcendent. Conjuring up a fusion of free form, modal, and post-bop jazz sounds, Konda delivers a mystifying album that transports and soothes the soul.

The album is full of diverse and spacious soundscapes ornamented by slow builds, smoky hooks, and sharp interplay between Trey Dunnahoo’s melodic guitar work and Mason’s sax flourishes. Dunnahoo and Mason’s dynamic interplay is highlighted on “improv_05,” where Dunnahoo adds a sitar-esque effect to his guitar on top of Mason’s short, chopped phrases. When the group hits their peak, it’s frisson — an entrancing, musical mandala of modal and free-form jazz. While new jazz greats like Kamasi Washington show off prowess in density and a multitude of musicians, Konda’s virtuosic work on the record just goes to show how far out one can get with a minimal yet deeply expressive sound.

The record is a trip, sincerely. With each full listen, there are new dynamics and moods to pull from and enjoy. There’s some real magic to behold here, so fire up some incense, lower the lights, and let Konda take you away. ★★★☆☆

★★★★★ This album will change your life | ★★★★☆ A truly great album | ★★★☆☆ A solid effort, worth a listen | ★★☆☆☆ No thanks | ★☆☆☆☆ Don't bother

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