“A world in which people seek the uncertainties, and possibilities, of art” is the vision of one of the most innovative ensembles to be gracing the popular music landscape right now. With the recent release of their latest album, it’s undeniable that Art Of Time Ensemble is bringing that vision to life. Led by the artistic direction and vision of Andrew Burashko together with arrangements by Jonathan Goldsmith who reinterpreted a wide array of songs that qualify as standards. Goldsmith stays faithful to the original melodies and form and then pushes the boundaries as far as possible in every conceivable way. After immersing myself in the deeply sensory sonic landscapes, mesmerizing motifs and hypnotic storytelling that their recent album ‘Ain’t Got Long’ boasts, I can say with certainty they do just that. The Canada based collective have been breaking archaic genre boundaries since 1998, as their eclectic mix of musicians has attracted captivated crowds on multiple tours. Honestly, I’m just waiting for them to announce their next road trip. This album features the phenomenal pipes of Madeleine Peyroux, Gregory Hoskins, Jessica Mitchell and Sarah Slean. Perhaps it’s Andrew’s perfect pairings of soundscape with singer or the astounding arrangements of the songs themselves that sets this album apart from anything I’ve experienced.
Whatever it is, I can’t get enough.
The utter artistry and passion for performance shine through in each tantalizing track from ‘Ain’t Got Long’. Like clay bending between their fingers, Art Of Time Ensemble remolds renowned works with an astonishingly innovative flair. Each musical gesture melts into the next, weaving and binding with rich tapestry. Notably, ‘River’ featuring Jessica Mitchell left me aghast at the utter awe-inspiring atmosphere created.
Jessica’s intimate vocals swim through a sea of orchestral ornaments, with each harmonic twist and turn taking you further into the special sonic universe of Art Of Time Ensemble. The title track ‘Ain’t Got Long’ opens the album with all the innovative intentions we’ve come to expect from this group of pros. A flowerbed of strings, samples and synths lay a luscious soundscape, swiftly making way for piano riffs and ear candy to sprout and bloom halfway through the eight-minute venture. Art Of Time Ensemble’s vibrant versatility is a force to be reckoned with.
Madeleine Peyroux’s ‘What’ll I Do’ hones in on the astonishingly expressive harmony that inaugurates this ensemble as such a groundbreaking group expanding our airwaves this year. Concluding this captivating body of work is ‘Sad Song’ featuring the astonishing vocals of Sarah Slean.
Each second of the hour-long album is utilized in constructing an evolving journey through Art Of Time Ensemble’s incredible artistry. To top it all off, the imagination of Art Of Time is epically illustrated by the album’s arresting cover – an image from “More Sweetly Play the Dance,” a large-scale 2015 visual work by South African artist William Kentridge.
After letting this album swim through your speakers, trust me, you ain’t got long before you fall for the airwaves of Art Of Time Ensemble.
Art Of Time’s “Ain’t Got Long” is available on every digital platform available – including iTunes, tidal, deezer and so on.
By Sasha Lauryn