Thaw are the latest offshoot of Loop Guru, the London based global fusion duo whose name has become synonymous with Summer festivals and blissed out breakbeats. Thaw’s debut album attempts to fuse together sacred chanting to a form of trance music. It’s a brave attempt and will no doubt enthrall those who have waited five years for new material from Loop Guru.
The opening track ‘Adi’ is an excellent introduction to Thaw’s music. It’s reminiscent of Trans-global Underground with it’s ethereal vocals – as the track bounces through it’s seven minutes, vocalist Linda Conroy starts off like Natacha Atlas, before slowly transforming into Bjork. The guitar that punctuates the track drives it along nicely and you can imagine this going down a storm in various dance tents around the country in the next few months.
The following track, ‘Love Me’ is built around samples of quotations from a spiritual guru, Avatara Adi Di Samraj, a figure who features heavily on the album. If this conjures up visions of Kula Shaker and their rather misguided Sanskrit lyrics a few years ago, calm down – Thaw are obviously immersed in this culture and no matter who off-putting an entire album of ‘urban shamanic trance’ may sound, they pull it off.
Vocals on the album are shared between the aforementioned Linda Conboy, and Jacqueline Clemons who demonstrates her quite beautifully rich voice on the ambient tinged ‘No Separations’. Clemons also shows up on ‘Simplicity’ which is reminiscent of Zero Seven’s recent output, and on the stand-out closing track, ‘The Universal World Prayer’, which she also wrote.
This isn’t a record to appeal to everyone – an hour long album of ancient chants and trance backbeats can get heavy going, and ‘I Bow Down’ will test the most patient of listener. However, Clemons’ magnificent voice is demonstrated well here and hints at a long future for her. If the recent release by Jah Wobble tempted you to further expand your musical education, then invest in this and visit one of the many festivals that Thaw are due to perform at this Summer. This probably makes even more sense under a blistering sun, in the middle of a field somewhere.