Khota and his highly skilled band released their first album, "Transmutation," in 2014 and since then have been successfully experimenting with new music styles and sounds.
"Liminal" sees them dive into a whole new musical terrain, showcasing how far they’ve come in their natural progression and growth. With Khota as leader and composer on guitar, Shane Cooper on bass, Fender Rhodes and synth, Jonno Sweetman on drums and Buddy Wells on saxophone and flute, here is a group of musos blessed with a mutual ease and chemistry. It’s all based on years of performing together, but also, the ability to make magic with improvisation.
Think of Khota and his style and think of delving into African groove traditions, combined with harmonious jazz phraseology and the deep influence of classical Indian tones and rhythms.
Cooper and Khota have come a long way together, having both played in the band Babu, while Cooper broadened his musical journey with his own project, Mabuta, earlier this year. The bass player’s electronic work there reflects in his aesthetic contribution on "Liminal".
Meanwhile, Sweetman has earned a reputation as an incredibly versatile drummer and also made inroads in Sweden, collaborating with saxophonist Nils Berg. It’s his textural palette and subtle evocation of sounds that form the narrative backbone of the new album.
Finally, Wells’ sound and compositions pay homage to local legends like Winston Mankunku, but reach far out into the overtones of this continent and beyond.
This latest offering the quartet explore the idea of being “between two or more dimensions”, Khota said. “Musicians are frequently in a ‘liminal’ state, being aware of the inward process of music (memory, the body, rhythm, breath, theoretical concepts, voice/melody, feeling and sound) as well as the external elements (acoustics, instrument, band interaction/telepathy, audience and the air).”
Khota said the new album is filled with textured compositions which straddle moments of calm and tension.
He said inspiration for the compositions demonstrated an awareness of the in-between states “we constantly find ourselves in”.