From The Desk Of Mercury Rev: Kamasi Washington’s “The Epic”

The Light In YouMercury Rev’s 10th full-length and first in seven years—picks up where 2008’s Snowflake Midnight left off, with stalwart founders Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper drawing inspiration from nature and the Rubik’s Cube of love in equal measure. There is a strong autumnal vibe about the affair—a modern Days Of Future Passed, complete with sweeping orchestral touches and wistful remembrances by the fistful. When the band’s “psychedelic rock and blue-eyed soul” finds its groove, it’s still a breathless wonder to behold. Mercury Rev will be guest editing all week. Read oue MAGNET Classics feature on the band’s Yerself Is Steam.


Grasshopper: Kamasi Washington’s The Epic is a three-hour journey through the heart of America’s soul. This music picks up on the reflection of what Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry, John Gilmore, Roland Kirk, John Coltrane and Miles Davis were doing in the late ’60s/early ’70s, but Washington does it his own way: fresh, surprising and ecstatically jubilant. The Epic is music to drive in the car to; driving three hours with no destination, like the Situationists’ derive, a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences. Yes, Washington has toured with Snoop and is featured on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, but on The Epic, Washington plays it cool and then turns around and flies off into an equinox of screeching delirium that would make Sun Ra smile from Mercury to Saturn. We travel the spaceways. Epic indeed!

Video after the jump.