The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Sunny Jain
Phoenix Rise Seeham Rahman , June 10th, 2021 07:49

Bringing together musicians from four continents, including members of Snarky Puppy, Melt Yourself Down, Burnt Sugar, The Real Live Show, the Black Pumas, the new Sunny Jain record is feast – literally

Phoenix Rise is an album with no defining instrumentation nor style – yet that is precisely what makes the record so captivating. It would be a doddle to say the tracks do not meld together tenaciously, when an investigative ear can ascertain that the record’s polyglot musical conversation is key to the experimental, cross-cultural core of the album. Unpredictable in what will characterise each track, the record curiously crafts together all kinds of sounds – from airy synths to charming Urdu vocals or jangling car keys and shape-shifting time signatures.

Beginning with ‘Heroes’, the album starts with a mingle between the compelling sound of the mbira and rap, bringing into scope issues of police violence and the work of the front line against Covid-19. Elsewhere, ‘I’ll Make It up to You’ is a dynamic and upbeat blues production, which is followed by the equally charming – even hypnotic – ‘Pride in Rhythm’ a song which provides an insight into the proficiency Jain has for the strains of South Asian music.

What’s transparent on Phoenix Rise is the narrative of collaboration, not only due to its core design as a fundraiser for the Center For Constitutional Rights, but since the artists have attempted to bring people together in such a multi-faceted way. Phoenix Rise is built from the work of over fifty artists and is a delicious amalgamation of art, music, photography and, even, food. Unable to tour or travel, Sunny Jain, founder of the sound metamorphosing bhangra/jazz/funk band Red Baraat, connected virtually with artists from at least four continents, across a diverse range of traditions and genres, including players from Snarky Puppy, Melt Yourself Down, Burnt Sugar, The Real Live Show, the Black Pumas, and many others. It surfaces as a new kind of transcultural alliance, standing out as a beacon of hope for all the small joys in the world.

Coming packaged with a vegan cookbook including recipes shared by this global mix of artists, Phoenix Rise offers a unique experience – one which brings together manifold musical communities and is coloured by an energetic and tasty sonic and planet-based palette. Ushering up a homeliness which has been key to making quarantine manageable, Phoenix Rise is a standout project which keeps in mind all of the senses.