JJ Whitefield & Forced Meditation | The Infinity Of Nothingness

Having plied his trade around the world for more than three decades, German guitarist, bandleader and musical explorer JJ Whitefield has always instilled in his craft a natural aesthetic of authenticity, a key component which has seen him amass a sizeable and varied catalogue of material which has remained timeless where some of his contemporaries have faded away.

In the early 90s, as various UK bands were signed up by sizeable labels and enjoyed even mainstream chart success in the Acid Jazz and rare groove boom, Whitefield was a founding member of the Poets Of Rhythm, self-releasing their own uncompromisingly hard-edged take on 70s street funk on the then completely unfashionable 7” single format, forerunning the Deep Funk scene by almost a decade. 30 years on, in spite of a legion of retro-focused bands having followed in their wake, few have yet to come close to matching the energy and spirit of those early Poets 45s.

Since then, Whitefield has applied himself to all manner of new incarnations and innovative side-projects, releasing further funk surveys with his own band under the pseudonym Karl Hector, with releases on labels such as Stones Throw, Daptone, Ninja Tune, Mo’Wax, Strut and more. An avid music lover, explorer and record collector extraordinaire, Whitefield’s music has effortlessly absorbed his expanding interests along the way, particularly drawing influence from Ethiopian Jazz and West African funk and highlife, as well as Kraut-rock and ambient via his Rodinia alter-ego.

More recently, Whitefield has begun to venture into the astral planes of what’s now commonly referred to as ‘spiritual jazz’, and this is very much where we find him manifesting on ‘The Infinity Of Nothingness’. A set of mature, delicate and meditative orchestrations, like much of Whitefield’s best work the album is studiously true to its key influences – and in this instance the twin figureheads of Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders are particularly preeminent – but also completely avoids falling into a trap of mere tribute or facsimile. With subtle yet diverse accents of Hip Hop, Library and the Avant Garde appearing wholly unobtrusively, the album is unified by a marked trance-like feel, beginning with the sparse, processional opener ‘Nothingness’ through to the 3 part ‘Infinity Suite’ of ‘Time’, ‘Space’ and ‘Energy’.


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