There’s almost too much happening on “This Here Jungle of Moderness” to fully make sense of it on a first listen. Matthew E. White, a singer/songwriter known as much for his richly arranged productions as the music he writes, crafts a dense jazz-fusion funk sound that finds a deep groove connecting the sinister psychedelics of Miles Davis circa Get Up With It and the frantic rhythms of Fela Kuti, all the while Lonnie Holley navigates his way through the modern city via impassioned croons. It doesn’t take long before it all begins to make a certain kind of abstract sense, White’s dizzying and chaotic funk-fusion arrangement acting like the rhythm of the city itself, as Holley acts as the human at the center of it all, awed and overwhelmed by the monuments to human innovation and hubris that surround him. It’s in compositions like these where Holley offers listeners a reminder that he’s a visual artist as much as a musical one, his depiction of the “urban jungle” one that presents a vivid mental image as the steel and rubber zooms past the infrastructure that surrounds him. Holley and White are standing at the street level, channeling cosmic energy.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.