Judging by their name, Canadian quartet Cobblestone Jazz would have you think you’re in for an improvisational, free-spirited musical experience. The group’s new album, The Modern Deep Left Quartet, however, is a soulful but meticulously planned out mixtape-style excursion into deep house and techno. It’s not exactly jazz, but the group does manage to infuse a sometimes-austere genre with a great deal of heart and warmth.
Occasionally, the album does come close to the realm of acid jazz, or at least flirts with lithe, jazzy licks (see “Sun Child”). But it’s the darker moments that really shine through, such as the fast-paced descending bassline of “Mr. Polite.” Similarly, “Cromagnon Man” veers away from the blissed-out smoothness of much of the album into Krautrock territory, bringing harsh, stabbing electro bass over a minimal 4/4 beat. “Fiesta” is also a standout track, another dark techno beat repetitively pulsating but never falling into tedium.
Cobblestone Jazz toe the line between icy acid techno and deep house, showcasing the best of both worlds in the process. It’s good to hear some talented producers infusing life into a genre that so easily goes stagnant.