10 Seconds: Rio Kai

Seed Ensemble & Nérija bassist Rio Kai: thoroughly sound guy, utterly narsty selections.

1. Peter Eldh - Koma Tema (1'46" - 1'56")

From Peter Eldh - Koma Saxo (2019)

"I personally found the album to be quite an exciting and refreshing release back in 2019 - for me it’s quite a lateral approach in terms of composition, structure and improvising with a lot of emphasis on group improv and exploring soundscapes, while still referencing the tradition of jazz.

The song ‘Koma Tema’ is a personal favourite of mine as the ostinato bass line very much directs the song, and references the ‘call and response’ found in so many tunes; old and new alike. Definitely inspired me to think a little differently about how I approach my own composition! Highly recommend checking out the whole thing!

2. Miles Davis & Gil Evans - The Time of the Barracudas (3'51" - 4'01")

From Miles Davis & Gil Evans - Quiet Nights (Rec 1963 but first released 1997 reissue bonus track)


"This is from the studio session recorded for the play of the same name in 1963 and was part of a series of established studio collaborations between Miles and Gil. I just love the phrasing Miles pulls off throughout this whole session, and Tony Williams’ playing is fire too! Very emotive piece for sure."

3. Kenny Garrett - Wayne’s Thang (2'02" - 2'12")

From Kenny Garrett - Triology (1995)

“Gosh, there’s so many good picks in here! Just finding 10 seconds to sum up the whole tune is impossible! The groove generated by this trio is immense, and the first time I heard this and it got to the section where it dropped to swing... boom!

Definitely a fan of Kenny’s playing in general and he has such a broad body of work. Once again, Triology is a great album to check out."

4. Thundercat - 3 AM (0'01" - 0'12")

From Thundercat - Drunk (2017)


"Okay, so this one is 11 seconds... #Cheeky! ‘If I could sing and play bass...’ this basically sums up what Thundercat is for me. I love how unapologetically ‘himself’ he is - listening to his music makes me really feel like he’s playing these tunes just because he wants to play them and explore sound. There are many great artists out there but he is one of the best embodiments of that for me. His album ‘Drunk’ really feels like a journey and there’s also a very nice reference to ‘Footsteps in the dark’ by the Isley Brothers with the drums on the song ‘Them Changes’ (Ice Cube also used those drums on ‘It Was a Good Day’ and J Dilla used it in ‘Won’t Do’ among others. Probably one of the most sampled drum grooves ever!)"

5. Ravyn Lenae - Alive (1'30" - 1'41")

From Ravyn Lenae - Alive (2016)

"Another 11 seconds - this is actually hard!

This was my anthem for a long time. Music has an amazing ability to portray mood and set a landscape, and this tune does that for me. It’s almost like being out on a rainy afternoon and you see a rainbow form off in the horizon. Her later release of the track ‘Sticky’ from her EP ‘Crush’ is probably where she became more known, but Rayvn Lenae has an engaging style of song writing and is a refreshing breath to R&B/Nu Soul. It’s crazy to think she’s all of this at only 21!"

6. Khurangbin - Evan Finds The Third Room (1'22" - 1'32")

From Khurangbin - Con Todo El Mundo (2018)

"This is a quirky band for sure! Their music feels psychedelic, relaxed, and almost disco-y all at the same time. This is a band that I definitely didn’t know anything about until one of my friends introduced me to their music in 2019. Apparently ‘Khurangbin’ is Thai for ‘flying thing’ or ‘flying machine’ (Thanks, Google!) which is a great match for the sound of this band. The guitar on this particular tune is melodic and groovy and definitely feels like you’re taking off at a steady but funky pace. Ultimate music to leisurely cruise along to!"

7. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention - Inca Roads (1'36" - 1'46")

From Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention - One Size Fits All (1975)

"Frank Zappa isn’t someone I’ve checked out in any great depth, but after hearing this tune for a project I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to listen to his stuff! His compositions are very intricate and specific while still being fluid and loose, which is no small feat (Must have been a roast in the studio).

When I heard this particular song, I felt so many parallels at play - Lalah Hathaway, Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding all pop to mind (check out the original and modern versions of ‘Endangered Species’). If I’m ever feeling uninspired, musically or otherwise, listening to this tune is a good way to pull myself up a bit. The satirical lyrics alone put a smile on my face. I love that to guitar solo section was literally taken from a live recording. Also, damn, George Duke!"

8. Joe Henderson - Inner Urge (11'34" - 11'44" ...but to the end, really)

From Joe Henderson - Inner Urge (1966)

"Frankly, this song changed my life. It opened a door that I didn’t know existed in music at the time. I believe I first heard this shortly after I took up the double bass in 2013 and was blown away by the mastery that is Joe Henderson. It also ignited more of an interest in composition whilst also being excited in exploring musical concepts with other musicians. The elasticity that the musicians share in this recording is something I’ve felt to find in other musicians, and will forever be my point of reference in that regard. That’s something that makes me happy!"

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