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Agori Tribe – The Hard Mountain Tradition [Review]

Released earlier this year, The Hard Mountain Tradition is the debut album from jazz-rock fusion group, Agori Tribe. Hailing from Memphis, the band excitingly blends influences of classic jazz and rock and roll, creating a hypnotic, fresh sound. Their songs are mesmerising, translucent compositions that drift along, whisking the listener throughout a musical journey.

Agori Tribe is a five-piece band, formed in 2008, and perhaps one of the most distinctive to come out of Memphis, TN in recent memory. Their music is of a certain trance-rock style, experimenting with different sounds and different samples, all the while keeping the beats energetic and danceable. They’ve played Wakarusa twice, and shared the stage with groups like Perpetual Groove, Particle, Zoogma, Moon Taxi, and Earphunk.

The release of The Hard Mountain Tradition symbolizes the culmination of the group as musicians. As drummer Sean Naughton says, “The album title The Hard Mountain Tradition, to me, has come to represent how greatly we have evolved as musicians and people since beginning the band back in 2008.”

Over their six years of existence, Agori Tribe has inspired a loyal sense of community among their fan-base. The album was recorded entirely at home studios, supported by the band’s community. As Naughton explains, “The Hard Mountain Tradition was primarily recorded in only two days, May 10 and 11, 2013 in Germantown, TN… and was engineered by John Hash, the older bother of Agori Tribe keyboardist, Dave Hash.”

The music on the album is intoxicating. Most of the tracks are over ten minutes, all of them refreshing instrumental compositions permeated by razor-edge guitar work and deep space keyboards. With a strong drums-and-bass rhythm section, the lead musicians are easily capable of launching into dynamic progressions and melodies. With each song moving from funky to jazzy to heavy rock and roll, while never missing a beat; Agori Tribe is certainly making their statement on The Hard Mountain Tradition.

One listen to the opening track “Sweet Naught Sour,” and you’re hooked, plain and simple. By the time you’ve reached the 15-minute-long saga, “Lone Cock In The Field/Memories Of Childhood,” there’s no turning back.

As keyboardist Dave Hash said about the album, “It had been a long time coming and we are excited to share more new material.” The Agori certainly aren’t slowing down in 2015, so be sure to catch them on tour. You can stream/purchase The Hard Mountain Tradition through the band’s BandCamp page..