Future Classics

Jaubi ‘Nafs at Peace’: album of year contender

This exaltation of Jaub’s ‘Nafs at Peace’ album on Astigmatic Records is long overdue, mainly thanks to the world spinning back to action around the time of it’s release. Now the perfect is timing, since as we come to the end of the year we naturally look back at our favourites that stood the test of time and great changes. Moreover, a limited third pressing of the album was released today, so there’s no time like the presesnt to catch up on this essential release.

‘Nafs at Peace’ is the crowning cherry in a series of collaborative releases focused around Pakistani trio Jaubi, Tenderlonious, heard here on flute and soprano sax, and Latarnik, pianist and synth cat of heavyweight Polish jazz ensemble, EABS.

Recorded in Lahore, for the most part, with some additional sessions in Oslo featuring the Vox Humana chamber choir, and born out of a series of jam sessions, ‘Nafs at Peace’ feels incredibly exhuberant and postive, seemingly a flip of the same coin from the deep Tenderlonious led ragas previously released on 22a that came out of the same sessions.

Tabla, the violin-like sarangi, flute, guitar, drums and subtle key textures smoothly complement one another on this astounding exploration of the relationship between two musical forms that depend so heavily on improvisation, jazz and Indian classical musical. However the shared loved of groove, particularly hip hop, is very clear. Not too surprisingly, the ensemble recorded an improvised jam based on a Madvillain song, that was edited and released earlier this year as a tribute to the metal faced legend best known as MF Doom.

Whilst it’s hard to pin down favourites, the almost Latinesque mid-tempo grooves of ‘Mosty’ have stood out, at least as go-to DJ track. However this album really felt like a soundtrack to the the curtains being pulled open as the sun rises over a new day. Geography and unpredictable changes in the pandemic spread may make it extremeley difficult but surely a live performance of ‘Nafs at Peace’ with other material from the sessions would be a powerful experience.

If you haven’t already, either stream this album immediately or buy a copy before it sells out again.

Oliver Brunetti

Oliver Brunetti