Lushh is an electronic jazz ensemble based in Kalamazoo, and one of the native Michigan acts performing at Audiotree Music Festival. Made up of Eddie Codrington on saxophone, Grayson Nye on keyboard, Andrew Saliba on guitar and effects, Matter Epperson on bass, and Madison George on drums, their music melds classic melodies with modern electric and synth sounds to create a product that shifts between invitations to dance and invitations to reflect.
They released their first album, “Nebulushh” in June 2016. “Healthy Habits” leads the album with foxy saxophone and a tumultuous drum solo. The result is a boozy energy more reminiscent of the bad habits that accompany socializing and parties than realizing a strict exercise regimen. The second song is a cover of a tune dear to any old-school gamer’s heart: “Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme” from Legend of Zelda’s Ocarina of Time done up with a cool, steady drum beat and highlighted by Codrington on the tenor saxophone. Saliba’s guitar leads numerous embellishments that carry listener into depths of the fountain previously unknown.
“Still Life” and “Lucifer the Fallen (Movement III)” round out the album; the former with everyone carrying on a rather sinister tone throughout the song that is reminiscent of looking out the window of a noir story’s diner. The latter’s atmosphere is best described as foreboding. Like the idea of Lucifer the Fallen himself, it features a sly pomp that neatly contrasts the grimmer sounds portrayed most strikingly by Nye’s haunting keyboard, but each musician gets a slice of malevolent pie which makes this song a real treat. The final song is a live performance “Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme” recorded at the Kiva Room by WIDR. As expected from a jazz ensemble, the live performance is somewhat at variance with the studio recording, and it offers a preview of what one might expect in seeing Lushh live.
In November 2017, the group performed Insight Unsought, a project based in the concept of sleep and dream-states, which comprised not only the ensemble, but a major collaboration of artists from Michigan University. Complete with poetry readings, live painting, lighting design, and projection, the project, conceived by Saliba, took almost a year to organize and execute. Even the audio recording impresses a pensive, meandering mental place on its audience and is worth a listen; the second song, “Oneirophrenia/Parasomnia” can be found and appreciated on YouTube.
On September 7, 2018, Lushh released their first single on Spotify since the performance. Titled “Tremors” it features guest Yakiv Tsvientinskyi on trumpet. This song fits its name as the instruments convey a primordial landscape shifting under the pressures of the earth and breaking into chasms. Smaller synthetic sounds skitter throughout the background like frantic lifeforms trying to survive the cataclysm. Over the course of seven minutes, rising tangles of music that might dumbfound the listener with their intricacy are easily untied into comprehensible melodies by the musicians. The horns induce a false finish that swells with finality, but the skittering synthetics have a final say: sounds like a rainbow or a magic wand communicate a sense of calm descending over the previously shifting scape. “Tremors” casts a promising light on what to expect for the future of Lushh.
Within the year, the ensemble will release a new album. If you can’t wait til then, check out their upcoming performance at the Audiotree Music Festival on Sunday, September 23.