Finding Balance: The Musical Equilibrium Of Venna’s EQUINOX EP [@VENNALDN]

Finding Balance: The Musical Equilibrium Of Venna’s EQUINOX EP [@VENNALDN]

GUAP reviews the sophomore EP ‘EQUINOX’ from Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and producer, Venna. Joining him on a beautiful process of seeking equilibrium…

In the landscape of UK music, there exists a plethora of exceptional young talent. From this cohort, one artist, in particular, has been shining especially bright for the past few years, he goes by the name of Venna and is easily considered one of South London’s finest.

On the 14th of March 2023, the Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and producer released his monumental sophomore EP ‘EQUINOX’. A welcome follow-up to his widely celebrated debut ‘VENOLOGY’. The word EQUINOX comes from the Latin “Aequinoctium”, meaning “the time of equal days and nights” and across six tracks Venna brings new levels of association to the word, with the artist himself saying “EQUINOX represents balance for me. Making this record was a beautiful process of seeking equilibrium in all aspects of life, whether it’s music, social or the emotions of life… Everything was thought about so meticulously that there was no other option but to make another masterpiece.”

Sirens break the wall of silence and ‘EQUINOX’ kicks off with ‘Mount Shasta’, drawing out a medley of percussion, piano and radio signal effects that intertwine to build what is undoubtedly and distinctly a Vennaesque soundscape. His notorious ability on the Saxophone is in full shine and gives the track a bossa nova tinge to it, it wouldn’t go amiss in a movie set in the criminal underbelly of Rio in the early 90s.

Venna’s work always carries with it an expansive and all-encompassing feel, something that when applied in collaboration can be transformational. Nowhere does this become more apparent than ‘Misty’ where longtime Venna collaborator Knucks is pulled into the flow. It’s clear the duo bring out the best in each other, when Knucks’ lilting raps send your head spinning left, Venna’s instrumental prowess pulls you right, leaving you squarely in the centre with music unfolding on all sides around you.

From the smooth & gruff tones of Mick Jenkins that contrast against Masego’s playfulness on ‘Casa Lopez’ to the angelic melodies that cascade from JADA in ‘Tam Tam’, the essence Venna can bring forward from the artists featured on this EP bring a great deal of depth and complexity to proceedings. This hits new heights when we move into ‘Sicily’ Box’. It’s important to clarify that this song is without a doubt one of the most beautiful songs to come out of 2023. It will be played out over rooftops and in parks, it will nestle itself in headphones during the slow summer nights to come. The only word that could be put to the experience is awe. The thing that sets Venna apart in the music scene is his ability to mould the physical sensation of hearing, his sound is visceral, you feel it lift your chest and swim through your mind. This combined with super producer Marco Bernardis, iconic bassist Rocco Palladino and the London jazz legend Yussef Dayes, makes for an almost out-of-body experience when hearing this song.

The final track ‘99’ stands as a sweet farewell, placing you back down in reality with all the tenderness you would need to shift back into who you are. ‘I’m proud of you’ rings out as one last phrase to leave a mark, a sentiment I think many can share in when looking at an artist who has created such a magnificent body of work at such a young age. Venna has once again proven himself as a true virtuoso and a master of balance, delivering a triumph that will leave you spellbound and yearning for more.

Listen to the full project here:

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