Alive in the East? (Gearbox Records)

Binker and Moses

Released June 22, 2018

The Guardian 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2018




Following the release of ‘Journey To The Mountain Of Forever’, which earned the duo vast worldwide acclaim, semi-free jazz trailblazers Binker and Moses return with their new album ‘Alive In The East?’
Recorded at Stoke Newington’s Total Refreshment Centre, which has been, and continues to be, a prominent platform for promoting, recording and releasing some of the best new talent from the British underground. ‘Alive In The East?’ serves as a companion piece to ‘Journey’ but with a different energy – as North London is to South London, as West is to East. It features a number of the UKs most prominent musicians, both old and new including guest appearances from Evan Parker, Byron Wallen, Tori Handsley and Yussef Dayes – making this one of only two recordings that this particular line-up has played on.

‘Alive In The East?’ perfectly encapsulates the fervent energy and future-facing magnetism of the current scene in London. Full of vehement improvisation, shamanic spiritual free jazz trances and invigorating raw power, the albums two-drum, two-saxophone, trumpet and harp combination is all at once hypnotic and mercurial. Whilst it’s important to note the estimable series of musicians on the record, and their technical prowess, the real attraction here is in the groups inimitable passion for exploration, development and thirst to push the boundaries of jazz both musically and conceptually.

Track Listing:

1. The Birth of Light 03:39

2. How Land Learnt to Be Still 08:16

3. The River’s Tale 03:49

4. How Fire Was Made 04:22

5. How Air Learnt to Move 01:18

6. Children of the Ultra Blacks 07:22

7. Mishkaku’s Tale 07:09

8. The Discovery of Human Flesh 03:01

9. Beyond the Edge 04:51

10. The Death of Light 03:04


Binker Golding: tenor sax
Moses Boyd: drums

Also features:
Yussef Dayes: drums
Tori Handsley: harp
Evan Parker: tenor and soprano sax
Byron Wallen: trumpet

Recorded live June 2017, at Total Refreshment Centre, East London

Produced by Darrel Sheinman

Engineering and Mixing: Gareth Finnegan

Mastered and cut by Darrel Sheinman and Caspar Sutton-Jones at Gearbox Records


Tenor Saxophonist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd are part of the exciting young London jazz scene that has been taking the genre by storm lately with projects by artists such as Nubya Garcia, Yazz Ahmed and Shabaka Hutchings. Alive in the East?, which was recorded live in June 2017, is the duo’s third album together. Binker and Moses are joined by fellow members of the London scene Yussef Dayes (drums), Tori Handsley (harp), Byron Wallen (trumpet) and free-jazz stalwart Evan Parker (tenor and soprano sax). The result of this combination is 47 minutes of enthralling, vigorous jazz.

Binker and Moses have somehow managed to combine elements from both the freer and more rhythmically-centered portions of jazz to create a truly impressive recording. The performance is often wild and exploratory – the horns play with fire. Low-key moments on Alive in the East? are rare, and even within those moments, like during the ghastly, languid notes of the horns on “The Discovery of Human Flesh”, there is a quiet intensity to the music. Throughout the album, Boyd, at times aided by the extremely talented Dayes, is an anchor that never loses its rhythmic ingenuity, frequently producing patterns that will make listeners’ head nod.

Alive in the East? opens up with “The Birth of Light”, an outstanding drum duet that is sure to move people out of their seats, which is immediately followed by the powerful “How Land Learnt to Be.” On “How Land Learnt to Be”, saxophones buzz around to create a constantly moving wall of sound as the harp is used percussively, adding another layer of rhythm to the infectious drumming. “Children of the Ultra Blacks” is a more spacious number, but equally as impressive. Rapid drumming begins the tune as the harp crashes in the background and transitions into resting between its dark chords as the horns come in. The trumpet takes the first solo, which is surrounded by a beautifully eerie atmosphere that eventually morphs into a brilliant chaos as the horns explode with energy in the song’s final third.

Alive in the East? is the type of record that could bridge the gap for many jazz and non-jazz fans. The aggressive skronk of its horns may appeal to fans of the avant-garde, while the excellent rhythms crafted by the drummers could draw in fans of more groove-based genres, such as afro-beat. The recording feels very organic – there is no doubting the chemistry between the musicians here and the excitement of the crowd can be heard with every cheer. After listening to Alive in the East? it’s clear that anyone who has the chance to see Binker and Moses live should do so immediately.

Brian Kiwanuka (Nextbop)