Technical proficiency usually comes with a hefty price tag attached. For every artist like Yngwie Johann Malmsteen or Jaco Pastorius that can drop jaws with digit dexterity forged into their work, there is a slew of skilled players that can’t find the balance between engaging the listener and showing off technique.

For Brasstonaut - a Vancouver based, jazz influenced outfit - melody was never sacrificed to showcase their impressive musical chops and as a result LPs like Polaris long-listed Mount Chimaera were surprisingly accessible affairs that could be appreciated casually, not just critically. With the release of Mean Sun, Brasstronaut continues to impress and offers one of the best records of the year.

The textures at play are new and more reserved. The band puts more focus on crafting synth driven, atmospheric gems fused with brass and reeds to give the glacial chill a surprising warmth. The complexity of the arrangements are masked by welcome entry points for a casual listen, but the true beauty of the Mean Sun is revealed as you let Edo’s voice and beautiful layers unfold slowly over multiple listens.

All too often we hunt for records that explode, hoping to take flight and escape before the fuel burns up. Brasstronaut uses subtlety, open space and delightful orchestral arrangements to let us wander, enjoying each moment and finding freedom in beautiful solitude. That’s an option I’ll take each and every time.

Brasstronaut - Mean Sun