Shinjin offers a jazz concept album with “Theory of Everything”

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“Theory of Everything” is jazz quartet Shinjin’s second album. The description of the work does not do it justice. From beginning to end, the recording is replete with catchy rhythms, interesting arrangements, and energy. While all eight songs possess their own merit, “Unexpected Discovery,” “You Are Here,” and “Time Travel” are standout tracks.

About Shinjin

The group released their debut album in 2018. After that, they toured Europe, the US, and India. “Theory of Everything” was released in February 2021. The group consists of Laurent David on bass; Stephane Galland on drums; Stephane Guillaume on saxophone, and Malcolm Braff on piano.

Each member of Shinjin has a background starting to play his respective instrument at a young age, and a history of early success. The members have played with distinguished European musicians and have won prestigious awards for jazz in France and elsewhere.

Shinjin brings their considerable histories and abilities to bear on “Theory of Everything.” The thought behind the music can be heard as according to the group, bassist Laurent built the music from the basic elements of all the instrumentalists in the group. “All interactions, harmonies, rhythms and melodies generated arise from the energy of the void!” the group states.

Shinjin: “Unexpected Discovery”

The sound is almost gentle. The horns play a motif that is underscored and reflected in the bass. Audiences get to hear the same rhythmic patterns played by different instruments. This lasts for a few measures. Then, the soundscape gets louder, but not abrasive, just invigorated. After the burst of energy, the more mellow motif returns. The repeating and exploring nature of the song invites audiences to reflect on the song’s title. This song is an unexpected discovery. The mix of bass guitar, woodwinds, and horns is known, but arranged in a way that is unique.

“You Are Here” by Shinjin

In contrast with the reflective groove offered by “Unexpected Discovery,” “You Are Here” brims with fast and explosive sound. There is a hint of playfulness as the bass dances through the measures and the saxophone swirls in a motif of its own. The drums mixes pounding and shimmering sounds. Far from cacophony, “You Are Here” sounds playful, yet thoughtful. As the seventh song on the album, it offers audiences a brilliant example of what this group can do. “You Are Here” does not fade out. Instead, it slows the rhythm and ends decidedly.

There is much to recommend this ambitious recording. The various moods are played up by keen use of the instruments employed. Audiences who want a mind-blowing experience must hear track no. 5, “Time Travel.” This was the first single the group released from this album. The beauty, the energy, the force of the artistry comes through plainly.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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