Polyphonic Exophilia (abbreviated as PPXP) is a musical concept, which encompasses a band, a recording studio, as well as an independent record label. The band comprises two female and three male multi-instrumentalists who maintain anonymity “to sustain a pure focus on the music and preserve a degree of artistic leeway without any unintended disturbance from the members other careers and or previous genre specific releases.” PPXP describe their music as “sensual progressive alternative soul-funk”, and they have their 4 track EP, “Volume 2”, to prove it.
The band take their levels of sophisticated textural layering and sheer groove prowess to new levels here. With the players all breathing as one, the music – while still offering accessible ways in to their melodic world – doesn’t shy away from instrumental virtuosity or rhythmic complexity. Opening up the EP with “Ups et pertulerat” (Latin for ups and downs), PPXP roll out funky basslines, contemplated percussion, dynamic keys, and squealing guitar interludes, for an emotional rollercoaster ride.
“Dance with Fire” is inspired by shamanistic rhythms, and introduces the first vocal track on the EP. PPXP simply roars into this tune with a full-fledged sound that’s all their own, a power punch of exquisite musicians who have a tight grip on rhythm and intuitive playing. Pay attention to the drums and bass – so full of soul and groove, not to mention superb skill. The swampy vocals add a distinctive touch to the proceedings.
Inventive riffs and melodies with funky fusion rhythmic overtones, make “God Is What People Make Of It” a tight-fisted jam of expertly crafted music. This second vocal track, is heavily inspired by comedian Ricky Cervais, whom the band regard as “a great contemporary philosopher.”
The song introduces a social constructive perspective on organized religion, with references made to American political scientist, Alexander Wendt, as well as the work of the American Professor of psychology, John Henry Holland.
All of which brings us to the final cut, “When The Lockdown Is Over”, which takes a hopeful look at a post-pandemic world. The song moves on a spectrum from alt-pop to catchy LA-styled fusion, and is another evident example of why this band is impossible to pigeonhole. The playing is tight and efficient and the musicianship is, as usual, superb – the bass guitarist, in particular, gets another chance to stretch out and impress.
It is Polyphonic Exophilia’s brand of jazz and funk, that gives this EP its sonic consistency, and helps keep it from being just a collection of songs. Throughout “Volume 2”, PPXP’s flair for interesting, polyrhythmic textures, and colorful, nuanced musical riffs, becomes very apparent.
However it’s not just musical expertise that binds this recording together, it is a love of music that is integral to its successful execution. Moreover, you can hear each player very clearly in the mix, and you can hear what they bring to the music as individuals, all of which makes a perfect sonic blend.
The EP “Volume 2” captures PPXP at their most comfortable creatively, and while there’s no shortage of stellar musicianship and kinetic arranging complexity, the emphasis is on the songs and the concepts behind them. They are a perfect representation of what the band is trying to express musically.
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