The Space Between – Chemystry Set
"All rights reserved for those have only few. Tuber Creations is a
subsidiary of the house of love and consciousness. Duplication is a good way
to learn, but ultimately we all have to find our own path." So it reads
where copyright laws usually exist on the back cover of The Space
Unfortunately, Chemystry Set hasn’t exactly found its own path yet.
Together since 1996, the group is the type that can be found in any large
college town by this point. The equation is familiar: A large aggregate
(seven members) that dabbles in many forms of danceable styles and feature a
female vocalist who is invariably better than her male counterparts.
To their credit, Chemystry Set is all over the map stylistically. There’s
familiar worldbeat rhythms of the opening "Mwela wa Mwanami", the lilting
jazz pop of "Magical Pie." the country-bluegrass strains of "Sounds from the
Underground," anthem-like Allman Brothers riffing on "Mwanda Wa SIDA" and a
Latin jazz feel to "Here Comes the New Tide". You’ll also get doses of
fusion and out-and-funk before the 69 minutes pass.
This diversity also provides for a disjointed listening experience. The
takes an ensemble approach and lacks any stellar soloists (except for Avidan
Rose’s stellar vibe work on the instrumental "If and When") and doesn’t put
its stamp on any of the styles it so readily embraces. Baba Ndjhoni, a
mandolin player and vocalist, appears to have encountered a life-altering
experience in Africa; it having influenced not only his name but several
song titles. Admirable for sure, it also steers the band into inauthentic – if not forced – directions. Ndjhoni is similarly non-descript as a vocalist.
Krystle Jones takes the best vocal efforts on what represent the group’s
strongest milieu, world-inflected pop.
Chemystry Set is likely big fun live, as all of the 12 tunes are hip-shakers
and the diversity might be more welcome in a nightclub setting but this
group needs more time in the lab when it comes to creating that vibe in the