Ishmael Ensemble – A State Of Flow


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Label: Severn Songs

Year: 2019

Format: Vinyl LP Picture Sleeve

Following a banner year for Pete Cunningham — best known as dextrous saxophonist Ishmael and leader of the namesake Ishmael Ensemble – 2019 now brings debut album ‘A State of Flow.’ This new long player builds on Cunningham’s work as proud protector of Bristolian heritage, sketching loving sonic pictures of the South West in his Bristol-inspired ‘Severn Songs’ series, whilst also incubating local visual and musical talent, within the Ensemble.

‘A State Of Flow’ touches on various styles of jazz, stirring ambient invocations, club-ready percussive workouts, spiralling grooves & hazy psychedelic electronica. This would be a confusing melange, but for Cunningham’s excursions as a genre-agnostic DJ – something evident in the real house shuffle of ‘Lapwing’ – which evokes walking into a smoky afterhours haunt and finding a session in full, forward motion or the organic garage beats of ‘Full Circle’ and classic trip hop style ‘Waterfall’ fuelled by Holysseus Fly’s honey toned and evocative vocals.

This album, borne of strong vision and stronger hometown pride, embellishes Ishmael Ensemble as one of the UK’s finest new groups. As shown across ‘A State of Flow’, the future of Bristol’s musical legacy is in more than capable hands.


“Jazz album of the month” Mojo Magazine

“The best homage to the Bristol channel since Portishead” Uncut

“Every bit as energetic, adventurous & innovative as it is beautiful” Future Music

“Amazing independent music from Bristol” Gilles Peterson

Previous press:

“Unfolds like a shimmering stone skipping across a lake. Gorgeous” XLR8R

“These guys get better with every release” Gilles Peterson, BBC6 Music

“Beautifully Cosmic” Nabihah Iqbal (Throwing Shade), BBC Asian Network

“Absolutely gorgeous” Tom Ravenscroft, BBC6 Music

“Beautiful music” Dan Snaith (Caribou)