Jazz, Soul and….Dub?



Meredith Stewart



Submotion Orchestra are a seven-piece band, with soulful vocals and smooth jazz solos, however, they contain a surprising element — dub. 



At 8:50pm on the 7th of November, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut was buzzing with excitement.



Submotion Orchestra, an outfit hailing from Leeds, started their tour of their third album, Alium, at King Tut’s. There was definitely a sense of anticipation in the air. The band came on with lead singer, Ruby Wood, entering last. Her sensuous vocals reverberated through the room, and suddenly, the floor began to vibrate with a deep, smooth throbbing.



Electronica is a typically unconventional pairing with jazz and soul. The band says on their website that their sound is a ‘fusion of bass heavy electronica, jazz and soul’.



Since their first album (Fragments, 2009) their music has followed this unique amalgamation of sounds, gathering a large crowd following with tracks such as ‘Finest Hour’ and ‘Blind Spot’. During the performance, the band plays their much-loved song ‘All Yours’, to which the crowd sings back. Ruby’s vocals were engaging and she regularly checked up with the crowd and kept the energy high.



They also played a variety of songs from Alium, including the energising ‘Trust/Lust’ and the mellow ‘City Lights’. Their sound did not deviate so much from their other albums—during an interview I conducted with Tommy Evans, the drummer, he stated that it was more ‘an extension’ of their last album.



The band made sure to include many jazz solos in their live performance. Bobby Beddoe regularly blew every fibre of his being into his trumpet, providing the audience with sleek and exuberant intervals. Tommy on the drums provided eye-watering, fast rhythms, occasionally having his own solo and leaving the crowd more than impressed. Despite being a relatively large band, throughout the performance they were tight and everything ran smoothly with the help of the band’s producer and engineer, Dom Ruckspin. There were a lot of synthetic tracks on the album, which added to the performance and enhanced the electronic element of the sound.



After their encore, the band politely wished the audience goodnight. I turned to my friend and we discussed the undoubtedly great performance that we had just witnessed.



Alium is out now.



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