The ancient Greek work syndikos, from which the term syndicate evolved, means “public advocate - caretaker of an issue”. With Bassment Syndicate’s debut album, Morning, this innovative cross-stylistic/cross-cultural band, is indeed taking care of issues, advocating some brilliant fresh perspectives on (as vocalist-trombonist, Marques Young, intones in the introduction) “smooth grooves, soul, jazz and hip-hop,” with, I might add, some rock, funk, and R&B mixed in for good measure. At first description, this might sound like an overly ambitious stylistic potpourri, particularly for the band’s first release, but once plugged in, and turned on, any doubts will rise like mist lifted by the dawning sun. Although much of the album is textless, the musical narrative is richly descriptive. Guided by the track’s titles, and the multi-faceted soundscapes they evoke, one soon realizes that Bassment Syndicate is pining about morning in its broadest sense: from the late-night-party-ramifications, to the intimate encounter-associations, as well as the twilight ruminations, that accompany us into days’ emerging.
In the way Morning captures musical portraits of late nights and early mornings, the recently formed Bassment Syndicate is a similarly vivid snapshot of the thriving, dynamic musical cosmopolitanism that the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, currently enjoys.