Joe Armon-Jones and Maxwell Owin are key figures in London’s thriving underground music scenes, and they’ve joined forces to create Archetype, a project that fuses their wide variety of sonic influences and is the culmination of more than half a decade of collaborative work. “After six to seven years of putting our everything into this project, [it's] a blessing to see it out in the world,” Armon-Jones said in a recent Instagram post.
Archetype offers a fusion of everything from hip-hop and jazz to dub, garage and grime. It’s intense and rhythmic with plenty of grooves and driving bass, a hybrid sound that could only come out of a cultural and musical melting pot like London. The vibe of the 12 tracks across the project are reflective of its two creators’ musical backgrounds: Armon-Jones is a producer, composer and keyboardist who’s a founding member of Ezra Collective and has a wide body of solo work to his name as well — his last solo project, Turn to Clear View was named one of TIME‘s top 10 albums of 2019, while Owin has worked extensively with London MC Pinty and a host of other UK artists.
The record also features a wide list of contributors, from saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings to UK dubstep pioneer Mala and O the ghost. “It’s the soulfulness you’re trying to pin down,” Owin said of the project in an interview with Clash. “It’s always amorphous, changing … just beyond words.” Armon-Jones notes that the album’s title was inspired by its theme: “[We were] drawing from older music that we consider to be the archetype of what we do now in order to move our sound forward.”
Stream Archetype below, and cop it in vinyl form on Armon-Jones’ webstore.
Hypebeast recently spent a weekend at New York’s famous Blue Note Jazz Club with Armon-Jones and the rest of Ezra Collective — and you can check out the full feature here.