A Shoal of Souls

A Shoal of Souls marks the final chapter of Yazz’s 2017 La Saboteuse – an explosive album that turned heads worldwide, scooped numerous best of ’17 lists, as well as becoming a heavyweight UN certified UNESCO album of the decade. High praise for an artist on her second full length release.

A Shoal of Souls cements the formidable relationship that has been established between Yazz and Sophie Bass. Sophie is one of the most exciting illustrators currently operating worldwide; still in her twenties, her enlivening work across the jazz scene has already sparked comparisons with Reid Miles. She was given free response to create the stunning four panel gatefold artwork for La Saboteuse, before being tasked to remix her own artwork where she captured the electronic rhythm and groove of the Hector Plimmer, DJ Khalab and Blacksea Não Maya reworks for the genre-breaking La Saboteuse Remixed EP.

Music is intrinsic to Sophie’s creative process, fuelling her distinctive style that embodies symbolism and social justice. On seeing her music visually “come alive” Yazz was overwhelmingly inspired to create, this feeling best captured in Yazz’s presentation of the movement to Sophie.

“I was inspired to compose this piece – compelled actually – after seeing your amazing, evocative, artwork for Chapter Two. Suddenly seeing my inner destroyer, La Saboteuse, given physical form as a living breathing entity made me gasp – a real jaw dropping moment.

The way that you transposed psychological concepts into a physical image – my anti-muse literally dragging the victim into the depths… it really helped cement the whole idea – seeing how dangerous and evil she can be.

I was already thinking about the migrants who perished at sea when I named the chapter The Shoal of Souls, and this new composition is dedicated to all the people who have lost their lives crossing the sea in search of a better future.

I hope the music conveys the strength and power of the human spirit, the bravery to risk everything for their families, the anger I feel at the response of the West, a lack of empathy, a lack of compassion. They are not a swarm, they are us – humans.

The music is also inspired by Sufism, the idea of whirling and turning, falling into a trance, a dream. I see a mirror with the whirling turning ocean, a whirlpool of lost souls, of untold stories, talents and lives unfulfilled: joining together in the eternal dance and rhythm of a vast shoal of fish which seems to beat like a heart.”