Together as Symphony Music, Max Turnbull of Badge Époque Ensemble and Michael Rault have created Radiant Music, a zone where freak-friendly psychedelia, jazz, funk, and soul exist in a state of constant crossover. The Toronto twosome joined us to the radiance they found together and the influence of “The World Band in the World,” 10cc.
Max Turnbull of Badge Époque Ensemble on Transmissions, our weekly podcast. Last year, BEE released the magisterial Clouds of Joy, which landed on the Aquarium Drunkard Year in Review best of the year list. A stirring blend of jazz, choral music, prog, funk, R&B, and indie rock, it’s a layered and dynamic creation. We discussed that record, Max’s work with his wife, Meg Remy of U.S. Girls, his lifelong hip-hop influence, and the myriad and mysterious ways music connects to listeners.
On their new album, Clouds of Joy, Toronto’s Badge Époque Ensemble has swelled into a 13-headed hydra. In director Colin Medley’s rock doc style video for Badge’s latest single, “Zodiac”, the laid back left-handed stickman steps us through their history, briefly introducing each member like a jazz bandleader offering everyone a solo.
Before adopting the Badge Époque Ensemble banner and a palette of ’70s prog, jazz rock, and funk, Toronto’s Maximilian Turnbull recorded art rock under the alias Slim Twig. It’s fitting then that he reached for a third designation for Scroll, his new 90 minute audio collage under the Badge Epoch designation. Drawing from nearly a decade of recordings, sessions, snippets, and demos, the album documents Turnbull’s restless experimentation, drifting from minimalist tones to crisp beatwork, from jazzy washes to intense musique concrète freak outs.
Toronto’s Badge Époque Ensemble are a tireless assembly line of lysergic mood music, with November’s Self Help marking their third release in just over a year.
For their Lagniappe Session, Badge Époque picked a pair of unsurprisingly idiosyncratic songs to interpret from Henry Mancini in 1961 and Mica Levi’s 2013 Under The Skin soundtrack.
Toronto’s instrumental wrecking crew the Badge Époque Ensemble expand to eight bodies on “Unity (It’s Up To You)” with the full-time addition of sax hero Karen Ng and the boundless talents of guest vocalist James Baley. The second single from their upcoming album Self Help is liquid and libidinous, winding through six minutes of ebbing, flowing jazz-funk. It comes complete with the Ensemble’s most ambitious video project to date, a vibrantly colourful claymation acid trip that reportedly required six months of work.
Maximillain Turnbull walks us through the library music, jazz fusion, and progressive sounds that inform the self-titled debut of his Badge Époque Ensemble, which is driven by flute, Rhodes, clavinet, and strutting grooves.