What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the words, “Alternative Jazz Funk Fusion?” If you’re drawing a blank, don’t feel bad, so was I. That being said, I’m always up to step outside of my musical comfort zone to explore something new and exciting. To me, part of what makes music such an exciting artform is the vast amount of variations one can put on it. Taking different genres which all stemmed from various backgrounds and putting them into one track can only lead to interesting outcomes. So, going in with absolutely zero idea or expectations of what I was about to hear, I put my headphones on and pressed play on “Ozone High,” a new collaboration between Ginger Libations and anjali.rose.
We’re introduced to the song by a piano being lightly played. With reverb and the occasional feature of other instruments, an atmosphere is set in such a way that even when nothing is being played, you can still hear the room. The piano begins to get louder and speed up as the sound of waves crashing enters the mix. Soon after, a saxophone joins in, mimicking the notes of the piano. A wall of sound is being built up, taking the song which once took place in a calm late-night bar into a room of controlled chaos. After that energy has been released, things begin to calm down again. The sound of the ocean returns with birds chirping, perhaps signaling a new beginning.
Suddenly, everything quiets down and the piano hits a dry chord which signifies a new section of the song. The drums add a simple rhythm, while an electric piano takes over keyboard duties. At this point in the song, anjali.rose begins singing in a laid back style, her melody occasionally weaving in and out with the instruments. With lyrics which read off as a deep sort of poetry, the meanings aren’t always so clear. She sings, “Ozone high, will give you into sublime sequestered / Carbon, the night until the smog obliterates us.” Likening her high to being in the ozone, which is the layer of gas surrounding Earth, she has gone into a sort of isolation. Adding detail onto this, she sings about being obliterated by the smog.
The song then takes a sudden turn into funk territory as the bass and drum form a tight groove, carrying the smooth vocal melody as anjali.rose begins singing, “Oh divine is it to / Swallow the night and leave the rain.” Regardless of the state of the sun or moon, the only thing they are in control of is themselves. Continuing the groove, she sings, “And ozone high / will get you crawling inside, will set your / Blood cells on fire until body is riding the sun.” In an attempt to explain the feeling of her ozone high, she likens it to her insides crumbling or her blood cells catching on fire. We then enter another instrumental section of the song, which greets us with the sound of what sounds like a protest. Through all the chatter, occasionally the words, “Not my president,” can be heard. Underneath these sound effects is a whirling electric keyboard. The chaos fades into a jazzy section featuring an upfront saxophone solo.
Without warning, the vocals re-enter the song as the instruments calm down to make space for them. Seeming to continue off of the protest chants heard in the instrumental section, anjali.rose sings, “Audience full of sick fires / And wrong turns, colder nights.” The audience seems to represent the crowd who, despite cold nights and wrong turns, are sticking to what they believe in. She continues solidifying this image by singing, “And lips burn, synchronize.” From chanting in synchronization with the rest of the crowd throughout the cold nights, their lips are becoming chapped and dry. A smooth drum fill connects us to the next half of the verse, “Fake news, go inside / And where blue lights are blind.” Despite those risking their lives to stand up for what they believe in, some may declare the protests, or the reasoning behind these protests as “fake news.” While encouraged to stay inside their houses, the protestors refuse as they see this as hiding from the police, who are the “blue lights” in this line. The song then takes another instrumental turn, allowing both the keyboard and saxophone to shine.
As the song quickly fades out, I am left surprised. Going into this, I had assumed that at the very least the song would be interesting due to its unique mashing of genres. That being said, I can confirm that not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded. Every time the song becomes comfortable, it switches everything up, forcing the listener to always be on their toes. By expertly blending all of these styles of music into one song, Ginger Libations and anjali.rose have crafted something unique which will keep your interest for every second of its five minute runtime.