Beginning with longevity to achieve an original sound, their jazz and funk roots are a solid foundation that opens alongside the track, “Equatorial Forest.” There are a wide range of instruments used to form the overarching sound that spawns from Promised Heights, from the electric guitars and percussion that is standard on records to the Tenor and Alto saxes that coincide with congas. Every piece big or small coming from Cymande deserves this diverse branch between African and folk style that can be incorporated into trenches of bounce.
While a lengthy 48-minutes over 11 tracks, Cymande grabs the listener by the hand and brings them into a developing and soaring level of instrumentation. Even to halter at times with breakdowns that put a short pause into the action like on “Brothers On The Slide.” This split-second action contains building that swells into the last moments of the track where ultimately, Promised Heights is a digestible record that can easily weld genre together and transpires culture through cadence.
When first approaching Cymande, the graceful and implemented performances are serene and once there is a reason to dig deeper, the complexity comes from how incredibly layered the release is. With flutes that flutter in-and-out to then bass lines that are subtle but can rise almost like in a symphonic setting. The ensemble that consists of five-plus musicians at one time gives a hivemind consensus to the record and can survive entirely off just the performances of each member.
The title track “Promised Heights” wastes no time boosting this smooth saxophone and bassline combination that is sample-gold for any boom-bap hip-hop beat and little notions like the claves that click in the backing are cute details that go almost unnoticed at first. But then after being paired with a compact snare that is wound up tight and synchronized production, Cymande is loose and unstrained by their high member count. Instead, all this does is push them to excellence with dynamic backings and more of family funk feel that can play games and generate some beauty.
Before they leave, Cymande makes peace their largest goal with unification of both sound and members. It is inspiring to hear as time progresses on how innovative through performance they were and how they could extend an olive branch into the music industry for tranquility.