NPR Names Origami Harvest as "One of the 50 Best Albums of 2018"
NPR named Ambrose Akinmusire’s Origami Harvest as of “One of the Best 50 Albums of 2018.” In a statement, NPR said “Art is identity, scream these best albums of 2018. Even when it's pure invention. The most striking things we heard this year mined personal experiences that could feel intimate as whispers or bold and overstuffed as superhero science fiction. Even in an era where listeners have been primed for the unexpected, genuine surprises arrived steadily across the last 12 months – a cascade of introductions, breakthroughs, revelations and rebirths to reward whatever precious attention you could give.”
Akinmusire, the incorrigibly inventive jazz trumpeter and composer, made this album a deep meld of experimental hip-hop, electronic texture and contemporary chamber music, in a way that feels not just seamless but fully metabolized. The spoken-word element, courtesy of Kool A.D., is slippery and intoxicating; Akinmusire's string arrangements, for Mivos Quartet, are stirring and sophisticated. And Marcus Gilmore's beats strike a balance of slash and shudder, groove and dislocation. Suffusing the whole affair is a mournful reflection on the perils of black masculinity in the American system, as well as the larger culture that enables such injustice: "The savage histories / Brutal legacies / Illusory democracies / Feudal tendencies." But by and large, this isn't a heavy-hearted album; it rings with horizonless creative possibility, and with a sort of slanted grace. As Kool A.D. offhandedly asserts at one point, against a post-minimalist piano repetition: "Love is the main thing."
– Nate Chinen