Theon Cross is at the forefront of the thriving London jazz scene, with the gifted musician and composer expanding the sonic possibilities of tuba playing. Today, Cross — a core member of Mercury Prize-nominated outfit Sons Of Kemet – announces his new solo album, Intra-I (meaning “Within Self”), due October 29th on New Soil / Marathon. Cross also shares his bass-heavy latest single “The Spiral” featuring Afronaut Zu and Ahnansé, and the accompanying video. It follows his previous single, “We Go Again,” and both tracks are included on his forthcoming album.
“The Spiral” is inspired by the winding journey toward self-realization, and the video visually depicts the journey into self ethrough the movement of dance. Directed by creative duo Roisin O and Eden Tarn, the video stars Cross, vocalists Afronaut Zu and Ahnansé, and also includes cameos from Moses Boyd, dancer Tyrone Isaac-Stuart, Nathaniel Cross, Neoma Cross and Laurie Fitzgerald–the artist who painted the artwork for the campaign. “It was important for me to feature a nod to the culture of the sound system,” notes Cross. “For me, this song and the album is all about showcasing a sound system powered by breath through the passageways of the tuba.”
Intra-I is an uplifting celebration of Black music, synthesizing the diversity of his musical art and experience to deliver an essential message to a world gripped by tribulation. Across ten sonically divergent and bass-rich tracks, Intra-I explores themes of self-reliance, origins, identity and more. An exploratory and upful celebration of Afro-Diaspora Music, the album features songs that examine self-development, the importance of history and heritage and the strength in adversity shown by the first generations of post-war Caribbean immigrants to the UK. In addition to being entirely made from sounds taken from the tuba, it is his first music to feature guest vocalists adding a whole other dimension to his music: the album features Remi Graves, Shumba Maasai, Consensus and Oren Marshall, as well as Afronaut Zu and Ahnansé on “The Spiral.”
Theon Cross is an award-winning tuba player and composer who not only redefines what can be done with his instrument but also transcends traditional genre conventions with his heady brew of low end theory combined with strains of jazz, dub, hip-hop, soca, grime, and other sounds from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora. In 2019, he released his acclaimed debut solo album, Fyah, and has collaborated with Little Simz, Stormzy, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia, Kano and others.
Photo Courtesy: Ian Hippolyte