Philly collective Sofra spans jazz, hip-hop, funk and soul new EP Not so Not Familiar
Sofra is a Philly based musical collective that has recently released their EP Not so Not Familiar. The term Sofra is Turkish for ‘dinner table’ and speaks to the communal function of their music, not just with the musicians themselves, but also with their listeners. The EP was made in the home studio of Philly area drummer / Key photographer Noah Silvestry, who plays on the record. The quality of the music is quite impressive for a DIY home studio setup. The EP features verses from Sterling Duns and Rick Banks of Philly hip-hop group Hardwork Movement, as well as Qil Rogers.
One of the standout instrumentals on the record is “A Lot to Remember”. It’s an interesting mid-tempo piece that switches up just enough to keep the listener interested without going overboard and getting too busy. I appreciate the way the instruments in this track compliment each other, with no one musician getting too showy or overpowering. It’s a solid display of the group’s musicianship, and the song makes you feel like you’re moving towards something positive.
Another favorite is the title track “Not so Not Familiar”. The introduction is catchy and a bit unassuming. Sterling Duns’ verse melts into the track really well, making for a smooth transition into the vocals. The chorus melody introduces a more sing-along, musical theater vibe, and the track ends with a spoken word poem from Qil Rogers, arguably his best performance on the record.
My personal favorite track has to be “Sunny Days (Appreciation).” I love the concept of ending a project with thank yous, which I’ve only ever heard on hip-hop records. Surprisingly, Rick Banks’ verse of shout outs on this track is my favorite of the whole record. It feels the most natural and comfortable in terms of performance, and cohesion with the instrumental, which loosens up the Sesame Street theme with rich, solid piano and the subtle yet resonant upright bass.
This EP may at times sound a little too clean or structured for some tastes, but overall the record sounds like a jazz / hip-hop musical or like something Spike Lee would want on a soundtrack. The record is cohesive and tells a story, and is definitely a mood booster.
Check out Not so Not Familiar down below, and catch Hardwork Movement this Friday at World Cafe Live for Free at Noon. More details can be found here.