Toronto’s Badge Époque Ensemble release their sophomore album Self Help. Recorded live in the months before lockdown, Self Help is an exploratory record that dances across time and genre, guided by fidgety miniatures and jazz inflected collage. While constructed from the inspiration of soul, funk and film music, BÉE mediate those influences having first digested them through the productions of Madlib and the RZA. Throughout, the band pool together their instrumental chops, moving from fluid and serpentine R&B to meditative, minimalistic piano, evoking a contrast of virtuosity and self-surrender. A sticker on the sleeve tells us Self Help “combines jazz-funk and mysticism,” a signpost to where its musical and spiritual concerns align. The jazz-funk component translates to arresting hooks in sideways song forms: echoes of Gainsbourg spooled through Azymuth-style Brazilian jazz and punctuated by the whip and snap of Steely Dan. The Sound Where My Head Was, the instrumental centrepiece, exemplifies present-wave jazz but also ancient sounds, giving off the mothballed air of a Hiroshi Yoshimura record in a library-music archive.