Cosmic Language sees the UK-based saxophonist, composer and arranger return to Jazzman Records with a cross-cultural approach: an exploration of the parallel musical paths of jazz and Indian ragas. Here he takes influence from spiritual jazz forebears such as Alice Coltrane and Yusef Lateef and introduces the Indian harmonium to his band, where it takes the place of the piano. Making new connections to realise his transcendental ambitions, it's a logical next step in making music as spiritual cleanser.
The idea for the album was spawned from a one-off performance at a meditation centre, the Maharishi Golden Dome in West Lancashire. Seeking to bring a band set-up that was fitting to the quiet-minded setting, Birchall brought the harmonium with him. A small pump organ, it's an instrument he'd been in possession of for many years but hadn't previously used in his music. Building on the spiritual context of that show, and the associations of that instrument, it led naturally to the musical approach undertaken on the album.
Both the album and the show which preceded it were recorded with the same tight-knit group of players which have featured on Birchall's previous albums. All members of the group are part of the same like minded circle of Manchester-oriented jazz musicians, sharing stages and acquaintances with the likes of Matthew Halsall (a longtime collaborator with Birchall) and GoGo Penguin.