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This album is perhaps slightly less immediate than some of Martin Archer's other recent releases, such as the eponymous debut album of the Krautrock-esque trio Das Rad, but no less essential and, perhaps, in a sense, more impressive given that it was performed in its entirety by Archer alone.
Another Fantastic Individual is a slow burner which seriously rewards repeated listening; fans of SOS, for instance, will probably find much to love straight away given the reed-heavy arrangements on display. Martin also shares an uncanny knack with one member of SOS, in particularnamely John Surman, whom Archer cites amongst a number of influences listed in the liner notesthat being the ability to find fabulous earworms in the most unlikely places. The music veers from New Orleans style blues to abstract soundscapes (sometimes within a single piece) reminiscent of AACM Great Black Music Ensemble who he cites in the liner notes, (including of course the Art Ensemble Of Chicago). Like SOS and AACM, Archer displays a wonderful playfulness in his composition and improvisation, and this sense of unashamed fun is juxtaposed perfectly against some of the more sparse and reflective moments of the album. With regards to the recording itself, as seems to be the case with all Discus releases, the sound quality is outstanding. Martin and Discus continue to set the bar.
Track Listing: Pressure Shocks; Another Fantastic Individual; Song For Zara Grace; Behind The Sun; Song For Corey Mwamba; Rose Bombe / Oreogasm; Close Together;
Owl Joins In With The Morning Birds; Jo Jar (composed by Roscoe Mitchell); Battle Lines; Point To Point; Dig Yourself; Baribop.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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