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Field Effect: Audiovariac

Glenn Astarita By

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The rather unlikely duo of jazz saxophonist Peter Gordon and studio processing/EFX wiz Matt Shire-Jones proves to be a fruitful relationship via their ongoing collaborations. The UK duo intimates the antithesis of that proverbial man vs. machine concept, here on this 2005 release. With guest artists chipping in on various tracks, the acoustic-electric component yields a multicolored potpourri of textured arrangements and highly rhythmic underpinnings.



The artists instill a lucid sense of the visual, as many of these works could easily service a cinematic venture. With soothing themes and swarming synth backdrops, contrasts abound throughout. However, Shire-Jones' liquefying and pliant streams of sound work wonders with Gordon's emphasis on the jazz element. At times the program leads through drifting themes, often counterbalanced with layered patterns and forward-moving backbeats supplied by drummer Darren Edwards. And the musicians' conjure up a world music slant amid harrowing and digitally treated wordless chants. In spots, the electronic element suggests a mechanical pulse that conjures up notions of experiencing a large-scale manufacturing plant. Imagery abounds everywhere.

On "Dissimilar, the duo generates an electric-organic, jazz-shaded Indo-fusion character via windswept choruses, frothy percussion and a subliminal sense of antiquity. The duo even incorporates some psychedelic-drenched, East Indian effects to round a wonderful audible treat for the ears and mind.

Shire-Jones doesn't incorporate electronics as a means to an end. Contrarily, he picks his spots wisely while complementing his shrewd arranging and melody-making faculties. It's all about the music, and not the implements used to create it. That unto itself speaks volumes these days.


Track Listing: Awakening; Sonic Zeitgeber; Difference Engine; Grandfather Paradox; Freefall; Dissimilar; Audiovariac8; Mortal Coil; Contact; Ethereal Blue.

Personnel: Matt Shire-Jones: electronics, processing; Tony Gordon: saxes. Additional musicians: Darren Edwards: drums; Ped greatley: guitar; Toby Liddle: acoustic 12-string guitar; Rob Parkinson: hammered dulcimer; Pete Swinerton: synthesized stringed arrangement.

Title: Audiovariac | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Self Produced

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