13

Tom Challenger and Kit Downes: Black Shuck

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Tom Challenger and Kit Downes: Black Shuck
The great—and often dark—writer, Neil Gaiman, in his recently published book of short stories titled Trigger Warning tells the tale of the mythical dog-beast—the black shuck—that is to be avoided at night because ..."if you see him—you die.." Well, that's fairly dark and it sets the tone for the third duo outing from Kit Downes and Tom Challenger. Black Shuck follows the pair's Wedding Music (Loop Records, 2014) and Vyamanical (Slip Imprint, 2016).

Black Shuck has been issued both as a cassette and a digital download and would be categorized as an EP, with only two tracks and a total running time just over twenty minutes. Alex Bonney, a mixing/mastering presence from the first of the duo albums, returns in a dual function, adding electronics to "One." That first track is, in fact, not a duo performance but a septet while "Two" is simply credited to Downes and Challenger. Because the electronic manipulations dominate both tracks, it is not obvious that there is such a great discrepancy in the formations.

Black Shuck is certainly ominous. Though brief, the droning quality of the music makes it feel longer than its real time and, in a way, preferable to a more extended treatment of this style of music. Only on "Two" do we get a ephemeral sense of instruments in their real voice, though Downes' piano (he was credited with organ on the previous two releases) does sound more like an organ.

With each of the Downes/Challenger releases, the music has become more entrancing and despite the electronic component, Black Shuck is not genre-specific. There is an ambient quality as well as a lyrical one though the latter takes careful listening. The artists provide sufficient layering to reveal subtle levels within the two compositions. A progressive effort and well worth the listening.

Track Listing

One; Two.

Personnel

Tom Challenger: saxophone; Kit Downes: piano; Alex Bonney: electronics; Lucy Railton: cello (1); Liam Byrne: violin (1); Emma Smith: violin (1): Daniel Bradley: percussion (1).

Album information

Title: Black Shuck | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Slip Imprint

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read 25 Years
25 Years
Edward Simon
Read Splatter
Splatter
Roscoe Mitchell
Read Then Now
Then Now
Matthew Shipp / Rob Brown
Read Free Hoops
Free Hoops
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.