185

Fourth Page: Blind Horizons

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Blind Horizons is the second album of 2011 from Fourth Page, the rapid follow-up to its debut, Along the Weak Rope, released on Forwind in May. Fourth Page consists of vocalist and guitarist Charlie Beresford, pianist Carolyn Hume, bassist Peter Marsh and drummer Paul May. There are long-standing links between Hume, May and Marsh. May has been the pianist's drummer of choice for several years now, notably on their impressive series of duo albums on Leo dating back as far as 2000. May and Marsh have collaborated frequently as the rhythm section of several groupings, notably in the improvising trio Elvers (Forwind, 2011). Prior to Fourth Page, Beresford seems to have had no previous connections to the other three, but had released albums of his own down-tempo, atmospheric songs.

The remarkable—maybe unique—thing about Fourth Page is that together they freely improvise and evolve songs complete with lyrics, vocals and skeletal melodies. While an ensemble such as The Magic ID has effectively combined improvisation with song forms, it has, most often, employed existing song melodies and lyrics rather than improvising its own. Therein lies the difference; Fourth Page takes improvised music to exciting places it hasn't really been before.

The quartet's crucial element is Beresford's voice, and that point is made eloquently on the album's twelve-minute opener, "Summon you to me." For its first half, it is an improvised piece consisting of sparse atmospheric phrases from bowed guitar, piano, bass and drums punctuated by plenty of space. The four are accomplished improvisers, so their phrases combine together effectively into an engaging and enthralling improvisation which could have happily continued for the full length of the track. But, after five-and-a-half minutes, Beresford's voice enters and the focus of the piece shifts dramatically. The music continues much as before but now it seems to accompany the voice; the effect is like one of those optical illusions in which the same thing is seen instantaneously in a different way—here, the entry of the vocals alters the way the music is heard.

Beresford's voice is an expressive melodic instrument ideally suited to conveying his lyrics, which seem chosen as much for their sound as for conveying a narrative. In some ways, Fourth Page could be considered a continuation of the long and honorable history of jazz accompaniment to poetry which dates back to the Beats and beyond. However, Beresford sings instead of reciting, and the emotion of what he sings is at least as important as any literal meaning.

There is no obvious premeditated form to the music, but Hume, Marsh and May are adept at reacting to Beresford's guitar, vocals and phrasing, adding subtle interjections that emphasize and heighten their dramatic effect. Time and again across the seven tracks, the foursome engages in spontaneous creation, the end results seeming like a minor miracle. Across the whole album, the music retains a consistent sound and mood, a delicate impressionism that is highly distinctive and makes compelling listening. Stunning.

Track Listing: Summon you to me; Blind horizons; Cut deep; Times like these; Melancholy orbits; Buried limb; On the waking edge.

Personnel: Charlie Beresford: vocals, acoustic guitar, khaen; Carolyn Hume: piano; Peter Marsh: bass; Paul May: percussion.

Title: Blind Horizons | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Leo Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Möbius Strip" CD/LP/Track Review Möbius Strip
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "VEIN plays Ravel" CD/LP/Track Review VEIN plays Ravel
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "King For A Day" CD/LP/Track Review King For A Day
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Common Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Common Ground
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: September 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.