Listening to Broken Sleep, the debut release from Britain's Carver Trio, one experiences a comforting sheath of sound, ripe with originality and textural warmth. The trio consists of accordionist Luke Carver Goss, guitarist Dylan Fowler and bassist Nathan Riki Thomson. All three musicians take a less-is-more approach, utilizing the group's stripped-down instrumentation to emphasize tender lyricism and rhythmic drive.
The bulk of the disc, a mix of studio and live performances, consists of Goss' original compositions, featuring an accordion lead over lush nylon-string guitar comping and bottom-heavy bass lines. Covering a wide range of emotion, the disc moves from up-beat pleasantries ("Simone"), to pensive wandering ("Song," "The Ruins") to free-form improv ("Six Passages"). A simplified pop/folk vibe can be heard on "Spin (for Lily)" and "Wagogo/Rose in June," showcasing Goss' endearing vocalizing.
A highlight of the recording is a set of four improvisations titled "Breathe," featuring Thomson doubling on the Filimbi, an African flute from the Wagogo people of central Tanzania. Thomson manipulates the instrument's eerie tone for an emotive and captivating effect.
Fowler plays with a sensitive understanding of accompaniment throughout and executes patient solo turns. The guitarist demonstrates dazzling flamenco technique on "Virsi/Dawns Timo."
Broken Sleep is an impressive debut full of delicate, convincing musical ideas. Carver Trio is an ensemble worthy of considerable attention.
Track Listing: Broken Sleep; Simone; Lullaby; Breathe 1; Song; Breathe 2; Wagogo/Rose In June; The Ruins; Breathe 3; Six Passages; Breathe 4; Portrait; Virsi/Dawns Timo; Lament; Spin (for Lily); Towards Ramsey.
Personnel: Luke Carver Goss: accordion, vocals; Dylan Fowler: guitars, Monticello, clarinet, vocals; Nathan Riki Thomson: double-bass, filimbi; flutes; Oli Wilson Dickson: violin (2, 7).
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