All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

5

Tom Barton & Diego Villalta: Connections

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
This is the second album by Australian vocalist Tom Barton, the first being Aspirations (2014) and is an entirely improvised affair. On Connections Barton shares the credits with fellow countryman Diego Villalta on guitar and was recorded at Studio Osaka Recording, Osaka, Japan, whilst the pair were on tour in early 2015.

Harmonium-like looped notes precede Tom Barton's wordless pellucid tenor vocals on the opening track "Trust." Any anticipation, garnered from this first offering, of the session being one of ambient music is rapidly disproved in the seven subsequent tracks. "Sensei" features Diego Villalta on lithely finger picked guitar, the piece revolving around the repeated words "one grain of sand, drop in the ocean" in the form of an ethereal chant. The words are gradually treated to a looping effect and intertwine with the guitar before the looping discontinues in a more natural "live" ending.

The short "Prelude to the Bus Ride" involves wordless mouth-generated sounds; snorks, clicking and popping, redolent, in improvisational technique, to the innovative British vocalist Phil Minton. Barton here is accompanied by Villalta's sparse reverse effect guitar. In the pastoral abstraction of "Growing Up," repeated wordless vocals are accompanied by limpid guitar. Appropriately spacey sound effects provide a backdrop for "A Forming Universe" with the voice slowly emerging from sheets of sound.

The short track "Dawn" is rich in reverberating notes and an almost imperceptible wash of looped voice, over which Barton's mellifluous voice repeatedly intones "there is a light." By contrast, the quirkily titled "One Night of Hedonism (One Day of Vegetables)," and the longest track at nearly eleven minutes, begins almost inaudibly, but little by little builds -Barton's Buddhist monk-like looped chanting taking centre stage -to a dramatic crescendo, eventually fading out with a single lone voice and a solitary plangent chord.

The final number, "The Bus Ride" revolves around reverse effect guitar and an underlying vocal pulse. Over this hypnotic sonic morass, Barton unfurls all manner of vocal gymnastics before the piece fades out on a solitary echoey note.

Connections won't necessarily appeal to everyone; its improvisational stylistic variations and lack of formal jazz conventions may tend to alienate to some listeners. But challenging convention is surely what permits any art form to progress. The oft quoted lines from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell seem appropriate in this context: "Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence." Barton and Villalta have certainly produced a work of contraries and anyone with an open mind and two receptive ears should welcome this brave, sensitive and not infrequently brilliant music.

Track Listing: Trust; Sensei; Prelude to the Bus Ride; Growing Up; A Forming Universe; Dawn; One Night of Hedonism (One Day of Vegetables); The Bus Ride.

Personnel: Tom Barton: Voice, looping & effects; Diego Villalta: Electric guitar, effects

Title: Connections | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Bartone Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Trust

Trust

Tom Barton
Connections

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Tom Barton & Diego Villalta: Connections

Tom Barton & Diego...

Bartone Music
2015

buy
Connections

Connections

Bartone Music
2015

buy
Aspirations

Aspirations

Bartone Music
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Ain't It Grand? CD/LP/Track Review
Ain't It Grand?
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 25, 2018
Read If Not Now, When? CD/LP/Track Review
If Not Now, When?
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Perfectly Unhappy CD/LP/Track Review
Perfectly Unhappy
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Half Light CD/LP/Track Review
Half Light
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "La Saboteuse" CD/LP/Track Review La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "To the Bone" CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "No Matter Where Noir" CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 6, 2018
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018