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Collocutor: Continuation

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Collocutor: Continuation
Viewing the CV of musician-composer Tamar Osborn is like watching a tapestry unfurl in bewildering detail. Having started out on clarinet and saxophone, performing mostly classical works, she later studied rhythms and ragas in India, then collaborated with a vast array of talents, often fusing Afrobeat and Ethio-funk into jazzy paradigms. She was part of the onstage band for Fela! The Musical during its 2010 / 2011 runs in London, and formed her own Afrobeat-informed band, The Fontanelles, in 2011.

Fond of modal styles that avoid standard chord changes, Osborn used Yusef Lateef's book Repository Of Scales And Melodic Patterns as the base for Collocutor's early work. Continuation is her third album under this guise and follows the enlightened path of its forerunners. Osborn's emphasis is less on rhythmic exuberance in this project and more on quirky meditations, using feathery woodwind and dreamy brass, with bouts of kick-ass rawk 'n' roll. Indeed, the sense of Continuation as seeking something redemptive is highlighted on the opening cut "Deep Space," which was recorded in a Baptist church in London. Solemn as a vigil, its quiet ricochets of sax and flute gradually coalesce into a restorative ritual. Osborn's hallowed sax tone here echoes the work that Jan Garbarek did with vocal quartet The Hilliard Ensemble.

The title track has a skinny guitar motif on repeat, as the band drifts in floating every note towards a kind of birdsong finale amid chattering tablas. "Pause" is made of breathy drones, urgent strums and a down-tempo rhythm that could be from the 1990s British trip-hop scene. Such a slowed down funk beat is a neat foil for Osborn's gyrating sax and finds a likeness on the final offering "Pause Reprise." This closing cut awakens muzzily until scalding guitar riffs meet Osborn's trancey sax over looping snared percussion.

Elsewhere we get a jolt of Osborn's love for Afrofuturism on "The Angry One," which also lobs in a post-punk throb akin to Joy On Fire, or maybe Vula Viel. Driven full steam by Osborn's urgent piping it makes for a fiery three minute burst. "Lost & Found" then unveils some classic rock snortings, with a stuttering sax riff that hints at Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." Changing tack midway, the piece adopts a pastoral hue as the woodwind wafts us to closure.

You could think of this album as an intimate cousin to Szun Waves, or a cosmic friend to the Hanna Paulsberg Concept's Daughter Of The Sun (Odin, 2018). Either way, it confirms Osborn as a soulful talent on the vibrant London scene. Continuation is a potent reminder that music, like spirit, has no physical form. It simply takes us, it simply moves us.

Track Listing

Deep Peace; Continuation; Pause; The Angry One; Lost & Found; Pause Reprise.

Personnel

Tamar Osborn: saxophone, baritone; Josephine Davies: saxophone; Mike Lesirge: flute; Suman Joshi: bass; Marco Piccioni: guitar; Maurizio Ravalico: percussion.

Album information

Title: Continuation | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: On The Corner


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