203

Stuart McCallum: Distilled

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Stuart McCallum: Distilled Distilled is a beautifully atmospheric recording, the third album from Stuart McCallum, best known for his work with the Cinematic Orchestra. The Manchester-based guitarist/composer knows how to combine established and contemporary sounds, making them into music that is never less than fascinating and, at its best, a thing of breathtaking beauty.

Much of the beauty of this album comes from McCallum's ability to blend instruments together to form a sound that is both cooperative and undifferentiated—a process based on cycles of composition, recording and sampling. This is not music that thrives on competition or contrast, but on graceful interaction, on sharing of ideas and musical spaces. McCallum intermingles the different instruments, samples and technologies with genuine creativity. Each instrument is crucial to the overall sound—not by retaining its own sonic identity, but by adding another layer to the carefully crafted whole.

In the wrong hands, the result of these multiple layers of sound might be bland in the extreme. But McCullum effortlessly transcends the wishy-washy, often through the simple strategy of retaining the distinctive sound of a single instrument and setting it above the others. On "dR Doctor" his guitar sound retains a tight metallic edge that contrasts with the flowing wave of sound created by the other players. On "Distilled" it's Dave Walsh's punchy drums that deliver a lively groove over the hypnotic feel of the melody; on "Fokey Dokey," Rachael Gladwin's harp somehow sounds both comfortingly traditional and futuristically space-age at the same time. "Hillcrest Part II" features some of McCullum's loveliest guitar playing, with crystal clear single-note runs and bright, sparkling repetitive phrases.

With its sampled strings, Mullarkey's rich double-bass and yet more of McCallum's sparkling guitar, "La Cigale" is Distilled's most grandly ambitious tune. But it's just one of many highlights on an album filled with evocative melodies and insistent rhythms. This is jazz for fans of electronica, and electronica for jazz fans, but most importantly, music for people who love music.

Track Listing: dR Doctor; Hillcrest Part 1; Hillcrest Part II; La Cigale; Fokey Dokey; Vital Space; Lament for Levenshulme; Inflight; Part 3; Distilled.

Personnel: Stuart McCallum: guitars, sampler; Iain Dixon: woodwinds; Rachel Gladwin: harp; Ira Coleman: bass; Robin Mullarkey: bass; Dave Walsh: drums; Chris Manis: percussion.

Title: Distilled | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Naim Label


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Tangle" CD/LP/Track Review Tangle
by John Eyles
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Graviton" CD/LP/Track Review Graviton
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Binary & Mysteries of the Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Binary & Mysteries of the Deep
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Avenida Graham" CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Honey And Salt" CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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