The audio equivalent of a novel by Neil Gaiman, tenor saxophonist Binker Golding
and drummer Moses Boyd
's semi-free duo Binker and Moses
is still, five years after its launch in 2015, the most fantastical sound to come out of London's alternative jazz scene. Packed with as many thrills and spills and steam-punk magick spells as, say, Gaiman's London-set Neverwhere
, Binker and Moses is a similarly unputdownable page-turnerbut unlike Gaiman, Golding and Boyd are prepared, thank God, to release sequels. Escape The Flames
, the duo's fourth album, is a sequel its sophomore set, Journey To The Mountain Of Forever
(Gearbox, 2017). It is a live performance of the first disc which made up that double album and was recorded at Journey
's launch party at north London scene hangout Total Refreshment Centre.
By its nature, every Binker and Moses gig is unique, an in-the-moment interaction and, as Golding puts it, "a tireless interrogation of the infinite." Thus Escape The Flames
is whoppingly and wonderfully different from the studio album. The tunes are intact and in the same order, but except for closer "Leaving The Now Behind" the extemporised passages are longer than the studio versions, in most cases around twice as long. The extended playing times render the performances yet more transporting.
Some live albums are spoilt by audience noise. Not so Escape The Flames
. Whoops and hollers contribute to the communitarian vibe and the six-track production values are well up to Gearbox's audiophile standards. Shamanistic, seductive, earthy and interstellar, this is one of the best discs to be released in Britain during 2020but, perversely, it is only available digitally (cheap but literally and metaphorically insubstantial) or on vinyl (pricey).
Disc One: The Departure; Intoxication From The Jahvmonishi Leaves; Fete By The River. Disc Two: Trees On Fire; The Shaman’s Chant; Leaving The Now Behind.