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Album Review

Ray Russell: Fluid Architecture

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Ray Russell: Fluid Architecture
Veteran British guitarist and composer Ray Russell has been active in free jazz, fusion and as a session player. His whole range of experience finds a voice in the opener "Escaping The Six String Cage," as he and synthesist Eric Baldwin explore a wide range of guitar sounds. Slide guitar gives way to lyrical volume pedal swells, followed by rhythmic loops leading into free playing. Lyrical delay evolves into an abstract soundscape, finally returning to slide.

Several tracks go into fusion territory; "Turn Right At Ventura," "Endure" (which includes an especially catchy head) and "Six In—Six Out" all feature powerhouse drummer Simon Phillips, a longtime collaborator. There is a similar group dynamic on "We Go Back a Short Way" and "A Room Within A Room." All of these tunes show off Russell's virtuosity; he is a bonafide British guitar hero. In addition to an especially psychedelic guitar solo, "Turn Right At Ventura" features a Chris Biscoe tenor clarinet solo and a thoughtful drum solo from Phillips.

Russell also plays some solo selections that are more reflective. "Moon Dog" finds him playing lyrical Stratocaster lines, while "The Conversation" turns a literal conversation with the late Jimi Hendrix into a spacious soundscape. "One For Geoff" is a delicate solo guitar elegy for Russell's old friend Geoff Castle.

Fluid Architecture is Russell's description of the process of musical performance: "The musicians that helped interpret the many 'moments' and helped the music 'become' are as important as the composition ... for what they play is fluid architecture." A lovely description of the creation of a remarkable album.

Track Listing

Escaping The Six String Cage; Turn Right At Ventura; Moon Dog; Endure; We Go Back a Short Way; The Conversation; One For Geoff; Six In – Six Out; A Room Within A Room.

Personnel

Ray Russell: guitar, electric; Eric Baldwin: synthesizer; George Baldwin : bass; Chris Biscoe: saxophone, soprano; Mo Foster: bass; Nic France: drums; Simon Phillips: drums; Ralph Salmins: drums; Jim Watson: keyboards.

Additional Instrumentation

Eric Baldwin: found sounds, sequential creativity (1); George Baldwin: bass, Chapman Stick (2,5,8); Chris Biscoe: tenor clarinet, soprano saxophone (2,8,9).

Album information

Title: Fluid Architecture | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


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