1

Flying Machines: Flying Machines

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Flying Machines is the eponymous debut album by a group led by British guitarist Alex Munk whose late father Roger Munk was the inspiration for the project. Munk Senior was a leading figure in the design and construction of modern airships, otherwise known as Hybrid Air Vehicles. Munk Junior graduated in 2009 from Leeds College of Music with first class honours where he was awarded the prestigious Yamaha Jazz Scholarship. He then progressed his academic prowess at London's Royal Academy of Music where he graduated from the masters degree with distinction in 2011. He has performed with some of the top names in British jazz including Stan Sulzmann, Trish Clowes, Gwilym Simcock and Iain Ballamy.

The music presented here is indeed redolent of an airship; graceful, airy and serene. Two notes played on the guitar in rapid succession at the opening of "Tracks" herald a plangent feeling of space. The keen central riff builds with vital assistance from Conor Chaplin on electric bass, a member of the newly formed British jazz group Dinosaur, resolving into an irresistible groove, over which Munk lays down a fast and incisive solo. Matt Robinson leads with a quick fire piano melody on "Bliss Out" shortly joined by Munk applying a counter melody. It's here that Dave Hamblett's surgically precise drumming makes its presence known.

The languid guitar work on "As Long As It Lasts" evokes a feel of Bill Frisell with a touch of Pat Metheny all married with a subtly memorable melody line. Unsurprisingly, the tongue-twistingly titled "Emotional Math Metal" is a relatively heavy affair, satisfyingly imbued with tricky rock-infused riffs, thus indubitably entering into Allan Holdsworth territory. The languorous guitar on "First Breath" has an almost folky quality and clearly demonstrates how pleasing and versatile an electric archtop guitar can sound in expert hands.

"Lighter Than Air" has a two minute introduction, underpinned by a restrained funky bass line, before launching into the solid main theme and vibrant soloing from Munk. Like an actual airplane taking off, "Peace Offering" starts almost imperceptively, building to an ensemble crescendo and dying down once more, whereas "Stratosphere" goes straight into a guitar-led vamp ensued by more characteristically spacey axe work alongside Munk's multi-tracked accompanying sustained notes. The finale, "A Long Walk Home" again draws its influence from Pat Metheny, Munk's guitar emulating that maestro's limpid, fluid tone.

Whilst this album is labelled "Self Produced"—it was crowdfunded by a Kickstarter initiative—it's a very superior outing by a talented group, sporting seductive and original compositions throughout. Undoubtedly Flying Machines is heading for great heights.

Track Listing: Tracks; Bliss Out; As Long As It Lasts; Emotional Math Metal; First Breath; Lighter Than Air; Peace Offering; Stratosphere; A Long Walk Home.

Personnel: Alex Munk: guitars; Matt Robinson: piano, synthesizers; Fender Rhodes; Conor Chaplin: electric & double bass; Dave Hamblett: drums.

Title: Flying Machines | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
New Life

New Life

Ubuntu Music
2018

buy
Flying Machines

Flying Machines

Self Produced
2016

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Apr25Thu
Flying Machines
The Blue Lamp
Aberdeen, UK
Apr26Fri
Flying Machines
The Jazz Bar
Edinburgh, UK
May9Thu
Flying Machines
Hidden Rooms
Cambridge, UK

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019