248

Isotope: Golden Section

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Isotope: Golden Section Cuneiform have done it again in terms of restoring one of the perhaps hidden corners of British fusion to a contemporary audience. The band's relatively conventional take on the genre is happily tempered by compositional variety and a level of interplay that went beyond what was the norm, making for music that holds the attention. Captured for posterity on two different live dates from 1975, this is also music that shows an independence of mind even while it stays within the fusion parameters of the day.

Guitarist Gary Boyle often dominates proceedings, as he does on "Spanish Sun." It's apparent he has technique to spare, especially in the course of his multi-noted but nonetheless clearly articulated runs the like of which often serve to put him in the same category as John McLaughlin, roughly speaking.

It's not all exclusively about him, however. Hugh Hopper's fuzz bass has the effect of putting an entirely different spin on proceedings, and his compositions, not the least of them being the title track, are as distinctive as anything in his back pages. As much as anything else they serve to keep the unnerving specter of technical flash at bay, not least because of the demands they make of the musician's ability to listen and be heard.

It's on the non-band composition "Crunch Cake" that keyboard player Laurence Scott comes into his own. His electric piano sound is earthy, in so far as that's possible given the instrument's inherent characteristics, and the minimal nature of his lines, enhanced as much through touch and sound manipulation as they are, harmonically get inside the composition in a way that mere technical flash wouldn't have.

Hopper's "Lily Kong" is music for a seventies cop show in every positive way, the sly and indeed very English form of funk that's shot through it elevating the music to a higher level even while it affords the band the chance to groove. When that fuzz bass rises from the bottom up, it highlights also how this group were all supreme colorists.

The title track mentioned above is a similar exercise in maximizing the minimal. The slightly dark, slightly enigmatic melody is dirtily enunciated by Boyle before a shift in dynamics has a most positive effect. Scott again comes to the fore on his electric piano, proving once again that for all the dedication to soloing, this was also a band committed to a greater musical endeavor than mere technical display. When all is said and done—and in that regard, at least it has a lot in common with the rest of this program—it cooks very nicely.


Track Listing: Illusion; Rangoon Creeper; Attila; Spanish Sun; Crunch Cake; Mr. M's Picture; Frog; Attila; Spanish Sun; Lily Kong; Edorian; Golden Section; Illusion.

Personnel: Gary Boyle: guitar; Laurence Scott: keyboards; Hugh Hopper: bass; Nigel Morris: drums; Aureo de Souza: percussion (1-6).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "This Is Where I Live" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Where I Live
by James Nadal
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Something Real" CD/LP/Track Review Something Real
by Doug Collette
Published: March 14, 2016
Read "Enter the Plus Tet" CD/LP/Track Review Enter the Plus Tet
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Moons
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "Eternally Even" CD/LP/Track Review Eternally Even
by Doug Collette
Published: November 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!