Graviton's nearest comparison might well be Chick Corea's early albums Return To Forever and Light As A Feather with Flora Purim. But this is much more effusive and busier with stop/start melodies as heard on "Breathe" and the title track. Wordless vocals swoop over insistent piano runs and saxophone incursions courtesy of London-born singer Eska (Eska Mtungwazi).
But it's not all wordless vocals as "The Waiting Game" reveals Eska's lustrous and mellow singing style, whereas "Kalamata" utilises her versatile voice to deliver ethereal lyrics and an additional melody line. The vocals on "Andromeda" reach stratospheric proportions, enhanced by multi-tracking and copious echo.
"Fellowship" is much nearer to RTF territory with an incessant jaunty rhythm and vibrant saxophone from Shabaka Hutchings. "Escape Velocity" travels at just that speed. On the short "Aurora," Andrew McCormack delivers a multi-tracked rendition featuring piano and glockenspiel. "The Time Delay Of Light" comes nearest to a straight song but without recourse to platitude or cliché.
In essence, Graviton is an album where the vocals play a key role in delivering lyrics but also act as a melodic instrument, not exactly using vocalese, but somewhere in between. Eska's voice is powerful yet serene and that's a rare combination. The instrumentation and arrangements are taut and engaging and McCormack's all-star ensemble brings a fresh and novel vibrancy to the table.
Breathe; Graviton; The Waiting Game; Kalamata; Look Up; Andromeda; Fellowship;
Escape Velocity; Aurora; The Time Delay Of Light.
Andrew McCormack: piano, keyboard, glockenspiel; Eska: vocals; Shabaka
Hutchings: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Robin Mullarkey: electric bass;
Anton Eger: drums.
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