All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

301

Rhodri Davies / Michel Doneda / Louisa Martin / Phil Minton / Lee Patterson: Midhopestones

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
This album was recorded in January 2009 in the church of St. James the Lesser, in the village of Midhopestones near Sheffield, South Yorkshire—hence, its intriguingly uplifting title (incidentally, its track titles refer to other villages or features nearby). Maybe that recording location explains the sense of tranquility and beauty that pervades the music here. It seems as if all five players were on their best behavior as they were in church; everyone gets along well together; there is no rowdiness, no arguing, and no outbursts.

The sounds here are rarely predictable, straightforward or unambiguous. Having listened to this album countless times, it's been necessary to check the credits nearly every time, usually to clarify the origin of some non-attributable sound. So, although no bassist is listed, a persistent low frequency sound recurs throughout "Strines," giving it a strong pulse. By a process of elimination, it must originate from Louisa Martin's laptop.

It was also necessary to check that Phil Minton is actually credited, as his voice is rather elusive here, and surprisingly subdued. Those familiar with his usual improvising style, complete with trademark guttural interjections, will have to listen hard to detect him here. "Wharncliffe Side" features a dialogue between Doneda and Minton, during which saxophone and voice are each practically unidentifiable as they imitate each other, intertwine and mingle. Elsewhere, Minton camouflages himself perfectly, blending into the background; he contributes much but never steps into the spotlight.

And so it proves with all the players here; the musicians must have left their egos at the church door. They are focused more on creating multi-layered, evolving music than on leaving their own mark on it. The end results stand up remarkably well to repeated listening, delivering more and revealing fresh facets every time. What a gem.


Track Listing: Strines; Crow Edge; Wharncliffe Side; Deepcar.

Personnel: Rhodri Davies: harp, electric harp; Michel Doneda: soprano saxophone; Louisa Martin: laptop; Phil Minton: voice; Lee Patterson: amplified objects.

Title: Midhopestones | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Another Timbre

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Cheers" CD/LP/Track Review Cheers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 2, 2018
Read "Whisper to the Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Whisper to the Wind
by Jim Olin
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Magnetic" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "For the Love of You" CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 28, 2017