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Get The Blessing: Pallett

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Get The Blessing: Pallett
Many artists describe their music as aural paintings. Bristol band Get The Blessing take that idea to the next level with their seventh studio album, Pallett. The album cover features a paint by numbers drawing of a wooden pallet to colour in (the limited-edition vinyl comes complete with wax crayons) and all the tracks are named after colours from an imaginary colour chart. Jazz should be fun after all.

Get The Blessing are not easy to categorise, sitting somewhere near the junction of ambient, jazz and rock-trance, but perhaps best described as unclassifiable. The two founder members, bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer, are best-known for their work with the trip-hop-band, Portishead. They were joined by saxophonist Jake McMurchie and trumpeter Pete Judge, with whom they shared an admiration of Ornette Coleman. Originally known as The Blessing, they even took their name from an early Coleman tune along with a sprinkling of the attitude from Coleman's early work. Individually, the band have credits that include a wide variety of projects including Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Spiro and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Growing from a foundation of saxophone, trumpet and bass improvisations created during lockdown, the tracks were then mixed with added drums from Deamer and guitar patterns from Portishead guitarist, Adrian Utley. The resulting loops, grooves and improvisation set up an intriguing mix of mesmeric rhythms and textures.

The splendid "Oscillation Ochre" opens the album with a bass riff that loops for the duration of the song, drums join and set up a tight hypnotic groove. Guitar, sax and trumpet all join-in in differing combinations and seemingly from different distances before coming forward in the mix and then receding, creating a layered effect. That foundation of a central loop with instruments blurring around it forms the basic structure of many of the tracks here. "Heavy Water (French Grey)" features a soundscape built from pulsing horns with inventive trumpet forays from Judge.

The stand-out tracks include "Dry Brush Blue." It features McMurchie's repeating melodic saxophone over Deamer's neat drums, the trumpet adding textures as Barr inventively steers the track. "São Pedro Gold" has a western movie atmosphere with breathy well-paced saxophone and electronic weaves. "Temperate Red" leads in with Judge's seductive trumpet over a saxophone loop, piano and Utley's rippling guitar add colour before Deamer's drums drive forward before the piano closes an entertaining track.

There is an underlying mischievous spirit to this album, but what may seem impish disguises a considerable degree of skill and control. Barr and Deamer build cyclical and recurrent grooves but also insert adroit modifications and delays to what may initially seem minimalist. They certainly create an unusual aural environment but one with plenty of electronic textures, ambient grooves and smart improvisations to enjoy.

Track Listing

Oscillation Ochre; Heavy Water (French Grey); Vongole Verdigris; Dry Brush Blue; São Pedro Gold; Ambient Black; Dude Indigo; Small Star Of The Big Silver; Temperate Red.

Personnel

Get The Blessing
band / ensemble / orchestra
Jim Barr
bass
Pete Judge
trumpet
Jake McMurchie
saxophone

Album information

Title: Pallett | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self Produced

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