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Quentin Bryan Angus, a multi-award-winning Australian guitarist, follows up his 2011 debut recording, Retrieval Structure, with the ambitious Perception. Born in 1987, he still clocks in as a "young" artist, but his music is strikingly mature. An apt comparison is the monumentally talented guitarist Pat Metheny, with a broad vision and a penchant for grand statements and complex, layered arrangements. Angus, of course, has not reached a Metheny-esque level of artistry, but the groundwork-the foundation-is there.
Perception is not about Angus' guitar prowess. It's about the ensemble sound, modernistic sonic concepts and intricate ideas for filling space with seamless, original, energized music. "Particular, Peculiar" opens the set with in a strikingly piquant groove and tight interplay bewtween Angus' sharp guitar notes and Will Vinson's precision alto sax. "Perception" glimmers into existence on Shai Maestro's delicate piano touch that shifts into fluid ensemble mode suggesting broad vistas before evolving into a dark groove that gives way to a pensive segment, with the leader comping expertly behind Linda May Han Oh's bass solo.
"Nardis," from trumpeter Miles Davis's songbook, is the only non- Angus original on the set. An always modern-sounding tune, Angus rips into it with a a hard rock energy in the intro before he shifts into finessed single notes in front of Matthew Sheen's florescent piano shimmer.
On "Red and Yellow" Angus employs Jo Lawry's honeyed vocalese as a front line instrument, and a deft counterpoint to his succinct guitar; and "Chernobyl," features Chad Lefkowitz'-Brown's soprano sax out front, and the addition of a string quartet to the group in a complex and beautiful arrangement that swings from wistful to hopeful moods.
With two different group line-ups, a string quintet on two tunes, a bunch of cerebral-yet-engagingly modern sounds, guitarist Quentin Angus has produced an exceptional recording.
Track Listing: Particular, Peculiar; Perception; Nardis; Red and Yellow; Chernobyl; Restoration; Den Haag; Bounce.
Personnel: Quentin Angus: guitar; Jo Lawry: voice (4); Will vinson: alto saxophone (1, 2, 4, 6, 8); Chad Lefkowitz-Brown: soprano saxophone (5);Shai Maestro: piano (1, 2,4, 6, 8); Matthew Sheens: piano (3, 5, 7); Linda Oh: bass (1, 2, 4, 6, 8); Or Bareket: bass (3, 5, 7); Kenneth Salters: drums; Yanni Burton: bass (5, 7); Sarah Koenig- Plonskier: violin (5, 7); Lavina Pavlish: violin (5, 7); Jack Stulz: viola (5, 7); Leana Rutt: cello (5, 7).