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Tom Challenger's Brass Mask: Brass Mask Live

Read "Brass Mask Live" reviewed by Duncan Heining

You need a truly modern street band in your musical life. That's a statement. Period. No “buts," no “maybes." You might not know it but it's just what you've been lacking and here it is with Brass Mask's second CD, Live. I enjoyed their first record, Spy Boy a lot. Here was a band that were investigating the tradition, not just plundering for repertoire or for musical colour or as bricolage. These guys wanted to go back to ...

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Tom Challenger and Kit Downes: Black Shuck

Read "Black Shuck" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The great--and often dark--writer, Neil Gaiman, in his recently published book of short stories titled Trigger Warning tells the tale of the mythical dog-beast--the black shuck--that is to be avoided at night because ..."if you see him--you die.." Well, that's fairly dark and it sets the tone for the third duo outing from Kit Downes and Tom Challenger. Black Shuck follows the pair's Wedding Music (Loop Records, 2014) and Vyamanical (Slip Imprint, 2016). Black Shuck has been issued ...

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Tom Challenger and Kit Downes: Black Shuck

Read "Black Shuck" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

"Atmosphere" is one of those oft-used, hard to pin down, words that music writers are wont to distribute across their outpourings. Sometimes, it's used without qualification--an “atmospheric" piece, a song that has “atmosphere"--much in the way that people speak of having “blood pressure." So when a work such as Tom Challenger and Kit Downes' impressive Black Shuck appears, laden with atmosphere, some further discussion of the term is crucial--especially when the album's own press release refers to it as “dusty ...

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Ma: Live

Read "Live" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Ma is part of London's endlessly intriguing Loop Collective, a grouping of younger-generation musicians and bands that includes pianist Ivo Neame, vibes player and drummer Jim Hart, trumpeter Rory Simmons and many others. Saxophonist Tom Challenger leads Ma: he's joined in the core trio by Matt Calvert on synths and laptop and by Dave Smith on drums. A quick check of the three musicians' resumés gives a hint of the breadth and extent of their careers. Challenger is ...


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