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Articles by James Fleming

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerusalem In My Heart: Daqa'iq Tudaiq

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In a thrilling juxtaposition, the record's jagged synthesisers clash with its rolling rhythms. As the beats' hypnotic loops lure in the unwary the electronics buzz and chatter like insects at sundown. The swarming, shimmering sounds of evening's approach. On Daqa'iq Tudaiq (Constellation Records, 2018) Jerusalem In My Heart hold the avant-garde up to the Arabian twilight. And trace the sonic silhouette in the LP's grooves. Side one's echoing, melismatic vocals float above the Middle-Eastern pulse. Coloured by an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Palmberg: First Lines

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The playing is spare, cooled. At its best it shines like a new blade in the sunlight, with all the pointed passion of a brilliant sentence. At its lowest, Erik Palmberg's First Lines loses that shine and replaces it with sheen: the glittering finish of studio perfection. A coat worn to flesh out the music. But that doesn't fill its empty core. Particularly on “Erland's Song" and “Another Waltz," the music drifts away into empty glitziness. Metamorphosing from ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Galway Jazz Festival 2018

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Galway Jazz Festival Galway, Ireland October 5, 2018 The rain came up from the south-west over the Atlantic. Setting a slab of grey cloud on Galway's sky. A piper sat on Shop Street beneath the slanted rainfall, his waist-length hair flattened to his back. And as the city stretched itself awake to his air the cold light shone on the first day of the Galway Jazz Festival. Poking through blue cracks in the sky's grey.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Q Morrow: There Are Stars In Brooklyn

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Like America, the ideas are good. And just like the USA, they are lost in translation, from concept to being. Q Morrow's There Are Stars In Brooklyn combines jazz with Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Carnatic music. It is the product of a curious mind and an interconnected world, specifically of the United States, where different peoples, cultures, and musics are accessible to the enlightened who seek them out. However, there are post-surgery scars on this splicing of styles, where the ideas ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daniel Bennett: We Are the Orchestra

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The music rolls out of the speakers as a breeze shimmers over the prairie. Evoking scenes of broad, open grasslands. The Daniel Bennett Group's We Are The Orchestra plays out like a collage of genres and cultures: Italian opera, American jazz and folk, tinges of East Africa. A vivid tapestry woven from disparate threads. That rather than rehashing musical history, hints at the possibilities of the future. On a track such as “Theme From Ernani" those far off ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 5-6

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Sligo Jazz Project Sligo, Ireland July 28-29, 2018 Not even the boats on the water moved. It was a dark morning. Lit by grey sunlight that carried no heat on its rays. The mist and cold nipped at the skin but otherwise there was barely a twitch of movement. No vigour in the breeze at all. It was buried beneath the stillness. Covered in a blanket of sodden air. At Sligo IT the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

HHY & The Macumbas: Beheaded Totem

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Lurking somewhere between Sun Ra's Arkestra and the Chemical Brothers is Beheaded Totem's jarring, rocky soundscape. Every turn seems to loop back on itself in a never-ending cycle of music. The wide expanses of the synth and percussion combo create a sense of openness and space. Of a plain of sound where the horizons stretch out in both directions. And the brass, more concentrated and precise, mirror the sunbeams that blister the ground. Their spare riffs colour the sound with ...

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Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 3-4

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Days 1-2 | Days 3-4 Sligo Jazz Project Various Venues Sligo, Ireland July 24-29, 2018 July 26, 2018When the wind died down the day turned humid and heavy. Clouds hung low in the sky, grey and oppressive. And as Sligo's people sipped their coffees and settled down at their desks, the electricity cut out at Sligo IT. Amplifiers and keyboards were rendered powerless. Putting a halt to the morning's planned classes.

LIVE REVIEWS

Sligo Jazz Project 2018: Days 1-2

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Days 1-2 | Days 3-4Sligo Jazz Project Various Venues Sligo, Ireland July 24-29, 2018 July 24, 2018 The Garavogue River flows slow and lazy through the centre of town to Sligo Harbour. Mountains stand in the distance out in Yeats country, green and rocky, overlooking the fields on the outskirts of town. Looking over the dull metal roofs of Ballast Quay's warehouses to the land beyond Sligo town, the faeries steal away with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Restroy: Restroy

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Between the constellations of Sun Ra and Miles Davis, Restroy has claimed a corner of the universe. On its self-titled debut album, the group explores the far-out possibilities of a sextet. placing electronics alongside acoustic instruments, and wrenching all the potential sounds from that combination. The keyboards and synthesizers shimmer like a vast sun-baked plain, the trumpet a stark contrast of emotional concentration. Wielded brilliantly by James Davis, his playing is precise, refined, almost blinding in its radiance. ...