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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Gondwana Orchestra: Colors

Read "Colors" reviewed by Matt Hooke

Saxophonist and composer Pharoah Sanders is often imitated but, never matched. His spiritual free-floating style, marked by his distinctive tenor saxophone tone makes him instantly recognizable. On Colors, the Gondwana Orchestra does not attempt to mimic the master, as the album does not include a single saxophonist. Instead of saxophone, the focus is on pianist Taz ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Noya Rao: Icaros

Read "Icaros" reviewed by Rokas Kucinskas

Something that started as a solo project by Tom Henry in his bedroom studio transformed into something much more mature: first his ideas were executed in an instrumental trio setting that eventually evolved into the vocal electronic-soul quartet--Noya Rao. What kind of music does the quartet play? The kind that Gilles Peterson is famous for." With ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mammal Hands: Shadow Work

Read "Shadow Work" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Our best musicians can soak up influences from many diverse sources, assimilate them into their own style, and allow them to emerge during improvisation. This is why, as readers of this site will surely be aware, a piece can sound different in the hands of two skilled jazz musicians even when the raw material of the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Portico Quartet: Art in the Age of Automation

Read "Art in the Age of Automation" reviewed by Geno Thackara

It's an inevitable rule that pretty much any piece of automated technology, especially digital technology, gets criticized for replacing something natural. The synthesizer invited a backlash when it was used (and yes, often misused) as a substitute for 'real' instruments--ditto the computerized tones and robotic timekeeping of MIDI and digital programming. Nonetheless, it's just as inevitable ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Dwight Trible: Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)

Read "Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Having worked with the likes of the Pharoah Sanders Quartet and Kamasi Washington the musical fit between Los Angeles native Dwight Trible and Manchester's Gondwana records should be self- evident. This album was conceived as a combination of joint favourites and spiritual jazz classics chosen by Trible and Gondwana label boss Matthew Halsall, after a couple ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Phil France: The Swimmer

Read "The Swimmer" reviewed by Phil Barnes

When did the future get postponed? Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s it felt as if innovations that might change and improve our lives beyond recognition were tantalisingly just around the corner. Surely the science fiction utopia of a life set free from drudgery, where our preferred mode of transport would either be a teleport ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

John Ellis: Evolution - Seeds and Streams

Read "Evolution - Seeds and Streams" reviewed by Phil Barnes

There's a temptation to assume with evolution that all of history has been leading to this point, that today's dominant species or situation will continue as such forever. Nonsense of course, think of the changes in the lifetimes of current generations and it's clear that evolution is not a defined end point but a dynamic, continuing ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mammal Hands: Floa

Read "Floa" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Mammal Hands debut album Animalia from autumn 2014 impressed with its emphasis on the overall collective effect over solo pyrotechnics, a choice that perfectly complemented the build and release of tension in the music. Of course in a trio set up the contributions of each member are always discernible and the twist of substituting Jordan Smart's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Matthew Halsall: Matthew Halsall: On the Go (Special Edition)

Read "Matthew Halsall: On the Go (Special Edition)" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Slipping under the radar this low-key reissue of Matthew Halsall's classic 2011 album should not be ignored. Why so? Well rather than just tweak the tapes for a first vinyl issue Halsall, who it appears was not completely happy with the original mix, has taken the opportunity to commission a full remix and remaster by George ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra: Into Forever

Read "Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra: Into Forever" reviewed by Phil Barnes

Some artists epitomise the times they live in, while others go their own way, standing apart from the herd, ploughing their own furrow. As the self-aggrandising, dishonest and downright greedy seem to gain ever greater prominence in our world, those whose work can provide a few moments of respite, refuge and reflection become more and more ...