234

Mercury Falls: Quadrangle

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Mercury Falls: Quadrangle Mercury Falls is an intriguing and somewhat ambivalent band name—and whether it refers to a celestial body, a mythological messenger, plummeting water, dropping temperatures or, indeed, to nothing at all, it's a name that readily reflects the fascinating and at times beautiful music that the band creates on its debut release, Quadrangle.

Although Mercury Falls disowns the term, much of the music on Quadrangle has a distinctly ambient feel to it (the band refers to it as "quiet, but not ambient.") It's not the serene ambience of an act such as Cipher or Tangerine Dream, however—there is always an edge to the music that suggests a storm beneath the calm. It's more to do with the sense that the sound the band creates is all-encompassing, creating its own strange environment.

Writing credits on the album belong to guitarist Ryan Francesconi—who is also the guitarist for harpist and singer Joanna Newsom's band—and horn player Patrick Cress, whose performance credits include work with bassist and composer John Clayton. Each man gets two sole credits, with three numbers being co-compositions.

Cress and Francesconi's "Insurance Rep" is a stylish tune which, despite being inspired by Cress' experience with his insurance company after a car accident, has a gentle beauty to it. Tim Bulkley's drums are key to the way the tune builds in intensity—reminiscent of the style of the young British drummer James Maddren. "Quad Idea," another co-composition, revolves around Cress' rough-edged baritone sax—it's a great sound that gives the tune an unusual center around which the other three musicians weave their contrastingly delicate patterns.

Cress' "Solar Plexus" is certainly not serene—this is a tune with an uncharacteristically menacing air, the storm rising above the calm, created especially by Francesconi's guitar and electronics, although bassist Eric Perney's solid foundation also helps to establish the menace. Cress' "Lullaby for Beane" and Francesconi's "Years Without Speech" and "Speech Without Years" bring the calmness back to the fore.

Quadrangle may be a debut, but the musicians' previous experience ensures that the album has a maturity and a completeness that many first time releases lack. The range of those experiences, from Cress' work with multi-media projects to Perney's time with Tom Waits, creates an enticing fusion of sounds and ideas.


Track Listing: Spring Pools; Speak Without Ears; Quad Idea; Years Without Speech; Insurance Rep; Solar Plexus; Lullaby for Beane.

Personnel: Ryan Francesconi: guitar, electronics; Patrick Cress: alto sax, baritone sax, bass clarinet, flute; Tim Bulkley: drums; Eric Perney: bass; Michelle Amador: voice (1); Barry Syska: voice (3).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Porto Franco Records


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Buoyancy" CD/LP/Track Review Buoyancy
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "The Real Deal" CD/LP/Track Review The Real Deal
by James Nadal
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Still" CD/LP/Track Review Still
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "El Changüí Majadero" CD/LP/Track Review El Changüí Majadero
by James Nadal
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!