Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

3

Dan Nicholls: Ruins

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Ruins is the debut release from keyboardist and composer Dan Nicholls. Nicholls is based in London, where he is a member of the ever-fascinating Loop Collective. He's declared that his music is inspired, at least in part, by "prevalent issues" such as the Arab Spring—a quick check of the song titles, or a glance at the cover design, suggest that there are some pretty heavy prevalent issues under consideration here.

The themes may be heavy, but the music is seldom as downbeat or gloomy as the titles might suggest. Over tapes of what might be marketplace conversations (the field recordings are resolutely lo-fi) "Blinkers" gets things under way with a mid-tempo calmness. The tempo builds slowly, the calmness replaced by repetitive, looping, quietly desperate horn lines underpinned by Dave Smith's forceful percussion.

"Chaos Happens" shifts the mood once more, its flowing rhythm evoking the everyday activity of a big city rather than the chaos of the title. "The Scrolling Banner" has an edge of mystery that's heightened in "Ruins." We're in slightly darker territory now, the music's spookiness and use of electronics harking back to '60s horror movies—Hammer Films crossed with the soundtracks of Krzysztof Komeda perhaps. Beautifully atmospheric.

The mystery continues—"Withdrawal" features the album's spookiest sounds before James Allsopp and Shabaka Hutchings bring some welcome lightness and Smith gets funky, then the charmingly odd "Voice Intercepts" pops up with Ruins' most upbeat sound. Just when a pair of dancing shoes might be in order, "idontknow" brings the mystery back. The music—possibly a Nicholls solo performance—reflects the title's rather resigned and pessimistic tone, but it has its own meditative beauty.

Track Listing: Blinkers; Chaos Happens; The Scrolling Banner; Ruins...; ...missing in action; Withdrawal; Strobes On The Ascent; Voice Intercepts; idontknow.

Personnel: Dan Nicholls: Fender Rhodes, wurlitzer piano, organ, tapes, Roland sh-101; James Allsopp: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Shabaka Hutchings: bass clarinet; Kit Downes: organ; Dave Smith: drums; Tom Challenger: alto clarinet (1, 2).

Title: Ruins | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Loop Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Fukushima" CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Live In London" CD/LP/Track Review Live In London
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Beginnings" CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 12, 2017

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!