All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

517

Pianocircus featuring Bill Bruford: Skin and Wire

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
For his final release of "new" music, percussionist Bill Bruford collaborates with Pianocircus—an all-keyboard ensemble best-known for its unique coverage of largely contemporary classical music, fitting somewhere between Steve Reich and Phillip Glass' systems music and the avante leanings of Estonian Erkki-Sven Tüür and David Lang. With four of Pianocircus' six members alongside Bruford and bass guitarist Julian Crampton, Skin and Wire features music by Colin Riley, who occupies similar territory, but adds elements of electronics and ambient music to the mix. With plenty to appeal to fans of Swiss pianist Nik Bartsch and albums like Stoa (ECM, 2006), there's also much to differentiate Riley's writing.



Riley's music is about more than a hypnotic pulse, complex polyrhythms and the mathematical interlocking of multiple musical parts. "Kit and Caboodle," the only collaborative composition—with Bruford, not surprisingly, given its visceral pulse—possesses clear great forward motion. Still, it's an episodic piece with a hint of Norwegian keyboardist/composer Jon Balke's idiosyncrasies, a gentle interlude of electric keyboards approaching the trance-inducing stasis of Brian Eno's Music for Airports (Virgin/Astralwerks, 1978), and tempo shifts that lend it its own distinct complexion.



"Pale Corridor" is softer but no less hypnotic, as otherworldly electronics combine with reverb-drenched piano and a shifting pulse from Bruford that juxtaposes soft textures and a subdued backbeat, even as the dynamics gradually intensify to a climax that then dissolves into sparer, ethereal atmospherics.



Bruford—spending the latter part of his career in jazz, but earlier years with King Crimson giving him plenty of opportunity to hone his skills as a colorist—is the ideal choice for Riley. Defined, in his earliest days with Yes and Crimson, by his mathematical precision, Bruford's later jazz proclivities result in a looser feel that's equally vital to Riley's imaginative, stylistically unfettered writing. On the darker, "The Still Small Voice," oddly constructed rhythms hide in the weeds, emerging only occasionally, while Bruford's expanded, percussion-heavy kit provides expansive color to Riley's hauntingly beautiful score for keyboards and piano—a combination of queued themes and quirky sonics.



Keyboardists David Appleton, Adam Caird, Kate Halsall and Semra Krutac possess a wide range of experience, transcending the contemporary classical realm in which they largely live. Hints of Gamelan introduce the album closer, "Ebb Cast"; electric keyboards create a soft landscape over which occasionally sharp bursts of piano punctuate with minimalist patterns that ebb, flow and ultimately disappear. Much of Skin and Wire possesses hooks on which a hat can be hung; still, for the most part, this is music to be felt and experienced as much as it is to be heard.



Progressive, but in a completely different sense than the groups with whom Bruford cut his teeth, Skin and Wire is a sadly final demonstration of the recently retired drummer's intrepid interest in all things musical. Still, with Skin and Wire's unequivocal beauty and genre-busting writing, here's hoping he can be coerced back into the studio on occasion for more creative projects like Skin and Wire.



Visit Pianocircus and Bill Bruford on the web.


Track Listing: Kit and Caboodle; Pale Corridor; Stalling Between Two Fools; The Still Small Voice; Achilles' Feel; Without a Hand to Hold (for JM); Squiggle Zipper; Tear; Ebb Cast.

Personnel: Pianocircus: David Appleton: piano, keyboards; Adam Caird: piano, keyboards; Kate Halsall: piano, keyboards; Samra Kurutac: piano, keyboards. Bill Bruford: drums, percussion; Julian Crampton: bass guitar; Colin Riley: compositions, programming.

Title: Skin and Wire | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Summerfold Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Emanon" CD/LP/Track Review Emanon
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "g a b b r o" CD/LP/Track Review g a b b r o
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 5, 2017
Read "Saturday Night Dogs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Night Dogs
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "A Sky You Could Strike a Match On" CD/LP/Track Review A Sky You Could Strike a Match On
by Patrick Burnette
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Anniversary Package; Lab 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Anniversary Package; Lab 2017
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 24, 2017
Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" CD/LP/Track Review Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018