207

Twelves: The Adding Machine

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
In 2008, Twelves Trio released its debut album, the evocatively-titled Here Comes The Woodman With His Splintered Soul (1965 Records). The band has since added guitarist Rob Updegraff, dropped the Trio appellation, changed record labels, and released album number two, the more prosaically named The Adding Machine. The band's intention to explore, improvise and develop sonically remains strong on this release.

Twelves is one of a growing number of young British jazz groups characterized by technical ability and a willingness to transcend musical boundaries. Polar Bear, the Kit Downes Trio, Outhouse and The Golden Age Of Steam all readily spring to mind; as does Compassionate Dictatorship, a band that shares an identical instrumental lineup with Twelves, but uses it to deliver a punchier, more rock-oriented style of music. Members are often shared between these bands, with Twelves' drummer Tim Giles also in The Golden Age Of Steam, for example, while the musicians also collaborate in collectives such as Loop or F-Ire.

The band's sonic approach is a gentle one, characterized by subtle shifts in tempo, rhythm or instrumental emphasis. Tenor saxophonist Mark Hanslip takes the greatest responsibility for lead lines, and has a soft-toned and, at time, surprisingly quiet style. The most intriguing tune on The Adding Machine is "Shallow Brown," a traditional folk song recorded by Sir Peter Pears and June Tabor, among others. After Riaan Vosloo's languid bass introduction, Hanslip plays the melody in a similarly laidback style, underpinned by Giles and Updegraff's soft and fluid percussion and guitar. The band is almost in folk-rock territory here, the arrangement reflecting Fairport Convention's seminal recording of "A Sailor's Life" on Unhalfbricking (Island, 1969).

The rest of the tunes are originals. Hanslip and Vosloo are the band's main writers, but the packaging gives no clue as to who wrote which tune, and Giles and Updegraaf could well be involved too. "Kerfuffle" kicks off with a fine bass and drum groove from Vosloo and Giles, echoed in the entrance of Hanslip and Updegraff that follows. It soon slides into a darker, more fractured, sound courtesy of Hanslip's tenor, even though Giles and Vosloo keep up a more persistent rhythm. The dark side of the Twelves sound is also present on "Eyeballing" and "Mr Zero," although "Party Girls" shows its more humorous side.

Twelves is undoubtedly a band full of talented players, taking inspiration from some unusual sources and turning it into some complex but subtly nuanced compositions. At present, the band's sound may not be sufficiently distinct to make its mark on an increasingly crowded scene, but The Adding Machine suggests that this is just a matter of time.

Track Listing

Many Splendoured Thing: Part 1; Part 2; Spiders; Kerfuffle; Shallow Brown; Party Girls; Eyeballing; Mr Zero.

Personnel

Mark Hanslip: tenor saxophone; Rob Updegraff: guitar; Riaan Vosloo: bass; Tim Giles: drums.

Album information

Title: The Adding Machine | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Babel Label

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.


MUSICSTACK

Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers

AMAZON

CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more

HD TRACKS

Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads

CD UNIVERSE

Specializing in music, movies and video games

REVERB

Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

More

Read GMQ
GMQ
Geoff Mason
Read For Now
For Now
Brian Landrus
Read Welcome Adventure Vol. 1
Welcome Adventure Vol. 1
Daniel Carter, Matthew Shipp. William Parker, Gerald Cleaver