304

Simon Little: The Knowledge of Things to Come

Lawrence Peryer By

Sign in to view read count
Simon Little: The Knowledge of Things to Come The first wave of auteurs to substantially capitalize on the proliferation of sophisticated yet accessibly-priced music production technology hailed from the DJ and electronic scenes. With turntables, samplers and DAT machines in their arsenals, these solitary explorers discovered, manipulated and mixed sound in innovative ways. The boundary between instrument and tool would never be the same.

The proliferation of multi-track recorders and expensive effects rigs have increased as their price and physical size has shrunk. As a result, artists like Simon Little can create an ever-increasing array of instrumental music, recorded and distributed as an entirely one-person endeavor.

Little's The Knowledge of Things to Come is made up of live improvisations, with a bass played through a real-time looping machine (Looperlative's LP-1), to create figures and drones, over which Little adds soulful solos and ambient textures.

The danger with Little's methodology and approach is that the inherent repetition can induce boredom, with the sameness in the technology's tone usurping the sound of the player. Little largely manages to avoid that here, mainly through a smart use of track sequencing. "The Music of Change" kicks off the program with a very tight, funky groove which would not be out of place on an Isley Brothers record. Two tracks later, "Go Quietly Now..." does just that, bringing down the pace but not the passion—several lovely solo measures merit close attention. This is pretty much the pattern for the remainder of the set, with a mix of up-tempo riffs interspersed with searching, ambient excursions.

Many of the tracks or individual passages thereof lend themselves to visual interpretation. Some of the melodies evoke a sense of Mike Post on psychedelics, and would perhaps be right at home as the theme of a '70s television police drama. Other moments conjure fractals, inner and outer space, and other abstractions. Not for nothing was Little's 2010 collection of recordings in this vein titled Mandela (Simon Little, 2010).

Little, who has eclectic pop credentials, having recorded and performed with Ben Folds, Chris Difford, Nick Cave and, most notably, The Divine Comedy, has opted for the path of a digital-only release for his recordings. A pertinent ramification of this decision is that, in addition to being available in the standard MP3 and AAC formats at most retailers, the artist's own website offers high-end, 24-bit audiophile formats. The Knowledge of Things to Come is a headphones record, with quite a dynamic range. The token amount of extra hard drive space that the lossless files occupy will be the right way to go for many listeners.

Track Listing: The Music of Chance; Babel Fish; Go Quietly Now...; Some Mysterious Song; No Strings Attached; Harlequin Valentine; The Band Sounds Like Typewriters; Baliset; L for Leather; The Knowledge of Things to Come.

Personnel: Simon Little: bass, live looping.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Ambient


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "The Many Minds of Richie Cole" CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "One for Marian" CD/LP/Track Review One for Marian
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Storyteller" CD/LP/Track Review Storyteller
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Carol Morgan Quartet - Post Cool Vol. 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Carol Morgan Quartet - Post Cool Vol. 1 The Night Shift
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 14, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!