3

Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Vyamanikal

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Kit Downes and Tom Challenger: Vyamanikal Five churches, five church organs and a saxophone or two: the instrumentation to be found on Vyamanikal, the British duo of Kit Downes and Tom Challenger's follow-up to Wedding Music (Loop Collective, 2013).

Downes (ENEMY, Tricko, Troyka) and Challenger (Brass Mask, Ma, Dice Factory) recorded Vyamanikal during a 2015 residency at Aldeburgh Music. The venue was established by composer Benjamin Britten in the 1960s in a disused Victorian maltings in the Suffolk village of Snape and is now one of the UK's premiere centers for music. The recordings don't come from the venue itself, however, but from churches around the area.

The churches—All Saints, Darsham; Holy Trinity, Blytheburgh; St Michael, Framlingham; St Edmond, Bromeswell; St John, Snape—are all to be found in Suffolk, one of England's most beautiful and ancient counties. They are crucial to the music not only because they provide the organs which Downes plays: they are instruments themselves. Their unique acoustics and the found sounds (if that's the right term) from their structures and churchyards are just as much a part of these improvisations as Challenger's saxophones. The bird song on "Maar-ikar" is in perfect sympathy with the music, even the sound of footsteps (if that's what it is) suits the mood and pace of the piece.

At times, the tracks on Wedding Music were doomy, dark and a little scary. Vyamanikal's music is gentler, calmer, less dramatic—although there is still occasional tension: for example in Downes' organ playing on "Sa," a stark contrast to Challenger's plaintive saxophone on the same track. But mostly this is meditative music, as Downes has said. The tempos are slow, the interplay between sax and organ is relaxed, some of Downes' organ chords seem to sustain forever. Music for the heart and soul.

Track Listing: Apicha; Bdhak; Sa; Vistri; Jyotir; Maar-ikar; Nya-aya.

Personnel: Kit Downes: organs; Tom Challenger: saxophones.

Title: Vyamanikal | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Slip Imprint


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Tether" CD/LP/Track Review Tether
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Supernovae" CD/LP/Track Review Supernovae
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello" CD/LP/Track Review Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
by John Eyles
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Ignacio" CD/LP/Track Review Ignacio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 16, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!