When you're not sure which street to take, why not take several and see where they all lead? The inability to decide might just turn into the strongest asset in the right hands. It's always worked just fine for Slowly Rolling Camera, who have always remained too busy carving out a picturesque one-of-a-kind niche to actually bother pinning down what it is they do.
Following on from the superb turning point of Juniper (Edition, 2018), which reinvented the group as an instrumental future-bop-soul-electro-jazz trio, Where the Streets Lead takes the mix somewhere a little more heavy and heady. Dave Stapleton's electric keys get a little dash of extra fuzz here and there; Elliot Bennett spins a crackling blend of snappy jazz and propulsive techno sensibility at the drums, while silent man-behind-the-curtain Deri Roberts makes a soundstage as wide and sweeping as ever.
As always, Stapleton's compositions for the group are a bewitching blend of slow burn and quiet majesty. The pieces can naturally fall and swell like ocean waves or whirl like sudden flash storms. Stuart McCallum's guitar and Mark Lockheart's sax beautifully cry to the sky while tempestuous strings provide swathes of color and drama.
It's faintly surprising to hear a vocal number in the late stretch and, while it can't help somewhat feeling dropped in from a different album, Sachal Vasandani's smooth lead nicely summarizes the album's theme of hope amidst uncertainty. Slowly Rolling Camera's world of sound is big enough to happily get lost in while waiting to see how those paths unfold. Especially when things down the road are unclear, there is a distinct pleasure (even comfort) in simply wandering.
You Are the Truth; Where the Streets Lead; Lost Orbits; The Afternoon of Human Life; Widest
Possible Aperture; Illuminate; Feels Like Fiction; A Force for Good.
Mark Lockheart: soprano and tenor saxophones; Stuart McCallum: guitar; Jasper Høiby: double
bass; Verneri Pohjola: trumpet; Jon Visanji: violin; Jenni Curiel violin; James Toll: violin; Victoria
Stapleton: violin; Linda Kidwell: viola; Rob Tuson: viola; Phil Daish-Handy: cello; Lionel Handy:
cello; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone (4); Sachal Vasandani: vocals (6).
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