Saturday, January 29, 2011
Grey Ghost - Broad Oration (Self-published, 2010) ****
By Joe Higham
If you enjoy Faust, Can, 23 Skidoo and the likes, then here's one for you!
Grey Ghost (Aram Shelton sax/max/msp and drummer Johnathan Crawford) play music that has (at the same time) blissfully peaceful minimalist grooves, linked into hypnotic soundscapes and add to that some wild screeching sax solos, in fact something for all the family! Is this possible? Well yes, the music on this CD is constantly challenging whilst remaining accessible, in fact I found myself sitting hypnotised by the mix of percussion and live and manipulated sounds. As I mentioned already this could be something from the 70's Kraut rock experimental stable, but with the use of max/msp the music is certainly straight from the '00s.
And the music? Well, you're taken on a trip around a universe of grooves and sounds. From the opening dark drum rhythms of 'Circle' that add electro-acoustic elements like snowflakes of manipulated sound, or the heavy drum groove and sonic sax (attack), on 'Sustained Room of Sun', the music constantly weaves in and out of expected places, sometimes free jazz and at others minimalist music. Examples such as 'Anthem for the Fox' , 'Wage Irony' could come straight from the world of Pierre Schaeffer or the group Faust as the music rocks and sways almost like a vinyl spiral groove(*). Other tracks such as 'The Phoenix', 'Brief' and 'Fever' involve mixtures of hypnotic manipulated sounds mixed with free jazz sax playing.
Tags for this excellent album could be : 23 Skidoo, Faust, Pierre Schaeffer, John Lurie's Men with Sticks, Holgay Czukay, Roedelius, Ornette, Mantana Roberts, 21st century. What can you say to that?
Only for "Free Jazz Blog" readers : available for free.
(*) For all those who never had the chance to own an LP (or Vinyl), a spiral groove is the 'groove' placed at the end of a record - side 1 and 2. When the music finished the needle continued into the spiral groove. If you didn't have an automatic stop system your pick-up (or needle) turned in this groove until stopped manually, creating a sort of hypnotic swirl and clicking sound.