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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nick Howell & Collin Thomas - Floor Fifty (Self Published, 2009) ***½

Trumpet-player Nick Howell and percussionist/composer Collin Thomas have been producing many albums together, building soundscapes out of silence and ambient sounds, slightly adding emphasis and contrast with their own instruments. The music is quiet, meditative, with once in a while ripples of intensity, like a breeze creating waves over a calm see. "Floor Fifty" is their latest album, and possibly the most sparse of the lot, with "Spring Dance", one of their earlier albums being more rooted in the AACM school of free jazz, and the rest is in between. It is not in the same league as Wadada Leo Smith's and Adam Rudolph's "Compassion", but that's of course an unfair comparison, although it gives a sense of where the music is going. The endeavor is genuine, and the music has an austere beauty, although not with the distinctive power and voice of Smith, yet they keep far away from new agey kitsch. Nice and solid work. Quiet and calm. It will calm down the nervous and impatient, and it will please the calm and patient among you.

Free downloads from their website.

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