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Friday, November 18, 2016

Jeff Platz – Low Light Filter (Glitch Records, 2016) ****

By Chris Haines

Jeff Platz’s music over the years has had a remarkable consistency to it, and none more so than his work within the trio format.  In this instrumental configuration his guitar is centre stage making the fluidity, flexibility and excursive elements of his playing all the more prominent.  It is a delight to bathe in the homogeneity of his music, which if viewed from either a compositional technique or improvisational language point of view holds firm as an honest and quality product.  Whilst other creative or avant-garde guitarists may get more plaudits it seems that Mr. Platz tends to slip under the radar somewhat when compared to the likes of a Joe Morris or Raoul Bjorkenheim, not that I’m trying to equate their diverse styles with a similarity.  However, regarding the consistency of his style and the interest within the music, his playing from my point of view is every bit as good as more recognised others in the sound world he has created for himself.

Some of the more prominent features of the album Low Light Filter include the slow dirge of ‘Continuo’ with it’s repeated bass motive, as the very aspect of the title suggests, which sets up a regular pattern for the guitar to weave in and out of with timbral and melodic regularity, that is at the very epicentre of his sound.  This piece in itself can be seen on a micro level to reflect the global musical style of the guitarist’s work overall.  The underlying skipping beat of ‘Daisuki’ creates a nice foil for the wandering melodic line that seems to be looking for something that it never quite finds, containing an introspective look at a ‘big love’, whilst the free flowing time of ‘Duration’ gathers pace and momentum due to the deviceful drumming of Dalius Nauokaitis.  Also a nod to Dmitry Ishenko’s bass which starts ‘Semicircle’ with it’s African Kora-like intro and sees Mr. Platz abandoning his signature tone for a more distorted and bit-crushing sound.  This piece also benefitting from some resourceful metric modulation from the drums, which suggests some fluid changes in background tempi offset against the lead line that stays the same.

Overall this is a strong set of pieces that sets out Mr. Platz’s music in an ingenuous way, and would be a very good place to start for anyone that hasn’t had the pleasure of experiencing his guitar playing thus far.  From the evidence on show Jeff Platz sounds very comfortable within his musical character, which not only distinguishes him from others but also aligns his creativity equally alongside theirs as well.