Many are going to say this isn’t jazz, but even they won’t fail to be moved by this album.
Whatever it isn’t, it is distinctive. The general idea has been embraced before by such as Mike Oldfield or Pink Floyd – the slow sonorous composition that evolves and spreads gently like mist – but this album is a distillation of all those efforts.
It very rarely swings in any sense, but if you’ve had a little too much swinging for one day, this will restore tired nerves. The atmosphere generated by these thoughtful pieces varies from the ominous and foreboding through austerity to the light and facile, but always there’s a reassuring quality.
The riffs and patterns that make it all are mostly so simple that they could be transcribed and written into this review. But the secret lies more in the textures overlaid by saxophone and synthesiser (not forgetting the impressionistic snatches of breaking glass and accordion in Little Movements). The approach is dynamic rather than melodic, and though themes develop slowly, the content is substantial.
If industrial psychology ever evolves a theory of sound patterns to calm nerves, based possibly on the sounds from the expectant womb (heartbeats, rumblings, gurglings, etc) then realises it with a band, it’ll probably be something close to this.
The Last Stage Of A Long Journey; Bali (22.02) – A Dark Spell; Little Movements; ‘No Trees?’ He Said (20.50)
Charlie Mariano (ss/f); Rainer Bruninghuas (p/syn); Eberhard Weber (b); John Marshall (d/pc) – July 1980.