COMPOSERS: Blue-Eyed Hawk
WORKS: Under the Moon
PERFORMER: Lauren Kinsella (voice), Alex Roth (guitar), Laura Judd (trumpet) etc
CATALOGUE NO: EDN1054
Assuming that jazz is whatever music you can programme into a jazz festival without it seeming obviously irrelevant, and that the sound of surprise still has currency in some quarters, this recently-toured group will hopefully have been welcomed by more adventurous audiences. While comparisons don’t really cut it, a list of tickable boxes might include the dark ambient trumpet school of Nils Petter Molvaer, the avant-balladeering of Norma Winstone, Christian Fennesz-style guitar treatments and an ancestral memory of avant-gardists Art Bears. Yet all of these are gently subverted by folky interludes and Kinsella’s vocals, the latter redolent with the anthemic jazz phrasing that could happily underpin a torch song.
The result is rather brilliant; to call it ‘wayward’ rather points up the conservatism of the times, alas. The recorded sound and production (from Polar Bear’s Tom Herbert and electronicist Leafcutter John) serve the music well.