Fringe Magnetic: Empty Spaces

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: FRINGE MAGNETIC
LABELS: LOOP
PERFORMER: Rory Simmons (trumpet), Tori Freestone (flute), Jasper Hoiby (bass), Ivo Neame (piano), Ben Reynolds (drums), Elisabeth Nygaard (voice) etc
CATALOGUE NO: Loop 1011

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This ten-piece offers an interesting take on the fashion for stirring jazz and formal composition together. One of the great paradoxes of jazz is that improvisation is a place of safety; master that and you can make your material say anything, so if you create a music that deliberately constrains it you’re already dealing with a trickier option.

Yet you also expose yourself to all the demands of the compositional process, from ensemble chord voicings to where to put the da capo. I’m just glad all I have to do is listen to the results, which invoke the combined approaches of Frank Zappa, Henry Cow, Bartók, Schoenberg and Led Bib in a way that should imply praise rather than burial.

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Some of the instrumental performances are a bit tentative, but this sonically airy disc feels like work in progress that actually does imply both work and progress. I like it. Roger Thomas