Friday, 19 February 2021

Andrew Wasylyk ‎– Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation (2020)

Style: World Fusion, Jazz, Folk
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Athens Of The North, Monorail Music

01.   A Further Look At Loss
02.   Last Sunbeams Of Childhood
03.   Fugitive Light Restless Water
04.   The Violet Hour
05.   Everywhere Something Sublime
06.   In Balgay Silhouettes
07.   Awoke In The Early Days Of A Better World
08.   (Half-light Of) The Cadmium Moon
09.   Black Bay Dream Minor
10.   Lost, Aglow

Dundee musician’s reconfiguration as Andrew Wasylyk has been one of Scottish music’s more pleasing transformations in recent times, affording the songwriter ample space to open his music up to fresh influences. This new LP is the third in a triptych of records that explores the East Coast of Scotland, reconfiguring Tayside and its neighbouring areas as a kind of liminal dreamscape where past and possibility, memory and potential are allowed to intermingle.

A study in colour and tone, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ is a gorgeous song cycle, moving from studied formalism to something freer and more expressive. Opening statement ‘A Further Look At Loss’ is all baroque tinges and the gentle pull of Autumn, led by that gorgeous oboe melody and the stately rhythm.

By way of contrast, ‘Last Sunbeams Of Childhood’ is far less definitive, a track permeates with nostalgia amid its gloopy Boards Of Canada textures, each point of melody gleaming like a lighthouse on a haar-ridden evening.

A record of dichotomous urges, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ shuffles between spider-like modern classical abstraction and languid jazz tones. As with previous album ‘The Paralian’, the record is achieved through Andrew Wasylyk’s collaboration with Pete Harvey, whose string arrangements add definition to those sonic landscapes.

‘The Violet Hour’ is a heavenly, theremin-aided fusion of gentle melancholy and beatific awe at nature’s recuperative power, while ‘Everywhere Something Sublime’ seems to drink in the wonderful emptiness of the Scottish countryside. At times reminiscent of Talk Talk founder Mark Hollis’ daring openness, a song like ‘Lost Aglow’ billows out over any definitions put in its place, a kind of pure creativity of the kind seldom encountered.

Yet for all its defiance, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ is a record rooted in certain pathways, one founded in a definitive time and place. Enormously atmospheric, it has a feeling that draws you perpetually towards Scotland’s East Coast, its mosaic of dialects, attitudes, colours, and sounds. ‘In Balgay Silhouettes’ is a direct reference to Dundee, and it offer a mirror to the way the city feels – its roads, streets, buildings, and people.

A record brave enough to stand on its own, ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ completes a marvellous trilogy from the Scottish composer, while asserting a highly individual sonic palette. It’s truly a record to savour slowly.
Robin Murray / CLASH

Lon Moshe & Southern Freedom Arkestra ‎– Love Is Where The Spirit Lies (1993)

Style: Modal, Free Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl. FLAC
Label: Strut, Black Fire, Metacomet

1.   Prayer For Saude
2.   Love Is Where The Spirit Lies
3.   The Hutch
4.   Doin' The Carvin' For Thabo
5.   Survival Raga #9
6.   Low Ghost
7.   Ballad For Bobby Hutcherson

6-String Bass – Tommy Spencer
Bass – Calvin Craddock, Freddie Williams 
Drums – Hugh Peterson, Reggie Brisbane, Jr.
Flugelhorn, Trumpet, Shekere – Marvin Daniels
Guitar – "Ras Mel" Melvin Glover, Jr.
Percussion, Congas, Bells – Ndikho Xaba
Vibraphone – Ben Wilson
Vocals – Robin Bolling
Vocals, Arranged By – Eka-Ete Jackie Lewis
Words By, Violin – Ngoma Hill
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Jimmy Gray
Piano – Atiba Rudy Tyson, Nathaniel "Nat" Lee, Timothy A. Hall
Producer, Vibraphone, Marimba, Arranged By – Lon Moshe

Strut present the first ever international reissue of one of the most sought-after albums from the Black Fire catalogue, Lon Moshe & Southern Freedom Arkestra’s life-affirming ‘Love Is Where The Spirit Lies’ from 1977.

“Lon was creating his own path in his music life at this time,” remembers Black Fire’s Plunky Branch. “We had met in San Francisco and he had become an original member of JuJu during the early ‘70s. He then wanted to pursue his own music, primarily in jazz; he was an avant-gardist and loved Tribe, Strata-East and Sun Ra.” For his Love Is Where The Spirit Lies album, Moshe drew from musicians within the Black Fire stable. Oneness Of Juju’s Jackie Eka-Ete sang and helped to write songs and members of Southern Energy Ensemble contributed, including their bandleader Marvin Daniels. “The band name, Southern Freedom Arkestra, was a proud declaration that this music was from the U.S. South,” continues Branch.

“The civil rights movement had been led from there and the most serious racial animosities resided there. Lon had grown up in Southern Illinois, South of Chicago, and said that the racial oppression was as bad there as in the South. He wanted to fight back through his music and through his own actions. He found a way to bring energy and aggressive to the sweet sound of the vibes. He played with a lot of dynamism and speed. The most celebrated piece on this album, ‘Doin’ The Carvin For Thabo’, is a tribute to his mentor, the drummer Michael Carvin (also known by same as ‘Thabo’) who had played for Motown, with Freddie Hubbard and many more.

This first international reissue of the album features new sleeve notes including interviews and commentary by Lon Moshe, Plunky Branch and band members with original illustrated artwork by Mary E. Greer. Audio was remastered from original tapes by The Carvery.