Country : United Kingdom Label : independent Genres and styles : Electro-Jazz Year : 2020

Spirit Bloom

· by Rupert Bottenberg

The reconfiguration of jazz amid the ascendancy of electronics over the last couple of decades has led, in many cases, to lost threads, empty enigmas, emotional dilution, and novelty for its own sake. There are certainly exceptions – Jaga Jazzist have a new joint scheduled for the end of the month, and in the meantime, there’s this superior pairing, calling into question just when exactly the reservoir of fresh, outstanding jazz in London, England, will run dry.

Strong, clear signals emanate from the duo of Duncan Eagle and Max Luthert, on saxophone and modular synthesizers respectively. Each is firm in his intentions, yet the negotiations between them are strictly win-win – the game here is complementarity, not compromise. Eagle’s sturdy sax playing earned attention through his rather conventional solo efforts, but finds new vitality in this context. This new EP, moreover, is a stronger, more convincing effort than the duo’s 2018 debut, Between Suns.

A couple of brief interludes space out the five-track Spirit Bloom, the first a moment of calm following the grand, aspirational “Diminished Axis”, the second a playful goof, getting the silliness out of their systems before the weighty closer “Pallas”. The middle piece, “First Block”, is bright, buoyant, and succinct. The overall mood of the EP, what the listener will likely retain, is a sense of curiosity, and of cautious hope.

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