Friday, 20 November 2015

Melissa James - Stripped Back, almost

Melissa James
Melissa James - vocal/voice
 Arthur Lea - piano
Jack Ross - guitar

Venue - LIBRARY, private members club, 112 St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4BD
Date - 19th October 2015
Current Album - Stripped Back (Soon to be released)

Arthur Lea
See next at -
22nd November 2015 - Green Note, London, UK
16th March 2015 - Southbank Centre Free Stage, London, UK

London is full of hidden treasures at this moment in time and new venue LIBRARY fits firmly on that shelf.  It is a joy to reacquaint oneself also with those previously unearthed gems and Melissa James is as talented and uncomplicated as you could wish for in a hunt for faceted beauty.

To see our world through a strangers eyes is also a gift and I had the pleasure of accompanying Bosnia and Herzegovina artist Sara Lerota to this gig. It was billed as an album launch but it was in reality a stepping stone in reaching Melissa James imminent album 'Stripped Back'. The music is recorded, mixed and mastered but not yet officially released. This will happen in March 2016 but in the meantime you can still help James fund the project through her Pledgemusic campaign.

Jack Ross
Stripped Back is the latest release from soulful-folk singer Melissa James. It was Melissa’s 2012 release, Day Dawns, that first showcased her stories told through song and her blend of styles which melt her soul spirit with folk, country, jazz and blues. The album was hugely welcomed, having been met with rave reviews and a top 10 position in the EuroAmericana Chart.

Drawing upon the soulful sounds of her youth and her latter day music influences, Melissa’s songs chart growth and hurt; success through adversity. It’s bringing to the fore the tales that are built into her own life as well as those lives and influences that have surrounded her. And this can be heard no more evidently than in her current project entitled Stripped Back. Recorded in July and August this year, these acoustic sessions, recorded live, candidly expose the vulnerability in her voice, with nothing more than guitar or piano as a bed for it to rest on allowing the listener space to become lost in the stories behind the music and her voice.

Sara Lerota
Although Melissa James was as advertised, stripped back, vocally it would be more accurate to think of purity rather than nakedness. The richness of her voice creates seeping pools of colour in the mind, the density of which are saturated so much they have the tangibility of an impasto. It shows a surety in desire and a fineness in delivery. Her voice is those slivers of light that you see slicing through a young copse, sharps of green or those trailing fine threads teased from a seamstress' box.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Get The Blessing - Astronautilus album launch

Pete Judge
Get The Blessing
Jake McMurchie - Saxophone
Pete Judge - Trumpet
Jim Barr - Bass
Clive Deamer - Drums

Venue - Match&Fuse Festival, Rich Mix, London
Date - 16th October 2015
Current Album - Astronautilus (Naim Jazz Records naimcd221) 

Jake McMurchie
See them -
27.11.2015 La Source, Fontaine, FR
05.12.2015 The Goods Shed, Stroud, UK
08.12.2015 Duc Des Lombards, Paris, FR
10.12.2015 Jamboree, Barcelona, ES
11.12.2015 Sala Clamores, Madrid, ES
12.12.2015 Sala Clamores, Madrid, ES
13.12.2015 El Almacén de Little Bobby, Santander, ES
14.12.2015 Las Armas, Zaragoza, ES

Bristolian 4 piece launch new album Astronautilus at the Match&Fuse festival.

Jim Barr
Funeral fires, burning slowly, Get The Blessing burn with more purpose, a slow violence with a latent or undiscovered promise.

Imposing, yes, but always as though they are a step further back from the edge of the stage, an invitation to bring the audience forward, waiting for the people to commit.

Hip Judge and McMurchie twitch their anthemic muscles, flexing like two body builders at a meet, glistening with a ping. Judge forever opens the door for us, leaving the windows wide, he is the accomplice to our raid. The wind rushes through, maybe (again) think of slow movements, not as soft as 'Un homme et une femme' but more the darker passages of 'In the mood for love'.

Clive Deamer
Rib cage and elbows, Deamer is a walking Vanitas tableau, the momento mori of the band, he has the look of an undead king, both regal and macabre. Barr is always the presence in the background, the unexplained, the watcher in the forest. It is because of the bowed head, and the eyes that watch out through the lowered brow.

My quick drawings are never heavy enough to convey the presence of Get The Blessing. Film does it best, and the live visuals from John Minton did it even better.

The girls screamed for McMurchie, adoration from the JM fan club being the strangest of juxtapositions.


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Alfie Ryner - Match&Fuse

Paco Serrano
Gérald Gimenez
Alfie Ryner
Paco Serrano - saxophone, voice
Guillaume Pique - trombone, electronics
Loris Pertoldi - drums
Guillaume Gendre - double bass
Gérald Gimenez - guitar

Loris Pertoldi
Venue - Match&Fuse Festival, Rich Mix, London
Date - 16th October 2015
Current Album - Brain Surgery (2015)

See them - Espace Job, 105 route de Blagnac, 31200 Toulouse, France. 28th November 2015, 9pm.

Compelling French five piece Alfie Ryner are the BANG of the Match&Fuse festival.
Pétard Jazz at its best.

Guillaume Gendre
The chains are off and we are wheeled into surgery. Crazy doctors with shakey hands and laughing eyes cut us open in this mugwump hospital. Surgery as real theatre. Your innards dance within, desperate to burst out. They ask to be cut out, burst across a sickly body. Rasping files and grating saws are Gérald Gimenez tools.

It is music as purge, a ridding and shedding of what you were once before. Alfie Ryner sucks this from you, the skin, the bones, pierced repeatedly by Gimenez's guitar.

Guillaume Pique
Serrano's diatribe is deliciously rancid, stinking French, drunk so fervently we choke ourselves on his sick beauty. Row upon row of his hated life, his dirt is piled on the wall and knocked off like green filthy bottles.

A full belly of trombone catches again in our throat as we swell once again. Poetic punch. They are dog meat, pulsing living sickening dog meat, stamping chunks of gristle and succulent moments between the teeth.


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Attwenger - Match&Fuse

Markus Binder
Markus Binder - drums and vocals
Hans-Peter Falkner - button accordion and vocals

Venue - Match&Fuse Festival, Rich Mix, London
Date - 16th October 2015
Current Album - Spot (Trikont)

Live dates in 2016 -
2nd March, Karlsruhe, Jubez
3rd March, Darmstadt, Centralstation
4th March, Berndorf, Stadtsaal
19th March, Wien, Austria
8th April, Freistadt, Salzhof
23rd April, Neusiedl am See, KV Impulse
14th May, Zurich, Helsinki
15th May, Engelberg, Halt auf Verlangen
2nd June, Salzburg, ARGE Kultur

Hans-Peter Falkner
Boing! Austrian duo Attwenger play a unique set of droll unpredictability at London's Mathc&Fuse festival.

Chewing hundreds and thousands backwards, as they spill out of mouths and tumble onto the floor like a jackpotted fruit machine. Attwenger are dark clowns lets loose in the control room, pressing rewind on lives taken too seriously. Horsing around.

They are as tight as those donut shaped rings covered in wool, then cut and split with scissors, becoming a pom pom of ever swelling porportions. Attwenger are a comedic parody of Westworld, a wild west punch up from men in an elastic world.

Dogs chase their own bottoms, forever swelling and biting. They are Haribo hounds salivating in a continuous loop. Rub them up the wrong way though and they leap in the air with static energy and snap.


Monday, 9 November 2015

Bird - Figments Of Our Imagination

Bird - Janie Price

Venue - The Academicians' Room, Keepers House, Royal Academy of Arts.
Date - 26th October 2015
Album - Figments Of Our Imagination

Sleek totem of enigma, Bird, plays in the cultural hotbed of the Arts. Royal Academicians and the sauvignon intelligentsia crowd together amongst burnished wood panels. Deep rich lines on the walls, on minds, splashes of voice more gentle than counterparts on canvas.

Red velour light, making true the album title Figments Of Our Imagination, sinister edges and spaced out elegance. Girl Can't Decide, pinpricks of light from tiny drilled holes, a total brightness but from a thousand sources.

Red bootlace liquorice, long and sweet. You pull apart her words as though they stick to each other. For a world ever obsessed with all take-away food being 'pulled'. This is the vocal equivalent. Not teeth extraction but those long drawn out breaths so sweet.

Narrative roads, easy and alive. Full spoked wheels, and flashes of a landscape in-between their whirr. The more blurred the better. Better to see the rich hues and the wash in the watercolour of Birds' words.


Snack Family - Match and Fuse

Andrew Plummer

James Allsopp
James Allsopp - Saxophones and Synths
Tom Greenhalgh - Drums
Andrew Plummer - Baritone Guitar and Vocals
Natali Abrahamsen Garner - Vocals

Venue - Match&Fuse Festival, Rich Mix, London
Date - 16th October 2015
Current Album - Pokie Eye

Tom Greenhalgh
See/hear them next....
28th November 2015
The Bird's Nest
32 Deptford Church Street, SE8 4RZ, Deptford, UK
Andrew Plummer
The deadly twinkle of three piece Snack Family are joined by Natali Abrahamsen Garner from Norwegian indie-pop-act Antler at the Match&Fuse Festival 2015.
Scrawl. Tear of the plaster from the hairy body. Tear as in cut not as in drip.
Manic bleep test. James Allsopp's saxophone is a deliciously sickening gobstopper that rolls and rolls round the mouth, threatening to choke you.
Throbbing keyboard march, rolling over the coals and boiling us to mush.
Skank heat, hurt punch, drunk heave.
Natali Abrahamsen Garner
Earthy knocks to the face, dirt and tarmac. These aren't just bloodied and scuffed knees this a streaming mouth, as thick as the spittle gobs raining down from Andrew Plummer's vocals.
Beautiful march again of this black viscosity, yet Plummer's voice is the trapping claw of this liquid music, Garner is the unnerving impenetrable sheen on top.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Mads Matthias - Downy cheek

Mads Mathias - saxophone
Peter Rosendal - piano
Mads Mathias - Vocal and saxophone
Peter Rosendal - piano (& flugelbone)
Ferg Ireland - bass
Chris Higginbottom - drums

Venue - Royal Festival Hall Foyer, South Bank Centre, London
Date - 16th October 2015
Current Album - Free Falling (Calibrated)

Mads Mathias next UK dates - February 2016
Friday 5th - The Cinnamon Club, Manchester
Saturday 6th -
Southport Melodic Jazz Club at The Royal Clifton Hotel 11am
Sunday 7th -
Seven Jazz in Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 1.30 - 4pm...
Friday 12th - Lighthouse Poole
Saturday 13th - Pizza Express Jazz Club - 7pm
Saturday 13th - Pizza Express Jazz Club - 10pm
Sunday 14th -
Pizza Express Music Lounge Maidstone

Chris Higginbottom
- drums
Gilt edge jazz from blonde tousled Mads Mathias, half rough cheek, half downy. Ferg Ireland the best nose in jazz bass, a symmetry with his instrument. Elegant and beautiful. Tea For Two, slack jaw Peter Rosendal mouthing the dexterity beside Higginbottom.

The South Bank doing what it does best, mixing respectables and those walking in from Thames side concrete. Hundreds of faces, happy free people.

Up and down What Is Time, the gentleness of toes on their tips leaving room for Rosendal's piano. He treads softly, more spring carpet like than the crackling leaves that currently surround. Glide, arch, swirl and turn.

Ferg Ireland - Bass
Conversational swing, Free Falling. Playful run up, run the tapper. Mathias is a wagtail, flirting, buoyant. Drums cut against the pillow filling, the eider cushion.

Full mouthed, plummy, juicy Labour of Love. Slide of oiled wood on Nordic grain, transatlantic adrift.

Round ball, contented roller, Fool for Love. Delicious piano snatch, a slice, a trick and waft. Knees high in a crisp step.

Sophisticated in and out clubs, The Henpecked Man, made of droplets, small colourful splashes. No killings, no artic belt deaths. Fresh spruce and always tasteful.