Market Square 2017
Enfolded in ether yet tangible, sonics from Welsh ensemble to wash you in emotion and slip away.
Separately, the axes of this musical triangle have always been in the loop with regards to cutting edge treatment of a tune – synthesizers operator Warren Grevenson co-founding ZYKLUS with Neil Ardley and Ian Carr, violinist Billy Thompson playing live with Barbara Thompson’s PARAPHERNALIA and Mike Westbrook, and drummer Steve Roberts last heard on GODSTICKS’ "Emergence" – but the sounds they make together come from a less intense spot. Although, it’s a commonplace now to namecheck Terry Riley and Steve Reich as influences, such comparisons are inescapable here, as loops that form the basis of “Dolennu” feel just as limpidly fragile, if highly charged, the five pieces comprising the band’s debut in turns beatific and disturbing – even more so when accompanied by Maurice Loch’s visuals on companion DVD.
Perhaps, the most exemplary display of the group’s method is “Pripyat”: a sad piece whose otherworldly shards create a perfect kaleidoscopic picture of post-nuclear desolation and natural beauty to emphasize the performers’ telepathy in delivering a melody, before passing it to “Just Fibbin” for an alchemic trip towards lyrical delirium. But “Berwyn Blues” marries chamber elegance to a noirish decadence, as the strings are being bent against the glimmering ivories to a sensual beat, while “JLP Special” evokes progressive rock’s classic era in its adventurous dance through cinematic steppes where riffs are but a mere measure of steps between serious fusion and merry effusiveness, with shades of reggae seeping into the epic mix. Of course, “The Breathing City” with vocoder bits in an electronica-stricken funk is fun of an arcade kind – deceptively cheap and riveting, especially when rhythmic breaks kick in close to the end – yet filigree approach doesn’t leave the album scope until the last note is silenced.
Urban chaos, ghoulish clown, majestic landscapes… This music has all of it and much, much more imagery. Here’s a journey worth taking time after time.