fri 26/02/2021

Get The Blessing, Rich Mix | reviews, news & interviews

Get The Blessing, Rich Mix

Get The Blessing, Rich Mix

Free playing, trip-hop beats and driving melody gets the crowd bouncing like space hoppers

Astronautilus' astronauts: both spaced and rocket

You would expect a galactically-themed album like Astronautilus to blast off into extra-terrestrial airiness. The fifth album from west-country jazz-rock space cadets Get The Blessing scorched some earth at its launch in Shoreditch last night, yet the battery of horns, bewitching, asymmetric drums and repeating patterns of surging melody felt grounded and earthy.

You would expect a galactically-themed album like Astronautilus to blast off into extra-terrestrial airiness. The fifth album from west-country jazz-rock space cadets Get The Blessing scorched some earth at its launch in Shoreditch last night, yet the battery of horns, bewitching, asymmetric drums and repeating patterns of surging melody felt grounded and earthy.

They played nearly all of the new album, with a couple of old favourites, “OCDC” and “Cake Hole”. Their sound hasn’t, on the surface, changed all that much since their prize-winning 2008 debut All Is Yes. Drummer Clive Deamer and bassist Jim Barr, imported together from trip-hoppers Portishead, set a beat that both demands movement and asks questions, Deamer’s backbeat, in particular, encouraging a kind of irregular, loping boogie from the slightly disappointing crowd. There was disappointingly ample space to practise a limping boogie at a gig that perhaps fell awkwardly between a real-ale jazz audience and a craft-beer ensemble of Shoreditch experimentalists.

The band was formed, initially, to share a love of jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman

Saxophonist Jake McMurchie and trumpeter Pete Judge, the jazz half of the quartet, have a more varied palette of sounds to deploy, sometimes jousting in muscular fashion, as on “Monkfish”, sometimes playing in unison, as they do on “Green Herring”. Judge engagingly embodies late-1950s Miles Davis on “Hayk”, as his languid descending chords on muted trumpet float over a twitching rhythm of increasing busyness. They can be harmonically adventurous, almost free, as they are on “Carapace” (“Sepia”, an eerie tone poem of split notes and electronica, wasn’t played live), then bursting with melodic phrase-making the next. There are even snatches of Madness in the more tuneful barrages of brass.

The band was formed, initially, to share a love of jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman. At first, especially during the more boisterous numbers, it seems a distant aspiration. On this album, which has a tighter rhythmic focus and more ambitious harmonies than earlier work, which concentrated more on rumbustious horns and drums, it begins to make sense. Coleman’s horizontal improvisation and asymmetric phrases can be heard in parts of “Cornish Native”, for example, and in snatches elsewhere. A little Coleman goes a long way, however, and most of the time, his experimental tendencies are made palatable by the melody and catchy beat.   

On disc, Get The Blessing have a glossy, processed sound; the raw, grainy live experience was well worth it, as was last night’s stage performance. With the assistance of John Minton’s stylishly swirling live video projection and the band’s sharp, Mod-ish suits (with occasional cellophane headgear), their blend of zany humour and menace was almost Tarantino-esque. The latest album was recorded in a Cornish cottage, a flavour that seeped into track titles such as “Monkfish” and “Cornish Native”, but the manner of their performance made their atmosphere more Guy Ritchie than Rick Stein.  

Last night’s gig was part of the Match & Fuse festival, an ambitious pan-European music project that draws bands together from across the continent’s experimental fusion scene for a series of international mini-festivals in respective bands’ home countries. Get The Blessing were preceded by French jazz-rockers Alfie Ryner, who projected an angrier, less polished kind of punk-jazz, coloured by police whistles, and raucous vocals from lead singer and saxophonist Paco Serrano.

@matthewwrighter

Judge engagingly embodies late-1950s Miles Davis on “Hayk”

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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