Giovanni Guidi ‘Avec le temps’ CD (ECM) 4/5

I once had the privilege of sitting in on an Esbjörn Svensson Trio concert sound-check. It’s a long story, but I was the only person in the concert hall other than Svensson himself. The sound-check came to a close, the sound engineers left, Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström left, leaving just the pianist at his piano. For the next half hour or so Svensson played a beautiful array of music, lyrical melodies with a soft, yearning romanticism flowing freely and openly as I sat, eyes closed, just listening, completely lost in the moment. That particular moment in time was a very special one for me, and as I started listening to Giovanni Guidi performing the title track to his new album “Avec le temps”, that memory was ignited within me with Guidi’s heartfelt playing reminiscent of that wonderful moment in time.

Born in Foligno, near Perugia in 1985, pianist Guidi was launched onto the international stage in the groups of Enrico Rava. After being struck by the focussed intensity of the young pianist’s playing, Rava invited him into his band. And it is that focussed intensity that flows through Guidi’s own compositions on this recording, leading to a thought that sparks within me; Guidi seems to share many similar attributes to the legendary pianist Keith Jarrett. Guidi shares the touch, sensitivity and freedom of expression with that of the master.

“Avec le temps” as an album is very worthy of praise. Essentially, Guidi has expanded on his trio, Thomas Morgan on double bass and João Lobo on drums, with the addition of Francesco Bearzatti on tenor saxophone and Roberto Cecchetto on guitar. Some of the eight compositions, like the title track itself, are trio based, whilst other tunes allow for the full quintet of musicians to contribute. The title track is a beautiful interpretation of a yearning song of love and loss by the Monaco born poet-composer-chansonnier Léo Ferré. The melody and atmosphere of Ferré’s “Avec le temps”, one of the classics of the French chanson repertoire, are explored in new detail by Guidi and bassist Morgan.

The way Guidi incorporates other instruments into his music is masterful. On “15th of August” and “No Taxi” I am reminded of how skilfully drummer Paul Motian used to do this when leading his bands featuring Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano. And these two tracks share that kind of post-bop vibe that journeys from intricate passages of interplay through to colourful and engaging improvisation. Much of Guidi’s playing and composing is melodic, but he’s obviously not averse to delving into the more avant-garde nature of things, as can be heard on “Postlidium and a kiss”. A difficult listen this tune, but very rewarding given the chance. Yet it’s the delicate nature of the pianist’s music that provides most of the high points, none more so than on “Tomasz”, the touching tribute to the late Tomasz Stanko.

Mike Gates

Read also: Giovanni Guidi Trio ‘This Is The Day’ (ECM) 4/5

Scopes ‘Scopes’ LP/CD (Whirlwind Recordings) 5/5

Scopes is the self titled debut recording from a pretty distinguished group of European jazzers. Austrian drummer Mathias Ruppnig and German bassist Tom Berkmann founded the quartet in 2018 and this album was recorded that year in Poland, they are joined by French pianist Tony Tixier and Dutch saxophonist Ben van Gelder. The tunes on this record are original compositions, five from Berkmann and four from Ruppnig.

My music player sorted the album tracks alphabetically, so the first track I happened upon was ‘Alter Ego’ which offers us just a glimpse of what’s in store in other parts of the recording.The title perhaps involves some wordplay as the tune prominently features the alto sax of Ben van Gelder. We get underway with the drums of Ruppnig who is also the writer here. Berkmann’s driving bass and Ruppnig’s drum precision underpin this track allowing the up close and personal sax of van Gelder to offer counterweight to pianist Tixier’s solid groove. I could almost feel van Gelder’s breath in my ear such is the intimacy of the sound, especially as his tones fall away towards the end of the song. After a quick consultation with the sleeve notes I began listening to the tracks in the intended sequence and this is where the real joy begins.

So back to the beginning of the album and a piece entitled ‘Echo of Their Own Prejudices’ which I thought sounds politically ominous especially when considered with the track that follows it, ‘Chamberlain’. ‘Echo of Their Own Prejudices’ is written by drummer Ruppnig who is the first musician we hear on the record, the rest of the band follow with a light and breezy sound building gradually before shifting towards something far more involved allowing van Gelder to really work out on the sax. Then here’s the treat, we get some electronic texture with a keyboard solo melding something reminiscent of Rick Wakeman with a change in time signature adding a distinctive prog feel to this sequence. All the while Ruppnig is giving us something much more 21st century with a low key drum and bass looping kind of sound. It all makes for subtly satisfying repeat listening. Tixier meanwhile runs the full gamut of his keyboard, mischievously exploring a rapidly changing mood board of light and dark tones. We close with further synth texture in the shape of a rather spacey electronic doodle.

‘Chamberlain’, track 2 refers to American sculptor John Chamberlain the transformer of rusting hulks of ageing automobiles not Neville Chamberlain appeaser of the Nazis. So it’s all less politically ominous than I had first imagined. We begin with Tixier on piano but with the inclusion of a barely audible series of underlying electronic textural bleepings. I don’t know if this is a joke about how we listen to music now with pure listening almost impossible without a device of some description always adding to the soundscape somewhere within earshot. The title reflects bassist and composer Berkmann’s interest in the American sculptor, and it is Berkmann’s sound that is prominent here driving the track along.

My personal favourite, ‘Aquaponies’ is apparently based on a story by German author Michael Ende. A Berkmann composition, it is set in motion with a mellow bass and piano combo in the manner of Horace Silver’s ‘Song for My Father’, it would glide along smoothly but for the addition of a kooky sax melody which gives the whole piece an intriguingly surreal edge.

Towards the close of the album we get ‘Nostalgia’, another Ruppnig composition which sets out on a quiet and contemplative path with Tixier’s piano accompanied by Berkmann’s almost conversational bass. The piano evolves a flowing liquidity as it picks up pace and aims for that elusive place within the imagination no longer within grasp.

The band explain the name Scopes was chosen as a kind of concept to allow individual members to channel their creativity in an unbound way and to create a type of musical playground. Berkmann also describes how he is interested in the personal associations that we, the listeners experience through the music and is keen to allow us the time and space to zone out and savour these. The album certainly offers a rich source of musical influences and new directions which make for rewarding and top-notch listening and our ‘Album Of The Month’ for March.

James Read

David Liebman/Jeff Coffin ‘On The Corner Live! The Music Of Miles Davis’ CD (Ear Up) 5/5

It seems appropriate that Dave Liebman should get top billing on this album, as he played on the first side of the original On the Corner which was released in 1972. Early in 1973, Liebman also joined Davis’s touring band. However, the current album is not a recreation of the music produced in 1972. This is more of an overview of the music that Miles Davis was producing during the period when he was beginning to produce an essentially collective music which focussed on multiple rhythms and textures. This was something that had its genesis in 1969 with the release of In a Silent Way.

After a spoken introduction about Davis and this period from the leader, it is the title track from that album which we hear first and which is performed with a kind of delicate intensity. This is a curtain-raiser for what follows which is indeed the title track from On the Corner. Here the heat increases greatly with the twin soprano saxophones of Liebman and Jeff Coffin going into battle.

‘Wili’ is next. Originally appearing on the Davis album Dark Magus from 1974, the version here opens with atmospheric keyboards from Chris Walters soon joined by the leader on wood flute and the rhythm team of Victor Wooten on bass and Chester Thompson at the drums putting down a rock steady beat. Soprano saxophone and flute in unison prove to be very effective here and it’s not long before we get to hear the guitar artistry of James DaSilva adding to the tension. This performance has a similarly atmospheric feel to ‘In a Silent Way’.

The various themes are interspersed with features for the band members and so a bass interlude is inserted between this and ‘Black Satin’ which readers will recognise as being on the original On the Corner. This is no slavish copy. Clearly the instrumentation differs. I particularly like the change in tempo around nine minutes in allowing Walters to shine again.

‘Selim’ which featured on Live-Evil from 1971, opens with a thoughtful piano introduction before a most delicate soprano saxophone interlude and some equally wonderful clarinet from Coffin. The unusual soprano/clarinet voicing is mesmerizing here and leads into a guitar interlude before the band return for ‘Ife’ from Big Fun released in 1974. This is moody, mysterious and intense music but never abandons the funky rhythmic bass and drum figures which hold the performance together. A drum interlude follows and the album is rounded out with a frantic ‘Mojo’ and, for me, the outstanding track from the album ‘Jean Pierre’ from We Want Miles, the most recent album represented on this collection dating from 1982. This is great fun and is a fantastic closer to this live set. Everyone seems to be having a great time and the electric saxophone of Coffin is particularly outstanding. This album succeeds in delivering a mix of jazz, funk, rock and fusion all expertly performed and so there should be something for every listener to enjoy during this hour or so of music-making.

Alan Musson

Sugaray Rayford ‘Somebody Save Me’ LP/CD (Forty Below) 5/5

Well, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for his second album, his first “The world that we live in” was quite exceptional in places and even now still throws up first time magical moments. So what of this one? Well I can tell you he’s maintained the quality with a slight change in sound, more 60s influenced but it’s still heavy on the blues, very black and once again not for the faint hearted. I have just got to go to the real meat straight away with “My cards are on the table”, which is one of the finest tunes to surface in a million years of soul releases, it’s an epic stroller with a Bobby Bland feel, vocally and lyrically I doubt I will hear the likes again, yes yes yes it’s that good, I was moved to tears, swallowing repeatedly and just a tad embarrassed, but this is what we keep on searching for, music that moves us, and this has rocked me to my boots, it just builds and builds in its intensity – he’s a black man pleading as only he knows how too. I would love to say I will hear this out… well we’ll see.

Lee Fields came along and knocked this off its lofty perch for a few days but hey Sugar’s back on top. The title track, “Somebody save me”, comes a close second, it’s a scintillating ballad of some merit, strings consisting of Violin and Cello caressing the whole show, but well in the background just loud enough to comfort us all, what a stunning piece of music. Now into something totally different how good would it be to walk into a Northern room and hear “Is it me”, an on the fours dancer with everything needed to put bodies on the dance floor, incessant percussion, dominant bass, stabbing horn runs and mocking female backing, trust me this is brilliant – he’s probably never heard of Northern Soul and just doing what he feels is right, and it is so so right.

There’s another cracker on here in “You and I”, all very Stax/Atlantic in its feel, head nodding, foot tapping and it certainly registers in your head. This too is available on vinyl and CD. The rest of the album has its highlights with funky, bluesy compositions. I love it.

Brian Goucher

Read also:
Sugaray Rayford ‘The World That We Live In’ LP/CD (Blind Faith) 5/5

Lee Fields & The Expressions ‘It Rains Love’ LP/2CD/CD (Big Crown) 5/5

Well, there I was wallowing in the beauty that is the new Sugar Ray Rayford album when this shot through… and to say time has stood still is an understatement, I have had the album on in the car, here at home and on head-phones whilst watching my springer chase everything but catch bugger all. It’s dominating my listening pleasure and from the off you’re stunned. The top side of the recent 45, the title track, “It Rains Love” is a subtle stepper that gets into your head and won’t let go, and what with the Soul Essence weekender coming up, I can envisage this getting multiple plays. Of course the other side of the 45, “Will I Get Off Easy”, is on here too, another stunning piece with very subtle 60s influences – I played this side on Dean Anderson’s TNT soul show on Radio Newark recently and it got a very healthy response.

Next up, “Blessed with the Best” is a stuttering bass-heavy chugger, “Two Faces” has a Timmy Thomas type intro and then morphs into a cracking mid tempo dancer, while the track of the album for me just has to be the 60s influenced “You’re What’s Needed in My Life” complete with female backing singers, stabbing subtle horns – ‘WOW’ – this really stands tall. The dance floor will rock to “Prisoner of Love”, with its urgent chink chink bass line, stabbing horns and sweeping strings. In a couple of places the music breaks down and then ups its game again, played loud this really does get you going, throughout the album this wonderful Tenor just maintains the grits as he has done for the past 40+ years, actually his voice hasn’t changed that much at all. Another track of note is the rolling bubbling “A Promise is a Promise”, one I’m sure will get spins out too.

This album is an absolute must with something for everyone, it’s available from the 5th April on both black and limited translucent red vinyl, double CD and single CD formats, so no excuses for not grabbing this.

Brian Goucher

Read also:
Lee Fields & The Expressions ‘Special Night’ LP/CD (Big Crown) 5/5

Awake ‘Aubes et Crépuscules’ CD (jazz&people) 4/5

“Dawns and Dusks” is the third release from the French five-piece band Awake, with their lyrical brand of contemporary jazz just as colourful and enthusing as ever. All of the album’s original tunes are co-written by tenor saxophonist Romain Cuoq and guitarist Anthony Jambon, and the quintet is completed with pianist Leonardo Montana, bassist Florent Nisse and drummer Nicolas Charlier. Guest vocalists Anne Sila and Bastien Picot also feature on selected tracks.

There is an innate romanticism to Awakes’s music. Although the two band leaders take the lead on most of the tunes, the band work very much as a collective with a collaborative approach leading to a very satisfying overall sound. In general, their tunes evolve between shadow and light, with evocative imagery coming into focus as the music twists and turns, incorporating jazz, folk and pop influences.

Several tracks hit the spot. The beautifully ethereal “Reverie” could be from the Bill Frisell songbook with its laid-back jazz/country feel. The dark undertones and somber melancholy keep the listener on edge, but as with much of this album there is always a light with hope that springs eternal to lift us away from any impending doom. “Grey Day” is perhaps the album’s killer track, with its wonderful guitar intro leading into some incredible and highly charged interplay between guitar and sax. The melodies are strong and the vibe bright and engaging as the band reach onwards and upwards towards a higher plain of musical consciousnesses. The infectious “A bird with no word” is a great example of how lyrical jazz can be performed in the right hands with its interwoven melodies played with passion and precision. The addition of the vocalists bring a Pat Metheny Group vibe to the proceedings, with “Balance” and “Lueur” very reminiscent of the 90’s PMG in full flow.

An enjoyable album from Awake. Nothing too taxing or difficult about their music, and occasionally lacking a little bit of a unique edge, but very listenable none-the-less. All in all “Dawns and Dusks” is an exciting journey well worth embarking upon.

Mike Gates

Brent Birckhead ‘BIRCKHEAD’ CD (Revive Music) 5/5

Released through Revive Music Group, saxophonist Brent Birckhead unveils his debut solo project ‘BIRCKHEAD’.

The multi-award winning musician, who can boast the accolades of being named best blues/pop/rock soloist and outstanding instrumental jazz soloist by Downbeat Magazine, and Best Alto Saxophonist by the Washington City Paper, can also cite years as a touring musician for artists including George Duke, Eric Benet, Larry Graham and Nas… as well as having performed in venues all over the world.

‘BIRCKHEAD’ sees the New York native collating those years of experiences and collaborations and pouring them into his newly-assumed role of band leader for this exciting new project. And it would appear the musicians assembled here – including guitarist Samir Moulay, pianist Mark Meadows, Romeir Mendez on bass, Carroll Dashiell on drums and trombonist Corey Wallace – are in more than capable hands. The album also benefits from the capable hands of producer Tariq Khan, record producer and founder of Brooklyn’s revered HighBreed Music.

Over the course of the album’s eleven tracks, Birckhead sets the course as he ably weaves between stories and themes of “the black experience”, family and one’s identity. The lush ‘Song For Nicole’ is the bold love letter to his wife while ‘The Ivory Antidote’ nods to the middle name that he shares with his grandfather. These themes are explored through an exciting presentation of jazz that doths its cap respectfully to a classic style and aesthetic while still being progressive and forging its own path.

The album concludes with the three-part “187 Suite” – a series of songs whereby their highly evocative titles really pave the way for masterfully composed and beautifully presented pieces of music. Each pose as powerful statements on the level of police brutality that horrifically engulfed the US over the past few years, and skilfully play out like the three stages of grief: ‘The Witching Hour’ represents the change in reality, that shock, that disbelief; ‘The Mourning After’ deals with experiencing that loss, be it through anger or depression, while ‘Someday We’ll All Be Free’ – a cover of Donny Hathaway’s 1973 classic (a song in itself adopted as an anthem for the civil rights movement) – acts as the perfect glimmer of hope that sits at the bottom of Pandora’s Box and the perfect closing number.

Legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans once said, “Art should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise”. It’s a beautiful quote and one that expresses a passion for music that you ultimately lose yourself within. Evans did also say at a separate time, “I had to work harder at music than most cats because you see, I don’t have much talent”. Clearly anyone familiar with Evans’s music knows that the latter albeit humble statement regarding his own ability couldn’t possibly be accurate but the former certainly provides more food for thought… Perhaps when considering the work of any other project this statement would hold water but when considering the music on ‘BIRCKHEAD’, there’s really nothing here that presents an artist unsure of themselves or an artist in need of any level of self-discovery. ‘BIRCKHEAD’ is a statement of intent; the music presented on this album is Brent Birckhead using his art to declare precisely who he knows he is and it’s as sure and confident a piece of work as I’ve heard in some time.

Imran Mirza

Etuk Ubong Quartet ‘Tales of Life and Miracles’ LP (Jazzaggression) 4/5

This is a compilation of tunes from the first EP (Miracle) and full length album (Tales of Life) from 2016-17. It was released with a very limited run last year. However, Etuk Ubong, the young Lagos born trumpeter who leads the quartet, is returning to our shores next month for a few dates so we have a great excuse to revisit this record and enjoy it again.

Short and snappy, ‘Battle For Peace’ opens with a tight electric bass line and a circular keyboard pattern. After the signature, there’s a beautiful interplay between horns. The following will sound a little trite as this is Nigerian music but I think there’s definite hints of afro-beat in the rhythmic drive of this piece.

‘Drawing Room’ is an unusual and intriguing track. It lasts little more than two minutes and is mainly staccato trumpet bursts over a solid repetitive bass line. It gives the impression of an embryo of an idea and I hope that they can pursue this on future releases.

‘Tales Of Life’ is next. As someone who is drawn to rhythm, I feel this is a great showcase for the excellent bass player and drummer in this quartet. The drummer in particular is exciting and can definitely deliver, but they also have a good instinct for when to sit back and hold it down leaving space for the rather simple melodies, which they do often on this release. There’s also a lush beautiful trumpet solo towards the end of the track.

‘Story’ has a nagging insistent backing from piano, bass, drums giving platform and space for the lead instrument. Ubong explores the environment with restraint and warmth.

The vocal chant of ‘Uyai Mi Margaret’ follows, often doubled up on horn. There’s a hip-hop style scratchy record effect which emphasises the repetitive, looping in the vocals and horns but also brings an unexpected nostalgic ambience on this track. A tribute to Ubong’s mother.

‘Reading In The Dark’ is a 12-bar blues workout driven by a retro electric piano sound which gives it a 70s fusion feel and is great fun.

‘Suddenly’ is the conclusion of the album. There’s an anthemic quality here, delivering a succession of light and shade throughout its ten minutes or so length. It builds with a repetitive piano riff and mounting rhythm section activity with exciting, almost break beat, drum patterns. Then there’s the release as the rhythm section drops out and trumpet and keyboards bring it down again. It’s the longest track with the most complex arrangement and probably the most satisfying of this set.

This isn’t really an album for brash fireworks and showboating. The arrangements are simple, even sparse at times, but this enhances the warm, emotional and soulful music on offer here. Although these pieces were released digitally last year, chances are that you still haven’t got a copy of this brand new collection on one limited run of 250 vinyl albums yet. Too bad. Instead, go see him on one of the handful of shows here next month.

April 4 – ‘Hugh Masekela at 80’ Jazz Cafe, London – 19:00
April 4 – Ronnie Scott’s Late Night, London – 23:00
April 5 – The Lanes, Bristol

Kevin Ward

The Cinematic Orchestra ‘To Believe’ 2LP/CD (Ninja Tune) 4/5

The Cinematic Orchestra’s new release ‘To Believe’ is music to reflect upon and digest. It grows and grows until it surrounds your every thought. The sound is updated and refreshed but retrospective, particularly with the characteristic merging of electronic textures with acoustic instruments. It’s been some time since this respected ensemble has released an album, but it’s not been a complete hiatus as there have been other collaborative projects since 2007’s ‘Ma Fleur’ LP. However, ‘To Believe’ is an assured and triumphant re-emergence.

The opening track (also called ‘To Believe’) is a minimalistic elegy, sung by the fragile yet sultry Moses Sumney. It’s an intimate and dramatic performance to commandeer your attention. The sensitivity and vulnerability of Sumney is augmented with his atmospheric vocal harmonies. Track two: ‘A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life’, sees The Cinematic Orchestra reunite with the prophetic Roots Manuva, its industrial groove and urgency is something akin to a piece by Hip Hop duo Run the Jewels, if a little subtler.

‘Lessons’ paints an intricate picture, inviting you to get lost. Dynamically, it shifts and cascades. The song feels human, every note a new discovery. The loose drums of Luke Flowers succeed beautifully in elevating every other instrument’s presence and furthermore, giving the piece greater purpose and invention.

Singer Tawiah’s balletic vocals take centre stage on the first half of the soothing ‘Wait for Now/Leave The World’, her ethereal melodies grow in confidence as the instruments encircle and react. It’s understated and comforting.

‘The Workers of Art’ feels like a fleeting moment from a film, something honest and real, as powerful as the tender goodbye it evokes. It begins in a familiar fashion, with a modulated marimba-type sound you’ll recall from earlier albums. Then come the lush strings (with Jules Buckley conducting) in aching response to the dispassionate uniformity of the introduction. The movement disappears, only for the emotional tone to change. It feels like a new scene in the film, one where a sense of fading away radiates from the tremolo strings.

‘Zero One/This Fantasy’ begins with anticipation and intent almost like a Radiohead track, but the saccharine lyrics (sung by Grey Reverend), though sincerely delivered, never really give the desired impact. Partnered with a lack of musical exploration and the outcome is an altogether weaker affair. Luckily however, it’s not the final act and the soaring vocals of Heidi Vogel have the last word ‘A Promise’. It’s a futuristic, digital dream (even Vogel’s voice has that autotune glitching at points) and the sparkling strings return to give a blissful context for the synthetic swells and loops. It’s a defiant and uplifting end to what feels like a special journey.

Fred Neighbour

Dominic Miller ‘Absinthe’ LP/CD (ECM) 4/5

Born in Argentina, guitarist Dominic Miller was raised in the US from the age of ten and then educated there and in England. His international mindset has only been deepened through decades of touring the globe, working with the likes of Paul Simon, The Chieftains, Placido Domingo and, most often, Sting. Now living in the South of France, Miller’s music takes on a distinctive Impressionism, with the ambience of the region and the friendship of the musicians involved, flowing colourfully through this engaging recording.

“Absinthe” is Miller’s second album for ECM. Whereas the first, “Silent Light” emphasised solo and duo settings, this latest release is a quintet outing, featuring Santiago Arias on bandoneon, Mike Lindup on keyboards, Nicholas Fiszman on bass, and Manu Katché on drums. Produced by Manfred Eicher in the studio of La Buissonne, in Peres-Les-Fontaine, Miller switches comfortably between nylon and steel string acoustic guitars, and the crystalline sound of the recording truly enhances Miller’s thoughtful compositions and the band’s harmonious interplay.

The title track opens the album, with Miller’s guitar immediately evoking the spirit of Egberto Gismonte. The characterful sound of guitar and bandoneon work exceptionally well together, and as the tune develops with the unmistakable sound of Manu Katché’s drums alongside the deep bass and fluttering synth, the narrative of Miller’s writing begins to unravel. “I was on tour in Buenos Aires and I went out on a night off to see a jam featuring some top local musicians.” recalls Miller. “They were all pointing out this young bandoneon player. Witnessing Santiago play – this acoustic, non tango indigenous Argentinian music, mixed with European influences- I felt a spark. I wrote the music of “Absinthe” with the timbre of his instrument and his sense of space in mind.”

A couple of my favourite tracks fall in the middle of the album, “La Petite Reine” and “Christiania” both reminding me of an early ECM era Pat Metheny. The first of these two tunes could have been a tune penned by Metheny for his “New Chautauqua” album, whilst the latter wouldn’t sound out-of-place on the Metheny/Mays classic “As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls”. I love the lilting presence of Miller’s steel string guitar here, with a natural, ambient feel gently breaking through like rays of soft sunshine through broken grey cloud.

Miller has enjoyed hearing Manu Katché’s rhythmic and colouristic touch in his ear for decades, and it’s the drummer’s uniquely engrossing sound that sparks into life on the lyrical “Etude”, with the full quintet creating a drifting, satisfying collaborative effort. Katché teams up well with bassist Fiszman, especially on tracks like the free-flowing “Ombu”, a track named for a tree in Argentina with vast roots. The closing tune “Saint Vincent” has more of a folk-pop tinged feel to it, with its uplifting ambience building a perfect picture of warmth, light and harmony.

“Absinthe” captures a certain mood, one of breezy, sunny, contemplative days in the rolling countryside. Or perhaps a mood of kinship, where old friends share alcoholic drinks, revelling in tall tales and times passed. An album to chill-out to, and one that will make you feel at home as soon as you hear it.

Mike Gates