Aaron Comess ‘Sculptures’ (Private Press) 5/5

It’s hard to describe how much I like the drum beat in ‘Sculptures,’ opening track on Aaron Comess’s new album of the same name. Is it jazz? It is if you take into the account the amount of times it changes. There’s a little bit of backbeat, a stomping of hip hop, a burst of blast beat, and a hint of something straight out of your town’s local marching band. All packed and pummelled in 3:55 fantastic minutes to the sound of Leon Gruenbaum’s lovely Aurora evoking samchillian.

In an intentional move, the samchillian takes centre stage in many of the songs. For those unfamiliar with this instrument, it is an invention of Gruenbaum’s himself. Looking very much like a deconstructed qwerty keyboard with a paint job, this MIDI controller is based on changes of pitches, rather than fixed pitches. The performer is given the opportunity to perform extremely quick, rhapsodical lines.

After all the science, Sculptures is one of those albums which could pass many people by, but if listened to will surprise with every track. Altruistic acoustic guitar lavishes throughout second track ‘Berlin.’ ‘Dogs’ is full of barking, gloopy synth. Oli Rockberger slinks around with a Fender Rhodes on ‘Whaky.’ Track 5, named ‘The Beast’ is a dancey, trancey number which could have been played by LCD Soundsystem, but thankfully wasn’t. John Davis teases with his bass on ‘Soundcheck-Oceans,’ whilst Grey McMurray supports throughout on the electric guitar.

There’s rhythm, there’s blues, there’s folk, there’s atmosphere.

Having played with the Spin Doctors, Joan Osborne, and James Maddock, Comess has now established himself as a first rate composer.

If you’re a fan of Tortoise, Mogwai, or The Sea and Cake, you’re probably, definitely, going to like this.

Sam Turnell