Culross Close ‘Forgotten Ones’ LP (Esencia) 5/5

With only some basic and brief information provided, this new project on Esencia is apparently the brainchild of Anthony Kieron aka Anthony Ifill aka K15, the well-respected London based producer who has previously had releases on numerous labels over the last half a decade or so, including, Detroit’s Wild Oats and Eglo in the UK. Culross Close seem to be more of a ‘band’ than his previous solo electric based material, although, this is a very synth heavy affair with its warm analogue keyboards a major contributor to the album. The band generally consists of Anthony Kieron playing piano and Fender Rhodes, May Goode playing drums, Eli Emmanuel on electric bass, and then various other musicians being brought in when need be, with Nathaniel Jiddu utilising classic synthesisers including those by Moog and ARP, Hasani playing percussion and on saxophone the brilliantly named Man Like Tyrone.

Album opener ‘Fractured’ is just that, a myriad of various synthesiser soundscapes which portray a gateway for the rest of the project, with its moving and immersive atmospherics intertwined with a beautifully loose arrangement which focuses upon the cinematic sensibility of the piece. ‘Forgotten Ones’ emerges from a gentle introduction before rich vocalisation harmonies follow the hypnotic chords and the swaying 6/8 rhythm track during its 5’45” running time. May Googe’s riveting drum patterns and immaculate timing become more prominent and a feature of ‘Acceptance’ with the mainly legato bassline feeding the infectious groove which foreshadows the equally contagious vocal passages, which are used more as a rhythmic device than to construct a lyric based ‘song’.

The short (at 1’12”) but string dominant ‘Mood’ (not sure of the origins of the strings) capture a few ‘free’ moments before the more frantic ‘The Tiniest Lights Still Shine’ begins with a 5/4 time signature which rattles along with Tyrone’s saxophone being a major component here. This is possibly the ‘DJ’ track of the set with its uptempo 1970s funk soundtrack quality mixed with fusion-esque synthesiser movements added. And final track ‘Healing’ is slightly more produced and contemporary, but nonetheless, its focus is its strong melody and compelling rhythms.

Over the last few years, K15 has embraced numerous sonic palates, from house, broken beat, neo soul, electronica and everything in between, but this more jazzy outfit works perfectly within the current musical climate. It possesses a strong musicality blended with opulently absorbing sounds and interesting arrangements, but all with a jazziness at heart. Apparently Kieron, (or is it Ifill), was inspired by his Tottenham upbringing for ‘Forgotten Ones’, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future with this venture, one we are hopeful will continue. Criticisms, well, it may be thought of as an EP rather than an LP with its total running time of around 25 minutes, but you won’t here any further complaints from this reviewer.

Damian Wilkes