‘Identity’ – Patrick Lester-Rourke

CD DigiPak 6 Panel 1 Tray

PATRICK LESTER-ROURKE’s debut release arrives with no preconceptions. An undiscovered hour-long statement from a young and hitherto unknown musician. But its eclecticism and multifariousness – presented with an overarching, homemade ardency – makes Identity beguiling.

A graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire, the audio engineer, composer and performer was inspired by the concept of Miles Davis’ seminal 1970 double album Bitches Brew; specifically the idea of assembling an experimentally receptive ensemble to produce fresh, extended diversities of sound. That said, Lester-Rourke and his twelve collaborators (see below) create a musical landscape which is far from inaccessible, segueing elements of jazz, folk, pop/rock, prog and funk with free improvisation, electronic washes and audio soundbites.

Such a melange could be perceived as a lack of identity – yet Lester Rourke fashions it creatively, so there’s no let-up in a rhythmical and textural richness which also interweaves intangible retro glimmers of television soundtrack. The unfolding, flailing mystery of An-ka erupts into echoic, Israeli-inflected alto saxophone and ascending violin over crashing electric guitar and a cacophonous wall of sound, whilst expansive Soor-yo-day‘s gradual progression is exotically coloured with Spanish guitar and trumpet, seized upon by rapid-fire heavy rock.

But it’s not all climactic drama. Drus-ka-moma‘s mischievous bass clarinet figure sets up a spiralling gypsy-fiddle dance from Ning-Ning Li, its solid backing including trumpet, tremulant organ and bubbling synth, all carried on a wave of syncopated hand clapping; and Ow-in na shoor‘s folksy ’60s vibe features an attractive guitar round which is disseminated throughout the band.

There’s a splendid double bass, wah-wah guitar and bass synth funk groove to Get Movin’, prompting infectiously chattering organ as well as trumpet/sax banter between Alex Astbury and Josh Scofield (the raw, unpolished feel is rather charming). Scratchy guitar-rock Tear it Down channels The Sweet, Nirvana or Kaiser Chiefs (choose your era), interspersed with TV-theme melodies for trumpet and violin; and …A Cultural Clash closes with distinctly abstract ambience.

Unusual, genre-defying, quirky… but certainly both fascinating and listenable.

Released on 10 April 2017, Identity is available as a digital album from Bandcamp, CD BabyAmazon and iTunes.

 

Patrick Lester-Rourke audio engineer, composer
Josh Schofield alto saxophone
Ning-Ning Li violin
Alex Astbury trumpet
Alex Roche acoustic guitar
Matthew Price electric guitar
Oliver Law electric guitar
Tom Harris grand piano
David Ferris organ
Vittorio Mura bass clarinet
Ben Weatherill bass synth
Aram Bahmaie double bass
Gwilym Jones drums

plester-rourke.co.uk

PL-RP001 (2017)

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‘Parachute’ – Magnus Öström

Parachute

OVERCOMING darkness with light, both personally and in a global context, appears central to Parachute, the third solo album from a musician synonymous with groundbreaking contemporary jazz/rock – drummer and composer Magnus Öström.

For a decade and a half, Öström was a perfect third of seminal trio e.s.t. (with pianist Esbjörn Svensson and bassist Dan Berglund), until Svensson’s shocking, untimely death in 2008.

Now, with his established personnel of Andreas Hourdakis (guitars), Thobias Gabrielson (bass, keyboards) and Daniel Karlsson (piano, keyboards) – following on from solo debut Thread of Life (2011) and Searching for Jupiter (2013) – this new release exhibits a more celebratory, cathartic approach. Öström specifically identifies his personal ‘parachute’ as the healing energy of music, especially amidst the darkest of times; and the pervading, sometimes slow-burning intent of these eight original tracks does indeed possess an aura of positivity, acceptance and contentment.

It’s a sound world which might take some time to break into – opener Dog on the Beach‘s blue-sky propulsion ripples ebulliently to guitar and keyboard riffs, whereas Walkabout Bug‘s ticking, oscillating pop gait is as much about the groove as its synth-supported improvisations. But at its heart is the unmistakable exactitude of Öström’s drumming, his characteristic attention to detail producing a signature sound familiar to any e.s.t. fan. Junas is a classic example, with its prog rock piano/keyboard drama and jazz guitar chromatics dancing to the drummer’s syncopated, shuffling, perpetual motion and typically glinting percussion.

The barren, opening theme of The Green Man and the French Horn gives way to calm abandonment, its blithe piano and guitar demeanour suggesting a folksy, hymn-like solace; and excitingly propulsive title track Parachute figuratively suggests Öström’s “way back to life” via zesty synth passages and a pianistically jazz-inflected middle section, as well as vividly pictorialising an adrenalin-fired, flare-trailed descent to terra firma.

The Shore of Unsure is animated through Öström’s compelling, palpitating drive – a dark, cinematic episode enhanced by guest trumpeter Mathias Eick’s clear, transcendent extemporisations, whilst Reedjoyce‘s pop/rock fervour reveals, more than ever, the full-on, blistering potential of this line-up; and a cool-grooving breeziness in closing track All the Remaining Days is coloured by balmy guitar-and-piano motifs.

Magnus Öström says that he had always intended this project to create at least three albums, to see how it developed – and there’s a sense of both consolidation and progress throughout these fifty minutes. As an artist, he has already provided us with an incalculably rich legacy, through e.s.t. – and with these solo realisations, as well as the new ‘e.s.t. Symphony’ project, his creative journey continues to be fascinating to follow.

Released on 1 April 2016, Parachute is available from Amazon, iTunes, etc. (album trailer here).

 

Magnus Öström drums, percussion, voice
Andreas Hourdakis electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Thobias Gabrielson bass, bass synthesizer, keyboards
Daniel Karlsson grand piano, keyboards
with
Mathias Eick trumpet (on The Shore of Unsure)

magnusostrom.com

Diesel Music – DIESEL C-54 (2016)