48CD - Julie Tippetts & Martin Archer - Vestigium

Photograph of Kieron's footprint by Martin Archer



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2 CD Set


Description

Fourth release from the remarkable and popular duo continues to explore extended songform - fourteen tracks of soulful grooves moving on via jazz and through to electronics and abstraction.

 

The music on this collection features exciting players from both jazz and rock backgrounds, and pays a deliberate homage to the heady days of musical collision and exploration when pushing the envelope as wide and as far as possible was a given rather than an exception.

 

Martin Archer says: "We'd like the listener to think of this work as being part of a lineage which builds not just on all the music we've both made over the last decades, but which might also include major statements such as Centipede's Septober Energy, Soft Machine's Third, or Carla Bley's Escalator Over The Hill.That's the scope we're chasing." There's a thirst both to explore and to communicate in evidence here - play it loud and feel it.

 

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Performers

Julie Tippetts - voice, acoustic guitar
Martin Archer - keyboards, electronics, woodwind
Peter Fairclough - drums and percussion
Seth Bennett - double bass
Gary Houghton - lead, rhythm and glissando guitars
Michael Somerset Ward - flutes, saxophones, sea flute
Kim Macari - trumpet
Lee Hallam - trombone
Chris Bywater - laptop
James Archer - electronics
Michael McMillan - guitar
Heather Cordwell - violin
Aby Vulliamy - viola
Mick Bardon - cello






Reviews

Truly confounding my ability to describe is the fluid-formed fourth phase of the ongoing collaboration between versatile ‘jazz’ vocalist Julie Tippetts and multi-faceted composer/instrumentalist Martin Archer; a sprawling double album of proggish jazz fusion that provides solid evidence that not only is their partnership producing increasingly healthy rumination matter, but also that we listeners would be foolish to scoff at Archer’s vaunted ambition for it to take its rightful place in the Canterbury music canon, alongside Soft Machine’s Third, Centipede’s Septober Energy and suchlike. His word is good enough for me, for as I attempt to make sense of this peerless undertaking – every listen prompting a revised description – I feel as though my every effort to make sense of it is a disservice.

 

This owes in part to the shifting oneiric narrative that binds together this eclectic assemblage of almost wandering instrumental textures and oft stretched-to-breaking-point vocals that issue from the barely-being phase between sleep and consciousness, with correspondingly smouldering, stream-of-consciousness lyrics that walk the line between somniloquy (‘Disappeared Mountain’) and free association (‘Soliciting Crabs’), only occasionally exiting the cocoon of slumber to register a presence bold and dynamic enough to cause the collapse of the whole song structure itself when fever pitch hits (the explosive ‘Firefly’ and closer ‘Stalking the Vision’). Julie Tippetts’ early career as a folk singer is as well-documented as it is redundant here, as are occasional comparisons to Scott Walker for his similar metamorphosis. If anything, Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis supplies a more suitable comparison, his once melancholic register but a hazy memory in that group’s post-rock-y finale Laughing Stock – a destination quite reminiscent of this album – and his more bare-bones solo follow-up.

 

Equally intangible are Archer’s spidery, Sun Ra-esque keyboard and woodwind lines, which lurk innocuously while somehow holding together the parts of up to eleven top-shelf musicians, as well as a number of viscous, distorted electronic/acoustic backdrops. Such light-handedness corresponds to the sleeve image of a footprint in sand: an ephemeral dream image of identity eroding and provisional in the passing of time, yet rendered permanent through the agency of the subconscious. This harmony of oppositions is maintained for as long as no attempt to interfere or resolve matters into repeated rhythm is honoured. Any narrative tendency (the Lewis Carroll-inspired ‘Like Alice’ for instance) is incidental as this musical ooze assumes and relinquishes form without attachment. It is exquisite, and if Tippetts and Archer are to continue building on this standard, then we have much to look forward to. - Stuart Marshall, Sound Projector

 

 

Julie Tippetts, long-time jazz songstress, initially famous for her association with Brian Auger in the 1960s, and Martin Archer, a multi-talented independent Sheffield based progressive musical adventurer, continue their partnership with Vestigium, their fourth album to date, further extending their exploration of the songform.

 

The first song, Mandolin Song In Orange is a musically intricate yet fragile thing, giving way to a mournful brass chorus, over which Julie sings her way through memories of a Parisian affair. Shiver Across The Soul marries double bass, electric piano and gentle electronica and recalls John Martyn in the way it expresses warmth with emotive heft. The duo’s experimentalism comes to the fore on Like Alice, with an abstract semi-spoken vocal from Julie over minimalist tinkling and percussion, producing a vaguely unsettling air. These three tracks establish the template, and show a musical partnership reaching maturity after four lengthy albums, completely at ease with one another and unafraid to take risks in the name of their art.

 

Throughout the CD cover and booklet there are background shots of footprints on a beach in various states of watery dissolution, illustrating the album’s title. This acts as a parallel for the music, which has an elusive physical form, preferring instead to conjure fleeting wisps of smoke in the air, drifting near but unattainable. This wheel is past fire, the spokes are now merely tendrils of smoke.

 

Trance-like and soothing, The Beckoning builds in layers as Julie’s multi-tracked and looped voice rises then eventually subsides, to be replaced by a gently contemplative guitar flurry that sees out the song.

Occasionally Julie’s voice, always portraying the cares and wisdom of a life well lived, combined with Martin’s and the other musicians’ spacious jazz and electronica puts me in mind of Joni Mitchell in her mid-70s Pastorius phase. This thought occurred to me during the ethereal Firefly, a highly poetic depiction of love and the spark of attraction, and typical of the high quality of Julie’s lyrics. She writes from the soul, discussing matters of the heart, love and lust, defiance, separation, redemption, wonderment, all in a conversational style as if sung into a mirror. These words can be transitory and impressionistic, and like all good poetry leave the listener to make his or her interpretation.

 

The music is equally intangible and the conventional instruments are only part of a soundstage that comes from a mix of jazz instrumentation, electronica and sampling via laptops. When all this collides with Julie’s conversational style as on Secret/Lily Pollen, the results are deeply soulful and texturally rich. Strangely or not, Martin’s avant-jazz piano on this song is highly reminiscent of Julie’s husband Keith Tippett.

 

The second CD opens with the quietly sinister pulsebeat of Shock Waves, the sound of horns and electric piano over rumbling electronica soothing a rising and erupting anger. The aural palette throughout Vestigium is deeply thoughtful, whether painting a relatively conventional picture as on this first track, or leaving a highly impressionistic and minimalistic pattern as on the following The Disappeared Mountain, which is little more than Julie’s nature and nurture poem over the barest of music, all sonic curlicues and whispers.

 

Too Cool, with its lyric borne of experience and dignity dances its way across the room, to be followed by the strangest track on the record, the experiment in dark electronica and surrealist poetry that is Soliciting Crabs, and once again the placing of the conventional groove next to the downright odd makes for a big contrast, this time the most startling occurrence of that particular trope on the album.

 

The titular ephemeral nature of Vestigium is summed up in the title of Clutching At Dust and its opening line “Falling away…slipping away…clutching at dust”. The presumably synth bass line to this one is straight out of a Massive Attack funk groove, topped off with some great horn blowing, and I defy you not to skank to it…in your head at the very least. Coming as it does after the synapse-stretching Soliciting Crabs, we have yet another example of the “contrast and compare” technique that works so well on this album, particularly on this second CD.

 

The album ends with the ebb and flow of a rising tide that is Stalking The Vision, a marvellous slice of multi-tracked voices and ambient jazz with a rare and rather nice asymmetrical guitar break from Gary Houghton.

 

Whereas some of the duo’s earlier albums have at times seemed wilfully obscure, the odder moments onVestigium are simply effortless, and just “be”, in the most Zen-like manner. As a result this album is a triumph of intelligent songwriting and intelligent arranging that will enthral any adventurous listener.

 

My forays into truly progressive music seem to have taken a distinct turn down a jazz highway of late, and this is another one from that oft misunderstood route in the musical road atlas that will certainly feature in my end of year list. If you like adventurous music, regardless of whether or not it falls under the jazz umbrella, then this enticing record is for you. - ROGER TRENWITH, THE PROGRESSIVE ASPECT

 

 

Heard the story about the pop singer who quit the business at the height of their fame in the late 60s, and went on to release a sequence of artistically ambitious albums over the intervening decades?

 

 While Scott Walker fits the description it applies also to Julie Driscoll. After her marriage to UK jazz musician (and sometime King Crimson collaborator) Keith Tippett, she embarked on an extraordinary musical reinvention. If your only frame of reference is This Wheel’s On Fire, her 1968 hit with Brian Auger’s Trinity, thenVestigium will be a shock to the system. Her beguiling cool and soulful fire remains intact from that era. This fourth collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Martin Archer features a seductive, exotic soundworld that both cossets and challenges Tippetts’ intricately layered vocals as they accrue and converge into startling harmonies. Over two discs, her words ricochet off sub-strata pulses, terse ambient shifts and urgent beats. Poetic cadences glower and fret amid luscious swarms of simmering brass, buzzing double bass and darting acerbic electric guitar. An intense, shapeshifting tour de force, it could well be her best since 1975’s classic Sunset Glow. – Sid Smith, PROG.

 

 

 

Vestigium is the latest collaboration between Martin and vocalist Julie Tippetts. Every release in their series of works seems to magically rise above the previous  set. This is no mean feat as each of their projects are quite wonderful affairs.

 

This latest set is no exception as the individual works often vary drastically in their sound but manage to create a bigger picture which holds all of them together. Sonic backdrops can be minimal and shimmering with the vocal lines drifting through the landscape. Other times, a steady bassline and percussion beat bring the funk to the fore.

 

 

Listening to these works, it seems like both Martin and Julie were destined to lock their creative energies together. Julie's dexterous vocalizations meld perfectly with the music. Martin's ear for detail and the ability to create subtle layers for the vocals makes for a tapestry of aural delights. The final work in the set - Stalking the Vision - is a fine example of this sonic synergy in action. - CHRIS MELOCHE - Wired For Sound

 

 

 

Although reminiscent at times of Jaco-era Joni Mitchell, this double album feels genuinely experimental.  And it's often an exhilarating listen, the singer and the multi-instrumentalist (and their 12 excellent fellow musicians) attempting to explore genuinely new ground.  Tippetts has a remarkable voice, of course, her melodies are appealingly serpentine, to borrow a title of one of their previous collaborations.  The whole edifice exists right at the edge of song form, hence the echoes of Joni Mitchell - or indeed of 1970s Robert Wyatt, who still regards Tippetts' 1975 album Sunset Glow as a companion piece to his own Rock Bottom.  Marcus O'Dair, JAZZWISE

 

 

All in all… it has an almost magical aura, a very special, intense atmosphere, supported by Julie Tippetts’ wonderful voice.  Most impressive is the closing "Stalking the Vision", with an extremely dense and complex arrangement which slides with intensity around the speakers.  Terrific!

 

Vestigium offers its own and distinctive collection of songs that stand in the tradition of the weightier representative of Canterbury School, or more generally, the more experimental British jazz rocks from the 70s, projects and bands, in which Julie Driscoll was sometimes even then involved.  So if for example you like the music of Soft Machine (for "Third"), Centipede , Keith Tippett's Ark or the 70 works of Robert Wyatt estimates, you will have a lot of fun with Vestigium.  – ACHIM BRIELING, BABYBLAUE SEITEN

 

 

Well established duo Julie Tippetts and Martin Archer bring us their fourth release -Vestigium.  This fourteen track album delivers an eclectic collection of grooves, spoken word and abstract electronic ideas.  The description may sound incohesive, but the journey Tippetts and Archertake you on is a thrilling rollercoaster. 

Both Tippetts and Archer have extensive musical experience between them.  However, it is the support from the vast collection of musicians that really cements the point of the work. The listener is to be taken down one path with several stop points along the way and each stop stretches musical imagination. The celebration of fusion music was accepted in the past, Tippetts and Archer hope that the listener hears this great history in this present recording.

 

As a fellow vocalist, I was most intrigued by the lyrics at first listen.  So many of the words draw the listener in and claim their majestic quality due to Tippetts’s exquisite diction.  Each lyric slips off the tongue with grace and conviction.  

 

Perhaps this is an observation that reflects my young and naive years, but hidden under each flowing or spiky lyrical phrase, is a basic emotion, action or memory.  I understand that this is the general basis for song writers, but it isn’t often approached in such a poetic way.  It was the support of Archer’s yearning horn lines that led me to really delve into thewords.  The writing, playing, and improvisation, is admirable.

 

As Tippetts fronts the album, Archer is like a swan.  His musicianship and phenomenal free playing experience makes the album poised and expansive.  Not only does Archer play multiple instruments, he also provides electronic assistance.  It’s these eerie effects, which have been expertly delivered not only by Archer, but also from Chris Bywater.  This particularly stood out for me inShiver Across The Soul.  As Peter Fairclough (drums and percussion) and Seth Bennett (double bass) cement the groove with the laid back feel akin to a Chaka Khan track, the subtle, slightly sporadic sounds which hop in and out are, at first, a surprise, but thereafter a joy to search for.

 

This body of work comes in two CD’s, neither side wins first place.  I found the first CD, or side A as it is referred to in this case, slightly more contemporary.  The vocal techniques were more stretching.  This however, does not mean I lost any respect for Side B.  I loved the groove-based tracks, especiallyStalking The Vision.  This piece not only boasts Tippetts's ear for harmony, but Archer really gets his ‘moment’. Towards the end, the horn sings over the vocal line, each a lament in its own right. 

 

This album pushes the boundaries of many genres.  Not only do we hear the traditions of jazz, whether it is influences of swing, extended techniques, or free playing.  We also have the challenge of traditional R&B beats sounding away from the usual rap, or head nodding vibe we’re used to.  Tippetts and Archer have done as they set out to do.  They’ve delivered a work that could sit well with all ages and could possibly influence single-minded listeners to open their ears to a new genre.

– Harriet Syndercombe-Court -  www.sandybrownjazz.co.uk  

 

 

Seit Anfang des neuen Jahrtausends machen Julie Tippetts (geborene Driscoll) und Martin Archer gelegentlich gemeinsam Musik, seit Ende des ersten Jahrzehnts in einem Duo-Projekt, welches mit "Vestigium" im Frühjahr 2015 sein viertes Album vorlegt. Nachdem Julie Tippetts in den späten 60er und den 70er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts musikalisch sehr aktiv war (mit Brian Auger & The Trinity, auf Werken ihres Ehemannes Keith, oder auch solistisch), wurde es in den 80er und 90er Jahren stiller um eine der bekanntesten Stimmen des britischen Jazz(rocks). Seit einiger Zeit ist aber wieder mehr von ihr zu hören, u.a. recht progressive Klänge, wie sie auch das Projekt mit Archer bietet.

 

Um Spuren geht es hier offenbar, ziert doch auch das Cover solche im Sand und ist das die Übersetzung des lateinischen Titels. Es gibt viel Text auf "Vestigium", der allesamt von Julie Tippetts verfasst (und vorgetragen) wurde und sicher ähnlich komplex ist, wie die Musik. Da der Rezensent sich aber kaum mit Texten befasst und ein ziemlich ausschließlicher Klanghörer ist, sei hier nicht weiter auf diese eingegangen. Doch sollten auch anspruchsvolle Texthörer von diesem Werk angemessen unterhalten werden.

Also zur Musik! Das Hauptanliegen der beiden Protagonisten ist nach eigener Aussage "to explore extended song form", also ausgedehnte Liedformen zu erforschen. Das geschieht auf "Vestigium" auch. Eine Sammlung an Songs stellt das Album in der Tat dar, bestimmt von der wunderbaren, mitunter rezitierenden, meist aber voluminös, wenn auch immer eher ruhig, bedacht, fast delikat erklingenden Altstimme der Tippetts. Sehr vielseitig, bisweilen auch mehrstimmig, eindringlich und glasklar ist ihr Vortrag, scheint sich ihr Organ in all den Jahren seit den Zeiten mit Auger kaum verändert zu haben, kommt vielleicht noch eine Spur variabler, tiefer und intensiver daher.

 

In allerlei Klang ist Tippetts' Stimme eingebettet, der sich irgendwo zwischen Jazz, Blues, Rock und Freiformatig-Elektronischem bewegt, oder meist als eine Mischung dieser Ingredienzien voran gleitet. Eine umfangreiche Schar von Mitmusiker sorgt neben dem instrumentalen Kern aus Archer (Tasten, Gebläse, Elektronik) und Fairclough (Schlagzeug und allerlei Perkussion) für Farbe und Abwechslung. Sehr elektronisch ist die Basis der Musik, geben oft fiepende und brummende Muster eine rhythmische Grundlage vor, über der umfangreiches weiteres Klangeschehen stattfindet: Perlende Tasteneinlagen, Keyboardflächen, elektronisches Wabern und Wogen, jazziges Rohrblatttröten, allerlei Perkussives, bluesige E-Gitarreneinwürfe, jaziges Rocken, Bigband-Blech und Streichereinlagen.

 

Meist bewegt sich die instrumentale Komponente in eher freien Bereichen, wird es nicht selten schräg und kompliziert, ab und zu auch wüst und hektisch. Das Ganze ist also letztlich keine leichte Kost (insbesondere über mehr als 80 Minuten hinweg), bleibt dabei aber doch erstaunlich zugänglich und rund, gibt es häufig ruhigere melodische Inseln und überraschende stilistische Wendungen (man höre z.B. "Clutching at dust", welches plötzlich zu einem bizarren Reggae oder Ska gerät). Alles in allem verbreitet die Musik, hat man sich einmal eingehört, eine geradezu magische Aura, eine sehr spezielle, intensive Atmosphäre, getragen von Julie Tippetts wunderbarer Stimme. Am beeindruckendsten ist dies wohl im abschließenden "Stalking the vision" zu erleben, das ausgesprochen dicht und komplex arrangiert, sehr intensiv, klangvoll und rund aus den Boxen gleitet. Grandios!

 

"Vestigium" bietet eine eigene und charakteristische Kollektion an Songs, die in der Tradition der sperrigeren Vertreter des Canterburygenres, oder allgemeiner des experimentelleren britischen Jazzrocks der 70er Jahre stehen, von Projekten und Bands, an denen Julie Tippetts mitunter auch schon damals beteiligt war. Wer also z.B. die Musik von Soft Machine (um "Third"), Centipede,Keith Tippett's Ark oder auch die 70er-Werke von Robert Wyatt schätzt, keine Aversionen gegen sperrige Elektronik und einen dominanten Altgesang hat, der sollte auch mit "Vestigium" sehr viel Spaß haben. - ACHIM BREILING. BABYBLAUE SEITEN

 

 

Věřil jsem jí jako éterické Julii Driscoll, když vystoupila v roce 1968 na Bratislavské lyře (včetně pozdějšího zahořekování nad okupací Čeaskoslovenska).  Věřil jsem jí jako Julii Tippetts , když se vyvázala z populární hudby a po boku svého manžela, avantgardního klavíristy Keitha Tippetta, se stala jednou z nejpozoruhodnějších vokálních experimentátorek. A věřím jí i dnes, kdy spolu se svým současným hudebním partnerem, klávesistou, elektronikem a všestranným konspirátorem Martinem Archerem vydala na Discu (po Ghosts of Gold, 2009, Tales of FiNiN, 2011 a Serpentine, 2012) už čtvrté album Vestigium. Zpívá tu své niterně vytvořené a niterně prožívané texty ve vlastních aranžmánech, je s Archerem spoluautorkou hudby a kromě Archera ji na dvou deskách doprovází bubeník a perkusista Peter Fairclough, kontrabasista Seth Bennett, kytarista Gary Houghton, flétnista a saxofonista Michael Somerset Ward, tedy známá ekipa hudebníků, podílejících se na většině Archerových projektů, a dalších osm muzikantů s různými nástroji od trubky po violoncello včetně laptopu a elektroniky. Stopy bosých nohou, které vidíme na obalové ambaláži, nejsou náhodné. Sugerují nám fakt, že Julie Tippetts je ve svém projevu „bosonohá“, tedy bez zbytečných přísad a šminek. Dovede totiž okamžitě vzbudit křehkou a zároveň vzlínavou náladu, jemně se vetře do našeho povědomí a omámí nás, její škála sahá (bez jakéhokoli razantnějšího vynucování) od kolébavé něhy po zdůrazněné vypravěčství, při kterém záleží na každé slabice, svěřuje se nám, vybízí nás („Pij mě…“), výdešně utajuje, co nemá být dořečeno, ale pak se opře do několikapolohové, dialogizující sběrnosti, je rozdvojená, dramatizující, podbouřněná, zdůvěrňující, položalující, balancující, neoponuje si, nicméně svá témata zaoponovává, zaviřuje, zasutinovává. A hudba to vše se špetkou orientálničení a s odbíjeným mrskutem podmalovává, jemně temperuje, prolíná, elektronika drobátko narušuje pravidelnost a koriguje jednoznačnost nálady, jde v podstatě o vzájemné obalamucování zpěvánek a hudebnostnění, avšak zároveň o střídmou provázanost poetičnosti, (roz)vrativosti, žalnosti.

 

 

Dvojdeska působí jako sevřený celek, byť se stupňující se proudivostí, kdy se v posledních anti-šansonech přidává další a další vrcholeni, jaké už nečekáme… až do přichvátaného odkoncertnutí. Těch témat je čtrnáct a Martin Archer, jeden z mála tvůrců, který dokáže vytvořit zcela osobitou hudbu, bez zjevných vlivů, bez nadměrných opakovaček a bez hluchých míst, tu za pomoci ostatních dokáže vynajít pokaždé jiný gejšlivostní vstup, vždy jiné rámování, náznakově probíravé, startovně procizelované, prozvučně zabydlované, vehrávané, plašivě vytryskující, rozřepeně prošůrované. Protože nemíní jakkoli ubrat jednoznačně vůdčí úlohu vokalistky, může se hudební doprovod místy jevit jako jednotvárný, jenomže při bližším ohledání zjistíme, že je mnohovrstevný, aniž přehluší základní sdělení, pouze hlas obklopí, prokreslí, obzvučí, opentlí, zavlní, rozševelí, ale i rušičkuje. A Julie Tippetts toho patřičně využívá, svěřuje nám svá tajemství, která se klenou do různých ploch, její střídavá mluva a zpěv vyzařují jak naléhavou poklidnost, tak zneklidňující zaklínání, nedá se zviklat a vždy se zavčasu prodere zvukovým zápraškem nebo sprškou, vnějšímu dramatizování čelí vnitřní dramatičností, vemlouvá se, je kazatelsky pronábožněná , áriově teatrální, výřečně zaříkávající. Vokalistka je natolik nenásilně, ba řekl bych až nenápadně proměnlivá, že si ani neuvědomujeme, jak přejde od protáhlujícího vyprávění k nakažlivé zpěvnosti, jak toto nadnášivé prozpěvování překonává hudební rozvalinování. A hudba naopak postupně reaguje rumplujícím popichováním, paběrkuje kolem vokálu, hází mu záchranné pásy, aby mohl bezpečně kotvit, její doprovodná vehemence může být pronikavostně „vypráskaná“, ale může se zmnožit do pádivého industrializování i triumfálního zkoncertnění, ale pozor – to vše nezahltí vokál, tím méně ho potlačí. Jde o zcela unikátní pojetí, které nezevšední při poslechu více než dvaadevadesáti minut, během kterých probíhají taková témata, jako jsou Shiver Acros the Soul, The Beckoning, Secret nebo Stalking the Vision. Ano, teď bychom mohli citovat z textů zmíněných i dalších songů, ale podnětnější bude, když si je (znovu) poslechnete na Vestigiu samotném. Jeho stopy vás poznamenají. Řekl bych dlouhodobě. – PETR FERENC, HISVOICE

 

 

Julie Tippetts ha incominciato a collaborare sporadicamente con Archer nel 2001, per poi firmare insieme a lui tre album fra 2009 e 2012, tutti improntati al rapporto tra voce (che non rinunciava alla propria musicalità neanche nei recitativi), elettronica, poesia e jazz; il baricentro si è via via spostato verso il canto, fino a questo

«Vestigium» in cui la spoken word appare solamente in cinque dei quattordici brani, comunque quasi sempre affiancata dai vocalizzi di una propria immagine riflessa. Le voci sono moltiplicate in sovraincisione anche negli altri episodi, di cui protagonista è il canto, che si libri sugli scenari astratti di Mandolin Song In Orange, carezzi caldo e accattivante il groove di Shive Across The Soul (con tanto di assolo vocale à la Driscoll), danzi disinvolto sul dub di Clutching At Dust o dialoghi con archi beatlesianamente indianeggianti, fiati trattati, chitarre funkeggianti, batterie filtrate e un’elettronica sagace e pervasiva.  - ACHILLI, MUSICA JAZZ

 

 

 

 

Quatrième collaboration entre Madame Tippetts et le saxophoniste qui a ajouté à sa panoplie, et ce depuis fort longtemps, le traitement électronique et les effets permis de la technologie moderne à travers les ordinateurs. Mais ce premier disque (double, donc) prévaut par un travail acoustique enluminé par quelques effets ("Shiver across the soul"). Et, par-dessus ces lignes somme toute mélodiques, plane la voix de Julie. Une voix que l’on connaissait dans des albums comme "1969" ou "Sunset Glow", enregistrés avec le haut du panier des musiciens de jazz typiquement anglais (Keith Tippett bien sur, mais aussi Elton Dean, Louis Moholo ou Harry Miller). Une voix qui sait vous raconter des histoires poétiques à souhait, qui s’insinue, se faufile dans les interstices construits lentement par couches successives, des nappes sonores montées comme de la crème fouettée, une voix proche de cette de Robert Wyatt ("The Beckoning"), le tout dans une finesse extrême, avec un souci du détail étonnant, multipliant les lignes qui s’enchevêtrent. Ce morceau est magnifique. "Ashen" se développe sur un thème oriental balayé de stridences électroniques. 

 

Sur le second cd, Julie parle, parfois en écho, siffle, murmure, alors que Martin lance ses vagues sonores perforées des roulements du batteur Peter Fairclough. "Too cool" est une démonstration vocale sur plusieurs pistes en simultanée, progressivement renforcées par la basse, la batterie, puis la guitare, le tout saupoudré d’effets s’intégrant parfaitement aux notes. A ces bijoux il faut ajouter la présentation soignée (comme tous les disques Discus) et le livret nous permettant de suivre les mots et les textes. Rien à jeter, sans doute un aboutissement du travail entamé par le duo en 2009, mais, qui sait, ils pourront sans aucun doute aller encore plus loin. Indispensable. - PHILIPPE RENAUD, IMPROJAZZ

 

 

Sin dal primo ascolto Julie Tippetts mi ha qui ricordato Joni Mitchell, e il fatto che anche il critico di Jazzwise lo abbia notato mi conforta oltremodo. Io ci sento, a volte (soprattutto nella magnifica Stalking the Vision e a sprazzi nella parte più movimentata e incalzante dell’altrettanto magnificaSecret/Lily Polen) anche un retrogusto della Annie Lennox degli Eurythmics, ma potrebbe trattarsi di un abbaglio, di un’illusione acustica. La bellezza del disco (doppio) è dovuta a tante cose, ma in primis all’amalgama fra le raffinate, suadenti e poetiche voci (le, al plurale, perché la cantante si sovraincide in ben più di un’occasione) e le sapienti costruzioni rock/jazz/elettronica, e molti eccetera – le tracce di D&B in Clutching at Dust, il profumo di India in Ashen – di Archer (tra parentesi, in poche ore ho recensito tre album, tutti doppi, realizzati da questo artista nel solo 2015, e sono tutti di grande valore: chapeau!): canzoni dalla forma estesa, arrangiate in modo ricco, intenso e poliedrico (con l’uso di effetti elettronici, sezione fiati, archi, chitarre, piano elettrico….), nella tradizione – rivisitata senza nostalgie – del jazz/rock progressivo britannico degli anni ’70, impreziosito dai virtuosismi vocali di un’eccezionale cantante. Un album indispensable (tanto per citare un’altra recensione che mi trova concorde). – KATHODIK

 

 

Since first hearing Julie Tippetts here reminded me, Joni Mitchell and the fact that even the Jazzwise critic has noticed comforts me exceedingly. I feel at times (especially in the magnificent Stalking the Vision and flashes in the busier part of the equally pressing and magnificaSecret/Lily Polen) even a hint of Annie Lennox of Eurythmics, but there may be a blunder, an illusion. The beauty of the disc (double) is due to many things, but foremost among the refined amalgam, persuasive and poetic voices (, plural, because the singer records in more than one occasion) and the skilled construction rock/jazz/electronics, and many etc. – D&B traces in Clutching at Dust, the smell of India in Ashen – Archer (in parentheses, in a few hours I reviewed three albums, all doubles, made by this artist only in 2015, and all are of great value: chapeau!): songs from the extended form, arranged so rich, intense and multi-faceted (with the use of electronic effects, horns, strings, guitars, electric piano), in tradition – revisited without nostalgia – jazz/progressive rock band of the 70 's , with vocal virtuosity of an exceptional singer. Indispensable album (to quote another reviewer I agree).. – KATHODIK

 

 

A third release from Archer & Co on Discus is the song-based "Vestigium" from Julie Tippetts & Martin Archer, whose 2013 album "Serpentine" was, I felt, "like entering worlds of found musics, underpinned by inventive percussion, jazz, rock and synth elements, with Tippett's vocals weaving amidst the sonic undergrowth." This new work - also a double CD - opens slow and hypnotic with the core trio of Tippetts, Archer and drummer/percussionist Peter Houghton. Also on board again is guitarist Gary Houghton of Radio Massacre International. 'Shiver Across The Soul' takes Tippett's slinky dual vocals and skates them across a glitch/jazz backing, to great effect. 'Like Alice' takes some of the images from "Alice In Wonderland." Archer's path is to return modern music to the exciting creativity of earlier times (he mentions Soft Machine's "Third"), and there's certainly no cultural inhibition here: a good thing. 'Firefly' takes a beautiful flute part and floats delayed harmonised vocals over it, to create the album highlight - gorgeous. The second disk does similarly, with 'Too Cool' an amusing intermission between heavier tracks. 'Whistling Song' is a spoken/sung narrative over a jump-cut backing, while 'Stalking The Vision' ("I really do believe this song is the finest piece of music I've been a part of in my career so far") twists and turns over a faux-Rhodes and strings background. Variously beautiful, expansive and brave. - TERRASCOPE

 

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