84CD - The Geordie Approach - Shields
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The Geordie Approach is two Norwegians and a Geordie. They met in Leeds and play improvised music. They have been doing it since the early 00s. The name? A stupid comment about the correct volume to operate amplifiers (loud enough to disrupt all surrounding activity and stimulate acts of desperate violence) that became a kind of mantra to how the band would approach its performances and recordings.
Both of the band’s previous records (on Simon H. Fell’s Bruce’s Fingers label) featured edited improvisations, cut to ‘song length’ to emphasise the group’s highly compositional approach to improvisation; opting for focused episodes of layered improvisation over the more stream-of-consciousness approach of some free improvisation.
In the lead up to The Geordie Approach’s latest album ‘Shields’, which also celebrates a new home for the band at Discus, the band toured extensively around Europe and Japan honing their episodic, ‘everything-is-permitted’ approach to improvisation. Following festival performances in the UK, the band set up in a re-purposed Methodist church in Leeds with a handful of microphones and played two 30 minute pieces. These two pieces, ’North’ and ’South’ comprise the album. What you hear is what we played. No edits. No fixes. We have travelled and played quite a lot with this band over the years, and had always felt that we fell short of capturing the excitement of our live gigs onto tape. We remember discussing the Kind of Blue session, how they set up and recorded as a live band at Columbia 30th Street Studio – just like playing any other gig – and how the ‘liveness’ of that album comes through in the music. Recording this session at Chapel FM in Leeds, we tried to do the same; setting up a PA, in the same space, no headsets, playing to each other and the room as we normally do. And we felt that finally, finally, we managed to actually record what we do.
We are very proud of this record. The patience and slow, focused pace of the music is something we’ve been striving for, for a long time and it makes for an extremely satisfying listen for us as a group.
The album was recorded by Håkon Holmås and mixed by Chris Sharkey with mastering by Peter Beckmann.
Ståle Birkeland - Drums
Petter Frost Fadnes - Saxophone / Electronics
Chris Sharkey- Guitar / Electronics