Martin Archer - Another Fantastic Individual
Matt Parker (All About Jazz)
This album is perhaps slightly less immediate than some of Martin Archer's other recent releases, such as the eponymous debut album of the Krautrock-esque trio Das Rad, but no less essential and, perhaps, in a sense, more impressive given that it was performed in its entirety by Archer alone. Another Fantastic Individual is a slow burner which seriously rewards repeated listening; fans of SOS, for instance, will probably find much to love straight away given the reed-heavy arrangements on display. Martin also shares an uncanny knack with one member of SOS, in particular—namely John Surman, whom Archer cites amongst a number of influences listed in the liner notes—that being the ability to find fabulous earworms in the most unlikely places.
The music veers from New Orleans style blues to abstract soundscapes (sometimes within a single piece) reminiscent of AACM Great Black Music Ensemble who he cites in the liner notes, (including of course the Art Ensemble Of Chicago). Like SOS and AACM, Archer displays a wonderful playfulness in his composition and improvisation, and this sense of unashamed fun is juxtaposed perfectly against some of the more sparse and reflective moments of the album. With regards to the recording itself, as seems to be the case with all Discus releases, the sound quality is outstanding. Martin and Discus continue to set the bar.
You can buy this album here.