SzunWaves cover web

Album: New Hymn to Freedom
Label: The Leaf Label
Vertrieb: Indigo
VÖ: 31. August 2018
Britisch-australisches Experimentaltrio improvisiert ein Album zwischen Spiritual Jazz und Clubsounds. Nach dem selbstverlegten Debüt "At Sacred Walls" von 2016 ist "New Hymn To Freedom" das zweite Album des in England ansässigen Trios Szun Waves. Dieses setzt sich aus Musikern zusammen, die schon in Bands wie Earlham Mystics, Triosk, PVT, Portico Quartet und Circle Traps für Furore sorgten, solo Alben einspielten, andere Künstler produzierten oder mit namhaften Kollegen im Studio waren.
Der Titel kommt nicht von ungefähr, handelt es sich doch bei der Formation um eine reine Improvisationsgruppe. Entsprechend spielten Luke Abbott (Synthesizer), Laurence Pike (Schlagzeug) und Jack Wyllie (Saxophon) ihre Songs live und frei improvisiert ein. Standesgemäß wurden die Aufnahmen nachträglich nicht editiert. Musikalisch bewegt sich das Trio zwischen experimentellem Spiritual Jazz à la Don Cherry, Alice Coltrane und Sun Ra sowie britischer, in der Clubkultur fußender Elektronik, wie man sie zum Beispiel von James Holden - in dessen Studio die Drei ihr Debüt einspielten - Four Tet oder Nathan Fake kennt. Und wer will, kann in dem pulsierenden, wabernden und psychedelisch schimmernden Ganzen sogar auch noch dezente Einflüsse von Can, Ryuichi Sakamoto und Liars ausmachen.

Sometimes in improvised music there can be a distance between listener and players, a sense you’re sitting back and admiring their interplay and abstraction – but with Szun Waves’ second album, you’re right in there with them, inside the playing, experiencing the absolute joy the three musicians feel as they circle around each other, exploring the spaces they’ve opened up. 

The three members already have sparkling pedigrees of their own. Norfolk’s Luke Abbott is well known for his explorations of the zones between pure ambience and the leftmost fringes of club culture. With Portico Quartet and Circle Traps, Jack Wyllie has been in the vanguard of UK fusions of jazz, classical and club music. Australian drummer Laurence Pike has likewise found a unique voice in improvised and experimental music-making, whether in the bands Triosk or PVT, or as a solo artist (his debut album Distant Early Warning was released in March 2018).

The trio’s musical relationship has grown naturally and steadily, and it shows. From Wyllie adding shimmering sustained sax notes to Abbott’s gorgeous ambient pieces in 2013, Szun Waves emerged when Pike was added to the mix, energising the sound but still keeping its levitational qualities. Their 2016 self-released debut album hit a natural groove – it was a “proof of concept” as Abbott says – and now they’re in a place of pure spontaneity: New Hymn To Freedom is a document of six entirely live improvisations – “no edits or overdubs” – and its title couldn’t be more apt.

 In some senses this is jazz, and in its ripples, sparkles and waves of rhythm will certainly chime with anyone turned on by Don Cherry, Alice Coltrane or Sun Ra. But just as much it’s in the British electronic tradition of artists like James Holden (in whose studio the first album was recorded), Four Tet and Nathan Fake that Abbott has emerged from – only now instead of his synths echoing Norfolk’s wide open pastoral landscapes, they’re depicting altogether more celestial vistas. Indeed, the drifting ecstasies of this record take you to dimensions that only the most genre-free musicians can reach: you might hear hints of Can, Ryuichi Sakamoto or even Liars.

But really, this isn’t the sound of any influence other than the influence the three players are having on each other, and how happy that makes them. “It still feels to me like a mystical adventure when we play,” says Abbott, “but there’s a musical language developing between us, we’re starting to make more sense together.”

Lead track ‘Constellation’ is available on all services now, and you can watch the video on YouTube. Szun Waves will tour Europe later this year (details of their London album launch below). The album will be available on digital, CD, double black vinyl LP and very limited edition indies only double white vinyl LP.


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