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Resistance to the Passage of Sound[CD]
ALBUM REVIEW; NOV. 06, Birmingham, England. The quiet village of Sutton Coldfield on the outskirts of Birmingham is the backdrop for one of the finest CD's ever to have been released by a UK performer. MIKE GATES, who lives there, has come up with the gem Resistance to the Passage of Sound, in league with Ninja Tune and Soul Jazz recording star CHRIS BOWDEN. The pair have teamed up with acoustic bassist Simon Smith and percussionist Andy Wheeler under the collective name Scorched Earth for the folk-jazz oriented disc, which well and truly transcends the early comparisons made between Gates and the seemingly omnipresent NICK DRAKE. But here they have added something grittier and darker to this recording, with Bowden supplying some arrangements full of melancholy, aching beauty, empty spaces and warm textures. Opener Out of the Darkness sets the tone for this set which, COLTRANE-like seems forever to be questing for eternal truths, and which soon earns the right to be taken seriously. Gates delivers the guitar led meander with a fragile yet soulful MARK HOLLIS- style vocal, and those who enjoyed TALK TALK's more accessible experiments will soon latch on to this. Track 2, Colours, echoes GERSHWIN's SUMMERTIME, but adds some extra hues and a different melody, while Gates and Bowden do their best PAT METHENY- MICHAEL BRECKER link-up on the instrumental SevenFour. Where did all the Bebop Go? finds Gates getting all worked up, ROY HARPER style, while the epic Wait begins like a DEVENDRA BANHART ballad before Bowden hints at PAUL DESMOND and DAVE BRUBECK's TAKE FIVE then Gates takes it out with a waltz reminisvent of ENNIO MORRICONE. The beautiful Tibetan Folk Song echoes sentiments of ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, albeit set against China's oppressive foreign policy. The meditational, reflective and gorgeously melodic approach continues with Golden Leaves and Lipcurl with the quirky instrumental If Brad Mehldau Could Sing offering some surprising Indian flavours. The beautiful Matters brings the album to a close. This is a multi faceted set, with lovely sleeve artwork recalling the covers of 70's British jazz-rock albums that DJ GILLES PETERSON has been heavily plugging of late. GO GET IT NOW!
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