Lund Quartet is an instrumental jazz group from Bristol in England, comprised of Simon Adcock (piano / theremin), Jake Wittlin (turntable), Rob Childs (double bass) and Sam Muscat (drums). Their debut album, simply titled Lund Quartet, is released September 2013.
“Did you just say there were a theremin and turntable in this band?” Why yes, I did. However, before you think these guys are all about experimentalism and the unusual, do bear in mind the music they play only features these elements sparingly. The entire album is suffused with the piano, with the drums and double bass doing a great job filling out the sound space while samples are lovingly sliced and diced by the turntable work. Opening track Sequoia presents an edgy and compelling introduction to the band, with a sampled brass section cutting through the mix of hi-hat and evocative grooves on the keys. Their extended studio performance of Sequoia takes the song into somewhat self-indulgent but absorbing territory with a protracted dubstep theremin section! One can only hope the group decides to take this approach when performing the track live,
Sequoia – Single – Lund Quartet is available on iTunes*.
The album continues into somewhat unexpectedly melancholy with its second track, Kulde, which treads through icily emotional territory worthy of its translated namesake – Kulde means cold or frost in Norwegian. Love’s Madness is a fun and slightly sinister ballroom-strut through a hazy, delay-infused vocal sample and masterful piano playing. Tulipan is something of a rollercoaster in terms of its composition, ranging from downhearted and gloomy to uplifting and inspiring. Something to note at this point is that these arrangements are wilfully minimal in their construction, with each instrument occupying its space in the mix without overpowering the experience. In this way each source of sound can be fully appreciated.
Lonn is another double-edged sword in terms of its content. Starting off as a sombre piece, Lund Quartet subtly generate a confidence and character which crescendos into a charming piano section. The penultimate track, Merula, features catchy tapped-stick percussion and pleasant work on the keys
before Zill Bell finishes off the album with leisurely aplomb.
Overall I really like this debut from Lund Quartet. It’s nicely rhythmic and never offensive in its construction, and the turntable element sets the band apart. In future I personally would like to see slightly more use of the sampled elements (the intro to Kulde is a fantastic example of that) and maybe more fitting use of the theremin – I can hardly spot it on the album but can imagine all manner of exciting possibilities presenting themselves for future experimentation.
Another superb review from Robbie, many thanks.
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