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(59:50, Moonjune Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Rush 12:15 2. Four Moons 5:12 3. Silver 8:33 4. Fjords de Catalunya 9:45 5. Tarasque 10:09 6. Bona Nit Senor Rovira 13:56 LINEUP: Mark Wingfield - guitars Markus Reuter - guitars Yaron Stavi - bass Asaf Sirkis - drums
Prolusion. "The Stone House" is an album that comes due to a multinational collaboration, featuring the skills of four renowned musicians. Wingfield, Reuter, Stavi, and Sirkis are masters of their trade, and all are well known musicians at least for insiders. "The Stonehose" is the first album to be created by this quartet, and was released through US label Moonjune Records at the start of 2017.
Analysis. Jazz and jazzrock are the primary genres of choice for the music released on Moonjune Records, and in this case we're dealing with an album having a go at the latter category of music. This is jazz and rock having a jam and a meet, and handled in a manner only this foursome of musicians could do. An album rather unique in many ways. Both guitarists are fond of using atmospheric laden sounds, effects and textures. They can and do use harder, firmer and even some gnarlier sounds when appropriate, but one the key words for this production are floating sounds and textures. Not always in a harmony oriented manner mind you, as both guitarists are familiar with and rather fond of using contrasting modes just as much as supplemental ones, and they both appear to be fond of being expressive as well. At times bordering the abrasive too at that, although that aspect of this production isn't a dominant one by far. As far as mood and atmosphere is concerned, the contributions of Wingfield and Reuter gives me subtle associations to both King Crimson / Robert Fripp and to some of the projects Trey Gunn has been involved with. Dream-laden, but dark and mystical just as much as soaring and beautiful, and with frequent use of expressive details as additional flavoring. The rock solid rhythm section can be described in similar manners. Both of them masters of their particular trade, unobtrusive when needed and expressive when there is space for that, and often managing to combine these traits as well. Fairly often, at least as I experience this album, Sati and Sirkis establish a foundation that the guitarists can explore out from, and is setting the pace for many of the subsequent developments. And as jazz and jazzrock is the name of the game, both of them will use the opportunities given to be adventurous as well, and sometimes establish such opportunities themselves if I have managed to listen to this album in a proper manner. As far as associations are concerned, their output here made me recall the Sheehan and Bozzio album from a few years back. Mix and production is as impeccable as the performances here, which is usually the case for a CD with the Moonjune label attached, and this is one more case of an album that will be treasured by the right audience.
Conclusion. If you are fond of contemporary jazzrock, then the foursome of Wingfield, Reuter, Stavi and Sirkis have made an album with your name on it. Adventurous, challenging and expressive, but also with passages and sequences of a more tight and harmony oriented nature. This is a case of high quality musicians appearing to have a field day creating material, and if that and the word jazzrock comes across as tantalizing combined, this is a production to seek out.
Progmessor: March 29th 2018
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