Prescott — One Did
(Slowfoot SLOCD023, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-11-28Prescott is a trio on a mission, but listening to the album without knowing the mission, you might never guess what it is. Their plan is to come up with patterns, then construct pieces by repeating those patterns with minimal variation. They call it "micro-riffing." There are obviously several possible pitfalls to this approach. If the initial pattern is uninteresting, repeating it will only make things worse. If the variations are too minimal, even interesting patterns could become tedious. If the patterns are too similar from track to track, no one will stick around for the whole CD. And so on. Luckily, they avoid all of these. The patterns are generally pretty interesting, involving unexpected chords on the keyboard (Rhodri Marsden), unusual techniques on the bass (Kev Hopper), and fluid drumming that grooves without being overly busy (Frank Byng). Each tune seems to consist of two or more patterns which could probably be considered equivalent of "verse" and "chorus" (though without words). And about halfway through, on a track called "Philby Flies," they really start throwing the changes at us, with a horn section and some keyboard sounds not heard before (previously, Marsden had stuck with piano and electric piano tones). Marsden's use of dissonance is particularly refreshing, lending a distinctly non-pop, non-jazz flavor to the music. Hopper is a marvelously inventive bassist, producing a wide variety of sounds not normally heard by who knows what variety of playing techniques (or watch a video to see how he does it). It's a little like a cross between Mick Karn and Les Claypool. And Byng is a really fun drummer, devising stuttering patterns that mesh with the others in unexpected ways. This is a fascinating set of avant-rock worthy of the attention of progressive rock fans and anyone who's looking for something different in their listening.
Related artist(s): Prescott
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more