Exposé Online banner

Ray Russell — Fluid Architecture
(Cuneiform Rune 483, 2020, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-11-05

Fluid Architecture Cover art

While Ray Russell’s name may not be a household word, the British guitarist has more than earmed his stripes over the decades as a composer, session player, band leader, producer of film music and commercial jingles, and much more. Starting with his jazz quartet in the late 60s, he quickly becamwe a go-to session player for some of the best jazz band leasers in Britain, including Bob Downes, Michael Gibbs, Bill Fay, Harry Beckett, and many others, all along the way continuing to release his own music. By the mid 70s he was deep into the film soundtrack field, along with rock sessions for artists as diverse as Hudson and Ford, Tina Turner, Lulu, and many others. Over five-plus decades, there isn’t a lot that Ray Russell hasn’t done, and he continues to release amazing music under his own name, though with all of his (no doubt) more lucrative work, his solo releases have taken a back seat in more recent years, Fluid Architecture being his first since 2015’s The Celestial Squid with Henry Kaiser. On the nine instrumental tracks herein, Russell teams up with a number of superb session players including keyboardist Jim Watson, woodwind player Chris Biscoe, bassist George Baldwin, and drummer Simon Phillips, among many others, although each piece seems to feature different players, and some — like the beautiful acoustic number “One for Geoff” — are purely solo endeavors. The raunchy distorted tones that feature at the beginning of opener “Escaping the Six-String Cage” quickly give way to more dreamy textures, and as the piece proceeds over its near ten-minute duration, there are numerous shifts in style and decorum making it one of the bright spots of the set. Several of the tunes (this one included) seem more improvised than composed, yet the changes along the way seem to be telepathic, with the whole group changing directions together. The follow-up “Turn Right at Ventura” bears a more tightly composed feel, with all the aforementioned players contributing. The gritty, funky jazz-rock number “We Go Back a Short Way” makes for a fun romp through the wilds with some brilliant six-string soloing along the way. “Six In – Six Out” is another brilliant and unusual composed piece that offers some of the wildest soloing anywhere in the set, including some beautiful clarinet work from Biscoe. All taken, Fluid Architecture is a great set that should engage adventurous listeners everywhere.


Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Ray Russell, Simon Phillips

More info
http://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fluid-architecture-2

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
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

2020-10-06
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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Syzygy - Realms of Eternity – There is definitely something going on with progressive music these days. As we near the end of the first decade of the 21st Century it appears that we are emerging from the doldrums with some...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues