31 July 2014
Phishing for the groove
The band was Pensive Phish. Not a serious sounding name and a good deal of good natured presence but the playing itself was serious. PP was James Luke, Miro Bukovsky, Mark Sutton and one-time student in electronic music at the School of Music, Mark Webber. Mark performs on laptop, so there's processing and contemporary approaches here. Then Lachlan Coventry also along for the ride, playing both Fender VI bass and Fender tele guitar. All that with the minimalist change of Miles of the jazz rock era. Determined and central drums from Mark S and firm and steady bass from Lachlan or James formed the intense rhythms. James might solo, all effects and processing, up the neck, against a riff from Lachlan. There was one riff that passed from Bass VI to James' fatter JB and that was a revelation in variation of tone. I liked Lachlan's firm resolve in bass; James was more playful, so different, but both held strong grooves. Mark S was there, always, solid, inventive when called for, but a rock in laying the foundation. The rhythm section is often all-important; perhaps even more so here. These were great grooves. And was Mark W in there with more grooves? I thought I heard some background percussion: this may have been loops on Mark S's percussion pads. He certainly was with a range of processing, echoes and loops, I guess. Lachlan picked up guitar for some passages, clean and reiterative, sometimes with a blues edge (blues scales made an appearance), even driving and distorted for some rockier sections. It was loud and the audience was following all this. Interesting to see the response to a rock-take on jazz, along with the electronics to make for the contemporary. Miro would fly over on trumpet with luscious modal phrasing, ending on all manner of scalar degrees; not dissonant but inquiring. Then leave the trumpet and enrichen groove with various latin percussions. This is incessant music, flowing and probing, demanding of space to listen and a good ear to follow, even when sitting 4/4 on A or whatever. The room was unusually entranced by a side of jazz we seldom here these days and in these places. There were times where it was a touch lost, but that's the nature of extended grooves, searching for that magic. So, great music and great band name, too.
Pensive Phish was James Luke (bass), Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet), Mark Sutton (drums), Mark Webber (laptop) and Lachlan Coventry (bass, guitar).