16 September 2016

Perceptions evolving

It's strange how you see bands differently in different incarnations. Antipodes played again at Smiths and this time I was just mesmerised by the richness and development of the compositions. Not that the blowing isn't good. It always is. These are wonderful players and they leave space for improv, but I wondered at the complexity of lines, of interactions, of feels. One piece, by Callum, was called Five 3 ways, apparently written to cycle through 5/8, 5/4 and 15/8. A mate commented that is sounded "almost baroque" and it did, especially a counterpoint section where the band broke down to just guitar and alto. Jake's Luke's Hidden Falls had the most deliciously settled feel, sparse and zen-like which developed busyness and complexity then finally returned. Luke can present his tunes with light, daily life images for titles, about kids on bikes or pants, but they are richly structured: his Glasshouse starts meditative and relaxed, enlivening with a guitar solo and ending on anarchy. The membership of Antipodes has varied over their three visits: Luke and Jake for all three; Callum for two; Tom and Tim for this latest. So it is with touring bands but the core compositional duties sit with Luke, Jake and Callum. I was entranced by the rhythm section, Tom a favourite of mine, tight, very effectively syncopated and one solo, especially, a very pleasant surprise when he was brave enough to play so little and so deliciously simply. Tim was new to me and a great pleasure: always strong and driving, sharp and clear and some lovely divisions of the beat, rudimentary. Luke likes his Rhodes: this time that sound came from a lightweight Korg Krome. He likes the acoustic, too, of course, but Smith's upright, although undeniably authentic, was not quite so pleasing. Either way, he's an easy master, spelling harmonies and exploring chords with varied ease. Callum is nicely understated, clean, crisp but fast and well filled. Jake will play the distant and pensive, bent notes, slow connections, intervallic explorations, but enjoys the explosive, fast, loud, physical. So, I wrote before of a great blowing band, and they continue with plenty of nice improv, but it's composition that gets my admiration on this visit. A wonderfully lively and thoughtful band.

Antipodes comprised Jake Baxendale (alto), Callum Allardice (guitar), Luke Sweeting (piano), Tom Botting (bass) and Tim Geldens (drums). They played at Smiths.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Hey Eric, nice review as always! Just letting you know that Hidden Falls is one of my tunes, I don't think Jake said that on the night...

Recording sounds nice too, cheers!