New reviews – Moss Project Album Launch (Vortex, 6/3/13)
Just wanted to share and say thank you for a couple of nice reviews from our album launch last week. It was an incredible night for us – to be able to launch our album to an audience of so many friends, family and music lovers alongside beautiful readings from Hanan al-Shaykh and Joe Dunthorne. Incredible…
Here’s what Rob Edgar from London Jazz had to say:
What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes is the new album by the Moss Project on the Babel label. Launched at the Vortex on 6th March, it’s a little unusual in that it features creative responses to the music from writers and poets, two of whom were there for live recitals of their work (Joe Dunthorne, and Hanan al-Shaykh).
If Moss’s Let Spin project brought to mind garage band alternative rock blended with intelligent jazz craftsmanship, this outing takes more of a lilting, folksy approach whilst retaining the psychedelic atmosphere that makes up much of Freed’s music. which also has a narrative quality.
The music, for the most part, had an impressionistic texture with melodies floating around the canvas of Freed’s compositions, interlocking gently before breaking apart again with Freed’s electric guitar often set on a crunchy distorted tone and vocalist/violinist Alice Zawadzki’s voice floating over the top as she harmonised her vocal lines on violin.
That’s not to say that the music was all wispy and delicate, Ruth Goller’s bass guitar was compelling and grooving making for some exciting interplay with saxophonist Kenji Fenton, and drummer Marek Dorcik could propel the music forward or add just the right touch to the lighter moments.
The part that really seemed to pique the audience attention was The Angel when Beirut-born author Hanan al-Shaykh read her story about a dinner party, a heroin addict and an “angel”. The music she had been inspired by was calm, airy and balmy and had the audience in complete silence throughout.
There was so much to explore and take in during the course of the night that it begs repeated listening. I very much look forward to getting my hands on a copy of the album.
And Jeanette Howlett from Radio Starlion wrote:
A scroll through my earlier reviews will confirm that I have now seen Moss Freed play with a variety of musicians several times since first seeing him perform in a local cafe/music bar in 2009. I could cheerfully have believed at that point that he was Brazilian by association, as he was one-third of a Brazilian trio! After seeing him at several very different gigs within the following three months, it was clear that this was simply an indication of his enthusiastic and diligent nature and, most of all, his versatility as a musician.
The Moss Project is his ‘home base’ as it were, and they seem to be going from strength to strength, with many tours in the UK, Europe and beyond under their belts and, 4 years after their superb and acclaimed debut album, ‘Vision’, this gig marked the launch of their eagerly awaited 2nd album. It was clear that the audience was indeed witnessing something very special. I feel so privileged and so moved to have been there, and so happy to have had the chance to introduce a dear friend to this wonderful music.
‘What Do You See When You Close Your Eyes?’ is an ambitious and unusual creative venture, described by their record company, Babel, as ‘a unique and compelling marriage of music and literature’. They also promise that the CD package (which I have pre-ordered and am looking forward to receiving in the post soon!) will include a ’beautifully packaged book of short stories’. and I have every reason to believe them!
I understand that several well respected and fully accomplished writers, including ‘Submarine’ author Joe Dunthorne, have produced accompanying poetry and short stories inspired by the tracks. At the album launch some of those writers (including Joe Dunthorne and Hanan Al-Shaykh) introduced the appropriate piece of music with their readings. Hanan’s for ‘Angel’, describing the plight of an anguished mother soothed and aided by a remarkable individual, was particularly harrowing and evocative.
I had heard some of these tracks before but not in their full context and it made for an especially enriching experience.
First up was ‘The Bubble’, which remains my favourite track, preceded by a reading of the imaginative accompanying piece of writing by Naomi Alderman. Like the other readings, it brought colour and depth of meaning to the music. I enjoyed every moment of the set which also included the intriguingly entitled ‘Freud & Jung Ride The Tunnel Of Love’, ‘Lose Ourselves’ and my first hearing of the title track in which I felt that Alice’s uncharacteristically low but consistently expressive vocals and tight intertwining rhythms drew the listener into something quite intense but at the same time strangely uplifting somehow, linking all the themes of the album. I felt I’d arrived at the ultimate destination of an adventurous and inspiring journey. This has been further extended by my having now heard the album in full, thanks to a download from the Babel Label website.
I really do feel that there is something for every music lover in this album, transcending genres into nothing less than a timeless piece of art, with the writing and artwork taking it across to seemingly limitless dimensions.