Just spent a mega six days playing two gigs with European quintet Ydivide at BeJazz Club Bern & Unerhört! Festival in Zurich. The band plays the music of drummer and bandleader Clemens Kuratle joined by myself (alto sax), Chris Guilfoyle (guitar), Elliot Galvin (piano/electronics) and Lukas Traxel (double bass). We then recorded the music in one day at Hard Studios, Zurich. The album will be released on Intakt Records sometime next year!
The Motherboard Pinball tour with UK/Swiss trio Kuster – Ferrari – Byrne starts TODAY at NQ Jazz in Manchester, which is also the home of our label Efpi Records. On Tuesday we’re in London for a special London Jazz Festival edition of LUME and then we’re playing at Jazz At The Lescar in Sheffield on Wednesday.
As this tour is a celebration of our new album (recorded remotely during lockdown) I think now is a good time to go back to the source and take a deep dive. What follows is a step by step guide to the tracks from our new album. So put the kettle on, turn your phone on silent and prepare to leave reality as you know it…
We begin our journey at Silicon Intersection, a busy junction on a sci-fi superhighway where vehicles move chaotically in different directions at high speed, narrowly avoiding collision. Meandering saxophone and restless angular guitar fight each other for space over a busy, pulsating modular synth beat.
Walking the Dogotrons portrays a seemingly familiar suburban scene of families and their pets, although on closer inspection it becomes clear the ‘dogs’ are in fact all robots… The track opens in a fittingly leisurely mood, with a bouncy synth pattern and ascending saxophone lines, but the scrambling guitar gradually asserts itself, disrupting the fragile tonal and rhythmic equilibrium until elements of time and tonality disintegrate.
Transistor Torment is a brief chaotic meeting of three voices – restless, urgent, and vexed – quickly followed by the epic Cyborg Aerobics. Here we are immediately launched into a harsh, alien sound world, where disjointed guitar and saxophone scuffles orbit a relentless, metallic driving beat. Finally we collapse into an exhausted heap – aerobics proves to be a severe workout, even for cyborgs.
The other-worldly Disintegrated Pixel Bluegrass features ephemeral saxophone melodies floating over a backdrop of a low-key pulsating synth pattern and disembodied tremolo banjo, before the album’s title track Motherboard Pinball sees our intrepid trio bouncing off objects and dodging random pinging obstacles at their peril. We emerge at an edgy industrial scene somewhere deep in our universe for Used Planet Disposal, where the unremitting synth, jarring guitar wails and disturbed saxophone paint a grim picture of giant robots crushing planets with zero emotion. In contrast, The Metaverse Inn Lounge is a place where you can relax – or is it? An uneasy anxiousness fizzes underneath the seemingly calm surface; maybe advisable to down that drink and move on…
Our adventure ends with Requiem for a Red Dwarf, a poignant farewell to a dying star set deep in the universe, where meteorites, space dust, and interplanetary droids occupy our extra-terrestrial sound world – about as far from our locked-down Earth as it is possible to get.