Alan Brown – Between The Spaces (Ode/Rhythmethod)

October 9, 2014
1 min read

THE WORLD IS so unfair. The pop poop just keeps on coming, and every year it gets smellier. Meanwhile, over in the shadows, labels like Ode are releasing the results of what seems like a bit of a renaissance for New Zealand jazz. Of which Between The Spaces is the latest example.
In Alan Brown, we have a keyboardist (performing on acoustic piano, Rhodes and Wurlitzer) with a deft touch, and more importantly, a compositional flavour that, at its best, makes for some quietly captivating listening. He’s accompanied by adept work by Andy Smith (electric guitar), Marika Hodgson (bass) and Jono Sawyer (drums), with the odd guest shot by the likes of Nathan Haines. Which means there’s the odd fluty bit, and a little violin and cello to add grain and texture and mood.
There are a few spots of aimless noodling (‘Sustainable Resources’, ‘The Dancer & Chess’) although another hominid might call what they do on these tracks ‘funky’. It’s easily compensated for by pieces like ‘Sounding Out’, the first track in, which establishes a slightly austere tone that’s just a little bit troubled, but rather gorgeous, like some Eastern European art movie soundtrack. It’s got crunchy drums, which is always a good thing, and has the guts to move into a very low gear at one point, without disappearing altogether. It’s called ‘poise’. The title tune is a quiet wee thing with space for some soloing that, before you consciously realise it, has evolved into something intense and concentrated. ‘Tableau’, too, has a moody, theme-like feel, but contains enough tricks of the light to keep it from being morose.
Then there are tracks like ‘Do Not Track’: propulsive, repetitive, but evolving, and a keen sense of composition (as well as a drum freak-out towards the end).
Between The Spaces is nicely recorded, and it’s obvious that care has been taken over every aspect of its gestation. It’s a fine thing. GARY STEEL
Sound = 3.5
Music = 3.5

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

1 Comment

  1. Surprised by Gary steels 3.5 recording and music I rate recording
    quality 5/5 music 4/5 . I had between the spaces out of the library
    twice. my hi fi system dynaudio d2m6 speakers synthesis magnum
    100 hybrid amplifier naim cdx5 QED ref 40 interconnects QED
    xt400 speaker cable

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