SETT - First And Second [New Wave Of Jazz - 2020]First And Second presents us with just over fifty minutes worth of improv thatís highly angular, difficult-yet playful & somewhat curious. It comes in the form of CD release from New Wave Of Jazz, a Belgium based label who primarily focuses in all thatís abstract, noise-bound & deliberately difficult in modern composition.
SETT is a largely British four-piece that brings together John Edwards on Double bass, Benedict Taylor on Viola, Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar, and Belgian Dirk Serries also on acoustic guitar- so itís decidedly odd/ unusual line-up, even by improv stands- and boy do the four-piece push out some extremely jarring & grating work, that totally steers clear of melody and rhythm. Though instead of falling into being a messy & wonky din, there is an odd kind logic/ shape, and angular wonder at play through much of the CDís runtime.
The CD takes in two around twenty five minutesí tracks- and each is as eventful, darting & at times noisily playful as each other. So we start off with "First SETT"- and here we move from an awkward meeting guitar neck creek Ďní body knock, scrabbling string fiddles, and whining swoons. Onto wonders into tight bass bows Ďní string-to-neck manic-ness. Through to blends of constricted strums, sawing scrapes & wailing bays. The first track seems to fly by, as the four play-off & build-off each other in most inventive-yet-highly off-kilter manner.
Lastly, we have "Second SETT"- this starts in an almost down-turned & melancholic musical manner with drifted- just off-key strums, tight bass fiddles, and strings whistling. But fairly soon we drop back into darting & often rapidly scurrying improv- we go from mixers of bounding-yet-tight ín' scraping bass rumble, flitting string-bound sourness, and rapid neck runs. Through to tightly mangled piles up of manic string fiddles & rocking saws. Onto slightly more spaced-yet- no-less tense sonic landscapes of neck noise, lightly bounding & wondering bass tone, and sourly mischievous string slice Ďní swoop. This track feels maybe a little moodier, with at times an almost manic-yet-foreboding quality to it, that for some reason brings to mind a blackly smoked hazed storm shifting through a noir junkyard- odd imagery I know, but thatís what keeps coming to mind.
Thereís no doubt that this four-way collaboration created some inventive-yet-angular work, and it'll be interesting to see if this line-up work together again as they do certainly have good sonic chemistry. If you dig improv at the edge of darting chaos & often scrabbling manic-ness, then Iíd say this is for you!.Roger Batty