Sunday, 5 July 2015

Light Coorporation - Chapter IV - Before The Murmur Of Silence

Polish band Light Coorporation (pronounced "corporation") formed in 2011 to experiment with progressive jazz-rock. Unsurprisingly given the title, this is the band's fourth album, released in 2014.

Recorded live in the studio, these eight instrumental compositions were all written by guitarist Mariusz Sobański. The focus is often on the trumpet and saxophone that between them often sound like a full brass and reeds section, which serves to give the feel of an avant big band a la Centipede. Opener New States Of Mind (Repetitive) introduces itself in typically strident fashion, and is soon underpinned by a low rumbling bass line marking the rhythm with serious intent, another feature of the record. The tune is a tight jam with an open and spacious atmosphere in the manner of a very heavy take on 80s Miles Davis.

An intriguing feature is that the rather tasteful cover booklet, designed by Tom Lietzau includes lyric poems for each of the eight tracks on the record, all unsung! There is some nice prose here, too, and it is a shame none of it is used.

An obvious but effective trope is following a rousing number with something more laid back, as is often the case here, and the beginning of In A Tangle follows that tried and tested formula. Almost ambient, this is a quiet exploration of inner space that slowly rises from slumber accompanied by acoustic dub bass, muted trumpets and quiet sax, and the occasional spidery guitar interjections.

If the brass and reeds are the collective star on Chapter IV, never far behind are the dual bass talents of Piotr Oses and Krzysztof Waśkiewicz, who mark the rhythms with a thunderous purpose, often leaving drummer Milos Krauz to skitter around the edges in an effective manner.

With A Chance Of Cloudy commences as an atramentous thunderstorm, but clears to reveal a sunny day, but the threat is never far away. Three Headed Monster Sight Unseen was never going to be a sonic balm, and a very strange walking bass line, perhaps for someone with one leg shorter than the other deconstructs to one repeated arhythmic note and squalling guitar. The guitar often lends a psychedelic edge to proceedings when it appears, and that is certainly the case on the title track Before The Murmur Of Silence, where Mariusz gets to play at his most ferocious, albeit all too briefly. The unsung lyrics to this one cleverly illustrates the feeling of the protagonist's isolation within a crowd,  I would like to hear writer Mariusz Sobański turn these poems into proper songs.

The album ends with the seventeen minute Space Travel in an Old Painting, which takes a different tack to what has gone before. Neatly illustrating the "space" of the title, both literal and metaphorical, the piece is a long open road of eerie jazz ambience with the low-key trumpet lending inevitable comparisons to Miles. However, it is what is going on, or indeed not going on around the brass instrument that takes the tune somewhere else. Symphonic in construct, Space... takes its time to make a stately progress through the ether with a deftness of touch highlighted by the caresses of the ebow (?) guitar, as the bass begins to plot a path through the mist. Rhythms are are established only to disappear into entropy, The quietest of percussion is almost the only sound in a short sequence some ten minutes in, and the piece has become a supreme exercise of control. Eventually, silence...there is nothing out there. After around two minutes we are rudely awakened from drifting by the sudden entry of an atonal ensemble arrangement that brings us back into orbit.

This has not been the easiest of albums to get into, but it rewards perseverance, and fits neatly into the small but growing number of jazz-rock big band albums that seem to be around this year. I leave you with this extract from Mariusz's criminally unheard poetry... 

In a moment like this
even fear itself retreats
marking the stones 
with its blood

1. New States of Mind (Repetitive) (9:44)
2. In a Tangle (7:34)
3. With a Chance of Cloudy (7:15)
4. Three Headed Monster Sight Unseen (6:39)
5. Basements of Heaven (4:47)
6. Sealing Wind into Bottles (6:21)
7. Before the Murmur of Silence (Based on a True Story) (5:25)
8. Space Travel in an Old Painting (17:21)

Total running time - 65:12

Line up:
Mariusz Sobański - guitars, baritone cello
Paweł Rogoża - tenor saxophone
Kuba Jankowiak - trumpet
Witold Oleszak - acoustic grand piano
Piotr Oses - double bass
Krzysztof Waśkiewicz - bass
Miłosz Krauz - drums, percussion

Band website

Buy from ReR Megacorp


  1. Replies
    1. Whoops! Sorry, it's hard to see, as they spell "Corporation" differently in the first place. Now corrected, thanks. :)


2019, the insanity grows...

Odd title for an annual music review, but them's the times. With these words I aim to provide you with an escape from the creeping madne...