Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Sound of Silence

Alice Zawadzki + Silence Blossoms, Freedom Principle at the Sand Bar, Manchester. Tuesday 20th November 2012

A milk frother is not generally known for its rhythmic properties. Nor have walkie-talkies established themselves as a means to simultaneously bow and amplify a double bass as far as I'm aware. Nevertheless, these were just two of the many innovative approaches to sound generation brought forth by Sweden and Macclesfield's 'Silence Blossoms'. Comprising Gus Loxbo on double bass, guitar, voice, frother and walkie-talkies; Hanna Olivegren on voice and synthesiser, and a repatriated (at least for now) Sam Andreae on tenor sax, voice and electronics, this curious trio take poetry as the basis of most of their pieces. The words are under-layered with various blends of folksy harmony, lo-fi white noise, environment textures and a little free jazz abstraction.

Silence Blossoms (photo by Angela Guyton)
There's a danger of novelty leading to boredom with this kind of approach, but Silence Blossoms steered well clear of this territory, delivering a more or less perfect blend of sweet harmony and art noise. The stuttering echoes and earthy folk tones of first track 'Lady White' led into 'Not Waving But Drowning', probably the most conventional piece of the set. There was some lovely soulful playing from Andreae on sax here, accompanied by Loxbo's warm rounded double bass and Olivegren's deep sparse vocal. Some wonderfully vulnerable vocal harmonies from Olivegren and Andreae on final track 'King of Everything' rounded things off perfectly. This really worked.

Silence Blossoms rehearsing (photo by Angela Guyton)

Now based in London but no stranger to Manchester's music scene, Alice Zawadzki once again delivered an engaging set in the city last night, this time in trio formation with Stuart McCallum on guitar and Rosie Toll on Cello. Zawadzki rarely fails to impress, not only with her extensive range of vocal styles and strong technique, but also the way she manages to convey an authenticity and intimacy through the styles that make her performances consistently captivating. Whether it's a sephardic song, a portuguese tune, a rootsy blues number or some folk whimsy, she puts everything over convincingly and with real passion.

Alice Zawadzki with Stuart McCallum and Rosie Toll
A highlight was the self-penned 'Ring of Fire'. The track begins with a really strong tune sung by Zawadzki that opens out to an instrumental section allowing McCallum's modulated echo reverbs plenty of sonic space to breath, all backed by Toll's strong and unfussy cello parts. It's not all that often I can hear the harmonic subtleties of McCallum's expansive layering, so many thanks to Zawadzki's relatively sparse line-up choice, the sound man and an attentive Sand Bar.  Another very memorable gig. Hat's off to Freedom-Principle @ Sandbar.

Zawadzki is playing again at the Manchester Jazz Festival Re-Live MJF 2012 this Friday at Matt and Phreds. Take your opportunites when you can.

1 comment:

Latest Fashion And Style said...

Gorgeous post! I like your whole blog. Great job done..........