Magam – One

[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

A new project featuring trumpeter George Avramidis and Moody Alien, Magam shows us how easy it is to just let go of everything around you. Side One is what I’d call the day side whilst Side Two is a purely nocturnal affair; both feature great examples of two styles coming together to create a strange new whole… maybe that was world, I get a lot of visuals playing this one none of which are relaxing. Despite repeated listens I keep coming away from ‘One’ with the same conclusion that the true scope of this collaboration is vast.

The reason for this probably is that ‘One’ is the first of a two-part undertaking by Magam; there’s no time frame for that other album by the way so I suggest those who acquire this be content with trying to understand what cannot be understood. No digital trickery or production sleight of hand was used on any of these seven pieces, Moody Alien carefully arranged and then orchestrated the majority of this music. If you enjoyed his ‘Down to the Junkyard’ record you’re going to love what he’s composed here because like that album the usage of tape loops and custom made sound sources carry the day.

Add to this that several recording spaces were also used and you have the makings of a unique artistic expression. This becomes apparent when Avramidis’ trumpet comes into play.

We’re given distant reverb on some of his contributions before having those notes get right up next to our ears at other points. He puts a lot of effort into revealing this dexterity by virtue of how he plays; I myself was in a couple of brass bands while at school and it’s a definite treat to get someone on wax who knows their way around not only those three valves but also their mouthpiece. You can do a lot of damage with it literally and figuratively, going from tart staccatos to languorously drawn out sensuality. The trumpet, when in the hands of one who has this kind of skill, speaks a language all it’s own.

As for the choice in formats, I’d suggest the vinyl due to how cleanly and thickly it’s pressed. I’ve encountered absolutely no static or skips, to date there hasn’t even been a crackle or pop to report. Aesthetically it very much coincides with the mood this pair are out to conjure up: late night soirees on balconies high above the city and when the crowd dies out it’s down to walk along the beach as the light begins to appear behind opaque banks of towering clouds.

Maybe you’ve got someone with you while you do this, perhaps you prefer to keep your own council. In this realm, the air cuts crisp and close; an endless array of seashells litter the sands, going on and on far out into the waves…

MagamOne
Thirsty Leaves Music
LP/Digital 2017

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