Here’s the tangible benefit of not rushing to record a band; of letting it simmer away in rehearsal and live performance so, when it hits the studio, cohesion is a given. But this being saxophonist/clarinettist Julien Wilson, cohesion does not equate to abandoning exploration and simply settling for what he, guitarist Craig Fermanis, bassist Christopher Hale and drummer Hugh Harvey know will work. It’s an eternal quest: how to let the music unfold unhindered; how to maximise everyone’s potential; how to step beyond established vocabulary. That’s why Wilson is among Australia’s finest improvisers, and why his colleagues delight in the vast field of possibilities laid out before them in his compositions.
Wilson says on the cover that he hopes to provide “a small escape hatch for sanity”. In fact it’s more like a secret gateway to a garden where the hearts and minds of the four musicians meet and mingle. Extraordinary music results, with electronic effects blurring the music’s edges and deepening the mystery of what is unfurling. The guitar sometimes soars, sometimes churns and tumbles amid the bass and drums. Meanwhile the clarinet is pensive, the soprano cries and the tenor adds a certain grandeur of scale.