Magnusson/Oehlers/Vanderwal album

Paper Tiger


Paper Tiger - Gatefold - SINGLE POCKETWithout a bass in a band the players can either compensate for its absence or maximise the sonic space that is opened up. Guitarist Stephen Magnusson, saxophonist Jamie Oehlers and drummer Ben Vanderwal favour the former option, while occasionally making the latter work brilliantly. You hear the “compensation” solution most obviously when Oehlers adds lines behind guitar features, in Magnusson’s finger-picked lacework behind the saxophone, or when the two instruments share the foreground.

The pieces – from within the band, plus songs from Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Frank Loesser and Stephen Foster – are kept short, like vignettes of fresh modes of interaction. Among Oehlers’ tunes are the bristling, jutting title track and the gorgeous Lament, which exemplifies the trio’s opening up of the sonic space. Vanderwal’s contributions include the perfectly titled A Rocking Horse On A Carousel On A Cruise Liner In Choppy Sea, in which waltz time suddenly lurches into the scuppers. Three unifying elements are the loose, relaxed approach to rhythm, the captivating sounds of these superbly-recorded instruments and Magnusson’s otherworldly hazes and auras.