GLOBALECTIC – The Soundscapes Quintet Review
2 April 2011
When you combine five of Australia’s most acclaimed improvising musicians, it’s hard to know what to expect. For their debut album, GLOBALECTIC, The Soundscapes Quintet demonstrates versatile playing to bring an alternative sound to jazz listeners.
Lead by Brisbane-based composer and pianist, Cleon Barraclough, The Soundscapes Quintet prides itself in creating angular harmonic ideas and strong rhythmic expressions. Combining the musical styles of Jazz, Latin and Funk, this dynamic ensemble presents a range of melodically challenging charts for its musicians and its audiences.
The Soundscapes Quintet launched GLOBALECTIC on 2 April at the Arts Centre Gold Coast. For the venue’s Live and Intimate series, the five musicians performed to a full crowd in the atmospheric Basement. The concert included all eight tracks on the CD with the addition of Camel Waltz and Cha Cha Char Grilled Score.
GLOBALECTIC includes seven compositions by Cleon Barraclough. The Dancer is a rhythmical composition incorporating a range of musical themes. The piece opens with an upbeat, puppeteer-type sound that moves into an experimental expression as soloists Gabriel Vatavu (tenor saxophone) and Clint Allen (trumpet) take control.
Despite the name, Spur of the Moment demonstrates a well-rehearsed composition, featuring a captivating piano solo by Cleon Barraclough, while Take That predominantly involves all five musicians as they improvise their way through varying tempos.
With a ceremonial opening, Backblocks evolves into an epic score including a range of musical themes from introspective to rhythmic, and classical to dynamic. Like many of the songs on this album, Southside Pocket sets a repetitive musical idea that is sure to linger in your thoughts.
As could be expected, Bridge to Hell leaves an unsettling feeling with intermittent tunes interspersed with unexpected tonal changes. Downward Spiral, composed by the group’s drummer, Luke Pammenton, also adds a darker sound to the album. With its spiraling structure, this song evokes a nostalgic feel, opening and closing with a moving flugelhorn lead by Clint Allen. The Gold Coast album launch concluded with the sassy sounds of The Dirty Swing involving a memorable groove mastered by bass player, David Galea.
While at times the forceful sound of The Soundscapes Quintet can be confronting for an intimate crowd, the live performance allows viewers to experience the emotions of the players as they immerse themselves in their music. It is rewarding to watch the comical interplay between the musicians, as they appear to compete for the most predominant solo.
For a challenging yet inspiring listen, GLOBALECTIC provides a contemporary jazz sound incorporating a range of musical emotions. The Soundscapes Quintet will hold their Brisbane CD launch on 21 May at the Brisbane Jazz Club. Cd’s will be sold on the night but if you can’t make it and wish to buy a copy you can visit
www.thesoundscapesquintet.com Arts Centre Gold Coast CD Launch 2 April 2011 Review by Miranda Cass