Friday 18 October 2013

Partikel Ascending - Whirlwind Festival

Duncan Eagles - Tenor Saxophone
Duncan Eagles and Max Luthert graduated to the main stage of the Whirlwind Festival's Hall 1 last week at King's Place (10/10/2013). Just an hour before they had opened the festival with the Ollie Howell Quintet and this ascension was both physical and symbolic for the likeable duo.

The bull ring for the main thrust of the Whirlwind Festival was Hall 1 and it was a mighty impressive theatre to watch and hear the next 3 days unfold. With its warm wood lined façade and cathedral like height that drew the eyes up along its vertical strokes, this was the place to be. The stage and sound were excellently managed through all of the sessions and I hope the festival and venue maintain their association long into the future.

Eric Ford - Drums
Coming out of the smaller St Pancras room with the Ollie Howell Quintet and into this cavernous space only exaggerated the change in scale, as did that of the smallest (numerically) band of the festival.
Partikel Trio, an early signing to the fledgling Whirlwind at that time are now blossoming into one of the labels stalwarts. Only a few months away from recording their third album but unfortunately without their string quartet, Eagles admitted they we just a few days shy of rehearsal time for the full blow out. I have heard them in recent months trailing some new material with cellist Shirley Smart and think this third album will contain a little more zip and concept than their second.

Max Luthert - Bass
As if to undermine what I've just written the trio's diminutive presence in this vast arena was bolstered by their second tune 'Assam', one of the stand out tracks from their second album 'Cohesion'. Written by bassist Max Luthert and performed with fullness, Eric Ford (drums) swept us in with his brushes, Luthert bouncing and then Eagles first sips of his soprano. Never has Luthert sounded so good, which bodes well for his first solo recording. It was a busy weekend for the willowy bassist and on Monday morning he brought his quintet, including Gareth Lockrane, Seb Pipe, Dave Hamblett and Matt Robinson to Derek Nash's Clown Pocket Studio in Kent.

Dan Redding - Filmmaker
'Assam' wandered into a new tune 'Midnight Mass' which had been toned down for this performance. Diluted more than usual, but not for long, the following composition 'Shimmer' did exactly what is says on the tin. The ever quizzical Eric Ford delighting us with his box of percussive tricks. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed another part of the Whirlwind stable, the filmmaker Dan Redding whose skills have become a label staple. Although discreet he has now perfected a professional stance since establishing his Youtube credentials, with legs akimbo he reminds one of David Hemmings' character in the film 'Blowup'.

Partikel finished with the excellent 'Landing' and here they worked at their best together. A tune that feels coded yet simple, Luthert teases us with a bass binary, those 1 and 0s floating out into the vast auditorium. Ford expresses in seesaw rhythms while Eagles' sax has a viscosity like a dribbling sap, the sound barely liquid until it crystalised into a rock hard resin that bombards us.


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