Friday 5 December 2014

Partikel - Theory of evolution

Eric Ford - drums
Partikel it seems are full of theories and last month (20/11/2014) at the EFG London Jazz Festival they gave us a taste of what has being bubbling away in their heads over the past year. Stripped back to their three man core of Duncan Eagles (saxophones), Max Luthert (bass) and Eric Ford (drums) they played tracks from their imminent 3rd album 'String Theory'. What we got in effect was the theory and not the strings as Benet McLean, David Le Page (violins), Carmen Flores (viola) and Matthew Sharp (cello) were practising their craft elsewhere.

Max Luthert - bass
The sound of the new album is full of layered beauty and epic vistas. It has the presence of a John Martin painting, full of details but takes the breath away with its power and depth. Here at 229 The Venue Partikel swapped these breathtaking sweeps for something much more angular and uncompromising. Still they retained the attention to detail which has made them in, Jazzwise's view, "one of the hottest young bands on the UK scene".

Before I distract you anymore, please take the time to watch the promo video for the new album by jazz filmmaker Daniel P Redding -

Partikel waded in with aggression on this night as Clash of the clans crashed into the London Jazz Festival audience. On the album the sound is tempered by the strings, here Eagles flashed into us with sporadic attacks while Eric Ford's loud assaults were only interrupted by his infamous cowbell (which took only 20 seconds to make its first appearance). At times the trio were inaccessible but soon they moved to gentler shores to give respite. Even though these quieter havens were a welcome break from the thrashing elements you always got the sense that Eric Ford was the man who operated the sluice gates, we expected the tide to rise at anytime.

Fellow drummer
Steve Gilbertson checks out
Mr Ford
Despite the trio coming at us in pulverising waves and with a stamp like a petulant child there has been an evolution in their sound since flirting with string quartets. Shimmer gave us the melody back and it was up to Max Luthert to hold the free expression of Eagles and Ford together. The new album sees a new version of The River from their debut album and it is worth the reawakening but here alone is how I prefer them. It will always be one of their strongest compositions. Eagles soprano saxophone was the fluidity and he excelled.

Duncan Eagles - Soprano
There is a maturity as you would expect from a trio who are on the verge of releasing their third album. The leap from their second to third album is more impressive than that from one to two. There are more systems at play, layers that hint at Glass and Nyman. Their string theory is not one of conformity nor an application of a mellower practice. This is a group that has evolved into the Cro-Magnon of their jazz species.


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