Benedict Taylor And Daniel Thompson – t’other (2CD album)


EBR 001


In stock

Benedict Taylor And Daniel Thompson – t’other (2CD album)
“Hallmark of each track is close listening, with each player complementing the other’s thrusts but without setting up a soloist/accompaniment paradigm. Throughout the improvisations take in a variety of pitches, a spectrum of colors from very black to inky dark….” – Jazzword

“Benedict Taylor and Daniel have been releasing music together since 2012. Over these eight years, they have played with the likes of Alex Ward and Tom Jackson, as well as releasing solo albums and performing with legends like Evan Parker. In January 2019 they decamped to Café Oto and over two days recorded the improvisations that makeup ‘t’other’. The album features Benedict Taylor on viola and Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar. This, of course, is business as usual for the pair. What isn’t usual is the glorious, cacophonous music they made. Somehow on ‘t’other’ they managed to surpass their previous recordings and delivered something chafe, tormented, and affecting.
The music has a wonderful scratchy quality to it. Thompson’s guitar work sounds distressed and, at times, eviscerated. There is a wonderful section around the halfway mark in ‘Third Improvisation’ that seems to sum up the whole album. Both Taylor and Thompson sound like they’re trying to crawl out of their instruments from the inside in suits of armour, but the strings are hampering their bulky frames. As they manoeuvre themselves against the strings wonderfully harrowing sounds are created. At times it feels like an avant-garde score to a horror film if your thinking of ‘Under the Skin’ then you’re on the right tracks, but this is far more harrowing than anything Mica Levi came up with.
The album is the first release on Thompson’s Empty Birdcage Records. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, when launching a new musical venture like this, the inaugural released should be a statement of intent, after which everything should follow. This appears to be done achieved here. The music is uncompromising and visceral, and so should everything else Empty Birdcage release. I look forward to hearing from them in the future. Secondly, parts of the album do sound like an empty birdcage is being played.
Taylor and Thompson’s playing throughout is both subtle, elegant, agitated, and combative. Both know each other very well and they just go at it. The album works best when they are playing with each other, trying to anticipate each other’s next move. ‘Fifth Improvisation’ feels like this and benefits from it greatly. What is remarkable about ‘t’other’ is just how playable it is. After a few cursory plays that let you know what everything is all about, the album starts to take on a new light. ‘Fourth Improvisation’ is incredibly delicate in places. The playing is kind with a grace to it that initially takes you away. Gone are the maelstroms of lacerated sound, and in their place, we have something soothing and, dare I say, tranquil. These moments are of course fleeting, as the duo starts to wind the screw again, but it does show that you don’t have to make a racket to get your point across. Ultimately ‘t’other’ is a brave and enjoyable album. It showcases two musicians at the top of their game having a blast. And what’s better than that?” – Nick Roseblade – Vital Weekly

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