Get the Blessing have pioneered a unique way of mixing live playing with electronic looping and set the bar for all the other bands who attempt something similar and who trail a distant second to this marvellous band.
Jim Barr: bass, loops, noises; Drums: Clive Deamer; Pete Judge: trumpet, piano, viola, loops, noises; Jake McMurchie: saxophones, piano, loops, noises; Adrian Utley: guitar
Recorded by Jim Barr and Clive Deamer
This is Get the Blessing’s seventh album. The album’s name reflects the use of colours in the titles of each track but also, I think, carries the hint of a place where things become mixed together. The opening track, ‘Oscillation Ochre’, blends a repetitive bass groove and sparkling drum pattern to support a flow of repeated phrases from the other instruments that are played and looped in ways reminiscent of contemporary electronic composers.
I was reminded of bands like Aphex Twin and composers like Hannah Peel, particularly in the ways in which the strong rhythms were layered with sounds that echoed nature and the ways in which the loops were built. This, of course, is no surprise given the pedigree of the musicians in the band and the fact that three of them (Barr, Deamer, Utley) have been integral to Portishead since its formation, and that Deamer was a major force in Roni Size’s live shows.
Where Get the Blessing stands in total contrast to other musicians and composers is in the care and technique with which the ‘live’ instruments create and curate their improvisations over each piece. There is strong sense of individual identify of each instrument, so the saxophone leads ‘Vongole Verdigris’, track 3, as much as the bass drives the opening track; a delicately simple guitar line creates the pulse of ‘Sao Pedro Gold’ track 5, over which saxophone eulogises and trumpet works through multiple effects.
The longest track, ‘Ambient Black’, track 6, runs for a little under 10 minutes, and is a tune I didn’t want to end. It is a piece in which very little happens as the music slowly shifts gear, but in which everything happens, so lush and multi-layered was its production and each listen reveals different patterns in the scintillating soundscape Get the Blessing have pioneered a unique way of mixing live playing with electronic looping and set the bar for all the other bands who attempt something similar and who trail a distant second to this marvellous band.