The only way to listen these pieces is to allow their own internal logic space to reveal itself and to sink into the stories that Organza Ray are showing you.

DISCUS: 9006DL

Hilary Jeffery: trombone, trumpet, melodica; Eleni Poulou: synthesizer, melodica; Hayden Chisholm: alto sax, pūtōrino, harmonica, penny whistle; Simon Rose: baritone sax Recorded in December 2023 and January 2024 by Hilary Jeffery at Berlintune Studio

Almost everything about this recording is deeply but pleasingly unsettling. At the heart of all the pieces, Jeffery’s deep dolorous drawn-out trombone notes melt Poulou’s synthesizer tones, inviting other instruments to peak from behind the walls of sound these produce. Working together since 2022, the duo has developed their own musical vocabulary in which each word can take an eternity to form and even longer for its meaning to become apparent.

As on their 2023 release, ‘Purple and Green’, the titles of the tracks form their own cryptic story. There is a sense in which a brass quartet (depending, I suppose, on your position on the melodica) is playing music that heralds the arrival of spring. But this is a spring that is much less Vivaldi and much more Stravinsky, in all its earthy, fleshy glory. The opening track, the ‘Winter Solstice’ broods menacingly as if waiting to be appeased through a ‘Circle of Kiono’, track 2. In these pieces, the music builds from drones and drawn-out synthesizer notes the evoke a darkness and nervousness.

In track 3, ‘Pattern Spring’, the tones lighten somewhat with birdlike flutterings, but the drones provide the life-force of the piece, forcing the flutterings to sound less like birds and more like sirens of emergency vehicles. Across each piece, the rise and fall of the long notes have a tension and release that ought to be as stable as breathing but as the title ‘Oxygen Alarm’, track 4, hints, there is a trepidation around when exactly the release will occur.

Some notes are held for longer than others, which disrupts the sense of rhythm and flow that the listener might be predicting. The only way to listen these pieces is to allow their own internal logic space to reveal itself and to sink into the stories that Organza Ray are showing you.