Jul 11 2017
This is a perfect unison achieved by keyboardist Greg Foat and guitarist Warren Hampshire. Their modern distillation of cosmic jazz is one where rich melodies melt away into an atmospheric bliss. The cadence of the melt are the building blocks of the casual grooves that gently propel each song forward, and provide a sense of structure to the otherwise formless parade of vivid imagery. There’s a striking beauty to these pieces, sometimes jaw dropping gorgeous, but their comforting presence makes it so Galaxies Like Grains of Sand is bundled up in comfy clothes for a night in front of the fireplace than it is dressed to the nines for a night out on the town.
The acoustic guitar and string section turns “Lullaby” into a blanket of harmony for keeping warm during the long, cold night. “All Washed Up” is snow pelting the window pane, the path of their descent marking an otherwise unblemished moonlight visage. The slow groove and cheerful gait of “End Song” and “The Solar Winds (and Cadenza)” are Exhibit A & B as proof that the new album is a natural extension of the body of work represented by Foat’s excellent 2015 release The Dancers at the Edge of Time. Further evidence is that Hampshire was among that album’s personnel, which earned the #7 slot on this site’s Best of 2015 list. But the emphasis on strings with tracks like “How the Nights Can Fly” show how this album is a new vision unto itself, and not just a case of more of the good stuff.
I recommend waking up early each morning to start your day with a lovely sunrise. Failing that, Galaxies Like Grains of Sand will make for an excellent substitute.
Your album personnel: Greg Foat (piano, Fender Rhodes, vibraphone, tubular bells, analogue drum machine, synthesizer), Warren Hampshire (guitar, auto harp) and guests: Trevor Walker (trumpet, flugelhorn), Rob March (tenor sax), Konrad Wiszniewski (tenor sax), Feargus Hetherington (violin), Sinéad Gallagher (viola), Kate Miguda (viola), Julian Appleyard (oboe), Justyna Jablonska-Edmonds (cello), Phil Achille (bass) and Clark Tracey (drums).
Released on Athens Of The North Records.
Listen to more of the recording on the label’s Bandcamp page.
Music from London.