(Babel BDV1088, CD Review by Chris Parker)
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With the addition of electric guitarist Rob Updegraff, the former Twelves Trio have not only become Twelves, but have beefed up their sound, making it rockier and more hard-hitting in the process.
Bassist Riaan Vosloo explains that the original trio, touring on the back of their first album, kept finding themselves playing to rock-oriented audiences, so ‘learned to “put it out a bit”, and to experiment’, and The Adding Machine (the title comes from a 1923 expressionist play by Elmer Rice) encapsulates the musical results of this change, containing as it does a heady mix of Prime Time-like keening and Sco/Lo-type driving urgency.
With tenor player Mark Hanslip and drummer Tim Giles completing the line-up -– both experienced operators in the fertile hinterland between free jazz and more structured playing, the former primarily with Outhouse, the latter with the likes of Age of Steam and Fraud -– Twelves are well equipped to move, as they do, between dramatic, anthemic rock and tumbling freer music. On this album’s seven in-band originals and one arrangement of a traditional folk song (‘Shallow Brown’) they perfectly capture the spirit of Rice’s play, which also dramatises a shifting emotional world of dark revenge, unsettling fantasy and hope.
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