CD REVIEW: Kit Downes – Tricko

Kit Downes – Tricko
(Coup Perdu. CPCD003. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield.)

Keyboard player Kit Downes plays in a bewildering number of different of ensembles, reflecting a wide and eclectic range of styles and influences. It was therefore with both excitement and trepidation that I started listening to this CD, the first recording of his regular collaboration with cellist Lucy Railton. What you get is rather good: music at the intersection between jazz, improvisation and classical.

In the sleeve notes Downes writes about the process he went through in composing the seven pieces on the record, a slow development of shifting and mutation. The result is that the final pieces have moved on, and include nothing of the musical material that was there at the beginning. The pieces morph from one state to another, the cello often being the instrument of change, and produce a real sense of a journey travelled.

This is contemplative music, to be taken slowly and thoughtfully. Some tracks feel more jazz than classical, some reflect folk influences. The cello provides a tonal balance, and on some tracks such Waira, rhythmic drive. Waira also features the gentle, atmospheric sound of rainfall, a curious but not unwelcome addition.

The classical influence evokes composers such as Satie or Debussy, and more contemporary composers like Reich, Pärt or Adams. The serial motif is most present at the start of the CD’s title track, Tricko.

Several of the tunes also feel improvised as they move between sections, the piano and the cello responding to each other. The result is very listenable to, an intimate record of two performers making music which is both accessible and intricate.

LINK: Coup Perdu Records. The image is of the LP version 

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.

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