Mike De Souza – Slow Burn
(Self-released. CD review by Lauren Bush)
Guitarist and composer, Mike De Souza, is making waves on the London jazz scene and his debut album entitled Slow Burn, is a testament to his talents. Previously having released an EP, Road Fork with the same band, this is a much broader representation of his compositions and influences.
Drawing inspiration from lots of different places and experiences, at times De Souza’s music reflects the traditional jazz guitar favourites like Pat Metheny and John Scofield but then it often takes a more modern, alternative rock spin with an edgy affected guitar sound that is quite surprising. Each composition has a twist to it that comes unexpectedly and invents a story for the listener and equally, the whole collection fits together to create a cohesive collection.
Despite having only a trio to work with, these tunes are complex and layered beautifully. De Souza has mastered the ability to develop a sound that is deep and interesting and together, this trio have joined forces to present as a much bigger, stronger entity than they appear to be on the surface.
Going Places is a great example of this technique as it builds up with layers of acoustic and electric guitars, then features Huw V Williams playing the melody on the bass in unison with special guest Sam Rapley on bass clarinet. Then later on, he even utilises the sound of layered voices until the sounds are juicy and intricate. Within this song alone, there are many twists and turns that keep the listener invested and the release of the last note is more of a faded out that is very satisfying.
Late For Breakfast (Intro) hosts a soft, ethereal quality to it, reminiscent of waking up with no cares, before rushing into a bit of a panic with the follow up tune, which could only be the feeling one would associate with being late…a thoughtful and clever juxtaposition. Jay Davis adds to the complexities with an experimental-esque drum solo that flows into a dream-like sequence.
The whole collection of pieces is fascinating and inspired and one can only hope for more from this innovative musician and his talented band.
Slow Burn is released on 17 October 2019