Emma Rawicz – Incantation
(emmarawicz.com and Bandcamp. Album review by Mike Collins)
Incantation is a set of nine originals from saxophonist Emma Rawicz, a confident and engaging debut recording, that conjures a range of moods. The title track has a rocky swagger to it.
Ant Law’s fuzzy guitar sound doubles declamatory phrases from the tenor that are punctuated by crunching stops from the rhythm section of Scottie Thompson on piano, Hugo Piper, bass and Finn Genockey on drums. It’s an arresting theme, and the solos ramp up the energy, Rawicz mixing raucous long notes, jagged phrases and scurrying runs to build tension. Voodoo, the opener, has a bustling post-bop vibe to it, catchy riffs, wonky vamps and mazy motifs launching blistering work-outs from the piano, guitar and then the leader’s sax. Omen, and then Rune conjure a more lyrical expansive air, with flowing lines, attractive melodies, evocative and warm, emotional soloing. Orison allows textures and atmosphere to develop around Rawicz on flute, before a chanting theme and a thoughtful, gradually intensifying solo from Thompson at the piano. Mantra shifts hooky motifs around over pulsing groove and Wishbone is another shuffling rocker with Rawicz stretching out, careening over the pulse, and then Law letting fly with a mazy solo.
Rawicz wrote most of these tunes in lockdown she says, and there’s a strong sense of the excitement of the band assembled to play these well-crafted pieces. They are consistently lifted further by some great playing all round. Rawicz combines a sound that covers the range from a rasping drawl to an enveloping warmth in more lyrical passages, with a strong instinct for the well-chosen phrase, sense of space and pacing of a solo. This is a fine album from an exciting, young band.
Categories: Album review