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Resonance

Eyeshutight are the vibrant jazz trio who, after the acclaim of their first two albums Evolution and The Thaw, return this year with Resonance, their capricious and often sublime record. Headed by double-bassist Paul Baxter, the three-piece also includes Johnny Tomlinson on piano and Kristoffer Wright on drums.

Akin to the style and sound of other modern jazz outfits like The Neil Cowley Trio, the album darts from tight, erratic jams to sudden periods of languid and reflective musicianship, as co-ordinated as they seem improvised. Ideas build and fall away in quick succession, with heavily syncopated rhythms from Wright and Tomlinson’s virtuosic noodling. Quick shifts in time signature, tempo and groove characterise the bulk of the album, best exemplified on ‘Hit & Hope’, which contrasts playful and spiky phrases with smooth, melodic passages.

Though firmly rooted in the contemporary jazz mould, outside influences can be heard in abundance on Resonance. Once through the opening 90 seconds of the album, in which increasingly warped robotic voices quote the dictionary entry for the word ‘resonance’, a solid hip hop beat carries the album into fruition. Elsewhere, on ‘The Precipice’, we get a taste of what sounds like a nod to drum and bass, overlaid with tense, offbeat pulses from Baxter and Tomlinson.

The highlights of the album come when the trio gets more introspective, which is not to take away from the sheer electricity they are capable of delivering (even more impressive live, I might add). But tracks like ‘T&C’ and ‘Transition’ demonstrate the calibre of atmospheric, brooding and plainly beautiful music Eyeshutight are capable of producing together.

Aidan Daly

by Now Then Sheffield