Antelodic

To Iceland! To Iceland! (2020)

Antelodic

‘Quiet Sufficient’ was one of my very favourite releases of 2017. Many moons ago, I had the pleasure of participating briefly in the teacher/student relationship individually with all three of these deeply considered musicians. Hearing the way they had blossomed and bloomed on ‘Quiet Sufficient’ was a deeply rewarding experience. The CD stayed in my car for months. The sound and attention to detail on this new record is in the same realm as their debut: delicate, ethereal and intimate.

And then there are beautiful surprises such as when the... Well, I don’t want to ruin it for you. This is music that deserves deep, uninterrupted listening. The music has been described elsewhere as cinematic, and it feels orchestral in both its dynamic and scope. At times it’s easy to forget that you’ve dived in to a world created by just three musicians. The fact that, of those three, only one is a traditional “rhythm section” instrument is at times quite profound.

The tone that the horn players produce on all their instruments is rich and warm without sacrificing directness and immediacy. No mean feat. The intonation and balance is superb throughout. The way the steel string guitar is recorded feels like you’re inside the body of the actual instrument; the nylon string is rich and never brittle. And the voicings (both of the guitar itself and the woodwinds together) are full of unusual surprises, especially on the title track. Melville’s compositions are beguiling, but it’s the way they’re realised by the whole group that makes this recording so special. There’s plenty of intrigue, but always room to breathe. It all feels like a very warm invitation to step inside, take the worries of the world off your shoulders, and let it all wash over you like a warm bath.

These are smart but enchanting compositions, realised and played immaculate, and captured and produced with pristine detail and sound staging. I get the feeling that this will be one of those recordings that offers a deeper and more immersive experience on each successive listen. - Julien Wilson
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Quiet Sufficient (2017)

Antelodic

Quiet Sufficient is the debut release from Melbourne instrumental trio Antelodic. Led by composer/guitarist Robbie Melville, the unusual trio was formed in 2012 at a time when each member of the ensemble was immersed in the disarray of new family life.

Using saxophone players Gideon Brazil and Monty Mackenzie from his contemporary jazz ensemble cleverhorse, Melville designed a trio in which the woodwind became the rhythm section and the guitar became the melodic voice.

The majority of the album was written in a six-month period following the birth of Melville’s second daughter. This time of joy and introspection, combined with the necessity of quietude, resulted in an album of of gentle, restrained reveries. Several of the pieces on the album deal with deeply personal events in Melville’s life, primarily the births and deaths of family members. Other themes are inspired by musical heroes Stephen Foster and Richard Rodgers, the turning of the seasons, and the simple joys of friendship. The album’s cover is an image by Czech photographer Viktor Kolář.

Quiet Sufficient also marks the first time Melville has included compositions by other artists on an album. “As a musician you spend a lot of time developing your own voice or sound, and sucking up these influences all around you”, says Melville. “Somewhere along the road, revisiting songs that had, and still have, such a profound effect on your own musical growth becomes really enjoyable. So as well as just having fun playing the songs you love, it has become important to me to kind of raise my hat to the artists who mean so much to me. The kind of music we were attempting to make with Antelodic lent itself well to an arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”. I arranged the piano part for the guitar and tenor saxophone, with Monty playing the vocal line on alto”.

“We also did an arrangement of Krystle Warren’s “Sparkle and Fade” from her album “Circles”. I had the pleasure of playing a gig with her when she was out here on tour a few years back. After that, I pretty much listened to her albums every day for six months straight. She’s such a unique songwriter and singer”.

Recorded over three years at both Dog and Bear Studio by Steve Vella and at Red Room Studio by Mark Stanley, the completed songs were mixed at Red Room. Stanley’s sonically daring approach to mixing pushes the album further into a stylistic realm of its own.
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cleverhorse

50:fifty

cleverhorse

50:fifty is the new release by Melbourne five-piece instrumental ensemble cleverhorse. Led by composer/guitarist Robbie Melville, the band cites influences from ambient to avant-garde, funk to folk, jazz to jam band and world music.

With this, their second album, cleverhorse presents seven of Melville’s compositions as well as six improvised studio experiments. Half of the album features stylized, well structured compositions that are interspersed with shorter improvised pieces. The group developed these improvisations as diversionary musical challenges intended to help maintain their energy, spark and creativity throughout the recording process.

The result is a body of work that contrasts the melodic and cinematic with the frenetic and quirky, on an album that shuns conventions of jazz and improvised music.

“Half the album is very ordered. The longer pieces have an intentional use of space and melodicism. The other half of the album is the direct opposite of that - mischievous, funky shorter pieces that are really quite idiosyncratic. The two styles of music are intended to complement and enhance each other. Listening to the album in its entirety is a bit of a roller coaster ride. The more “beautiful” pieces are made more so by being surrounded by the more “frenetic” pieces, and vice versa. This is the key feature of the album and is why it’s entitled 50:fifty”, Robbie said.

The first single from the album, “Reich” is a group improvisation inspired by the work of minimalist composer Steve Reich. It features two distinct sections, the first being a slow, ambient introduction that transitions into an intense, rhythmic sonic expanse. The accompanying clip for it was filmed in County Limerick in Ireland, directed and edited by Melbourne’s Jean Poole. The video’s dark images of the forest leading up to an abandoned castle match the broody nature of the music perfectly; it’s like a mini musical suspense film.

Other pieces on the album are based on personal themes of family and friendship, life and death, and are informed in equal measure by contemporary jazz, Norwegian folk, the sonic space of the soundtracks of films by Wim Wenders, and the sparse and playful writings of Richard Brautigan. The variety of influences on the music of cleverhorse means it reaches beyond jazz to resonate with music lovers across all genres, in a unique category of its own.

Released on the Jazzhead label:

www.jazzhead.com
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Goodnight Mr. Monster

cleverhorse

cleverhorse is a five piece ensemble who cite influences from ambient to avant garde, funk to folk, jazz to jam band and world music. Led by composer/guitarist Robbie Melville (Australian Pops Orchestra, Mundy, Aine Tyrrell, Krystle Warren), the band also comprises Monty Mackenzie on alto saxophone (Harmless), Gideon Brazil on tenor saxophone (Gotye, The Basics, Adam Simmons Toy Band), Luke Hodgson on electric bass (Ross Wilson, Marcia Hines, Geoff Achison) and Dan Macdonald on drums (Kate Vigo), and often incorporates the use of live looping and samples.

“Goodnight, Mr. Monster” is their debut album.

“They have given a lot of thought to an overall sound, to an attractive surface, to listenability as well as creativity or simply ‘getting it on’… It was seductive and euphoric…They are onto something. They are undoubtedly creative…A band to be watched”. (John Clare, Sydney Morning Herald, 27th Feb 2004).
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