Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Loving ..."Leaving Stations" by Zenjungle

I love Gavin Catling's microlabel "Twice Removed" and don't talk about it enough. I look forward to their releases and happily dive deep when they arrive in my in-box.

I recently received "Leaving Stations" by Zenjungle aka Athens-bred saxophonist and composer Phil Gardelis and was immediately captivated by the music presented by someone I hadn't heard before. "Leaving Stations" is a three-track, 44 minute release where a deliciously inviting, melodic form of ambient is expressed. Theirs is an ambient that plays to the heart.

The opening track - ’Sei’ - is built on a drone foundation, a multi-facetted drone that evolves into something fantastic with the introduction of the most melancholic of saxophones. This is ECM quality jazz. Vibrant, haunting and utterly delightful. When I heard the sax, around the 2 minute mark, I was hooked.

The second of the three tracks & title - ’leaving stations’ - is a deliciously dense piece that is full of movement and vitality, with a recurring motif that juxtaposes nicely with the field recording of an urban environment.

The piece sits at nearly 25 minutes long but it certainly doesn't feel that length. This is due to the depth of sound on offer such as the Badalamenti-esque synths that appear around 4:35 or the more dissonant drone that becomes apparent at 8:20. Zenjungle’s now signature melancholic sax also makes an appearance on this track at the 10 minute mark. It is a welcome appearance that takes this track to the next level.

The final track - ’without a day’ - is a subtle, glitchy track that starts off softly then grows in the listener’s conscious. The now familiar synths are there but it feels distant, somehow.

I really liked this album & commend Gavin Catling of Twice Removed for having the foresight to pick this one up. Zenjungle is a name I will be following with careful attention.

Oh & for the record, I liked this release so much I bought it after being given the mp3s for review. I had to have it in my collection. If you like your ambient fresh & innovative, you will too.



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