I’ve never written about something like Eucalyptus on Grayowl before, so bear with me. I like jazz and avant-garde music, but I wouldn’t consider myself much of a critic when it comes to those particular genres — I just know when I like something. Well, I like Stop & Go, the new single out on Hamilton’s very own Havn Records. So, there’s that.
Alto saxophone player Brodie West stands at the head of this wonderful mess of talent. The two pieces showcase real inventive mixtures of sound, and the live production does little to get in the way of the listener, giving you a chance to stand front and centre as the pieces unfold.
The muddle of beats and melodies on title track “Stop & Go” is flighty and weird. Trumpet, sax, guitar and percussion create a puncture in the creamy surface of the main piano line, repeating like a broken record. Many voices collect as the beat shifts, and emphases build out of the stranger corners of the piece.
B-side, “Spaces Time Places,” is more of a row garden in terms of its geography. The lines are ordered up and given placement: the percussion has a conveyor belt regularity this time, allowing the piano to drift off into lanes of melody and delicate finesse. Of course, the track is an exploration of one of the most elemental magic tricks in music: how space can be filled with sound to become memorable — a place in which to find yourself living, smiling, musing. The transformation comes from Eucalyptus with a shower of horns about three minutes into the ten minute piece, the sounds at play build and quiet, build and again recede, all the “Spaces” fill with light and a dance of colours.
That’s what I like about Stop & Go — it wants you to watch it being clever and playful at the same time. Jazz at its best articulates something about the modern and the post-modern world that we ourselves fail to witness ourselves internalize. The rhythms and chaotic racket of daily life in 2016 can be seen in the jump and the artful cacophony put together here by Eucalyptus. So, Stop & Go, to the Spaces, Time, and Places on offer.
Top Track: “Stop & Go”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)